In 1972 Omega introduced the Seamaster Cosmic 2000. It was different, in design, in the construction of the case and a totally new movement. When watchmakers first laid their eyes on this (at least all the ones I know) threw their arms up in horror……the end was neigh!!!……and they were right.
The new movement:
The new 1000 series looked like nothing before it. It replaced one of the best movements ever produced, the 500 series and boasted a couple of quantum leaps forward that was going to keep the mighty Omega reputation in the stratosphere where it should be. Not one part in the 1000 was interchangeable with the 500 series, not even a screw!
The biggest “advance” was that the oscillation of the balance was increased from 19800 beats per hour to 28800 p/h. This necessitated a much smaller (lighter) balance wheel that resulted in greater accuracy and consistency. It also resulted in more wear and easier stopping.
Other improvements where the reduced height of the movement, 4.25mm compared to the 500 series, 5.05mm (and then they put in a case that is half as thick again as the old Seamaster….crazy.”
The new movement also had a much better quick date set mechanism and a new innovation was a hacking mechanism.
There was a very basic (and incomprehensibly stupid) flaw in the construction of this movement. All mechanical movements have a regulator. Better quality movements have a fine adjustment, associated with the normal regulator for more accurate timing. It is a prerequisite of chronometers to have a fine adjusting mechanism. In the case of the Omega 1000 series, the fine adjustment is actuated by a screw that is placed in a position on the inside of the balance assembly making it impossible to access!!
Now for the case
Omega had used sapphire crystals in their ladies watches as far back as the 50’s, my mother still wears one and after 65 odd years of continuous wear, still doesn’t show a scratch, but in men’s watches it was 100% acrylic. I think that this is one of the first gents watches (if not the first) to use a mineral crystal glass.
The case is gold over stainless steel with a stainless steel bezel and back.
The movement is housed in a perfect cylinder where the movement, dial and hands are sandwiched between the glass and the back that are pressed into the case and held there by nylon retaining rings.
There has never been anything like it before and, fortunately, not since.
This watch was technically radical but very ordinary in style. It was rugged and looked it….it was bulky! It was rated at 60m water resist which I think was understated. It was an Omega and it was a Seamaster and it won favour with the quality seeking public but it was no coincidence that at about this time the invincible Omega brand started to spiral downwards, in quality and in the marketplace.