14364 Omega Seamaster De Ville Calibre 321
This is one of Omega’s best kept secrets. It’s the Seamaster De Ville 321, yes that calibre 321, and in many ways it’s the antithesis of modern Omega. In the era of mass automated luxury good production, it’s increasingly difficult to make something feel special. As a result, we get an endless series of limited editions proliferating in every model line, flamboyantly colored Aqua Terras screaming for attention, and a green Seamaster. The De Ville 321 is special for precisely the opposite reasons: no one knows what it is, it doesn’t stand out. It’s kind of like watching Cillian Murphy acting in Nolan’s Batman Begins. You can see the brilliance, the villainous edge. But he wasn’t Thomas Shelby yet, he was just a damn talented actor no one knew about. That’s the Seamaster De Ville Calibre 321, made mid-60s before man walked on the moon with a 321, an exceptionally discreet Lemania 2310-base chronograph.
But I’m not alone in admiration. The Seamaster 321 has another fan, one whose opinion is infinitely more credible than mine: Roger W. Smith. Yes, Roger Smith owns a Seamaster De Ville 321 personally and has been spotted wearing it out many times. Smith makes 10 watches per year and has not yet taken a piece out of production for himself. So what does he choose? This. In his own words, ‘It’s a lovely, lovely watch’. I am actually somewhat amazed that this hasn’t earned the De Ville 321 a nickname yet. Dufour famously has the Lange 403.031 Dufourgraph to his name, his personal watch. So why is this not yet called the Smithgraph? Well, I’m putting it out into the world as an open question.
As mid-century Omegas go, there’s quite a bit of variation to counter here. Dials can be signed Seamaster, De Ville, and Seamaster De Ville independently. You’ll see straight lug cases and this wider, bevelled lug. Later iterations came with the 861, right around the time the Speedmaster switched over so too did this line. Further, earlier iterations sported this alpha handset while later series used batons. For the true pedants reading, this is a one-year-earlier ref. 14364, where I believe Roger’s to be a 105.005, but very similar. The design evolution echoes the Speedmaster, but the Seamaster De Ville always maintained a more discreet aesthetic at 35.5mm. When you’re great at something, you don’t need to shout about it. Everyone knows. It’s those who wish they were great who shout the loudest. Listening, Omega? I give you the Smithgraph.
This example is in exceptional condition as well, many have damaged dials. All printed scripts are clear, it still has the corrected matching alpha register hands, and the handset lume is still hanging in there. It is said to be running well and comes from a well-regarded Parisian retailer, watch only.