166.0195 Omega Seamaster Cosmic
If you thought integrated bracelets started and ended with the holy trinity, that’s not even close to accurate. Omega had an entire range by the 70s, an effort which is easily and often overlooked. But it really shouldn’t be, particularly if you’re out for a value. This is one of the most distinct of the lot, a ref. 166.0195, and it’s all in the design. This is the only integrated case I’ve seen which has a comparably anabolic stance to the IWC Da Vinci ‘Muscle’ ref. 9602, which I regard as the Royal Oak’s only competitor in industrial, brutal charm. Well, aside from this that is. The only trouble is, very little is known or written about it.
The case here was made in the early 70s (and many think designed) by a manufacture called Chatelaine, which went bust in 1975. It’s 37mm, but wears larger thanks to its proportions and sharp facets. The midcase is angled down starting in the dial’s lower and upper third, met by a bracelet with some of the widest bevels you’ll ever see. You’ll find both grey and blue vignette dials on these, with a wide range of patina between them. Some dials have a 2000 line under Cosmic as well, same reference though. The Seamaster branding comes from a 60m water resistance, but it’s a press-in caseback so I wouldn’t flirt too much with that. The calibre is Omega’s 1012, ironically one of the thinner movements they made then, so you know this case is pleasingly strong by design, on purpose. And there really aren’t a lot of them. We can only go off how frequently these appear in the market, production is unknown, but they’re never an on-demand reference. You’d usually have to hunt, if it weren’t for this finds feature.
It’s an easy watch to love for many reasons. Obviously, there’s the obscurity and uniqueness; you’re going to have even watch professionals guessing WTF this is anywhere you go. And the 70s flavor, which works for me. But more importantly than either, it doesn’t take itself seriously. There are no insane premiums here. All value is relative, but this is a value buy on any metric still today at sub 5K USD. We need more watches that are worth being excited about, but not ruinously expensive. You probably don’t have to plan financially ahead for five years to pick up this Seamaster. You just have know about it, which is basically just us here and the good folks on Omega Forums.
This example is worn, unrestored, and great. The dial is usually what ages first in just browsing prior sales, but this example is lovely and even still. Light warmth in the tritium. Its case is worn, with a moderate level of patina and surface wear, but still very sharp and probably not polished in its life. Just loved. It comes from a well-regarded Dutch retailer.