Possibly the most handsome iteration of the Seamaster Diver 300M (discreetly) unveiled earlier this year, this white ceramic dial model is now officially in stores. Taking advantage of this long-awaited moment for many Omega fans, we’re going to take a closer look at the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M with White Dial, a watch whose powerful design and technical prowess have catapulted it to cinematic fame (did we say Bond?)
In 1993, Omega launched the Seamaster Professional 300M series. Marking a strong return to the field of diver’s watches, the new line was equipped with a distinctive screwed helium valve and introduced in two formats: a world-first chronograph with pushers functional to a depth of 300m, and a standard 3-hand-and-date diver with chronometer status.
The Seamaster Professional 300M was out to make waves. Equipped with a formidable steel case with a 12-sided scalloped bezel with blue aluminium insert, twisted lyre lugs, a helium escape valve at 10 o’clock, a blue dial with a wave pattern, a screwed crown with protective shoulders, applied tritium (only for the first models) hour markers, luminous skeletonised hands and an integrated five-link steel bracelet with extension system to fit over a wetsuit – the Seamaster Professional 300M was the real deal.
As the longest-running product line still produced by Omega, the Seamaster family is a faithful mirror of changing tastes and technology over the last 70 years. First launched in 1948, the Seamaster was a civilian version of the popular wristwatches Omega had supplied to the British Air Force during the Second World War. The Seamaster wasn’t positioned as a diver’s watch but as a resilient, water-resistant watch you could wear in any situation. In fact, today’s Aqua Terra 150M bears the closest resemblance to the original watch with its dressier ‘town, sea and country’ look. You can discover the complete history of the Seamaster here, in this in-depth video.
Surfacing to fame
The transformation from resilient dress watch to a more robust professional dive watch took place in 1957 with the release of the iconic Master line composed of the Seamaster 300, the Speedmaster and the Railmaster. Funnily enough, the 300 on the dial did not correspond to the water-resistance of the watch, which was officially rated to 200m. However, because its performance was beyond the capacities of the testing devices of the time, and thanks to the high resistance of the crystal and the Naïad crown, Omega decided to raise the bar. Swiftly adopted by divers – commercial and amateur – the Seamaster 300 was also Jacques Cousteau’s watch of choice for his high-profile underwater expeditions.
And just like the 1957 Seamaster 300 with its illustrious followers, the 1993 Seamaster was also taken on board by real sportsmen and divers, including Roland Specker’s world-record freshwater free dive to 80m in Lake Neuchâtel in 1993 and on the wrists of Sir Peter Blake and other sailors of Team New Zealand and their America’s Cup victory in 1995.
However, more people will remember another epic moment of product placement when the Seamaster Diver 300M became the watch of choice for James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) making its screen debut in the 1995 film GoldenEye. A golden marketing coup, securing Omega’s rights to become Bond’s official watch supplier, meant that 007 had to abandon his allegiance to the Rolex Submariner.
Like the Speedmaster’s lunar exploits converting it into the Moonwatch, the Seamaster Diver 300M became the Bond watch. We won’t go into all the cameo moments of the Seamaster on 007’s wrist, for that you can consult Brice’s review that will take you up to watch he wore in 2015 Spectre. As you know, the next Bond saga (the 25th), No Time to Die, is due to hit cinemas in April 2020 and no surprises which brand will be on Daniel Craig’s wrist. For those of you who are die-hard Bond fans, Omega recently released a limited-edition Seamaster crammed with references to the world’s best-loved spy.
2019 might have been eclipsed with Speedmaster Moonwatch celebrations and the Swatch Group’s decision to leave Baselworld and hosts its very own watch fair, Time to Move, but there were a couple of additions to the Seamaster Diver 300M, including this model with a white ceramic (ZrO2) dial that conforms to the updates to this line undertaken in 2018.
The model we are reviewing today benefits from the 2018 makeover when the case of the Seamaster Diver 300M was enlarged to 42mm, upgraded with modern materials and its engine fine-tuned with the latest Master Chronometer technology. It also marked the return of the wave design on the dial, much appreciated by fans of the watch. While this 2019 model is just a new dial colour, the winning combination of black and white elements singles out this model from the more elaborate pieces that navigate the same waters.
Other white dial Seamaster Diver 300M models
This is not the first time the Seamaster has made a splash in white. There have been a couple of references since its debut in the 1990s with white dials, including this 1993 white dial version and Bond “Commander’s Watch” with its blue and red bezel. However, in our opinion, this particular combination of white dial and black bezel is the best.
- The 1990s Omega Seamaster Professional 300M ST 396.1502 (photos chrono24)
- The Omega Seamaster Diver 300m “Commander’s Watch” Limited Edition
This white dial model might well be the most handsome edition of the SM 300M
The complex architecture of the 42mm x 13.5mm stainless steel case is highlighted by a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. If you look closely, you will notice how the outward-facing surfaces are brushed and the downward-sloping areas polished. The inky black bezel is crafted from ceramic and features a white enamel scale, offering longer-lasting whiteness and durability. The white dial is also crafted in ceramic, which is polished and then laser-engraved with thick waves for additional texture and depth. For contrast, the skeletonised hands are blackened as are the frames of the raised and lume-filled hour markers. The minutes track is also black with thicker five-minute markers and the date window at 6 o’clock has a white background with black numerals.
The closer you look at this watch, the more details emerge and in some of the more vibrantly coloured models with two-tone steel and gold cases, they can almost overwhelm. The beauty of this black and white model is precisely the way these ‘colours’ temper the scenery and highlight the functions. It just looks more handsome in black and white with the judicious splash of a varnished red tip on the central seconds hand and the Seamaster inscription.
Whether or not you strap on oxygen tanks for a hobby or not, Omega’s Seamaster Diver 300M is designed to perform underwater. The all-important rotating bezel is now made from ceramic with the diving scale picked out in white enamel. During decompression, helium molecules expand and can pop the crystal face and caseback. To avoid this, helium molecules need to be released and the helium escape valve is there for this purpose. Redesigned and patented with new technology, even if the conical Helium Escape Valve is accidentally opened underwater, the watch is guaranteed to remain water-resistant to 50m.
Naturally, luminescence is of the essence underwater and the hands, indices and the dot inside the triangle on the bezel are all treated with Super-LumiNova. Another practical feature for divers is the extendable bracelet system to fasten it on top of a thick diving suit.
The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the METAS-approved Master Chronometer Calibre 8800. Subjected to eight different tests to earn the title of Master Chronometer, the movements have already been certified by COSC: a double chronometer certification, if you like. Beating at 25,200vph (3.5Hz) and with a 55h power reserve, it features all the classic Omega innovations, such as Co-Axial escapement and a silicon balance spring. In addition to fathoming depths of 300m, the movement offers robust anti-magnetic properties capable of dealing with fields of up to 15,000 gauss. Decorated with Geneva waves in arabesque and blackened screws, the watch comes with a 5-year warranty.
Of the 17 Seamaster Diver 300M models in the collection today, this has to be my favourite. Sporty yet elegant, the white ceramic dial and black bezel is a combination that you won’t grow tired of. Packed to the gills with contemporary materials and technology, protection against magnetic fields might not be your first concern underwater until you find out that some scuba diving equipment can emit magnetism: one product, the Sharkbanz, emits an electromagnetic field to keep sharks at bay and could potentially interfere with a mechanical watch. Not with this Great White model though. This stylish diver, which looks great with a suit of both the wet and dry kind, would definitely be my watch of choice for Bond’s upcoming adventure.
This model, Ref.126.96.36.199.04.001, comes with a diving-ready black rubber strap with brushed central areas and a steel pin buckle. The retail price is EUR 4,600 and the watch is available now in Omega boutiques worldwide. For more information and updated prices in your country, please consult omegawatches.com.