There is substantial mythology surrounding the watches worn by the divers for Comex (compagnie maritime d’expertises). This was a company founded in 1961 by Henry Delauze and it pioneered very deep saturation diving starting with Hydra 1 in 1968.
Uniquely Omega was the exclusive supplier for watches in all deep sea diving tests because they were the only company at the time that could guarantee hermetically sealed watches.
Later on in 1971-72 onwards companies such as Rolex tried to enter this market by introducing a helium release valve because their watches were not impermeable, however this was a very poor solution because helium inside a watch, even if released on decompression, causes fluctuation in the watches time keeping ability.
Rolex were also faulted for their diving watches did not have sufficient legibility underwater nor did they introduce a sapphire scratch-proof crystal until 11 years after Omega.
At the outset in 1967 various manufacturers submitted watches for testing to COMEX but none matched Omega’s waterproofness ruggedness and precision. And the watch of choice for early exploration and testing was the Seamaster 300.
Unfortunately amongst the collecting community there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about Comex Omega and subsequently Comex Rolex. The Author is currently compiling what he hopes will be a more authoritative work on this topic.
In the meantime this is a valuable opportunity to disabuse the belief that Omega only ever supplied eleven watches to Comex and in this regard I have included the invoice from Comex at the early start of their cooperation (see image on left).
As can be seen 34 watches were supplied. The first 30 being 166.024 Seamaster 300s in 565 calibre and the last 4 being extremely special Seamaster 1000s in 552 calibre. It is worthy of note that the Seamster 1000 Proplof preceded the Seamaster 600 Ploprof which at this stage was merely an MVP.
This is just a sample of the Seamaster 300s sent to Comex in addition there were a considerable number of Seamaster 1000s and Seamaster 600s supplied.
Theses were all highly engineered professional tool watches on which divers’ lives depended they were not a dress watch which someone stuck a bezel on for marketing purposes.
Any collector who has a watch which they suspect is part of this cohort should contact the Author for authentication.