Nothing beats Omega Seamaster Diver 300M in value for money – Part 1 of 2
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M is a staple in the Omega line-up, and undoubtably one of the best value for money entry level luxury watches in the market today.
The Seamaster 300M collection expands with the addition of two new models (including the introduction of an extraordinary white dial).
We have divided this review up into two parts, where Part 1 talks about the history & technological advancements of the Seamaster series and Part 2 goes into more detail dealing with the movement, dial and design language.
The Power Of Omega
Quick. What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word Omega?
James Bond? Speedmaster? Space? Moon? NASA? Luxury? Swiss watches? Seamaster? Or perhaps maybe even all of the above.
The mere mention of Omega sets in motion a chain of reactions, a variety of different reasons why people wish to associate with it.
Such is the power this brand commands in the watch enthusiast community.
It then comes as no surprise that when Omega announced (mid last year) the latest versions of its extremely popular Seamaster 300M collection, the watch community was abuzz.
Today it is these new additions — the white ceramic & stainless steel and blue ceramic & SednaTM Gold — that were are discussing.
Omega’s Seamaster Diver 300M collection that was first introduced in 1993 and then revamped in 2018 has continued to evolve with the introduction of these two stunning new models.
The range was originally introduced way back in 1993, under the reins of the master of watchmaking marketing, Jean-Claude Biver. When it was released, it was positioned to be a challenger to the evergreen Rolex Submariner.
How much of a challenge it has proven to be is the subject matter of another article, but for now let’s just leave it at this: both these watches have gone from strength to strength in the past 27 years; they both have great market demand, and quite often can even co-exist in the same collection.
It is safe to say that the Omega Seamaster 300M has established a strong footing of its own, and then some.
One of the reasons for this is that the Seamaster range did not (and still does not) look like the Rolex Submariner. And the Helium Escape Value crown oddly positioned at 10’o clock, the waves dial pattern, and the distinctive hour/minute hands along with the raised hour markers have a lot to do with that.
It does however draw some comparison with TAG Heuer bezels on some models from time to time, but again, subject for another article. Bottom line, the Seamaster 300M stands apart in an over-crowded dive watch market.
In 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the Seamaster 300M, Omega raised the stakes, and reinvigorated the entire lineup.
The movements have been changing over time: quartz, ETA-based Omega Caliber 1120, and the Co-Axial 2500. But this time, not only did they introduce a new heart, but also a new body.
- New movement: Master Chronometer / METAS-certified Caliber 8800 (more on this in our Part 2 of this review)
- Updated the exterior body and look
- Introducing new ceramic elements to the bezel
- New sizing (42mm)
- Date location moved from 3’o clock to 6’o clock
- New laser engraved waves motif patterns on the ceramic dials
- Redesigned helium-escape valve (though still at the weirdly non-proportioned 10’o clock position)
- Spread across 14 versions at Baselworld 2018
In mid last year, Omega further introduced additional 3 new versions that we are reviewing.
The New Versions
These new versions are spread across two dial/case combinations and use two separate movement calibres.
For your ease they are listed here:
White ceramic and steel on rubber strap: Reference 18.104.22.168.04.001
White ceramic and steel on steel bracelet: Reference 22.214.171.124.04.001
Blue Ceramic and SednaTM Gold on rubber strap: Reference 126.96.36.199.03.001
Before we go into more detail, we need to get a basic understanding of some of the terminology used in the new Omega watches and how they set this 300M collection in a class of their own.
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M comes with a Co-Axial escapement.
An escapement is part of the inner workings of a watch, and helps in gauging the speed of the energy released from the main spring. By controlling this energy, the escapement aides in a watch’s precision.
Omega’s Co-Axial escapement is an advanced version of this device, that is designed to reduce friction & mechanical constraints inside a watch movement.
In layman terms, what this means is that given there would be less friction, the movement parts will require less lubrication and consequently, this Co-Axial escapement helps reduce need for servicing.
Certified Master Chronometer & Approved by METAS
Omega achieves the Master Chronometer certification by testing its watches through a set of two stages.
In stage one, the watch movement is made to undergo precision tests issued by the Offical Swiss Chronometer Control (COSC).
In stage two, quite like Rolex actually, Omega takes the complete set of the watch movement inside the watch case and puts it through another battery of eight Master Chronometer tests that are conducted in accordance with the regulations of the Swiss Federal institute of Metrology (METAS).
All this is done to not only ensure the precision and reliability of the watches, but to also check for magnetic-resistance, power reserve and water-resistance.
Besides the above listed benefits, it also means that when you purchase this Seamaster 300M watch, you get Omega’s comprehensive 5-year warranty.
Helium Escape Valve
Another great aspect about the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M watch is the newly redesigned — new for 2018 and that still continues in the new models released — Helium Escape Valve.
For those who are not aware of what this is, a helium escape valve is a mechanism that’s used by professional divers inside pressure chambers when they are diving for long intervals of time. If there is too much helium inside the case of the watch, it can hamper with the precision and can even take off the crystal. By including a helium escape valve, Omega uses a decompression system that ensures excessive helium is released from inside the watch.
The 2018 version had this re-designed so that even if the escape value is left open by mistake, that wouldn’t take away from the watch’s water resistance. A great added feature we must admit, given errors occur and divers may forget to close the valve.
There are magnetic fields everywhere — airport scanners, cell phones, laptops to name a few— and any magnetic field past 50 gauss can affect a watch’s precision and performance.
Omega uses materials (silicon hairsprings for instance) and tests on watch movements so that they are unaffected by exposure to strong magnetic fields, even those greater than 1.5 Tesla (15000 gauss).
To depict how impressive this is, Rolex’s Milgauss 116400, the dedicated watch to resist magnetic fields, is only designed to withstand up-to 1000 gauss.
Now that we have introduced you to the context of the Omega Seamaster 300M watch design, let’s dive further (pun intended) into the actual watches in our Part 2 of 2 here.