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Vintage Watch Spotlight - Omega Seamaster “Soccer Timer”

December 21, 1968. Commander Frank Borman looked down at the Omega Speedmaster on his wrist as he performed the pre-flight check on the Saturn V– it was just after 0700. In less than an hour, he and fellow Apollo VIII astronauts James Lovell, Jr and William Anders would become the first men to leave low-Earth orbit and see the dark side of the moon. 


Whether used during Apollo XI to replace the Lunar Module’s malfunctioning timer, or by Apollo XIII’s Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert to accurately time a 14-second burn, saving the lives of his crewmates, Omega chronographs have seen use in some of humanity’s most trying but greatest achievements. The accuracy, reliability, and durability of Omega timers has made them the go-to for high-profile events demanding extreme precision: The Olympic Games, The America’s Cup, PGA Tours, and of course, NASA missions. 


The storied Speedmaster isn’t the only Omega chronograph collectors and history buffs alike should know about. Watches don’t get much louder in style or more specific in function than a Soccer Timer. Other brands like Breitling released their own versions of a “referees’ watch,” but with their mix of punchy colors, hand combinations, and exotic dial patterns, Omega’s take the cake. Offering the kind of funky but functional vibe only a product of 60s and 70s culture can, the Seamaster Soccer Timer is a unique addition guaranteed to brighten any collection.  


The Seamaster “Soccer Timer” features the venerable Calibre 861 manual wind chronograph, the very same used in the Speedmaster Moonwatch, inside a cushion case 38mm in diameter, with round pushers, and a hesalite crystal. Depending on the reference, they can have a black/grey, or white/cream dial, with black/grey and red chronograph subdials. While many had no bezel, some of the rarest references feature a 24-hour inner rotating bezel, while later models have a fixed inner tachymeter bezel. What makes the Soccer Timer specifically a “soccer timer” is the 45-minute indicator below the “15” on the chronograph minute subdial. This easy-to-read bolded indicator, along with an outer measure line for 15 minutes, allows referees to easily time soccer halves even on the brightest of days.


Whether your proclivities veer towards space exploration or sports, Omega has you covered. And so do we. You can check out our excellent example of the Omega “Soccer Timer”, ref 145.016-68, here. Escaping the jealous hands of time, this example has weathered decades of use in remarkable shape. It’s sharp, unpolished case and exotic dial give it a commanding yet slim wrist presence. An exquisite composition of colors and function, this unique piece promises a lifetime of fun and won’t disappoint on any wrist. 


Every watch has a history – the lucky ones more than one. 

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