1956 Omega Seamaster Olympic XVI Mens Vintage 18K Rose Gold Watch - Very Rare Cross of Merit Dial


Item No. 8060

Today's offering showcases this very rare and desirable Olympic XVI Seamaster with Cross of Merit dial created to commemorate the Summer Games of the 16th Olympiad in Melbourne, Australia.

For serious Omega Connoisseurs, this is a special opportunity to own one of the Holy Grail XVI Olympic Seamasters. An even greater achievement is to have in one’s collection the rare so-called "pre-commercial prototype" version with the Olympic Cross of Merit on its dial. This is our favorite Cross of Merit version with multi-color rings on the dial. Its rose gold construction is gorgeous!

While Omega has never said exactly how many Olympic XVI Seamasters were made, and the commercial version itself is a semi-holy grail watch, it is generally speculated that only approximately 100 watches were made with the Cross of Merit dial and were produced by Omega prototype maker Jean-Pierre Mathey-Claudet who also is known for making the prototypes for the famous 30mm caliber movement.

The Seamaster XVI was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Omega being the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games. Beginning in the 1932 Los Angeles games, Omega watches were, and still remain, a fixture at the finish lines during the Olympiads.

The emblem seen on the dial and back of this model is the Olympic Cross of Merit, which Omega received in 1952 for their outstanding technical support of the Games.

The Games of the XVI Olympiad were the first to take place in the Southern Hemisphere, which meant they were held in late November and early December - autumn for countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

The host-country Australians showcased their excellence in international competition, including swimmer Murray Rose's three gold medals and runner Betty Cuthbert's three gold medals.

Most call these "pre-commercial prototypes" suggesting that they were never available for sale and it is widely rumored that these were given away to executives, dignitaries and celebrities, although the few that were made may have been offered for public sale.

It has often been speculated that Omega changed to the standard version that only has the Roman numerals XVI on the dial and not the Cross of Merit because they didn't have the right to use it for marketing, but because both versions retain the cross on the case back that explanation seems unlikely.

Those who know me know that I am very reluctant to prognosticate about prices, but I believe the Cross of Merit dial editions are undervalued and could likely increase in value. They tend to sell for only about a 10% - 50% premium over the commercial version, yet are both far rarer and for more aesthetically interesting to my eyes. If the commercial version is worth what they have been selling for for the last decade or so, then it would seem these Cross of Merit versions are likely significantly undervalued.

We were fortunate to acquire this very rare and sought after example in original condition. All of its parts are Omega down to the buckle and box.

It Chinese lacquer dial, which has a thick original top coat finish, is untouched. It has a few places of loss of finish around the periphery but the Cross of Merit logo with its five color rings is almost perfect.

Its dog leg case has distinctive lugs and the Cross of Merit emblazoned on the back. It is in excellent condition with fairly light to moderate signs of previous polishing. It presents honestly with all of its wording clearly intact on the back and a perfectly crisp hallmark. It looks very nice on the wrist.

Like usual, one of our watchmakers has disassembled it down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled it. Like a brand new Omega, it is keeping chronometer grade time in our testing position.

For the finishing touch we have equipped it with a brand new Teju lizard strap and period Omega buckle making it ready for immediate enjoyment.

Accompanying it is a period correct Omega box.

Included with the purchase is a one-year warranty on the movement and its function, a custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity, and a new timing certificate attesting to the watch's performance.

Photos of the inside available upon request.

Note For more information on this model and several illustrations, see Richon, M., Omega: A Journey Through Time, pp.282-283.

  • Manufacturer: Omega
  • Country of origin: Switzerland
  • Serial no.: 14,726,619
  • Year built: c. 1956
  • Model: Ref. 2850SC, XVI Olympic Seamaster
  • Functions: Hours, Minutes, Automatic, Sweep Seconds
  • Designed for: Men
  • Case material: 18K Gold
  • Case markings (inside): Omega Watch Co., 750, Swiss made, 2850SC, 11422149
  • Case condition: Excellent condition with fairly light to moderate signs of previous polishing. It presents honestly with all of its wording clearly intact on the back and a perfectly crisp hallmark. It looks very nice on the wrist.
  • Dimensions: 34mm wide (excluding crown - 37mm including), 41mm long lug tip-to-tip
  • Dial: Cream, large applied 18K gold "coffin" indices and special Cross of Merit emblem with Olympic rings in red, yellow, blue, green, and black, thick Chinese lacquer, signed Omega, original and untouched
  • Hands: Original, gold dauphines
  • Movement type: Cal. 471, copper colored, 19 jewels, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock-absorber, self-compensating flat balance-spring
  • Movement markings: Omega Watch Co. Swiss, Nineteen Jewels, 471
  • Jewels: 19 rubies
  • Beat frequency: 19,800 BPH
  • Bands: 1. Genuine Teju, dark brown, aftermarket fully stitched, padded, brand new and unworn with period correct Omega buckle 2. Brown cow leather band done in Teju lizard grain that was on the watch when it was photographed which is only very lightly used but fairly low quality. The high quality genuine Teju band we have installed has a very similar look to the photos but a much higher quality. We also stock a variety of others straps in various prints, skins, and colors. Please ask us if you're interested.
  • Width between lugs: 18mm
  • Crystal type: Acrylic, excellent condition
  • Serviced: Yes, one of our watchmakers has cleaned and oiled the movement.
  • Timing: Timed to precision on a state-of-the-art computerized system. Like a brand new Omega, it is keeping chronometer grade time in our testing position. Your watch is important to us, and we will take care of it for its lifetime. We provide the best after sale care in the business with an experienced team of watchmakers both of whom each have over forty years of experience and a large number of parts.
  • Warranty: 1-year international warranty. Please email concierge@cotwatches.com for details.
  • Box/Papers: BOX - Period correct Omega box; PAPERS - Custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity; New timing certificate
  • Returns: 7 days full refund. 100% satisfaction guarantee

We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for all of our watches. If you are in any way unsatisfied with the watch we will fully refund the purchase price anytime within 7 days after the watch has been received. Our goal is to exceed our client's expectations throughout the buying experience.

All watches are packaged carefully and mailed double boxed in specially constructed, reinforced shipping boxes designed for high value items. All watches are sent fully insured with signature required. Most of our domestic shipping is done through FedEx. At times we will also use USPS Express Mail, and we can accommodate most requests for your preferred carrier. International shipments are sent USPS International Express Mail or FedEx.

The purchase price will be the declared value of the merchandise on any required customs forms. The payment of all customs duties, tariffs, and taxes are the responsibility of the buyer.

Also note that water resistance of vintage watches can no longer be guaranteed and is not covered under the watch's warranty. We do not recommend getting a vintage watch wet, even one that was originally designed to be waterproof.

To get an idea of how this watch will look on the wrist, please use the Watch Sizing Guide


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