TAKING THE PLUNGE
Omega’s iconic dive watch from 1957, the Seamaster 300, receives an under-the-hood retrofit with a new Master Co-Axial calibre, plus a new ceramic bezel for better resistance against scratches and discolouration.
A great timepiece for diving engineers, as it has two technologies in one—Si14 and anti-magnetic—found in the Seamaster 300.
VINTAGE DIVE WATCHES seem to be all the rage these days, so brands like Omega are making the best of the it by relaunching classic models. Not that we’re complaining, mind you. In fact, we say bring it on. This year witnesses the revival of the storied Seamaster 300, which first debuted in 1957.
A 1967 edition of the watch was selected as standard issue by the British Ministry of Defense for its Royal Navy divers, which is quite possibly the best stamp of approval a dive watch can hope to achieve. It also cemented the Seamaster 300’s reputation as a high-performance professional instrument, and its place among the pantheon of midcentury diving watch legends.
The watch remained in production until about 1970, when it was discontinued in favour of the new Seamaster Professional 600, a.k.a the Ploprof. This of course only reinforced its legendary status among watch aficionados and made it highly sought after in the secondary market. Now, in reviving this classic, Omega didn’t merely reissue an exact replica of the original to pander to the desires of vintage aficionados. No, it took the opportunity to equip the Seamaster 300 with all of its latest technical innovations.
What it did do to keep those aficionados happy is maintain the same aesthetics. If you place a 1957 version next to its 2014 counterpart, you’ll see that very little has changed apart from the case sizing (39mm compared to the current 41mm). This is good news for fans of the original, us included. What’s even better news is the round of upgrades that brings the watch bang up to speed in the 21st century.
In 2010, Omega unveiled its Liquidmetal® technology, which allowed metallic alloys to be incrusted into ceramic. It then followed up with Ceragold ™, a ceramic-gold hybrid made in a similar in-house process. Both those techniques yielded bezels with a seamless and durable finish. Such improvements are particular useful where diving and sports watches are concerned, as they are subject to frequent wear and tear.
On the Seamaster 300, Liquidmetal® and Ceragold ™ technologies are harnessed to produce the diving scale on the unidirectional rotating black ceramic bezel. Now, not only does the bezel give off a lustrous sheen, but you can go roughhousing safe in the knowledge that it will survive a couple of hard knocks. The black ceramic dial features transferred dial elements that are produced using a combination of gold and palladium. To increase visibility in the murky depths of the ocean, the hour and seconds hand are coated with blue SuperLuminova, while the minute hand is treated with a green variant. A small gesture that goes a long way, we think.
Perhaps the most significant upgrade takes place under-the-hood, with the introduction of Omega’s new Master Co-Axial calibre 8400/8401. This advanced family of movements incorporates silicon technology (Omega’s Si14 silicon balance spring first appeared in 2008); Omega’s CoAxial escapement (industrialised in 2007); and a magnetic resistance of 15,000 Gauss (first achieved in 2013). All in, these make for a superbly robust mechanism that should buoy the Seamaster 300 well into the next few decades.
The watch comes in steel, 950 platinum, grade 5 titanium and 18K Sedna™ gold varieties (the latter an exclusive red gold alloy unveiled in 2013). Bicolour options pair steel or grade 5 titanium with 18K Sedna™ gold. Finally, the bracelets are fashioned with Omega’s patented rack-and-pusher clasp, which is adjustable to six different positions, making it easy to fit the watch over a diving sleeve. This is one watch you’ll want to own, put through its paces, and eventually hand down to your brood, by which time it’ll have accumulated a nice patina of wear and a treasure trove of stories to tell.
Top to bottom: Omega Seamaster 300, Sideview of the stainless steel case with jagged edged bezel, rack and push clasp deployment.