Deployant reader and friend submits this article which reflects upon a collection which has captured his heart for a long time. We had featured Michael Ho earlier in his watch collecting journey. Today, he tells of his origin story and the lure of the Omega Seamaster.
Reader Submission: The lure of the Omega Seamaster
Photographs and text by “the boy”: Michael Ho
No amount of persuasion has been possible to make him wear other pieces religiously. He is a big fan of Omega, particularly Seamasters. If one would offer the Cookie Monster a thousand dollars, or a trip to Hawaii, or a cookie, guess which option he would pick?
Said his buddy: “I like Omega Seamasters because the remind me of James Bond. Those were the days…”
It started on a sunny day in 1980’s. The boy’s father had made some success in the South East Asia Games representing Singapore in Archery. He probably saw Omega logos too often. They were plastered on the target boards of archery ranges. To him, owning an Omega would be the dream.
He eventually bought a Quartz Omega Seamaster. It had the reputation of being very accurate, sleek and the watch to have in the early 90’s. In hindsight, perhaps, he should have gotten an automatic version instead. He was proud of that watch, and wore it for almost 4 decades.
There were good times and bad times. In the good times, he wore it while training some members of the Royal Families in Thailand, and Bhutan. In bad times, the watch was worn while he drove a taxi. But a man must be strong, reliable and resilient. He expected nothing less from his only watch.
He had a son with some form of ADHD. The son was hard to care for. He often got into trouble in school. The father was wary of his son, because he would often cause mishaps. “What if he dropped my Omega?”
One day, the hyperactive son saw his father’s Seamaster, on the table. His father was nowhere in sight; and curiosity got the better of him. He picked it up, and it was a magical moment. He did not want to cause it any damage because he once overheard his father telling someone that he would hand down that watch one day.
The day actually came, albeit uneventfully. The watch was in a terrible condition. It had scuff marks, dents, and the lume no longer glowed as it used to. The boy saved hard, and worked odd jobs to save up the funds to restore the piece. His friends told him not to. In the end, after 3 months of extra labour, he sent to for a full service at the Omega Service Centre.
The watch was assessed to be in a terrible condition. The movement had been swapped out at some point of time, likely from a third party service in a 3rd World Country.
But it came back from Omega as good as new. They had turned back the clock.
Fast forward a few years, the boy slowly amassed a small collection of Seamasters. Each one was painstaking to purchase, but he trudged towards each of them. They have been a way for him to reconnect with a happier time he used to know.
Does he have a favourite piece? If you’d ask him, it’d probably be the Seamaster 300 in Grade 5 titanium.
“They don’t make Seamasters like that anymore. It feels overbuilt, yet light, and in a nuanced metallic hue, apart from the sea of ubiquitous Stainless Steel pieces. Yet, it can easily be mistaken for a Stainless Steel piece. That’s the joy of owning and wearing this watch.”
Occasionally, he wears the Bronze Gold Seamaster.
“It doesn’t tarnish. I have worn it for ocean swims and swimming pools too. But I do not wear this watch in situations where modesty is necessary.”
“The Seamaster would be a Bond Villain’s watch. Villains are often misunderstood Heroes who take a tragic trajectory in life. I like the blue-ish glow of the tantalum. That was the only reason why I bought this.“
T”he perks of wearing it, are many, I wore this while lining up for a Moonswatch, and there was a whisper from the Sales Staff, offering me a version they denied everyone in front of me..”
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My compliments to Mr. Ho for a great story and a important restoration!
People seems to be unaware of how resilient the Seamasters are. Had the pleasure of using the “pre-bond” as a very hard usage daily beater for years, and it never failed me. A very capable and true sportswatch.
The gold/black with gold centerlinks remains one of the best looking gold/steel designs ever made, and their choice to leave the gold centerlinks matte/unpolished contributed significantly to that. Further, the bezel is solid 18k gold, and the centerlinks are, if I remember correctly, solid gold on top of stainless steel, where about 25% of the thickness is 18k gold.
It is probably one of few cases where a quartz edition may be considered more interesting than the automatic, more specifically the 38.5mm ’88 (from late 87) thermo compensated Omega 1441 movement which ran +/- 5s Y. I believe the archers watch is this particular 38.5 mm edition, and it is THE version to keep within the “pre-bond” series.
Thanks EN for the wonderful reply. I am very happy to hear from you.
Wish you a great weekend ahead.
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