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.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Contents - Words by Aaron De Silva

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.

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