Omega Seamaster 300 Master ChronometerMarch 26, 2021
In 1957 the world was greeted by the arrival of Omega’s famous trilogy: Speedmaster, Railmaster and importantly the Seamaster 300. The Seamaster 300 was guaranteed to 200m although tests equivalent to 300m have been carried out without water ingress, hence the rear of the watch carried the title ‘certified high pressure waterproof Seamaster’.
SEAMASTER 300 MASTER CO-AXIAL More than 50 years after its introduction, the Seamaster 300 reappears in an enhanced form that makes use of OMEGA’s most innovative technology, including a Master Co-Axial calibre. SEAMASTER 300 MASTER CO-AXIAL – DISCOVER THE COLLECTIONMore than 50 years after its introduction, the Seamaster 300 reappears in an enhanced form that makes use of OMEGA’s most innovative technology, including a Master Co-Axial calibre. SEAMASTER 300 MASTER CO-AXIAL – DISCOVER THE COLLECTION
To help protect the sea, OMEGA has joined forces with Nekton, a foundation committed to the protection of the world’s oceans. Our watch on a mission is the Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition.
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M, in one form or another, has been around since 1993. But of all the various iterations over the decades, the most recent example with a polished ceramic dial, ceramic bezel, and Co-Axial caliber 8800 may be the one that’s finally found its footing.
It’s a watch that feels like it took 26 years to get right. Past designs teetered back and forth between a luxury watch and a tool watch over the years, and it was an absolute commercial success, but it never had a unanimous vote from the enthusiast community. If it weren’t for the on-screen endorsement by Pierce Brosnan – the suavest Bond of them all – would the watch have hung around in Omega’s lineup for as long as it did? Since its inception, the design has had an equal number of fans and detractors. The skeleton hands, helium escape valve at 10 o’clock, and scalloped bezel have forced a “love-it-or-hate-it” approach.
It’s a good thing the design did stick around as long as it has. The advent of modern material science in conjunction with the advancements in co-axial escapement and anti-magnetism technology have made this model – released in 2019 – the best it’s ever been. The fundamental design elements that make the watch polarizing are still there, but even the folks who bemoan them would be hard-pressed to disagree that there’s a ton of value in this execution. We’re used to seeing it in the iconic blue hue, but I think it’s the high-contrast white-dialed version that’s re-igniting the excitement over the Omeag Seamaster Diver 300M.
I’ve owned a “Bond Seamaster” for 14 years now, so I’ve had plenty of time to get acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of the overall design. But when I spent a week with the new white-dialed 2019 release, it actually didn’t feel familiar at all. It felt like I had to start back at square one with the watch. The changes Omega’s made have truly transformed the watch and forced me to see it in an entirely new light. It was like coming home to the house you grew up in after years away and discovering that you no longer know where everything is. I kept glancing at three o’clock for date. Nope. It’s at six o’clock now, just like the spatula that’s no longer in the kitchen drawer you thought it was in. The fonts have changed, like the layout of your childhood bedroom. It’s a guest room now. It’s all vaguely familiar, but it takes some serious getting used to. There’s a natural tendency to immediately reject change, but when it comes to this iteration of the Seamaster Diver 300M, I think the old adage “change is a good thing,” certainly holds true.
In the beginning, there was indeed a variant of the Seamaster Professional 300M with a white dial, but it wasn’t nearly as pretty as its smooth blue sibling, ref. 2541.80. The white-dialed Seamaster, ref. 2542.20.00, couldn’t be the darling of the collection even if it wanted to be. Like most things in life, it’s hard to get it right on the first try. So how did the Seamaster Professional 300M become an icon?
The moment in the spotlight came two years after its release, when it appeared in the 1995 hit James Bond film, Goldeneye. According to Jason Heaton’s 2014 look at the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial (it’s an entirely different watch, and the nomenclature is confusing, but decoding the myriad of executions and references and special editions is part of Omega’s charm), “costume designer Lindy Hemming chose an Omega Seamaster, then the blue-dialed version with the skeletonized sword hands. Hemming chose the Seamaster over other options largely based on the brand’s history with the British Navy, to which Bond had belonged. According to Hemming, ‘I had known contemporaries when I was in my twenties who were military and naval […] who all swore by their Omegas.'”
It matched Pierce Brosnan’s Bond perfectly, in the sense that it was pretty enough to consistently charm us, and only tough when it needed to be. The case came polished and brushed in a way that made it less tool-like and more flashy to match Bond’s businessman-like looks and diplomatic demeanor. The bracelet on both references that Bond wore – a quartz (2541.80.00) and an automatic (2531.80.00) – featured two rows of links that were also highly polished and incredibly comfortable. As the watch became part of the Bond identity, sales soared.
The blue Omega Seamaster Professional 300M became an instant classic because of Bond. And in true Omega fashion, its popularity spawned dozens of iterations in different metals, dial colors, and complications. The 1990s and 2000s saw more than a handful of models emerge from the simple design that Bond popularized: There was a chronograph in titanium, a GMT with sword hands on a Speedmaster bracelet, a Japan-only midsize model with a red dial, a solid-gold version with a dark navy dial, a version in solid white gold produced for America’s Cup, a version designed for freediving dubbed the “Apnea,” a handful of 007 editions, a version in stainless and gold, another in titanium and rose gold. There are many more.
We could go further down the hole of Seamaster Professional 300M Divers, but I think we have to narrow the scope to the sub-set of white dials in the Seamaster Professional 300M and Seamaster Diver 300M family to compare apples to apples. What I found is that not only is this version the most attractive white-dialed model Omega has ever produced in the range, but to me, it even eclipses the iconic blue-dialed models in terms of beauty. There’s something about the monochromatic theme that comes to life in this iteration in a way that no other model has captured.
To fully appreciate the balance of this current design, let’s take a look at earlier white dial executions in the Omega Seamaster Diver and Professional 300M family.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Seamaster, Omega released no less than 14 brand new Seamasters in 2019. That caught our collective attention, but it was the white dial variant that stole the show. It’s important to note that the 2019 releases are not a limited edition of any sort. They’re standard production models. This means that theoretically, it’s possible to walk into any Omega boutique or AD, plop down $4,900, and walk out with the pictured watch. There are three decades of experimentation in the current design, and at least one design detail from every iteration of white Seamaster 300M has made it into the newest version in one way or another. There is an argument to be made that the basic design has generally remained unchanged, however. And even though the watch feels much different, visually speaking, it’s true. There’s a certain continuity that’s present throughout the line, except that design changes are a bit more distinct, as opposed to the small permutations of the Rolex Submariner that are only visible to the highly trained eye.
Omega updated its Seamaster 300 collection and added a bronze gold version (reference 22.214.171.124.10.001) as well. Bronze certainly isn’t new to the industry. Nor is gold new to the Seamaster 300. However, this fresh new alloy — the aptly-named bronze gold — is something new to us all.
The Omega Seamaster 300 collection receives a few subtle changes, including an upgraded movement (caliber 8912, Master Chronometer certified) and modified case proportions. The 41mm diameter remains, but the case band and bezel combined are slimmer than before, with the old height retained by virtue of a boxy sapphire. The classic Broad Arrow hands and straight lugs remain. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the new bronze gold Seamaster 300 and see how it wears.
Omega sent us a box of watches under embargo, and inside we found three new Seamaster 300 models. The bronze-gold Seamaster 300 126.96.36.199.10.001 is the one that received the most attention in our office. This new alloy has a number of characteristics that make it an interesting choice for a watch. First, there’s no risk for people with an allergy. Bronze watches often have a steel or titanium case back, so there’s no skin irritation. With bronze gold, there’s nothing to worry about.The bronze-gold alloy consists of copper, 9-karat gold, silver, gallium, and palladium. Omega doesn’t want to reveal the exact percentages of each material, but let us know that the color of this alloy sits between Moonshine (yellow) gold and Sedna (rose) gold. The use of palladium keeps the color bright and will reduce the patina effect. The Au375 engraving at least let us know there’s 37.5% gold in this alloy.
As you can see in the pictures, the Omega Seamaster 300 bronze gold uses a sandwich dial. There’s a German silver base plate, and a cover plate in bronze (92% copper). The German silver base plate is etched with the markings and filled with lume. The upper dial is then blackened, before being delicately brushed to reveal some of the warmer brown tones of the underlying substrate. This resulting “tropic” effect means that every dial will be unique due to this aging process of the bronze. The open 6 and 9 numerals were used in some of the earlier Seamaster 300 types from 1962.There’s no “Automatic” or “Master Chronometer” wording on the dial. Less is more, and this watch is a great example of how it should be done. Unlike the steel versions of the new Seamaster 300, this watch does not come with a lollipop second’s hand. Omega used the lollipop for their Seamaster 300 in 1959, but this is not an exact re-make of those watches, of course. It is inspired by various vintage Seamaster 300 watches.
The diving scale bezels on the very first Seamaster 300 from 1957, reference CK2913, were bi-directional with an unusual security system to prevent them from being accidentally turned. As you know, divers needed safety, and knowing the exact time they have left underwater is crucial. On the original Seamaster 300 bezels, one had to push the bezel down to unlock it before one could rotate it in either direction. This was later updated to the unidirectional method, which this bezel uses — another slight update to the older models. In contrast to the new steel models, this bezel has a brown ceramic insert.
Omega’s in-house developed caliber 8912 is inside the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold watch. Based on the 8900 — as it can be found inside the Constellation Globemaster for example — the 8912 lacks a date function. Caliber 8912 has a power reserve of 60 hours, and an unusual operating frequency of 25,200vph. It goes without saying that the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold has the Master Chronometer certification by Metas. Therefore, it is anti-magnetic to at least 15,000 gauss and has a daily average performance of 0/+5 seconds. If you want to know more about the Master Chronometer certification process.
Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold Replica on the wrist
As always, the proof is in the pudding. When I strapped on the new Omega Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold and the new steel models, I thought the watch appeared to be bigger than its predecessor. But that is not the case. The diameter of the Seamaster 300 is still 41mm. What changed is the aperture of the dial. It increased by 1mm. Omega made the case part and bezel a tad smaller, making it possible to increase the dial size. The height of the watch is 14.4mm, and the lug-to-lug is 48mm. The Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold comes with a calf leather strap, reminding me of the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday strap. The lug-width is 21mm and the strap tapers to a 16mm (bronze gold) buckle.The dial on the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold is superb in sunlight, giving it this “tropic” look. The creamy color of the Super-LumiNova really matches perfectly with the bronze-gold case material and the numerals on the diving bezel. I’ve worn the watch for a few days in a row, and it is an easy wearer. It looks great and it wears comfortably on my 19cm wrist. I am a Speedmaster guy, but I can definitely see myself wearing a Seamaster 300 as well.The bronze gold is in between the Moonshine and Sedna gold alloys, so it is slightly darker than yellow gold but not as red as rose (or pink) gold. Compared to my Oris Big Crown Pointer Date in bronze, it is clearly visible we’re talking about a different composition of materials here. It’s less coppery and more yellow. While there Oris started developing patina after a day, the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold still looks like new after a weekend of wearing.
First thoughts on the Replica Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold
The bronze-gold alloy that Omega has patent-pending solves the problem of toxic bronze. Wearing a bronze watch directly on the skin may result in skin irritation and this new Seamaster 300 bronze gold can be worn without any issues. The use of noble materials like palladium, a significant amount of gold, and silver make this watch more expensive than a “regular” bronze watch, but in the end, it isn’t a bronze watch as we’ve come to expect from some other brands. Omega made an effort to keep the Seamaster 300 watch looking good at all times, and by using at least 37.5% gold in the alloy, the price is between the steel variation and a full gold watch.
Somehow, I didn’t think of this watch as a bronze watch when I wore it. But neither as a gold watch. So the positioning seems to be just right and well thought of. If you don’t like bronze gold (or gold), Omega also introduced this watch in steel with a black dial and with a blue dial. The Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold has my preference though, as I think it looks good and I like the brown dial and the non-lollipop hand.