Review

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m – A Serious Contender for the One-Watch collection

An all-rounder for the gentleman sailor.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Tom Mulraney | ic_query_builder_black_24px 7 min read |
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m 41mm - Review

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m is arguably one of the better value, all-round, entry-level watches available on the market today. It’s also most likely flying completely under your radar. In the collection since 2003, it received a subtle visual refresh last year, along with an in-house movement in the form of the Master Chronometer calibre 8900. Striking the balance between everyday wear and elegant dress watch, the Aqua Terra is the perfect choice for those people looking for one watch for all occasions. Read our detailed review below to find out what makes this model so attractive.

Pitched as an ‘entry-level’ model, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m delivers a surprising amount of bang for your buck. It may not carry the same level of prestige as say the Rolex Datejust 41 in Oystersteel, but it also costs approximately 30% less whilst offering many similar benefits. Although it belongs to the Seamaster family, it’s not a dive watch as such. Instead, Omega’s describes it as a sophisticated watch imbued with ocean spirit. In layman’s terms that essentially means it’s designed for the casual sailing enthusiast, not the deepsea diver, an ethos that permeates the design of the watch.

The Case

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra is available in two case sizes; 38mm and 41mm. Today we’re looking at the latter, which is also the more popular of the two, although smaller cases sizes are certainly enjoying a renaissance. The previous version was actually larger at 41.5mm, so this slight reduction in size is welcome. When you plan to wear a watch every day, comfort is a key consideration.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m 41mm - Review

The case is also now symmetrical, which seems strange to say but in the previous model, the crown was partially absorbed by the caseband on the right-hand side. It’s probably not something you would notice unless it was pointed out to you, but it does give the new Aqua Terra a more balanced look on the wrist – and also explains the 41mm diameter instead of 41.5mm.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m 41mm - Review

Aesthetically, the case is understated, with some subtle touches that make it a watch you can dress up or down. The bezel is polished as are the outer flanks of the lugs, contrasting nicely against the brushed surfaces. Just one look at the case and you know this is not a dedicated tool watch. That said, it still offers water-resistance to a healthy 150m (500 feet). The caseback features a wave edge design, in keeping with the overall nautical theme of the watch. It wears comfortably on the wrist and can be easily paired with a suit and tie or jeans and sneakers.

The Dial

The dial of the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra is probably its most distinguishing feature and is decorated with a horizontal “teak” pattern inspired by the wooden decks of luxury sailboats. The effect on the black dial model we’re reviewing here is subtler than some of the other dial colours available, but it still adds an extra element to the design making it instantly recognisable on the wrist. Again, this is an update from the previous model, which featured vertical lines. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I prefer the horizontal design. It’s less pronounced than the previous version and looks nicer in my opinion. Plus, it better conveys the nautical theme.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m 41mm - Review

This is not the only change Omega has made to the dial, however. In a welcome move, the date window has been relocated from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock. The “water-resistance” wording has also been removed from the dial and engraved on the caseback instead. Both changes are relatively minor but they make a surprising difference to the overall appeal of the dial. It looks more balanced and symmetrical now, which ties in nicely with the focus on the symmetry of the case. Rhodium-plated “Broad Arrow” hands and indices filled with white Super-LumiNova complete the time display, adding a touch of sportiness to the dial. Again, all the required features for a sporty use, but nothing extreme so it can fly under the radar with a suit.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m 41mm - Review

The Movement

It’s here that the Aqua Terra really shines when it comes to value for money. Turning the watch over, a sapphire caseback reveals the inner workings of the Omega Master Chronometer calibre 8900. If you’re not familiar with Omega’s Master Chronometer Certification, I highly recommend you watch our in-depth video here. With the Master Chronometer program, Omega set out to build the highest quality, most reliable movements possible, regardless of the environment they need to operate in.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m 41mm - Review

The calibre 8900 is a chronometer-certified automatic movement that comes with an impressive 4-year warranty. It features two barrels, which combine to offer a total power reserve of 60 hours. It uses silicon parts for the entire regulating organ and is capable of resisting magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. The arabesque decoration and diamond-cut bevels are simple yet attractive and can be appreciated through the caseback.

The Bracelet

The model we had in for review featured a polished and brushed bracelet in matching steel, with a double fold-over clasp. Omega says it has improved the integration between the case and bracelet on this latest version of the Aqua Terra, helping it to sit flatter and even more comfortably on the wrist. There are also some forty different strap variations available from Omega, ranging from leather to NATO, so you can easily customise this model to your specific tastes.

For those looking for a great, all-round, everyday watch, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m really is the total package. And with pricing starting at EUR 5,100, it’s also very competitively placed relative to similar offerings on the market (see below). More details on omegawatches.com.

the competition

With such “daily-wear” watches, it is interesting to see what could be the alternatives. And obviously, there are a lot of them available, but Omega’s package is that good that few can compete. See for instance our guide: 3-Hander Watches with Sports-Elegant Look.

Rolex Explorer 39mm 214270

Obviously, we cant think Omega without looking at its main competitor, Rolex. So what could be the equivalent of the Aqua Terra in the crown’s catalog? If we stick to the definition of a simple, sporty-elegant piece with 3-hand display, the Explorer 1 should do the job. Compared to the Omega, it has a smaller case (39mm), no date, but an equal mix of elegance and sportiness, making it a equally good all-rounder. The overall quality is, of course, superb however Omega takes the lead in terms of movement, with its ultra-innovative Master Chronometer. Rolex, with the old 3132 calibre, can’t compete here. Also, the Rolex is substentially more expensive, at EUR 6,000.

Tudor Black Bay 41

Also produced by the Rolex group, the Tudor BB 41 is a nicely priced alternative. In terms of style and dimensions, it feels rather equal to the Aqua Terra. However, it is slightly more tool-ish than the elegant Omega – the BB 41 can be worn with a suit but will be less “a propos” than the Aqua Terra. Where the Omega plays on the yachting codes, the BB uses vintage elements to bring some charm. The main reasons for its lower price (EUR 2,770 on steel bracelet) are a less complex case/dial and, of course, a simple ETA no-date movement.

Baume & Mercier Baumatic

With its new Baumatic collection, Baume et Mercier stroke hard, with a watch that truly is an all-rounder – a casual-elegant style that is reinforced when worn on a steel bracelet – with some great arguments, including its newly introduced proprietary movement. Of course being priced at EUR 2,750, it remains less refined and advanced than the Omega, however the 5-day power reserve and the precision are quite impressive for the price range. Yet, it might lack the aura and the luxurious appeal of the Omega, and the design is very conservative (also exists with black dial).

IWC Ingenieur Automatic 3570

IWC also has a watch that fits in the sporty-elegant category: the 2017 Ingenieur 3570, meaning the time-and-date automatic version, with black dial and steel bracelet. The design is pleasant, slightly vintage inspired and coherent with the early Ingenieur models. However, at EUR 6,150 it is rather expensive considering its simple Selitta-based movement. The case and dial are beautifully crafted.

14 responses

  1. The sole reason Omega Aqua Terra shouldn’t be on this list is because Omega updates their watches too much! Rolex submariner will always hold the title!

  2. Oh look, an Omega that’s not a “Limited Edition” of some sort. A unicorn by modern Omega marketing standards.

  3. Datejust rules. One year later your Seamaster will look jaded and you will already be looking for another watch.

  4. I bought a Lexus because it is not a BMW.
    I would buy this Omega , because it is, at least , something different, and , in my view the engine room is world class.

  5. Great review. The new AT in dark blue with bracelet has been my “one watch collection” since January. Makes me smile everytime I take it on in the morning. Runners up were almost the same as mentioned. Favorite features: The dial is just beautiful and changes during the day; suits both a business shirt and swimming trunks (which I am currently wearing); nice swimming capabilities and no worries regarding magnets and a good price at the local AD won me over. Mine runs precicely 10 sec. fast per week, which I think is fine… Love this watch!

  6. Humm You wrote about an old 3135 calibre but the last Rolex Explorer caliber is 3132… Did I miss something??

  7. I was reading this review and thinking “yes, that’s a lovely movement and the dial is OK, quite like the twisted lugs….and then the Explorer photograph scrolled up and the Omega was totally forgotten.
    The reason Omega are not Rolex is that their design department is simply not good enough.

  8. I bought my first Omega (first version Aqua Terra) not long after the somewhat infamous Walt Odets Rolex Explorer review. I hadn’t read the review at the time, but I chose the Aqua Terra over the Explorer and slightly regretted it until later when I did read the review, and was glad that I perhaps dodged a lemon, what with the mathematics of probability and all that.

  9. As usual Rolex owners live in their own fantasy world where perception overrules reality. Objectively the Omega is superior to the Rolex in every measurable way. Master chronometer means that the watch is guaranteed to never run even a second slow, I’ve yet to see a Rolex that can beat that deviation. The Omega is anti-magnetic to a certified 15,000 gauss, Rolex is estimated to be not more than 2000 gauss(remember, we are supposed to takes Rolex word on all their claims since all their specs come from secretive in house testing). The Omega has a domed(read stronger) sapphire crystal where the Rolex is flat. The Omega is anti reflective coated on both sides, the Rolex has no anti-reflective coating. The Omega has an exhibition caseback because the watch is fully antimagnetic and doesn’t need the iron sheathing, the Rolex can’t offer a clear back because it’s still using the ancient and limited Faraday cage system. The Omega movement is decorated, the Rolex is not. Omega’s co-axial escapement is more robust than the Rolex Swiss lever and requires no lubrication and has literally no friction wear. Omega offers numerous strap and bracelet options for the Aqua Terra AND most other models, Rolex offers none. A full service on the AT will cost exactly $550, on a Rolex you start at a grand. All this for a watch that cost thousands less than a comparable Rolex. So the best the Rolex crowd can come up with is complaining about too many Omega special editions or they don’t like the Omega design…well the special editions sell out and at least Omega offers design choices. Owning a Rolex is like over paying for a Mark Rothko painting.

  10. Nice watch (at least on the pictures but for me, there is no comparison between Rolex and Omega as the Rolex are made to last and are more comfortable to wear, especially if you buy with steel bracelet. In my opinion, the “substantial” difference of 15% is justfified. If you really want the Omega then you should wait till the watch start to be sold at big discounts in the grey market.

  11. I like the bigger size and presence of the AT GMT but why Omega is taking too much time to release it with updated master Co-axial ? Afraid they will discontinue this perfect model though

  12. I have to correct Eli on a few points.
    The ‘Master chronometer’ Omega standard is only really for Omega watches. It is a further improvement on COSC cert of -4/+6. Rolex are now demanding -2/+2 from their watches.
    The claims regarding magnatism are correct.
    Looking at the crystal, this is quite subjective. Omega have the anti-reflective coating and Rolex do not. The reason? Simple. The coating scratches easily. You will see hairline scratches on the coated crystal where you see no scratches on the uncoated crystal. Whether the crystal is domed or not, will have very ittle impact on its durability.
    The co-axiel escapement is an interesting concept, but it adds complication to an otherwise simple concept. The Daniels concept was rejected by many manufactures due to complexity and the clear understanding that it was really nothing of an improvement. It is NOT more accurate. In fact it runs at a lower rate. It actually DOES need lubricant!! It have never been established that it increases the service interval of a watch. It has more moving parts therefore it ave more to go wrong. The newer Rolex movements have anti-shock advances which are patented and better than the Omega.
    Lastly, much to your disappointment, the Omega fashion line do not all sell out. If I go to an AD and want an Omega, I will get anything they have with a 20-30% discount. Try that with Rolex. Good luck.
    The strap issue is just Omega marketing and should be disregarded.
    The analogy with the Mark Rothko painting should be considered quite childish.

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