It is no surprise the Speedmaster is the model that surfaces on most minds when it comes to discussing Omega. It is certainly accompanied by numerous stories, from being the original “Moonwatch”, to counting the critical 14 second thrust on the Apollo 13 mission, not to mention the many other NASA space missions; the model can be considered ubiquitous, not only with Omega collectors but well beyond.
Taking a different approach so far this year, Omega has chosen to revamp the diver variant of their trilogy, the Seamaster 300. Although the Seamaster lineup originally came out in 1948 in a somewhat dressy configuration, one of the later references, the CK2913, made its debut in 1957 with a major redesign to improve legibility and functionalities that cater more specifically to diving activities.
A total of eight versions, each represented by a numeral suffix (1-8), were subsequently introduced with different designs on the hands, bezel, and dial, which could possibly be Omega experimenting with a watch layout that would work best for divers. Interestingly, differences can also be found within the same version. For instance, as seen in the above two CK2913-3, both bearing the same US import codes of “OXG”, they employed a different second hand and bezel. Despite the nuances found among all the versions, the lollipop second hand and the broad arrow hour hand remained the most iconic feature of the earliest Seamasters.
This new Seamaster 300 is not intended to be an accurate homage reissue like the Seamaster 1957 Trilogy that came out in 2017, yet we can still take note of the design cues that emulate the vintage atmosphere. Other than the symmetrical case, straight lugs, and the iconic hands, you can sense that Omega is aiming to derive from the original visual identity of the Seamaster as little as possible, while still experimenting with creative possibilities.
Most noticeably, this watch uses a sandwich dial, which was historically a functional design used to enhance the luminosity of the display by simply storing more luminescent paste on the bottom layer. Given the capability of modern luminescent materials, it is now seldom used for its original purpose rather than its aesthetic value. On the top layer, the use of an Arabic open font (see 6 and 9 o’clock) took inspiration from its ancestor model from the 1960s; presumably it is also an adaptation necessary for the lume aperture to be milled out of a single piece of material. The bottom layer is filled with a cream coloured Super-Luminova that emits blue light, and as per Omega’s usual configuration, the dot on the bezel at 12 o’clock and the minute hand emit a seemingly different green colour for a more intuitive reading in the dark.
Another nostalgic tweak found on the dial is perhaps the repositioning of the movement certification printing. Unlike other Heritage Collection models, the pitch line “Co-Axial Master Chronometer” is now shifted to the peripheral of the case back as an engraving. Which leaves only the brand name, logo and “Seamaster 300” that resembles much of the original layout from the CK2913.
The calibre 8400 from the previous Seamaster 300 is now superseded by the new calibre 8912. They are both developed based on the calibre 8500 and share the same specification of having a double barrel mainspring with 60 hours of power reserve, and a free-sprung balance with silicon hairspring that oscillates at 3.5 hz (or 25,200 vibrations per hour). However, the calibre 8912 is certified by both COSC and the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) for its chronometric performance and anti-magnetism, and thereby giving it its Master Chronometer certification.
It is undoubtedly a lot of a watch when put into comparison in the current market, though the minor thing which I find slightly distracting is the domed sapphire crystal; despite contributing to a thinner profile and the retro look of the watch, the curvature is rather steep on the periphery and inevitably attracts reflections of the surroundings, making it sometimes hard to read the time and perceive the tasteful texture on the dial.
The new Seamaster 300 is available in stainless steel with a black or blue dial, and an option for a leather strap (51,300 HKD) and bracelet (54,000 HKD). A more luxurious version is also available in Omega’s proprietary pending alloy bronze gold for 92,100 HKD, which has a tropical-like brown dial, and a black-polished ceramic bezel.