With Omega original Certificate, Omega Seamaster brochure and presentation box. Furthermore delivered with Omega Museum Extract form the Archives confirming the sale of the present watch to Guatemala on 19 November 1954. The Extract also states that the watch was delivered with a "Bulletin de Marche".
Consigned by a descendant of the original owner, the present "Seamaster" is a spectacular discovery for any aficionado of rare and decorative vintage wristwatches. Preserved in excellent overall condition and still retaining the original certificate, manual and presentation box, all rarities by themselves, the most remarkable feature of this "Neptune" is doubtlessly its cloisonné enamel dial.
Between 1946 and 1956, Omega produced an extremely small series of wristwatches fitted with such cloisonné enamel dials, the total output representing only an infinitely small fraction of the regular production numbers. Often made upon special request and featuring motifs requested by the future owner, many of these rare timepieces are only known from archival images of the dial manufacturers. For images and a note on Omega's enamel dials see Omega - A Journey through Time by Marco Richon, Enamel dials 1946-1956, pp. 713 - 716; an example of a "Neptune" Seamaster, also dating from 1954, is prominently illustrated and described on p. 715, pl. 2589.
Research has resulted in the discovery that an exceedingly small series of possibly only five dials decorated with the attractive "Neptune" motif, were supplied to Omega by the renowned Fabrique de Cadrans Stern Frères of Geneva. To date, the following three "Neptune" dial Omega Seamaster wristwatches from this series have appeared in public, all cased in yellow gold:
-movement no. 12337146, case no. 11046236: Antiquorum, Geneva, 14 November 2009, lot 349
-movement no. 13232096, case no. 11198386, (both only one number apart from the present): Christie's Geneva, 15 November 2004, lot 86
-movement no. 13232097, case no. 11198387: the watch offered here for sale
The reverse of the present dial is bearing the hand-scratched numbers 89 and 576: the first, 89, is Stern's internal client code for Omega. The second, 576, indicates that the order was for a "Neptune" motif, made by the celebrated Nelly Richard who worked for Stern Frères from the late 1940s until the 1950s. The talented Mrs. Richard executed the majority of the cloisonné enamel dials featuring Neptune, dragons and maps commissioned by Omega, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and others.
Founded in 1868, Stern Frères specialized in the production of highest quality dials including dials decorated with cloisonné enamel scenes which were supplied to eminent watch manufacturers.
Watches embellished with a cloisonné enamel dial are amongst the rarest models ever made by Omega. The production of these solid gold dials was extremely costly as they had to be individually made by a skilled craftsman and not on a production line. The artist created the outline of the desired motif by arranging thin gold wires on a dial. These partitions, called "cloisonné" in French, were filled with small quantities of enamel powder in the desired colour. The dial was then fired in an oven at around 1000 degrees Celsius causing the powder to melt. Finally it was hand-polished until obtaining a perfectly flat surface. Hand-made by celebrated enamel artists, notably Nelly Richard, these dials must be regarded as unique works of art in their own right.
The combination of the dial's rarity, the beautiful condition of the watch, the presence of the original documents and box and last but not least the fresh provenance render this masterpiece one of the most appealing and collector-worthy "time only" Omega wristwatches of all times.
Neptune, God of the Seas
One of the most important deities in Roman mythology, Neptune (called Poseidon by the Greeks) was the supreme ruler of the seas. A powerful god, he used his mighty trident not only to provoke earthquakes and stir ocean waves but also to raise new land from beneath the sea or cause existing land to sink below the waters. Neptune was often helpful to humans, protecting sailors at sea, guiding ships to safety, and filling nets with fish.
He rode the waves in a chariot drawn by dolphins or sea horses but his most honoured creation was the horse - according to tradition, he was the one who breathed life into the first horse on earth.