Over the past several years, the watch industry has gone crazy for anything and everything vintage. As the vintage market has exploded in popularity (and price), modern watchmakers have followed suit by churning out more and more pieces that are inspired by vintage examples from their own back catalogs.
One such watchmaker that has joined in on this trend is Omega, which in 2014 introduced a modern version of their Seamaster 300 — the brand’s very first professional diver from 1957. Curious to see how the retro-mod luxury watch movement played out in the metal, we got our hands on a modern Omega Seamaster 300 to see for ourselves. Let’s dive in.
At A Glance
Seamaster 300 Specs
Case Size: 41mm
Lug to Lug: 48mm
Case Thickness: 14.65mm
Lug Width: 21mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Water Resistance: 300m
Movement Type: Automatic
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Movement: Master Chronometer Co-Axial Calibre 8400
Lume: Yes, Bi-Color
Strap: Three-Link Stainless Steel Bracelet
Video Review: Omega Seamaster 300
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One Handsome Diver
When we first glimpsed the Seamaster 300 in person, our first thought was not, “That’s a vintage watch.” Nor was it, “That’s a modern watch masquerading as vintage.” Rather, a far simpler thought popped into our heads: “That’s a great-looking timepiece.” And it truly is. Before you start investigating the details and nuances of its design, the most striking thing about this Seamaster is, well, just how striking it is. It’s a versatile and attractive piece that doesn’t scream “vintage,” it just looks good.
A Perfect Blend
Of the many aspects of watchmaking at which Omega excels — and there are legion — case-making has to be near the top. The Biel/Bienne-based brand, known for its signature lyre lugs as seen on the Speedmaster and Seamaster Diver 300M, is one of the best in the industry when it comes to applying, and sharply separating, various finishing techniques to a case. The Seamaster 300 shows plenty of evidence of this, with the satin-brushed top of its straight lugs giving way to a fine mirror-polished chamfer that runs down their sides. The mix of finishing techniques does a great job of breaking up the case, and the Seamaster 300 feels and wears much thinner than its near-15mm-thickness would suggest. Rounding out the case are modernized vintage touches in the form of an impossibly smooth-winding unprotected crown and a thin dive bezel featuring a black ceramic top ring and a pearl-style lume pip.
Moving onto the dial, this is where Omega applied most of its vintage theming when it comes to the Seamaster 300, as it looks very similar to the 1950s original. The dial is matte black and demonstrably gritty with a sand-like texture. Its clean, date-free layout is accompanied by printed Arabic numerals at the cardinal positions and triangular cutouts at all 12 hour markers. This sandwich-style setup allows the lume — applied heavily in a “vintage” Super-LumiNova shade to the lower dial plate — to shine extra bright in a surprisingly cool blue shade. However you feel about “fauxtina,” it’s put to excellent use here, as the creamy yellow plays better with the black sand dial than stark white would. Finally, there’s the broad arrow handset — a signature of the original 300 — that packs another surprise: the minute hand’s lume glows green rather than blue, coinciding with the bezel pip to make elapsed time easier to track underwater.
If there is one controversial aspect of the Omega Seamaster 300, it’s probably the bracelet. There’s certainly not anything wrong with it — it’s a three-link stainless steel bracelet with good articulation and one of the most substantial and secure clasps we’ve ever had the pleasure of clicking shut. There’s even a quick-adjust mechanism in the clasp for on-the-go adjustments. So what’s the issue? Well, the center links are high-polished, and many enthusiasts prefer their tool watches to sport full brushing on their bracelets. The polished links also show far more scratches, and this was very evident on our very lived-in test sample. We don’t mind this, frankly, as it assures us that the watch is no safe queen and that it’s actually been knocked around a bit, but your mileage may vary.
As an Omega that debuted within the past decade, you can bet that the Seamaster 300 houses a co-axial movement that’s also a METAS-certified Master Chronometer. And you’d be correct. The Calibre 8400 is a wonderful movement, boasting all of the goodies we’ve come to expect from modern Omega’s in-house efforts, i.e. 60 hours of power on tap, resistance to 15,000 gauss magnetic fields, and chronometer-level timekeeping performance in more extreme conditions than what COSC tests for. If that wasn’t enough, the movement is also gorgeously decorated with Omega’s exclusive “Geneva waves in arabesque” pattern that’s visible through the sapphire case back. Is it a bit much on a dive watch? Maybe, but no one who’s seen it would ever argue against its presence.
On The Wrist
Thin Is In
While certainly larger than most vintage watches at 41mm, the Omega Seamaster 300 still wears like a dream, even on small wrists. The 48mm lug-to-lug keeps things reasonable and will prevent the watch from overhanging on all but the smallest of wrists, and the turndown on the lugs ensures that the watch hugs the wrist snugly. As mentioned previously, the watch wears thinner than you’d expect and lies flat, and the quick-adjust clasp means that dialing in the perfect fit with the bracelet is never a challenge.
Vintage Done Right
We get that not everyone is into the whole “modern watch styled like a vintage relic” aesthetic, but it’s tough to argue against the trend when presented with a piece like the Omega Seamaster 300. The watch effortlessly blends the best of modern luxury watchmaking with timeless style and a dash of old-school tool-watch cool, and the result is a watch we’d be more than happy to wear as our daily driver or desk diver. This is vintage style done right.
THE 10 BEST LUXURY WATCHES FOR THE NEW COLLECTOR
Pondering your first luxury watch purchase and wanting to see what the market has to offer? Then have a look at our guide to the ten best luxury watches for the new collector, where you’ll find the Seamaster 300 joined by nine other outstanding gateways to high-end timepieces.