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Bennett Winch SC Holdall

The Omega Seahorse symbol on the Seamaster case-back explained

10 February, 2021

If you own an Omega Seamaster (James Bond) watch, chances are you have noticed Omega's Seahorse logo on the case back and wondered what it means. In this article we will take a closer look at this Hippocampus symbol.

Omega Seamaster 300M 2541.80 Quartz Goldeneye caseback

The Hippocampus emblem embossed on the Omega Seamaster 300M 2541.80 Quartz case back
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The first Seamaster watch was launched in 1948. In the 1950s, Omega was looking for a symbol to represent the diving and ocean qualities of the Seamaster range.

An engraver by the name of Jean-Pierre Borle was working at Omega at the time. He also designed the Observatory medallion used in the Omega Constellation models. During a visit to the city of Venice, he was inspired by the Hippocampus symbol. The Hippocampus, also sometimes named a sea-horse, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician, Etruscan, Pictish, Roman and Greek mythology, though its name has a Greek origin.

The hippocampus has typically been depicted as having the upper body of a horse with the lower body of a fish, so it's not really the small marine fish you might find int he ocean (although that one is also called Hippocampus).

Ornamental Hippocampus statues are found on the sides of most Venetian gondolas, on each side of the boat, as a symbol of protection for drivers and passengers of the gondola.

Neptune Seahorse Hippocampus Gondola Venice

A bridled Hippocampus on a gondola in Venice, Italy.
Photo © 
Ekaterina Polyashova |

These Hippocampi are taken from the image of the Greek/Roman God of the Sea, Poseidon/Neptune, driving a chariot pulled by Hippocampi.

Hippocampus Neptune Poseidon chariot

The gondolas have sculpted representations of Neptune’s seahorses side with bridles. The bridles can also be seen in the final Omega Seahorse logo. The statues are not just for decoration but also for mooring.

Venice... a gondola, do you mean like the gondola that Bond uses in Moonraker?

Indeed, even James Bond's gondola prepared by Q-Branch in Moonraker (1979) has the golden Hippocampus statues on the side.

Omega Hippocampus Moonraker Gondola Venice Roger Moore James Bond

A production still from the Moonraker set in Venice (Piazza San Marco). The Hippocampus statue can be seen in the center sides of the gondola.
Photo © 1979 Danjaq LLC and MGM - photo via

Starting in the year 1957, the Hippocampus became the symbol for the Omega Seamaster.

Omega Seamaster Hippocampus seahorse caseback vintage - photo from Omegaforums

A vintage Omega Seamaster caseback, with the embossed Hippocampus emblem
photo © 1jansen / Omegaforums

The Omega Seahorse symbol is most prominently found on the case back of Seamaster watches. The Seamaster watches worn by Pierce Brosnan and some by Daniel Craig in the James Bond films have the symbol on the case back. Only watches with an transparent case back don't always have the logo on the watch, but the logo is usually found somewhere on papers or parts of the packaging.

Omega Store display Hippocampus statue

An Omega Gilt Brass Seahorse Shop Display Unsigned, circa 1960, auction at Christies in 2015

The hippocampus was not only used for the Seamaster, but also for the Speedmaster and the Railmaster, because in 1957, the Seamaster 300, Speedmaster and Railmaster were all part of the same Seamaster collection.

Omega Railmaster Speedmaster Seahorse Hippocampus logo caseback

Other Omega Professional watches like the Railmaster (left) and Speedmaster (right) also have the Hipocampus symbol on the caseback

And on one watch, the Omega Speedmaster 50th Anniversary Moon Watch Ref 311., the Seahorse logo actually also appears on the dial (read more about this watch on Fratello Watches).

omega speedmaster dial hippocampus watch limited edition moonwatch

Gold printed hippocampus logo on the dial of the Omega Speedmaster 50th Anniversary Moon Watch Ref 311.
Photo © Omega SA

In 2017, to celebrate how the famous Italian city inspired the famous caseback engraving, Omega launched a Seamaster Edizone Venezia collection, a collection that was sold exclusively in Venice.

The story of the collection begins in the 1950's, when Venice provided the inspiration for one of OMEGA’s most famous symbols.

Omega Seamaster Venice Collection

Seamaster Edizone Venezia collection: the famous Seahorse medallion has been laser engraved on the sapphire crystal caseback. There is also a transferred pattern which closely resembles the intricate detail of Venice’s own flag.
Photo © Omega SA

James Bond has worn Omega watches since GoldenEye (1995). For more about the James Bond Omega watches, click here.

Bond has visited Venice prominently in two movies: first in Moonraker, Roger Moore as James Bond visits the famous city in search of Drax Industries. In Casino Royale, James Bond and Vesper sail to Venice in Bond's Spirit yacht.

All copyrights for products, logos, images etc are held by their respective owners. Bond Lifestyle is not responsible for these articles, please take any queries up with the author.

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