The 1970’s. Funk. Moving on from the psychedelic 60’s. In the watch world, it was time for some new shapes, away from boring round cases.
So here we have an Omega Stingray Cobra from 1972 Ref.166.121. The elliptical case envelops your wrist just like a stingray or cobra snake. That and a beautiful sunburst grey recessed dial with a darker grey inner bezel makes this, in our eyes, a vintage watch for modern times. Just look at the curve on either side of the case….
Gerald Genta’s Patek Nautilus and AP Royal Oak both came later with their distinctive case shapes. And no we aren’t asking Patek or AP money for this piece of 70’s history!
We purchased the Stingray from a dealer in Europe. It is not ‘NOS’, but it is very close. In beautiful condition for a watch approaching fifty years old.
The case, with the original finish radial or sunburst brushing to the top, and mirror finish to the sides is in remarkable condition. The brushing on the left side of the watch is more “polished”, but this is where a sleeve has rubbed against it over many years. We can’t say for sure, but we suspect it might have had a light polish in its lifetime too.
Like the stainless steel case, the original Omega crystal (with the Ω in the centre) is in perfect shape with nice crisp edges and the correct profile.
And this brings us onto the heart of the watch; its dial. The grey sunburst dial has a silver and black chapter ring that features recessed indices with black highlights and within these are tiny dots of lume. These have turned a lovely cream colour with age. This three-dimensional dial creates wonderful depth to the watch, giving it an almost Space-Age look.
The polished hands retain their sliver of lume, but like the dots of lume to the face, these have given up their light. They are a little pitted when viewed under a 10x Loop but they are so fine, this isn’t noticeable when wearing on the wrist.
The case back is beautiful too, retaining it’s brushing and sharp edged recesses. There is just one light scratch to back of the watches case.
The Stingray Cobra featured two Omegas movements, the caliber 1480 and the 1481. Our’s has the 1481 which according to Omegas records was only used within this watch for one year – 1972. It’s special feature is the date change function that is operated by pushing the crown in towards the case. Omega developed this movement in conjunction with Tissot who used it in some SeaStar models. This movement beats at 21,600 vph and is running very well.
The original Omega 1170 metal Bracelet and Original Clasp have light scratches and desk dive marks, but the links show almost no “flex” or “slop” which would suggest considerate wearing of the watch, by its previous owner.
Comfortable, ergonomic, distinctive, unusual and in amazing condition. If you want early 1970’s style from one of the world’s greatest watch companies, you have found it with this beauty.