Chronometer Seamasters

Seamaster chronometers are an odd bunch. Chronometer certification was mostly reserved for the Constellation line-up, and by default, any Chronometer Seamaster is going to be more rare than a Constellation. In addition, they are also less expensive than Constellations making them attractive for entry-level collector. Chronometer Seamasters come in three movement categories distinguished by their movements: 564, 752, 551 and 352.

ReferenceSizeMovementComments
168.02435mm564Common
168.02236,5mm564Common
168.03538mm564Uncommon
168.02336,5mm752Common
168.03438mm752Uncommon
167.070551Rare, Factory redial
2577352Rare, Bumper
Chronometer Seamaster References and Movements

Of these, the cal 551 can be considered an edge case, because it is actually an Omega Geneve that has had dial changed by the factory. It has been listed here, because some completionist collectors may want to add it to their collection. This blog post focuses less on the day/date versions, because my personal interest resides in the date versions.

Omega Seamaster 168.024

This is probably the most popular of the chronometer seamasters due to the classic oyster-style case familiar from 14700 and 14744. They are characterised by a massive case with beefy lugs and they came with a beads of rice bracelet, a must have for an Omega dress watch enthusiast. It is possible to find these watches with and without cyclops on authentic Omega crystal. Apparently, cyclops was an option you could choose when buying the watch at the time.

The caliber 565 non-chronometer reference 166.010 shares the same case. In the end, there isn’t that much difference. While there is not certainty whether the chronometer version ever shipped with black dial, it is possible that there have been crosshair dial versions both with crosshair piercing the text and crosshair not piercing the text. I haven’t personally handled these watches or seen authoritative take on their existence. I treat all black dial Seamasters without visible radium / tritium plots as redials.

Omega Seamaster ‘Sparkle’ 168.022

The 168.022 comes in a large 36,5mm case and has a nice radial finish. It comes in a few dial variations, with most notable being the ‘Sparkle’ dial. 168.022 features a cal 564 movement and wears well.

The 168.022 have few different variants. Among these, there are a champagne dial and a white dial sparkle. The watches can have T SWISS T dials to indicate presence of tritium plots, but they can also be without tritium plots. Redials are easy to spot, because the dials are hard to reproduce. One should watch out for overly polished cases and cases where the radial finish of the bezel is gone. I haven’t personally seen a legit black dial version yet. They may exist, but July/2021 I assume they don’t.

Omega Seamaster 168.035

These watches are for the quirky 70s cushion case lovers. They are slightly bigger and wear a lot differently from the 36,5mm case Seamasters. The watches measure at 38mm diameter, but they wear a lot smaller due to the short lugs. In addition, the lug width is 22mm and the bracelets are nearly impossible (read expensive) to find loose. It is possible that there have been black dial version of these, but as of now (9/11/2021) this is unclear.

Suspicious black dial variant of the non-chronometer version 166.065. I was initially fooled by the tritium plots, but it may be that the dial is not original.

Bracelets

The 168.022 and 168.024 share the same case with Seamaster 60 ‘Big Crown’ ref 166.062 and various De Ville Chronographs (145.018, 145.017 and 146.017 among others). In addition the bracelets go to the Seamaster 120 case 135.027 / 136.027. Unsurprisingly, because the 1069/524 goes many, much more valuable watches, it is highly sought after by collectors and thus getting scarce and valuable. Interesting history behind 1069/524 is that there are also unbranded ones manufactured by JB Champion which can be used to provide extension links.

It is common to find collectors with 100s of bracelets that they have detached from watch heads and hoarded overtime. One can only speculate the reasons, but one of them is that selling a bracelet and watchhead separately will typically yield more money. As the result, it is not that common to find a chronometer Seamaster on its original bracelet as somebody has collected it into their dragons hoarde of vintage omega parts or mounted it on a more expensive watch.

Bracelet/EndlinksReferencesLug Width
1069/524168.022, 168.02319mm
1098/540168.022, 168.02319mm
1125/560168.022, 168.02319mm
1170/604168.035, 168.03422mm
1036/511168.02418mm
Chronometer Seamaster Bracelets

Omega cal. 564 Movement

Cal 564 movement is beautifully crafted. The movement should be easy to wind and setting time should be smooth. Only thing to watch out for is a broken quickset date. The parts are not available outside of Omega and they are quite expensive. If one finds a watch with broken quickset date I’d consider not repairing it. In my eyes, broken quickset date doesn’t lower the value of the watch considering how easily they break.

The cal 564 movements are true workhorses. If the movement is not broken, they will wind and run despite years of neglect. For wear, service is recommended.

Türler Dials

Aside from the 2577, all of the watches can be relatively commonly found with Türler print. This is also a common thing that dodgy entry-level Rolex investors add later on, sometimes with a Sharpie and often completely ruining the dial.

Meister Dials

Based on my experience, Meister dials are applied in similar fashion as Türler, but less common (in my experience) than Türler dials. All the same, they can be found. Another favorite thing to add when preparing to make maximum profit.

Conclusion

The chronometer Seamasters are a nice category of vintage Omega watches from collector’s perspective. There are enough references and variants to offer plenty of challenge. Their overall collectibility is still quite low, which makes their prices still quite affordable aside from the elusive bumper chronometer. They are also common enough that there is a market and not all of them are yet in watch collectors dragons hoardes. In addition they are great watches to wear with eloquent dressy designs that stand time.

Sinn 158 on a bracelet

History

Sinn has made multiple successors to the 1550 sg produced by Heuer and Sinn. The Sinn 1550sg was directly succeeded by Sinn 156 and Sinn 156b and then followed by Sinn 155 and Sinn 158. Whereas the Sinn 155 is more true to the 1550 sg, the Sinn 158 sits somewhere between 1550 sg and 156b.

The elephant in the room is that neither Sinn 158 or Sinn 155 Darkstar was sold on steel bracelet whereas with Sinn 156 the bracelet was always an option. This leaves many Darkstar and Sinn 158 owners yearning for that cold hard steel on their wrists. The situation is bad, but it is not intolerable. Before the Darkstar and the Sinn 158, Sinn produced various watches with the reference Sinn 155. One of the came with steel bracelet.

First of the series is Sinn 155 ‘Manufactum’ with Valjoux 7750 movement. This was limited edition of 272 to the German market, sold via Manufactum. This watch features day/date chronograph seconds, minute register at top and hour register in bottom. I haven’t personally handled this watch, so I don’t know what the case is like. However, judging from pictures this is where the series begins.

The second entry to the series is Sinn 155 ‘Replica’, again a 300 piece limited edition made only for the Japanese market. The bracelet was optional for these watches. This watch features classic two register layout with minutes on the right and seconds on the left. Unlike the other versions, this watch uses manual wind movement. Judging from the packaging of the bracelet, the bracelet was supplied separately.

Middle Sinn 155 ‘Replica’, Right Sinn 155 ‘Manufactum’
(Photo used with permission of @milwatch_enthusiasts)

Finally, the third iteration before 158 is the Sinn 155 Darkstar collaboration with The Rake and Revolution magazine. Owners of these watches are in similar position as owners of Sinn 158. The Darkstar is very similar to the Sinn 155 ‘Replica’, but has automatic SW510 movement. Additionally, the Darkstar features a black star on the dial and faux lume, which makes it very attractive to those who want a modern equivalent to the Sinn 1550sg.

The Solution

The cases of Sinn 155/158 and Sinn 156b are not identical, so it is unlikely that the SEL bracelet of Sinn 156b will fit. The hollow end-link bracelet might, but until I have access to one, this remains to be a mystery. The solution for owners of the Sinn 155 Darkstar and the Sinn 158 is to acquire a bracelet for the Sinn 155 Replica. The cases of all these models seem to be identical.

In conclusion, the solution is not without problems. These bracelets are rarer than either Sinn 155 Darkstar or Sinn 158. However, they are a perfect fit. Those bothered by the Sinn 155 text on the bracelet can swap any bead-blasted Sinn clasp and have their nightly sleep. The end result is great and completes the watch.

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