With the new 2018 Omega Seamaster Diver 300M model being announced in Baselworld 2018, the watch community is abuzz again with this long-standing Seamaster product line. The Diver 300M, a watch produced since 1993 and making an appearance in James Bond’s GoldenEye in 1995 continues to share the same design DNA till today. 2018 will mark the 25th year anniversary of this very much beloved and popular Seamaster but over the years, numerous variations have been produced and to make a decision on which particular model to get can be rather challenging. A personal grail of mine as well, I have compiled a list of the personal dilemmas and questions that I faced which unsurprisingly are also what first-time buyers are facing. These are of course my personal opinions and you should definitely go with what sings to you.
2018 vs 2012 Ceramic model?
It’s always hard to resist the latest releases and that’s especially true with technology. For 2018’s Seamaster, you have the reintroduced laser-engraved wave pattern and better balanced dial with date shifted to 6 o’clock. The Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss with 55 hours power reserve is now fully in-house. The new range is attractive but a lot are comparing it with the now previous ceramic model introduced in 2012. The new 2018 increased case size of 42mm have already put off a lot of potential buyers. Toothpaste cap like helium escape valve, busy dial and printed instead of raised Omega logo are among other complaints. There’s a certain charm with the older model without the waves that gives it a premium look and makes it a good competition with the Rolex Submariner. Personally, the size alone of the 2018 model has deterred me from considering it but I still find the new models very bold and interesting especially the Sedna gold and steel versions.
Ceramic vs Non-ceramic bezel?
While ceramic is the latest with that glossy finishing and scratch resistance surface, some may prefer the aging that comes with aluminum inserts. After all that’s part of what is affecting the bull run in the vintage market right now. Ceramic bezel inserts tend to chip but will continue to look new over the years while aluminum inserts scratches easily but will age beautifully. If you prefer a watch that will continue to look pristine over the years, get the ceramic version.
Midsize (36mm) vs Full Size (41mm/42mm)?
Since 1993, there’s mainly 2 main choices of case sizes (thank you Omega!) and I’m referring to the marketed male versions, the 36mm is better known as the midsize and the 41mm and now 42mm only full size version. There’s also the 28mm which I believe is more for the ladies. When you first look at the 36mm, most would be shocked and surprised at how small the midsize is like in person. Most watches with a bezel insert does make the watch smaller than it should. However over the years I have learnt that big is not always better. Get a watch size that is in scale with your wrist size. I personally think that if your wrist size is smaller than 6.3-6.5 inches, get the midsize 36mm while the larger wrist size should get the full size 41mm. Another reason to get the midsize is that it’s more versatile where it can be a combo sports watch and a classy dress watch. Big bulky watches generally don’t really do well as dress watches. If Prince William can pull off wearing a midsize, I think it shouldn’t be an issue with a lot of people.
Also getting one in scale with your wrist makes Instagram wrist shots so much easier that you don’t have to only shoot in angles where the watch does not look too big on the wrist. However if you want presence on your wrist, definitely go for the larger size. I wonder if Omega would release a larger midsize version in the following years and a 37-38mm size would be a good size.
Wave vs Glossy Lacquered Dial?
The wave dial has been a signature of the Omega Seamaster Professional and made even more famous by Pierce Brosnan himself. So when the first ceramic version came out without the wave pattern, some were disappointed while some really loved it. I think the wave pattern gives it a more vintage vibe except for the 2018 model which looks more modern. So for older models, if you like that vintage vibe go for the wave dial while if you want more everlasting design, go for that glossy lacquered dial. It gives it a classy look and I love how the light plays with it at different angles.
Blue vs Black?
The 2018 model has up to 14 variations to choose from but a common dilemma and probably the hardest to decide was with the 2012 ceramic blue vs black color. If I were to decide from older generation with the aluminium bezel insert, I would probably go for the blue color. With the ceramic version, both colors show very different results in various lightings. The blue is a bright light blue in good lighting conditions almost like the blue on the Rolex Pepsi GMT Master II. In darker conditions, the blue turns to almost black in color. The shade of blue gives it a more trendier and sportier look. The black on the other hand is deep and in some lighting conditions shows a hint of dark blue color. Both colors are equally popular. If you want the best of both worlds, get the blue while if you want a more classy look go for the black.
Mechanical vs Quartz?
The only reason I would consider quartz would be if price was a concern. I believe the ceramic versions do not come with quartz movements and only the wave dial and aluminum bezel insert has that offering like this model reference 188.8.131.52.01.001. In GoldenEye, Pierece Brosnan wore the earlier versions of the quartz like the Omega Seamaster 300M Quartz Professional 2541.80.00.
Which Movement: Pre Co-Axial vs Co-Axial?
The movements in the Seamaster 300M have undergone various transitions from the Omega calibre 1120 to the Co-Axial calibre 2500. The Co-Axial movement was a big thing for Omega having using the Co-Axial escapement from the late British watchmaker George Daniels. The calibre 2500 was a modified ETA 2892 and there were few iterations from the 2500A, 2500B, 2500C and then ended with the 2500D. The earlier versions were reported to have issues and was finally fixed in the 2500C and 2500D. For peace of mind, the year 2012 ceramic models onwards uses the latest Calibre 2500D versions. With the latest 2018 model, it now uses the fully in-house Calibre 8800 movement. I guess the only thing to note are those issues reported in the calibre 2500A and 2500B while with any new movement in the market, only time will tell whether it’s as reliable as it sounds.
Pre-owned vs New?
With any new releases, generally the price will be at the highest before it steadily goes downward and then stabilises at a certain level with the exception of certain Rolex models. The latest 2018 Seamaster Diver 300M model retails at $4400 and the previous 2012 model can now be had for around $3000 brand new at an AD after discounts. If you look at the pre-owned market, the watch varies between $2000 to $2500 depending on condition and model. So I would say that the previous ceramic version does offer a lot with the price that it can be had now. Getting one new you also get worry-free 3 years warranty while with pre-owned, it’s better to get it from a reputable and trusted seller.
Do you share the same dilemma? Let me know in the comments what other head cracking decisions you had with the Omega Seamaster Professional. Does this hint that a new purchase is on its way? You betcha…
The Omega Seamaster Diver grail journey:
Part 1: The Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M Dilemma
Part 2: Hunting For A Pre-Owned Omega Seamaster Diver 300M