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    SHOM: the French Navy’s oceanographic and hydrographic division.

    FEBRUARY 2, 2020

    Link to full article:


    In 1979, Omega Seamaster entered into service with the SHOM: the French Navy’s oceanographic and hydrographic division. However, this angular and remarkable watch’s history remains shrouded with mystery and misinformation. This is a story of exploration and military diving. Today, I will tell the story of the Omega Seamaster 200 ‘SHOM’.

    Over the last two weeks, I have been wearing the Spinnaker Dumas Cartographe which, to my surprise for such a wild looking thing, hasn’t left my wrist. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I have bought one for my permanent collection. That isn’t, however, the reason why I have mentioned it. The reason for the mention of this watch is that, buried in its details is a watch which has never enjoyed much fame except amongst the most passionate collectors.

    It is a variant of the Omega Seamaster so embedded in the 1970s that you would expect it to come fitted with flares. Even so, it was both historically important as a replacement for the iconic Seamaster 300, but also saw its history blurred by a lack of documentation and the creation of non-original examples. The Omega Seamaster 200 SHOM’s story, after extensive research, reveals itself to be both fascinating and important to the Omega which we know and admire.

    A Legend to Live Up To: Omega Seamaster 300

    From 1957 to 1969, Omega had only one dive watch: the Seamaster 300. Water resistant to 200 metres (although believed to be capable of withstanding 300), this watch was Omega’s ‘bread and butter’. Refined with twisted, asymmetrical lugs to protect the crown, larger hands and a high-contrast dial, the 300 was a fair match for Rolex’s Submariner.

    It was used by the British Royal Navy from 1967 to 1971 and, in that time, featured in risky and daring exploits where the Seamaster was the only reference of time for these soldiers. Ironically, it also pioneered the fully-graduated bezel and large sword hands which were used by Rolex for its highly collectable Submariner ‘MilSub’.

    More importantly, this watch was widely used for exploration and featured in Jacques Cousteau’s Conshelf missions. Partly funded by the French petrochemical industry, these missions experimented with keeping divers at depth for extended periods of time. Conshelf II saw 10 divers living at a depth of 10 metres in the Red Sea for 30 days including a week at 30 metres.

    All became more serious for Conshelf III in 1965 when divers descended to 102.4 metres for three weeks. Despite the replacement of the original ‘Naiad crown’ with a screwed crown on later models, these watches suffered violent explosions when decompressing after such time in a helium-enriched environment.
    "Flesh could not keep its glamour, nor eyes their sheen. They would go to nothing soon. But monsters are forever"

    “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
    If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.
    As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide".
    Abraham Lincoln

  • #2
    Thanks for posting this up, Mike.