If 2018 is remembered as the year in which the Swiss watch industry decided to take a step back towards the basics and concentrate on offerings that are everyday-wearable and even just the tiniest bit affordable, then that’s surely no bad thing. Because if Baselworld and SIHH 2018 ushered in little that was startling in terms of innovation, then the two horological showcases also brought us an unusually rich array of understated, classically styled and modestly proportioned timepieces – watches, in other words, that whisper class rather than yell excess and are thus more likely to be strapped to the wrists of gentlemen than gangsters.
Typifying this return to simplicity are the Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions, a pair of 38mm, retro-themed, stainless-steel watches that reference the earliest models in a line that, over its 70-year lifetime, has become one of the brand’s most popular. Each features a domed dial in opaline silver with applied markers, and though one has a small seconds dial at 6 o’clock and the other a central seconds hand, the absence of a date window on both pieces enhances their old-school character and elegance.
What’s bang up-to-date about these two 1948 Seamasters, however, are their Metas Master Chronometer Certified automatic movements, which feature the co-axial escapement perfected by the late George Daniels and a silicon balance spring, and are resistant to magnetism of up to 15,000 Gauss. This mechanism on each version is visible through a caseback crystal that’s engraved with the profile of a Chris Craft boat and a Gloster Meteor jet fighter, in homage to the seaman and aviators who relied on Seamasters in the past.
Omega is making each model in a limited edition of – you guessed it – 1,948 examples, but that still leaves unanswered the question of which variant we’d go for. In all honesty they’re both absolutely gorgeous, but even though we’re suckers for anything in blue – which would normally have us leaning towards the grey-blue strap of the Seamaster 1948 Centre Seconds – if push came to shove we’d probably just incline towards the small-seconds version, perhaps because it looks a tad more authentically retro. Not that it matters, because with either of these stunning yet simple watches strapped to your wrist, no one’s going to mistake you for anything other than the perfect gent you are.