Dive Watch Wednesday: My Take on the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial


Omega’s recent re-introduction of the original Omega Seamaster 300 from 1957 was undoubtedly one of last year’s most anticipated releases of 2014 — and probably also one of its most discussed. I recently got my hands on one for an up-close review; here are my impressions on this vintage-styled dive watch.

For a watch lover, the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial offers an unquestionably attractive combination of features, starting with a classical vintage-inspired look; a polished Liquidmetal bezel insert; a screw-down crown; and a sapphire crystal caseback showing off the beautifully decorated in-house Caliber 8400, which comes with COSC-certification, 60-hour power reserve thanks to its twin barrels, a more-than-impressive 15,000 Gauss of magnetic resistance, and, naturally, Omega’s co-axial escapement. Also, the watch remains water-resistant to a depth of 300 meters. If you consider the significance of the brand, its heritage, the overall quality and the above-mentioned innovations (some of them exclusive to the brand) packed into its 41-mm stainless steel case, it even comes at a rather competitive price.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Bracelet - reclining

As a purist, or a dive watch lover, however, you certainly could question the choice of the faux-aged lume, the lack of an integrated diver extension (there is a micro-adjustment, though), the small bezel pip, the missing “Professional” in its name and appearance and thus rather elegant overall look, the sapphire caseback, the (actually historically correct) polished center links of the bracelet (whose pins are locked in with screws, BTW), or even the dangers (or lack thereof) of magnetism underwater in general. But at least you might appreciate the missing date window and be glad that Omega did not include a helium-release valve on this watch. And hopefully you would still be able to generally appreciate the efforts Omega made to constantly increase the reliability of its mechanical watches.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Bezel Pip
Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Lume

Speaking of which, the 8400 movement can be compared to the 8500, except that it has no date function. As mentioned previously, the movement itself is resistant to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 Gauss without the need for a soft iron cage. The movement is not only a pleasure to look at and fills the case nicely, but it also comes with a free sprung-balance with a silicon balance spring, two barrels mounted in series, and its oscillating weight allows automatic winding in both directions. Should you not wear your watch for more than 60 hours and travel often, you can advance the hour hand separately without hacking the watch or moving the minute hand at the same time. But most importantly, the first test by one of WatchTime’s sister publications in Germany seem to confirm that it meets even the greatest expectations when it comes to measuring time.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Caliber 8400

To be honest, I immediately fell in love with the Omega Seamaster 300 the moment the first teaser pictures were released on Facebook. The more I learned about it before, and most of all during, Baselworld, I (being the purist I am) slowly started to feel a bit guilty about so unabashedly liking a watch that clearly wasn’t intended to be the next benchmark in the dive watch segment. I also felt a bit sorry for whoever had to find a new naming system for the numerous Seamaster dive models and came up with the “double master” solution. Yet I was still pretty sure that I would have to get one as fast as possible. My initial enthusiasm waned when I tried the steel version on for the first time: Suddenly, the watch, even at 41 mm in diameter, looked way too small for my wrist — which I am guessing was due mostly to the understated bezel. Even worse, I became rather irritated by the long, flat lugs and the even longer end-pieces of the bracelet (lug to lug is about 48 mm; with the bracelet, it is about 53 mm); in combination with the raised sapphire crystal on the back, the watch and bracelet just didn’t seem to fit.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Clasp
Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Bracelet links

So, with another important lesson learned — “Never judge a watch before having it seen in real life” — I still knew I needed, and wanted, to do a review for my blog, diveintowatches.com. After all, it was still one of the most important watch releases of 2014, and certainly a very impressive proof of Omega’s capabilities, and my personal opinion on how it fit my wrist wouldn’t change that. And guess what: shortly after Steven Colbert ended his final “Colbert Report” with the observation that “technically, a revolution is 360 degrees right back to where we were,” I realized that I had also came back to where I started: somehow I fell again in love with the Omega Seamaster 300. Not immediately, but the longer I worked on the pictures, collected the basic facts, and — most of all — wrote about it in German for an extensive review, the more it grew on me all over again.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Dial CU

And yes, it might be a bit unsatisfying to simply describe it as a great watch that can also be regarded as a showcase for all the technical innovations today’s Omega is capable of delivering — but it probably is just that simple. So as a piece of consumer advice: If you happen to like the watch and experienced the same issues when trying one on, you might want to give it another try. And if you think you are never likely to consider buying one, well, it’s best you probably don’t devote the time to write a review about it. On a more serious note: If you already own one of the six versions, and maybe feel the need to try out an alternative strap: consider one of the softer nylon Nato straps (Omega recently introduced a wide selection of them, and also offers the required wider spring bars) or just go with a regular strap for a 21-mm lug size. The thick, coated nylon strap shown here (basically the same one that was introduced with the larger Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary LE) looks great but tends to increase the width of the watch even more.

Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial - Nato strap

Specifications:

Model: Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Ref. 233.30.41.21.01.001

Crystal: Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating inside

Bezel: Unidirectional (120 clicks) with polished ceramic/Liquidmetal insert

Case/Bracelet: Steel, folding clasp with micro-adjustment

Movement: Omega Caliber 8400 with COSC certification, 25,200 vph, 39 jewels and approx. 60 hours of power reserve; hours, minutes, and seconds

Dial/Hands: Sand-blasted black dial, rhodium-plated broad arrow hands coated with Super-LumiNova, white seconds hand

Water resistance: 300 meters/1,000 feet

Size/Dimensions: 41-mm diameter, 21-mm lug width, approx. 160 grams

Variations: Steel/Sedna Gold, Titanium, Titanium/Sedna Gold, Sedna Gold, Platinum (limited to 357 pieces)

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15 Responses to “Dive Watch Wednesday: My Take on the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial”

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  1. Pete NYC

    My experience exactly! Fell in love with the photos, and ran to the Omega boutique expecting to buy it, but it did nothing for me in person. I did however fall for the 42mm PO 8500 (all black)! IMHO, a perfect blend of old and new.

    Reply
  2. If you’re going to review a watch, why don’t you include the price? It’s an important element don’t you think?

    Reply
  3. Shafi-Baig

    i have an old omega automatic sea master automatic in rose gold about 40 years old.i need to change its glass it is all scratched.can you please guide who to contact in london.what kind of price this watch can fetch?

    Reply
  4. Eric Miller

    I have had this Omega since the first one arrived here in Scottsdale.
    I love it but I must say that the edges of the watch, all over are really sharp. It is not as comfortable as my GMT master II. The omega SM300 is a must have, classic and beautiful

    Reply
  5. Are the hour markers dial cutouts? It looks that way from photos. I’d love that. Could you include more close photos of dial details on future reviews?

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff, it is not a sandwich dial consisting of two plates if that’s what you mean. It is a standard dial, but the large indexes are embossed and then filled with lume.So they appear to be cut out. Best regards and thanks for the input.

      Reply
      • Are you sure about that, on mine they sure appear to be cut outs all the way down to the rounded ends of the “cutouts”?

        Reply
        • Joseph,
          I am quite sure that the new SM 300 does not feature a sandwich dial consisting of two plates: Omega describes the (which I btw find rather interesting) ‘sand-blasted’ dial as being ‘decorated with recessed hour markers that are filled with a “vintage” Super-LumiNova.’ The limited Platinum edition however does come with an enamel dial as far as I know, but also with a one piece construction. Regardless of that: the dial does look spectacular and to be honest I am not even sure if a sandwich construction would have been more difficult to produce.
          Best regards

          Roger

          Reply
  6. If you like the look try the Jaeger LeCoultre vintage diver series.

    Either the memovox alarm or chronograph look the same, have great movements, but have a heslite crystal that scratches easily.

    Same antique Lume on the dial too

    Terry

    Reply
  7. Interesting article and in particular your dislikes! I’m in search of a desk diver watch and I also share some of your feelings about the color lume and the size, would be possible to run a comparison test with the rolex submariner? That would help a lot !!!! thanks
    Spiros

    Reply
    • Spiros, thanks a lot for the positive feedback.

      To be honest, I actually thought about doing a comparison with the Sub No Date first. My personal issue with doing this kind of review: objectively comparing watches usually does not help anyone who is in the (very subjective) process of buying/deciding between one of those watches. It normally just leads to offending/supporting fans of the brands involved because you simply cannot reflect the very subjective nature or personal relevance of a brand.

      So my personal opinion is that you get more watch with the (significantly less expensive) Seamaster. But if you happen to like Rolex or the look of the Submariner better, then where is the point of trying to find a winner? The Submariner is one the most iconic watches and a superb watch – and being a Swiss I can already tell you that you probably would not like my summary “if possible get both” would you? :-)

      But let me think about it… it could be that I might accept the challenge… best regards, Roger

      Reply
  8. MrTissot

    I have seen it in the flesh and I think for someone like myself who is so used to wearing larger watches, it fitted me perfectly. I absolutely loved it!

    This is a hell of a lot of watch for the money!!

    This is now definitely on my hit list :)

    Reply
  9. I tried on the titanium 300 Master Co-Axial as a “sure, why not” kind of thing and I have to say, it made me love the watch. Felt really good, and I think this will supersede my desire for the 57 Speedmaster.

    It’s a definite stunner, and it has won me over for sure.

    Reply
    • Hi Matt,

      I’ve had a different experience to yourself and please understand no offense is intended. I also have tried on a Titanium version of the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, but I couldn’t help being overcome by an overwhelming feeling of cheapness about the watch. I’m not to sure what it was apart from maybe the sheer lightness of the watch. It just felt really cheap. This has made me decide to go for the SS version and pocket the change. Besides, I’m more of a purist and the original Seamaster never came in a Titanium version.

      Regards

      Reply
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