Heritage watch collections are typically inspired by a watch that was either beautiful or important and in the case of Omega’s new Seamaster 300 collection it’s both. The original Seamaster 300 from 1957 helped to set the trend for hundreds of diving watches to follow, it was one of the first watches aimed at professional divers.
The new collection pays homage to the vintage model in lots of ways but also features plenty of updates and modern innovations that keep it relevant. The two watches that are being launched feature a brand new master chronometer movement and the Bronze Gold edition is made from a material so cutting edge that it’s still patent pending.
Let’s start with the standard Seamaster 300 in stainless steel. Off the bat it’s available with two dial options, black and blue, which are the two colours that have defined the Seamaster range throughout its existence – although the black came first.
When it was first launched in 1957 as part of Omega’s “Professional Trilogy”, alongside the Speedmaster and Railmaster, the Seamaster 300 was seen as a strictly professional timepiece. However, its popularity quickly transcended that to garner it a reputation as one of the top recreational, scientific and military divers as well. The choice of a nautical blue or a sleek black dial has allowed it to become versatile in the water or in the boardroom over the years.
The dial on the new one has all the features that make the Seamaster 300 iconic: the large indices, the vintage open Arabic numerals and the beige lume all give a strong heritage feel. The new model even brings back the lollypop seconds hand that was a fan favourite, which has been missing on some recent versions.
In a break from tradition, the entire dial uses the sandwich method to add a bit of a modern layering effect and while fussy collectors might complain that it deviates too far from the original, giving it a modern look and keeping it relevant is no bad thing in my eyes.
But if the collectors are going to complain about that, they’ll definitely complain about the change in proportions, the Seamaster 300 is now slimmer than ever thanks to a new domed sapphire crystal bringing the height to 13.85mm and widening the face by a full millimetre, despite the overall diameter of the watch not changing from recent models. That diameter is 41mm, which is also fairly slim compared to many modern divers that can reach 44mm or even 45mm sizes.
The Bronze Gold model has a few stylistic differences from its stainless steel counterpart. It’s a tiny bit thicker at a height of 14.4mm and the lollypop hand is gone. However, the major change is clearly the case and dial material. The case is made of a new alloy from Omega that they’ve called Bronze Gold, patent pending. It’s inspired by a similar material called Corinthian Bronze that was used by the ancient Greeks to make statues and ships.
Its composition is made up of bronze, palladium and silver to give a really nice aesthetic colouring while maintaining the properties that make bronze popular in nautical manufacturing, it will also age slower than regular bronze as it has excellent corrosion-resistance. To compliment the Bronze Gold, a few other aspects of the watch have been touched up, the bezel ring is in brown ceramic and the dial itself is a common bronze alloy to provide a nice contrast to the case.
On the technical side of things, the movement in both offerings is the new Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912. This is no gimmicky remake of a heritage calibre you might find in any number of reissues – it’s as serious as you’d expect from a modern professional diver. Certified by METAS at the highest level, it’s automatic, magnet resistance, has a power-reserve of 60-hours and runs at 25,200 vph, making it a high performance piece. And of course it features plenty of aesthetic embellishment such as Geneva waves in arabesque, visible through the display casebacks.
The Seamaster 300 has helped define underwater watchmaking for over half a century and, while an original vintage piece may be out of the question, these new archivally-inspired watches are a solid next best thing.
Price & Specs:
Model: Omega Seamaster 300
Ref: 184.108.40.206.03.001 (stainless steel/blue dial)
220.127.116.11.01.001 (stainless steel/black dial)
18.104.22.168.10.001 (bronze-Au375 gold/opaline dial)
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter x 13.85mm height, stainless steel (22.214.171.124.03.001/126.96.36.199.01.001)
41mm diameter x 14.4mm height, bronze-Au375 gold (188.8.131.52.10.001)
Water Resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: In-house Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912, automatic, 38 jewels
Frequency: 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz)
Power Reserve: 60h
Functions: Hour, minute, seconds,
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or brown leather
Price/Availability: £5,560 (stainless steel/blue dial), £5,280 (stainless steel/black dial) and £9,920 (bronze-Au375 gold/opaline dial)
More details at Omega.