While the Omega Seamaster Chronograph Replica Watch was also used by fellow SSIH (forerunner of the Swatch Group) brand, Tissot, Omega made it their own 1040 caliber by adding a 24-hour indicator inside the running seconds sub dial and increasing the jewel count from 17 to 22. Omega used this movement in several watches, including the Mark IV Speedmaster and the famous Seamaster 120, aka the “Big Blue” dive chronograph. Omega also modified the caliber 1040 to use in the 1973 Speedmaster 125, which made it the world’s first chronometer-certified chronograph. Later, after Lemania passed from the hands of SSIH to Heuer, and finally to Breguet, a version of the 1340 was used in the well known Breguet Type XXI chronograph.
Omega turned out some great sports watches in the early ’70s, some of which we’ve featured on HODINKEE before. Today we’re showing you a 1973 Omega Seamaster Replica Watch, reference ST 176.001. This watch is not only cool because of its matte-blue dial and curved, brushed steel, tonneau-shaped case, but also for the movement that beats inside.
The Omega caliber 1040 that powers this Seamaster is a modified Lemania 1340, and is significant for several reasons. Introduced in 1970, the Lemania 1340 was the first automatic chronograph movement to run at 28,800 bph. Sure, the Zenith El Primero ran at 36,000, but 28,800 has become the most common oscillation rate for most watches in the past four decades, thanks to its balance of precision and service life.
The other unique feature of the Lemania 1340 was itsuse of a central minutes chronograph hand. As you can see in the photos, theminutes chrono hand lies under the seconds counter and distinguished by its“airplane” tip and orange color. This arrangement makes for quick, easy readingof the elapsed time. And if it looks familiar, it’s because the successor tothe 1340 was the vaunted 5100 caliber found in so many Sinns, Heuers, andTutimas of the 1970s. In fact, the 1340 became too expensive to manufacture in thatnew age of cheaper Japanese quartz watches and was retired in favor of the5100, which introduced plastic parts to the movement.
This Omega Replica Watch was introduced in 1971 and sold until 1974, with a blue or silver dial. It could be had on a leather or Corfam strap, or the steel bracelet you see pictured with a fold-over, Omega-signed clasp. Given its short run, the ST 176.001 is not a common watch to find, but a favorite among lovers of vintage Omegas who love its distinctive ’70s shape, the blue dial and that great movement.