The Worlds First Ever Divers Watch But Not As You Know It...
Omega 1932 Marine Ref 679 Cal 19,4 T1 Worlds First Divers Watch Museum Condition
OMEGA 1932 "Marine"
Calibre 19,4 T1
The World First Divers Watch, But Not As You Know It
And not just a first specifically manufactured dive watch but also the first watch to incorporate a divers wetsuit extension clasp and sapphire crystal.
In 1932 Omega introduced a waterproof wristwatch based upon Swiss patent CH 146310 granted to Louis Alix of Geneva. This watch was called the Omega Marine and given the Omega reference number 679. The Omega Marine was the first dive watch, the first watch specifically tested and qualified for diving.
In 1936 an Omega Marine was sunk to a depth of 73 metres in Lake Geneva for 30 minutes. In May 1937 the Swiss Laboratory for Horology in Neuchâtel certified the Omega Marine as being able to withstand a pressure of 13.5 atmospheres, equivalent to a depth of water of 135 metres. These were the first tests to establish the depth capabilities of a watch and qualify its suitability for diving.
The Omega Marine was worn whilst diving by Commander Yves Le Prieur, a French Naval Officer and inventor, in 1925, of the aqualung, a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus or SCUBA. The Marine was also worn and endorsed by Dr William Beebe, the American naturalist and explorer who took up underwater exploration in the late 1920s.
Le Prieur diving with his aqualung and wearing an Omega Marine.
Other Notable Wearers of the watch include,
Aviator Amelia Earhart Who in 1932 becomes the first female pilot to succeed American aviator Charles Lindbergh to accomplish a solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean
Dr Beebe is most famous for his 1934 descent in the "Bathysphere" to a depth of 3,028 feet beneath the ocean surface. But Beebe also dived with the older heavy helmet gear and in 1936 he made a dive in the Pacific wearing an Omega Marine. Afterwards, he wrote ""I wore my Omega Marine in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 14 metres, where the pressure is twice the normal one. My watch sustained this test with success. Its tightness to water and dust and its robustness to corrosion represent a true progress for watchmaking science.""
The Legendary and beautiful case of the Omega 1932 Marine.
Let's start with beautiful, we can do the technical bits later.. The design of the 1932 marine the classic "Tank" style watch with its protruding case ridges and symmetric bold design, led itself perfectly to suit the "Deco" style of the period.
Additionally, a case like that of the Omega marine would have been a difficult case to produce even by todays standards because of this it was also an expensive watch to buy. Very limited numbers were ever sold but amongst these are rare Gold examples built and retailed for Tiffany and Cartier, Such examples can be found in "A Journey Through time" by Marco Richon It is clear that the watch had a much more "Luxury" appeal for its style and rarity even in the 1930s and I can't fault this the Omega marine is a truly stunning watch.
Our offered watches particular case is again the most exotic that omega offered, rather than flat surfaces (most commonly seen on the ref 679 (see omega museum example below for comparison) the two large "Bands" of the watch that hold the gasket and seal the watch have engine turned horizontal stripping design.
The watch is 100% ALL ORIGINAL and UNPOLISHED maintains original finish throughout which is horizontal brushed centre body & brushed case back with polished raised bands.
The case back clamp is vertical brush finished with polished bevelled sides.
The watch movement, dial, and hands are contained in a rectangular interior case. This interior case had a shoulder at the end with a groove which contains a gasket. The interior case slides into a rectangular section outer case, the end of which contacting a gasket in the shoulder of the interior case, forming a water tight seal. A large clip on the back of the outer case holds the two parts of the case together. The clip was necessary to provide the initial seal between the inner case, the gasket, and the outer case, but as the watch was submerged, water pressure outside the watch increased, pressing the two parts of the case more firmly together, The deeper you dive the more watertight the watch becomes.
The Omega 1932 Marine was also one of the first watches to incorporate a sapphire crystal, Again a vastly expensive undertaking to produce the second hardest stone known to man (after the diamond) all because simple mineral crystals would not cut it.
There were two different generations of the Marine case; the first had a massive clasp on the back of the outer case, running right from the top to the bottom. A second generation of the Marine case, from about 1935 onward, had a much shorter clasp hinged close to the bottom edge of the case, The Watch in question, of course, is one of the earliest iterations of the Ref. 679, thus Massive clip.
The Watch is a classically sized gents (But who's Counting!) Vintage Tank style watch its 24.5mm in diameter and 38.5mm lug tip to lug tip with a case thickness of approximately 10.5mm.
Tho a classically sized watch by comparison to other "Like for like" tank style models (think Rolex prince, Longines Doctors Duo Time & Jaeger Reverso) the watch is by no means "too small" a watch of its type and in fact larger than most comparable examples.
Again a truly deco design feature of the Omega Marine is its dial, note the outer seconds track and how its segmented into sections with each on the hour filled in black, If the style is familiar it's because it's perhaps more commonly associated with the very Deco design of Cartier dials.
This is I believe the rarest iteration of this watch dial with all Arabic numerals and instead of the more conventional (yet less practical) "bishop" hands more commonly seen on omega ref 679, This watch Sports Bright Geneve Blued Steel Skeletonised "Pencil" hands these as are the Arabic numerals are all inlaid with Radium. Like modern divers watches this would have achieved high visibility even underwater.
The dial is a silver-ivory colouration with the very faintest natural age patina visible, This has done absolutely nothing to affect the crispness and clarity of the dial print including the sharp Ω logo and "Omega" lettering at position 12.
Perhaps the only thing rarer than the watch is the clasp of this watch,
The Original watch strap was made of sealskin, tho this has sadly long perished we DO have one seal skin strap that came on the watch to us that will be included (this is not pictured)
We have created an "ode" to the original strap we've opted for an exotic hide that maintains the properties of the original which were produced of seal, which was thought to be more resistant to water than ordinary leather. Shark is gram for gram 4x stronger than conventional cowhide leather
The Omega Marine also has a unique deployment type clasp, Produced by strap company Hadley Is built from patented "Hadleyite" steel (like "staybrite") The watches unique adjustable strap is the first ever watch strap "Wetsuit Extension"
We've said the watch is in Museum Condition, but id like to think ours is a little nicer than that held in Bienne, Switzerland.
Sales of the Ref 679 particularly of watches in any presentable condition let alone exceptional condition, agian the piece offer is not only the bset condition we have ever sold but ever seen, are scarce one notable sale was
Antiquorum #158 - Sale Date 2007-04 - Omegamania
Lot ID : 47
Sold : 10,030 CHF / 8,183 € / $ 11,467
Estimation : 6000 - 8,000 CHF 4895 - 6,527 € 6860 - $ 9,146
(Tho we would like to add this watch was sold without the extension divers clasp)
In 2007 Omega added a reproduction of this watch, the Marine 1932, to its Museum Collection of vintage timepieces. The double case was made in contrasting 18-carat red and white gold, and the series was limited to 135 pieces to commemorate the 1937 official certification of water resistance to a depth of 135 metres.
IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION BE SURE TO CHECK OUT
David Boettcher's Excellent site http://www.vintagewatchstraps.com/blogomegamarine.php