Seamaster Diver 300M – larger, and in new materials, ceramic and titanium, rendering it more scratch-resistant and lighter in weight. In this feature from our September-October 2019 issue, we delve into the depths of the new timepiece and its Master Chronometer movement.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Seamaster Diver 300M last year, Omega made a huge splash by issuing a new version – updated and modernized with higher quality features and more functionality than ever before, and still at a fair price (click here for a review of that watch). This watch was first introduced as a steel model with a varnished dial, an ETA-based Omega Caliber 2500 and a folding clasp with a divers’ extension that cost around $3,500. The newer generation offers a laser-cut ceramic dial, the super-modern in-house 8800 movement and an improved clasp with additional quick-action extension at a price of $5,200. Unchanged, of course, are the skeletonized sword-shaped hands, water resistance to 300 meters, a helium-escape valve at 10 o’clock and a metal bracelet. The overall diameter of the watch was enlarged from 41 to 42 mm.
This year, Omega took the next step. The Seamaster Diver 300M is now available as a scratch-resistant and more lightweight model in ceramic and titanium. This new watch, which we tested, is available on a rubber strap with a ceramic prong buckle or on a NATO strap with a brushed buckle and a titanium loop. (For either version, watch fans must accept a considerable jump in price, to $8,100.) The newest edition has a 43.5-mm case and a nicely balanced dial, omitting the date indication at 6 o’clock. Also, the stylized waves are not laser cut into a polished dial but now stand out in relief with alternating polished and matte surfaces.
Ceramic characterizes the entire design. Not only does the dial have polished and matte sections, so does the case with its ergonomically shaped lugs. Particularly pleasing is that Omega uses the same ceramic material for the prong buckle and also for the curving shapes of the case.
The rubber strap attaches seamlessly to the case and continues the fluid lines of the lugs. Running along its length are three wide matte strips and two raised strips with a brushed- finish look. The material appears at first to be quite thin, but once it’s on, the strap feels great, and despite the large case size, the watch fits perfectly, even on narrow wrists. The strap material may feel uncomfortable on really warm days – even Omega has yet to discover anything to prevent perspiration.
High Quality Overall
Every component – from the ceramic dial and brushed titanium hands, the ceramic and titanium case, and even the rubber strap with its ceramic buckle – displays the highest quality and reminds us that Omega has long been a top brand among watch manufacturers.
Turning the watch over reveals even more of its superior quality. The first thing you may notice is the engraved lettering, “Diver 300M,” which is always centered thanks to a patented bayonet closure known as the Naiad lock. Then your eye may be drawn to the polished wavelike notches along the edge of the caseback that encircle the brushed inner ring. And then you’re rewarded with a view of the beating heart of the watch – the accurate, individually decorated and fully antimagnetic in-house 8806 movement.
This variation of the 8800 caliber has no date indication. The technical advantages remain the same – the oscillating weight winds the watch in both directions to provide an above-average power reserve of 55 hours. The silicon hairspring ensures very good rate results even when subjected to the effects of fluctuating temperatures and impacts. The balance wheel is fastened more securely beneath a bridge so that, thanks to poising weights, the oscillating system “breathes” freely. And last but not least, the Omega co-axial escapement with its multilevel pallets and escape wheel ensures a consistent transfer of impulse for even better rate results.
All the constructive advantages of the company’s own in-house movements meant that Omega was no longer satisfied with the rate tests conducted by the official Swiss testing agency COSC. For the past several years, Omega has subjected its watches to additional testing by METAS, the Swiss national metrology institute. Here, the fully assembled timepieces undergo tests for functional reliability, rate results, water resistance, power reserve and resistance to extreme magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
A watch that passes all of these tests is certified by METAS as a Master Chronometer. Due to the large number of watches Omega produces, the testing agency has established an office in the Omega building in Bienne. The independence of the tests, ensured by both contractual partners, is guaranteed at all times.
And our test watch? It performed as promised, both on the timing machine and on the wrist. The electronic test showed a rate of +3.8 seconds per day and only +3 seconds on the wrist. Values in the individual positions showed only a 2-second deviation – something that very few watch brands have achieved in our tests.
Over and Under Water
Anyone who wants to wear the Seamaster Diver 300M as an everyday watch will be thrilled with its comfortable feel, the accuracy of the in-house movement, and the fact that the ceramic prong buckle remains completely free of scratches even after weeks of wear. Our real-life test in the early summer months showed that it is reliable and comfortable to wear while swimming, playing tennis and biking.
And anyone who actually dives with a luxury watch will appreciate the brightly glowing luminescent coating, the high degree of water resistance (to a depth of 300 meters), and the scratch-resistant case material that neither coral nor the metal parts of the diving equipment can harm.
Of course, the watch is only suitable for warm diving locations where no wet suit is needed because of its standard-length rubber strap. And when you don’t need to wear diving gloves, the polished surfaces on the rotating bezel are less of an issue. While even a diving titan cannot do everything, this one can still do quite a lot.
Manufacturer: Omega S.A., Stämpflistrasse 96, 2504 Bienne, Switzerland
Reference number: 184.108.40.206.01.001
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Movement: In-house movement 8806 automatic with antimagnetic components, 25,200 vph, 35 jewels, hack mechanism, co-axial escapement with silicon hairspring and DLC-coated titanium balance, fine regulation via poising weights, Nivachoc shock absorber, diameter = 26 mm, height = 4.6 mm, 55-hour power reserve
Case: Ceramic mid-section and bezel inlay; titanium bezel, crown, manual helium valve and caseback; curved sapphire crystal with double-sided anti-glare treatment, screw-down crown, fully threaded caseback with sapphire-crystal viewing window, water resistant to 300 meters
Strap and clasp: Rubber strap with ceramic prong buckle
Rate results (Deviation in seconds per 24 hours):
Dial up +5
Dial down +3
Crown up +4
Crown down +4
Crown left +4
Crown right +3
Greatest deviation 2
Average deviation +3.8
Flat positions 304°
Hanging positions 273°
Dimensions: Diameter = 43.5 mm, height = 14.2 mm, weight = 108 grams
Variations: With NATO strap with brushed buckle and titanium loop ($8,100)
Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): Seamless connection of the rubber strap to the case. The matte and brushed sections and the ceramic prong buckle are well executed. 8
Operation (5): The screw-down crown is much easier to grasp than the rotating bezel. The helium valve must be unscrewed manually, just like the original Seamaster Diver 300M from 1993. 3
Case (10): Modern materials, complex shapes, high water resistance and fully threaded caseback with bayonet locking system. Perfection. 10
Design (15): Sword-shaped hands and wave motif on the dial are the most striking and most polarizing design features. 13
Legibility (5): Easy to read, thanks to good contrast and generous luminescent coating. 4
Wearing comfort (10): Perfectly comfortable as long as the temperature is not too warm. 9
Movement (20): The fully antimagnetic and accurate in-house movement is one of the best three-hand movements on the market. No decoration is visible beneath the balance. 18
Rate results (10): Very good results, with an average daily rate of +3.8 seconds and only 2 seconds separating the different positions. 9
Overall value (15): The ceramic version is quite expensive compared with the attractively priced steel Seamaster Diver 300M models. But the watch’s price is similar to ceramic watches from other manufacturers like Panerai and Zenith. 11
Total: 85 POINTS