Forums Latest Members
  1. PlainVanilla Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    496
    Likes
    901
    Hello everybody!

    This is a work in progress, and I would like to thank everyone who participated to this thread with pictures, reference numbers and production dates, and also The Omega Enthusiast who provides the world with such good quality pictures of all these amazing watches.

    I spent the last year chasing an Omega Seamaster with an unusual dial and looking back I figure that this quest of mine made me realize there are way more dial variations out there that I suspected. So, special dial thread, here we go.

    The early 60s saw the flourishing of many dial variations in the Seamaster line, especially on Seamaster DeVilles and more precisely on American references, but some of these dial variations can also be found on Constellation watches from that era or on Swiss cased watches, although it is more unusual. As for the reason behind this, I would say that special dials were introduced in order to conquer a new market of young Americans in the early sixties. The introduction of these was probably induced by the necessity to seduce potential new customers that wanted to own their own style and didn't recognize themselves in older designs from the 50s. A generation that felt like they were special, and deserved something special.

    It seems that these were called "special dials" by Omega itself:

    [​IMG]

    The great veriety of dials available throughout the Seamaster line isn't a new concept from the sixties, as this stunning example from the fifties shows:

    [​IMG]

    However, the beginning of the sixties saw the introduction of new variations like the ribbon, the clamshell and the concentric rings that used new techniques and are characteristic of that particular era. Even if the aim was probably to offer something new to young American customers, some of these truly find their origin in earlier models, just as the seventies saw the arrival of new ones directly inspired by the ones from the sixties.

    I have read Desmond saying that the Seamaster de Ville was a cheaper version of the Seamaster aimed for blue collar workers. No offense intended towards Desmond here, who I think is one of the greatest specialists out there, but I want to re-establish the truth about this matter: the Seamaster de Ville was actually a higher-end model compared to the regular Seamaster, as all price catalogs from the era show. Below are prices in GBP from a catalog for the early sixties for no-date, stainless steel watches on leather bands:
    - Seamaster ref ST 135005: 27,10
    - Seamaster ref ST 165009: 33,10
    - Seamaster de Ville ref ST 165020: 36
    - Constellation ref ST 167005: 47,10


    The Seamaster de Ville was a product aimed for new potential customers with higher exigences, and was therefore more expensive. It's no surprise that this model shows the highest prevalence of special dials during this era.



    APPLIED ARABIC NUMERALS


    I think that applied Arabic numerals were a later special dial variation than others like the clamshell and the ribbon, as most examples I have seen were not from the very early sixties but from a little later, around 1963-1966. Absolutely stunning and most often seen on Seamaster DeVille and Seamaster 600 watches, as well as a few Constellation pie-pan examples. Different models show numerals of different styles, and I suspect the flatter ones to be from the earlier period (around 1963) and the more facetted ones from a little later, around 1966.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here, a 166.020 reference from 1963 powered by the rare Omega cal. 560:

    [​IMG]


    And here, a ref. 165.003:

    [​IMG]


    I have sometimes seen it mixed with another special dial variation such as here, with a Seamaster DeVille and a Seamaster 600 showing applied Arabic numerals on a golf ball dial:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    CLAMSHELL / SEASHELL

    This is as art deco as it gets:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here on ref. 14915 with a cal. 600 manual wound movement and a replacement crystal:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    CONCENTRIC RINGS

    Found on reference 135.020 Seamaster DeVille, which is a Swiss case. I'd say this variation is pretty rare, I have ever seen it only twice and one of them was a redial. Below are pictures of the original one:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The crosshair makes it look like a sonar, which is pretty cool for a Seamaster.



    DIAMOND

    Although more an index variation than a dial variation, I felt it belonged here. The name tells it all: diamonds on the dial (yes, they exist). I might stand corrected but I think this was only available on white and yellow solid gold and only on American references, at least in the early 60s (some of these special dials carried on through the 70s).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    DON DRAPER

    [​IMG]

    The "Don Draper" is the name given to black crosshair dialed Seamaster de Ville watches with a steel case after Don Draper, the main character of Mad Men, wore this watch in season 5 of the series. This combination is so rare that even the watch featured in the show is a redial. Due to the high demand for such an easily restorable dial, sellers tend to buy silver dialed Seamaster de Ville watches and then repaint the dial in black to make profit. These refinished watches are often sold through purposely deceiving adverts mentioning an "original factory dial" that was "immaculately restored", when the restoration is even mentioned. One must be very careful when buying a Don Draper watch due to the overwhelming presence of deceiving redials. A Don Draper watch should never feature white inscriptions on the dial. "AUTOMATIC", "Seamaster" and "SWISS MADE" inscriptions should be gilt, silver colored and reflect light like metal. The backside (or underside) of the dial should always be black, and can be seen around the edges of the movement on movement shots.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    GOLF BALL

    There are two versions of the golf ball dial from the sixties that I know of. The first one is sometimes called the "cloudy dial" or "fish scale dial". Here on reference KL 6590, 14kt solid gold American case:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And here on a Swiss reference 165.020:

    [​IMG]


    The second version of the golf ball dial has a more regular pattern on the center of the dial and a mirror finish on the seconds track, here on reference LL 6590-1 Amercian case:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And here on reference 14765:

    [​IMG]


    And I couldn't not mention the golf ball dial from the fifties. Ref 2577:

    [​IMG]



    LINEN

    One of the more common variations, available on many references in the Seamaster line.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    There is also another variation sometimes called "linen dial", with diagonal lines:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here, a linen texture on a later bullseye variation of the Seamaster DeVille from 1972:

    [​IMG]



    LOGO AT TWELVE

    Some dials have the Omega logo at 12 o'clock:

    [​IMG]



    MATTRESS

    This variation is sometimes called "diamond dial", which can create some confusion with the other diamond dial. I have mostly seen this special dial on American Seamaster DeVille references.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    But it can also be found on at least one Constellation. Ref. 14777 here on a gold cap case:

    [​IMG]

    A mattress dial on an old Omega catalog from the early sixties:

    [​IMG]



    QUADRANT

    Another of the most common of uncommon dial variations, although I think it only exists on American references.

    [​IMG]



    RADIAL

    Probably one of the rarest ones as I only ever saw it twice. I know for a fact that there is a "swirl" version but I have never seen it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    RIBBON

    Also known as the curtain dial, tapestry dial or côtes de Genève dial, this is probably the most sought after special dial as it is common enough to be known and desired but uncommon enough to represent a little challenge to find. To me, the ribbon is the king of special dials from that era. This particular variation can be namely found on Seamaster references 14384, 14761, 14762, 14763, 14905, 166.010, 2846-4 and LL 6590-1, as well as at least one Constellation reference (ref. 14777). The examples I found are all from 1961 or 1962, which makes me wonder if this variation was ever produced before or after that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    My own 14kt solid gold Seamaster DeVille ref. LL 6590-1 with a ribbon dial:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    PINSTRIPE / SLIMLINE RIBBON


    A close variation often called by the same name (although it was originally called a "shadow striped dial) shows shallower vertical stripes with a slightly different effect:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here on a Constellation:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    ROMAN NUMERALS

    Like the technical dial, the Roman numerals imprint is more characteristic of the end of the sixties, and somewhat transitional. "Seamaster DeVille" can be read on the dial, although the DeVille line parted from the Seamaster line in 1967. The same oddity appears on later examples from the seventies.


    Reference KM6292 from 1968:

    [​IMG]



    SPARKLE

    Who doesn't enjoy a little bit of glitter in their life?

    [​IMG]



    TECHNICAL

    Although not exactly a rarity, the technical dial from the end of the 60s adds some singularity to a dial.

    Note the vertical brush finish on this reference LL 6590 from 1969:

    [​IMG]



    TWO TONE

    This one might be very rare as I had never seen it on a Seamaster DeVille before. Many thanks to @X350 XJR for his contribution.

    Reference 14735 from 1960:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    VERTICAL BRUSH

    This one is a bit more common and can be found on Swiss references.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    UPSIDE DOWN

    Here, the model name is on the top of the dial and the Omega logo is on the bottom.

    [​IMG]



    Some people have it all. Radial, clamshell, quadrant and ribbon:

    [​IMG]



    THE SEVENTIES

    Omega revisited this concept in the early 70s with some new special dials, with designs more characteristic of that era. In some cases, one can tell them apart from their early 60s counterparts by comparing the date window on date models. Watches from the 70s usually have a simpler date window.


    Reference KM6339 from 1972:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Reference KM6610 from 1971:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    There are dial variations that I forgot to put on the list, and others which I don't know the name although I know what they look like. I'll try to update the list with new examples and a more exhaustive list of references for each one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And I didn't even get to talk about weird custom stuff like this masonic dial for the American market:

    [​IMG]

    So, that's the little journey I went on while chasing my own special dial Seamaster. These watches are a proof of Omega's creative capabilities to reinvent itself in order to reach new territories and new generations. Although the ribbon dial enjoys a new popularity, there are many other special dial variations out there that deserve to be known. The clamshell and the concentric rings are two personal favorites of mine (alongside the ribbon of course). I hope that there is at least one of them that you didn't know, and I hope that we will find out some more in the future.

    Thanks for reading, and good luck to you if you are chasing one for yourself! :)
     
    Edited Dec 3, 2022
    jB1128, WYO_Watch, Passover and 76 others like this.
  2. AnotherAussie Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    32
    Likes
    148
    Thanks for sharing. The clamshell variation is my favourite of the bunch - absolutely stunning.
     
    janice&fred and PlainVanilla like this.
  3. pdxleaf Capricious-Watch-Slave Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    2,679
    Likes
    7,616
    Fantastic post. Thanks very much for this. Looking forward to updates and additions from the hive.

    The great variety of Seamasters is both intimidating and invigorating.

    I confess to arriving only recently to these vintage Seamasters. As a relatively new watch enthusiast, I have been heavily focused on Speedmasters and other space themed watches. Many of the more experienced members lamented that Speedmaster fever had seemed to overtake the Forum. They often mentioned that Seamasters were their favorite. At the time, I didn't understand it. I get it now.
     
  4. bananapeanut Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    450
    Likes
    505
    That's super cool. Thank you!
     
    PlainVanilla likes this.
  5. YYTIN Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    792
    Likes
    7,478
    You think you’ve read it all and BAM a new OF thread like this arrives : thanks @PlainVanilla for this very neat thread !

    Really eager to see the follow up and additions.

    I love them all. Would love to see a golf ball one in flesh : looks very refined to my eyes !
     
    MDubs, tjdwhite, janice&fred and 3 others like this.
  6. Concretepuppy Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    168
    Likes
    464
    Thanks for putting the time in, really interesting, and i love the collection you've put together
    i have a ribbon dial 14762, a bit worse for wear but mechanically sound
     
    PlainVanilla likes this.
  7. X350 XJR Vintage Omega Aficionado Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    10,791
    Likes
    25,038
    Here are a few from my past.

    LL6590 - 1963
    LL6590.JPG
    KM6610 - 1971
    KM6610.JPG
    KM6292 - 1968
    KM6292-1.JPG
    LL6590 - 1969
    LL6590-1.JPG
    KM6339 - 1972
    Blue second track.
    KM6339.JPG KM6339-1.JPG
    14765- 1962
    Second track is over a silver mirror finish band.
    14765.JPG
     
    Edited Oct 8, 2022
    John7boy, Thommas, qazwsx1 and 17 others like this.
  8. mac_omega Oct 7, 2022

    Posts
    2,881
    Likes
    5,598
    Thank you @PlainVanilla you have started a thread on a very interesting theme, thank you for your great passion you put into.
    Well done, congrats! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    This is going to become a great thread and source of knowledge.
     
    qazwsx1, TimeODanaos, MtV and 3 others like this.
  9. PlainVanilla Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    496
    Likes
    901
  10. cristos71 Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    6,642
    Likes
    29,617
    This recently arrived 18kt 2849 has pinstripe or slimline ribbon dial

    20221003_184913.jpg
     
  11. PlainVanilla Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    496
    Likes
    901
    Absolutely stunning, thanks for sharing. It will make its way up there in the main post.
     
  12. hejsam Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    1,666
    Likes
    11,520
    You also missed the what-to-call-these-dials 47962802-7BED-4CAE-9901-270FADFD7D5A.jpeg DA5A2480-4A72-455A-BE82-BC871C035752.jpeg 77BAE90D-F139-4A0E-B2BC-CCF84E8A97BD.jpeg

    Edit: Sorry missed that your work only was pointed to Seamaster
     
  13. mahomes Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    283
    Likes
    1,178
    Thanks for sharing. Didn’t know about all the variations.
     
  14. mahomes Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    283
    Likes
    1,178
    Looks like a waffle pattern type?
     
    Davidt likes this.
  15. PlainVanilla Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    496
    Likes
    901
  16. Davidt Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    8,326
    Likes
    13,475
    Cool thread. I’ve had a bit of an obsession with unusual dials over the summer.

    I tend to refer to these as ‘Fish Scale’.
    B813D7EF-B59E-482D-9BE4-A4DED3EC28C7.jpeg

    ‘Linen’.
    7900A98F-3034-4581-A6D4-819CD6888195.jpeg

    ‘Textured Sigma’
    3B9D318F-5B2E-4F0D-8ACE-4B3CEE5CFA8F.jpeg
     
    MDubs, qazwsx1, Mark020 and 9 others like this.
  17. PlainVanilla Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    496
    Likes
    901
    Davidt likes this.
  18. bubba48 Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    1,373
    Likes
    7,114
    Great thread, thanks!
     
  19. X350 XJR Vintage Omega Aficionado Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    10,791
    Likes
    25,038
    I've added dates.

    Sometimes it pays to obsessively save photos even from things you've sold. :D
     
    MDubs, PlainVanilla and YYTIN like this.
  20. rkman11 Oct 8, 2022

    Posts
    1,544
    Likes
    4,963
    AMAZING thread! One of the many reasons it was a pleasure to sell mine to @PlainVanilla - passionate collector and all all-around guy!
     
    jB1128, PlainVanilla and mac_omega like this.