Exceptional find : an Omega Seamaster COMEX

I have the pleasure to show you an exceptional find today : an Omega Seamaster Chronometer ref. 168.023 delivered to the COMEX.


A few words about COMEX

Founded in 1962 in Marseille by Henri Germain Delauze, the Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise (better known by its acronym COMEX) quickly became a pioneer in industrial deep-sea diving.

Above, Henri Germain Delauze


COMEX played a key role in the development of the oil and gas industry throughout the world.  The COMEX name is also associated with the famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, in connection with the takeover of his submarine project, the Argyronète.

COMEX’s many operations in the marine environment, such as pipeline construction and underwater exploration, have enabled it to set numerous diving records, contributing to its legend. COMEX is the marine equivalent of NASA in space exploration.


Omega and COMEX

COMEX divers needed resistant watches, this is why the company collaborated with Omega between 1968 and 1971.  This led to the development of the famous Seamaster 600 “Ploprof”, a robust block of steel of 54mm in diameter !  In 1971, COMEX ended its collaboration with Omega and began a new partnership with Rolex…

Below, a Ploprof prototype developed for the Janus programme (source : Phillips).


The Janus 2 mission

This was a deep-diving experiment in the Gulf of Ajaccio, the first time in the world that men had worked 250 metres below the surface of the sea.


The divers were equipped with the Seamaster 600 Ploprof, one of which is on display at the Omega Museum.  The case is engraved COMEX on the side and “JANUS II tested 60 atm” on the back.


Meanwhile, on the ship, crews were constantly monitoring oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide levels, temperature, pressure, humidity and electroencephalograms. These crew members, mainly engineers and technicians, also wore watches supplied by the COMEX. This is the case of this Omega Seamaster 168.023, whose historical interest is undeniable.


Furthermore, this watch is really interesting because it is linked to a specific COMEX mission, which is extremely rare.  If we examine Rolex Comex watches for example, they usually have COMEX markings on the dial and caseback, but it is difficult to know whether they were actually worn during specific missions.

An identical example is on display at the Omega Museum in Bienne.  The watch belonged to Patrice Chemin, a diver on the Physalie 5 mission in November 1970, shortly after Janus 2.

(Source : Fratellowatches)

The watch, entirely in its original condition, will be offered for sale soon. A unique opportunity to acquire a piece of history.