This new edition of the Seamaster 300 is available in a large variety of metals and colors:
- Stainless steel with a black dial
- Titanium with a blue dial
- Stainless steel and Sedna Gold (Omega’s own alloy) with a black dial
- Titanium and Sedna Gold with a blue dial
- Full Sedna Gold with a black dial
- Platinum with a blue dial (limited to 357 pieces)
For this review, we chose to go with the titanium edition with blue dial — a combination less common than the classical steel/black dial version, but one that delivers some nice advantages: lighter case, great resistance to corrosion and scratches, and added exclusivity with the cool dial (the blue dial is only available with titanium). All of this was truly welcome, as we’ve worn the watch throughout the summertime and used it as a divers’ watch should be used.
The overall picture is extremely simple: the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is a dive watch. No need for useless features here, just the required ones: hours, minutes and seconds for the indications (no date window pollutes the dial), 300-meter water-resistance, screw-down crown, unidirectional rotating bezel, and bracelet with easy fine adjustment. Putting aside the specifications of the movement, that’s all you’ll have. And clearly, that’s more than enough. The Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial might have a vintage design but it remains a practical tool and a modern diving watch. It can be used unfailingly as a “tool watch” – and we can guarantee that to you, as the watch has been worn to swim, to dive, to sail, and to lie down on the beach. Of course, using the SM300 as an everyday watch with your business suit won’t be seen as an act of treason either.
Case and bracelet:
If the PR photos and a quick look at the case might give you the idea of a simple re-edition of a vintage watch, the reality is different. Certainly, the design is similar, as well as the diameter, which remains reasonable at 41 mm. But the quality (based on 2014 standards) and the proportions are slightly different. Firstly, there’s the titanium option. It wasn’t only because of the blue dial that we went for this version; it’s because titanium has several advantages compared to stainless steel. The first one is, of course, the weight, which is reduced by almost 30 percent. Even on a bracelet, this watch is extremely light and thus very comfortable. The use of grade 5 titanium allows the watch to have some mirror-polished surfaces (something not possible with grade 2 titanium, which is always sandblasted or brushed) and a very bright color (not so different from steel, just a little darker). Titanium is also extremely resistant: it scratches less easily than does steel – which is appreciated, considering the polished parts – and is extremely resistant to corrosion. Thus, the Seamaster 300 in titanium is stronger along with being more comfortable. The only issue is the price, as the titanium edition is 1,800 euros more expensive than the steel edition.
The case is, as mentioned, reasonably sized in terms of diameter, as was that of the vintage edition. However, the main difference with the old Seamaster 300 is the thickness. The case itself is not overly thick; as you can see, the casebands are quite thin. However, the bezel is thicker. There are two results from this design choice: the practical aspect is improved, as the bezel will be easier to grip, even with diving gloves. However, the visual aspect does not benefit from the increased thickness – nothing alarming, but a bit of thinness is always welcome, especially for vintage-inspired watches. On the subject of the bezel, we have to recognize its quality. The clicks are strong but pleasant and the adjustments are precise. The blue part is made of (virtually) unalterable ceramic. The color should remain strong, and without scratches, forever. The surface is smooth and flat. The numbers are made of liquidmetal, a unique alloy that bonds seamlessly with ceramics.
The rest of the case uses several techniques: the casebands are brushed, the edges of the lugs come with a shiny but beautiful beveled angle and the horizontal parts are mirror-polished. The execution is clean, precise and coherent with the price. The bracelet, also made of titanium, presents the same specifications as the case: extremely well made, perfectly adjusted, comfortable and smooth. It even comes with a very intuitive and simple fine-adjustment mechanism (just press a pusher inside the clasp to adjust the length). But this qualitative feeling is linked to the same issue as the case: thickness. The bracelet and the clasp are quite massive and could afford to lose a millimeter or two. Once again, nothing dramatic, but the elegance could have been improved. The bracelet was also at the center of a debate around this watch — in particular, the mirror-polished central link. To be very honest, we can see it from two angles. If we look at the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial as a pure tool watch, a fully brushed finish would have been more appropriate. However, the vintage feeling and design-oriented intention of this piece, I feel, justifies this mirror-polished center link. And titanium helps to keep it clean.
Dial and hands
The dial – in black or blue – is also quite attractive. It uses the design codes of the previous Seamaster 300m CK2913. The base plate is textured and matte, which helps its legibility, especially in sunlight (the anti-reflective treatment of the domed crystal is also extremely efficient). The hands and indices are always easy to read thanks to their contrast with this matte finish. The hands are typically Omega, with the broad-arrow shape: a sword-shaped minute hand and an arrow-shaped hour hand. Both are made of polished steel, with luminous coating. The seconds hand might seem out of place, however, with its diamond shape and its color. On a historical basis, this hand is not relevant, as the SM300 CK2913 originally came with a simple baton hand in steel, without luminous material. This type of hand came later, on the second generation of SM300. The white lacquer might also be intrusive in this context, but I got used to it and found it nice after a while. It gives an echo to the numbers and logo on the dial.
The indices are quite particular. At first, we thought the dial had a sandwich construction. However, the dial is cut by laser to remove some material and create some cavities, which are filled with luminous paste. This creates a nice depth effect and prevents the dial from being too flat. The luminous material has a faux-patina aspect, with a yellow/brown color to recreate the effect of the age on tritium (the radioactive material used in vintage watches and that tends to turn brown when aging). The dial is lively, legible and clean; Omega had the good idea to limit the amount of inscriptions on the dial.
If the shape of the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is clearly influenced by a vintage edition, the movement is far from being stuck in the past. Inside the SM300 ticks Omega’s finest and most innovative caliber, the 8400. We already covered it in March, just after Baselworld, but another piece of news came recently: the METAS Certification. We’ll get back on this later.
First, we have to understand what the Caliber 8400 Master Co-Axial is. This in-house movement comes with all the innovations made by Omega during recent years. It has the Co-Axial escapement created during the 1970s by Georges Daniels. It is supposed to have reduced frictions, to have better chronometric performances and to require less service operations. In addition, it comes with truly antimagnetic properties – the watch itself does not need external protection against these fields because the movement itself is resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. The escapement, balance wheel and spiral are made of silicon, the steel plates have been replaced with non-magnetic plates, and the spring of the shock absorber has been crafted from an an-amorphous material. All the parts that should definitely stay clear of magnetism have been replaced by anti-magnetic materials. Impressive! Omega is so confident in its movements that its watches come with a four-year warranty.
Omega Caliber 8400, when presented during Baselworld, was said to be certified by COSC. Something has changed recently, as Omega just introduced a brand new certification, together with METAS, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. METAS will test and certify the testing procedures and machinery, which will be used to perform the tests in-house by Omega. It means that the certification will be done on assembled watches and not just on the movements (thus also including water-resistance and antimagnetic properties tests into the process). Omega and METAS announced that a movement will only receive the Chronometer Certificate if it performs between 0 and +5 seconds deviation per day (vs. -4s/+6s for the COSC). All together, these specifications create an impressive movement: reliable, precise, resistant and highly innovative. The finish is also pleasant with (machined) anglage on the bridges and Geneva waves in Arabesque. The power reserve is also comfortable, with 60 hours of energy.
On the Wrist:
Putting aside the (minor) issue of the thickness (case and bracelet), the Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is really pleasant on the wrist. Again, the choice of titanium is really something we would encourage here, since that improves the comfort. The stainless steel edition is far from being uncomfortable but it is still heavier. (And we won’t even mention the platinum edition that weights more than 400 grams). The shape and size of the case are also great. It remains reasonable enough for small wrists (like mine) and the lack of crown protection is elegant and reduces the perceived size. We also tried the SM300 on a NATO strap (something that the future owners will certainly do as well) and it really changes the style of this watch, giving it an even more vintage look. The official Omega NATO straps will be right at home here. (One minor issue, however, is that the bracelet measures 21 mm wide and NATO straps usually measure 20 mm).
- The design, both vintage and sporty
- The dial, the hands and the indices, all very pleasant
- The overall quality
- The movement, innovative, precise and resistant
- The comfort of titanium
- The price
- The thickness of the case and bracelet
- The central polished link on the bracelet that some don’t like
The Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial was much anticipated by collectors. Omega was clearly not allowed to make a single mistake with this watch. Not only did it manage to do this, but it pleased us with a superb and inspired design, with very cool details (hands and indices) and a high-quality construction. Omega even pushed the concept further with this truly amazing movement. Lastly, we should compare the SM300 to its biggest competitor, another icon among dive watches, the Rolex Submariner. The latter is clearly not playing on the vintage trend and goes for rigor. Both are equally well finished, both have an in-house caliber, both can be used as proper diving tools. The Omega, however clearly stands out with its antimagnetic movement (Rolex cannot compete here, even with the Milgauss). The specs are clearly on Omega’s side. Design-wise, it is certainly more a matter of tastes than an objective choice.
The price, however, is another story. The Rolex Submariner no-date Ref. 114060 is priced at 6,000 euros. The SM300 in steel is priced at 4,950 euros (6,750 euros in titanium). And here, in all objectivity, we’d have to admit that Omega has a clear advantage, considering the technical package.