The Seamaster Diver 300M is one of Omega's most iconic watches, second only to the legendary Speedmaster. In 2018, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its birth, a new model was presented which finally, thanks to a series of improvements that we will see in this article, brings it back to the top of the best divers on the market.
I must confess that I am very attached to this Omega model, as the Seamaster Diver 300 ref. 2531.80 was one of the first watches I bought as soon as I got into watchmaking. Since then, I'm talking about 2008, he has been a faithful companion in everyday life and in my vacation days spent between the salt water of the sea and that of the swimming pool. A robust, extremely versatile watch that I always wear with great pleasure.
If to retrace the history of the Seamaster Diver 300M we have to go back only two decades, for that of the Seamaster we have to take a big leap towards the end of the Second World War.
The first Omega Seamaster models were born about 70 years ago, but the first waterproof watch ideas date back to 1932 when Omega introduced the “Marine“, Which is the first wristwatch in the world designed for civilian divers. This timepiece with a patented double case, designed to protect the mechanism from extreme variations in temperature and pressure, was successfully tested in 1936 when it was immersed in Lake Geneva 73 meters deep for a full 30 minutes.
The first Seamaster was introduced in 1948, on the occasion of Omega's centenary, a watch that expressed all the savoir faire acquired by the maison thanks to the collaboration with the RAF during the Second World War. The main feature that made it resistant and robust, in addition to the very wide lugs, was the use of a circular rubber seal. In terms of design, it was certainly a more elegant watch than the one assigned to the army and suitable for everyday life.
The first record was reached in 1955 on the wrist of the diver Gordon McLean, who took him to a depth of 62,5 meters. It wasn't until 1957 that the Seamaster became famous as a pioneer of diving watches, with the model Seamaster 300. The black dial with triangular indexes filled with radium, the hands "Broad Arrow"Of hours and minutes and that of seconds defined"Lollipop”On the whole ensured great ease of reading, especially in conditions of poor visibility. The bezel was another new element which, thanks to the radio point at 12 o'clock, made it possible to view the minutes of air remaining during the dives.
This watch and subsequent versions, became the faithful companion of the most famous explorers and divers, accompanying Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his team during the Precontinent II underwater experiment conducted in 1963 in the Red Sea to testify that divers were able to survive in an underwater environment with saturated gas for long periods without contraindications.
With the "racing the abyss" of the following years, Omega continued to develop diving watches such as the famous Seamaster 1000, designed for the most demanding applications and the Seamster “PloProf” 600, an unconventional watch capable of blocking the helium atoms that can accumulate inside diving watches and cause them to explode.
The SEAMASTER DIVER 300M and 007
In 1993 Omega introduced a new family of watches to the Seamaster line, characterized by an unprecedented 41mm case, the presence of the helium valve at 10 o'clock, the unidirectional bezel with aluminum insert, a wave pattern dial and a new bracelet with closure equipped with extension to allow it to be used even over the neoprene wetsuit. The time-only version was also presented with a 36mm case with both quartz and automatic movements, in addition to the female version in 28mm quartz.
In 1995 the Seamaster Diver 300M appeared on the wrist of the world's most famous spy, James Bond. The partnership between Omega and 007 begins with the film Goldeneye, with the reference 2541.80.00 worn by Pierce Brosnan.
Since that time the Seamaster Diver300M has been the faithful companion of 007 up to the most recent ones Casino Royale (2006) Spectre (2015) and in the still unpublished "No Time to Die“, Where the new Seamaster 300 in titanium emerges from Daniel Craig's cuff, equipped with a beautiful 'mesh' bracelet.
THE NEW SEAMASTER DIVER 300M
To coincide with the 25th anniversary of its introduction, in 2018 Omega presented a new version with a slightly larger case diameter, going from 41 to 42 mm, an in-house developed and METAS certified CoAxial caliber and the wave pattern. on the ceramic dial. Every detail has been meticulously cared for.
Focus on the clock
The dial is made of polished ceramic, in shades of black, blue or chromed PVD, finally reintroducing the iconic laser ablate wave pattern, abandoned in previous re-editions. The hands are skeletonized, the raised indexes are filled with Superluminova, while the date window was married at 6 o'clock, with the disc in the same shade as the dial. The latter choice, in my opinion perfect, as the date window often “disturbs” the harmony and cleanliness of the dial. Not in this case.
The helium valve has also been redesigned, both in form and function. A major upgrade was the introduction of a system patented by Omega, which guarantees a water resistance of 5 bar if the helium escape valve accidentally opens underwater. In addition, a red gasket is provided at the base of the valve, to highlight its opening more clearly. A very important detail, to be taken into account before diving.
The METAS Caliber 8800
On side B of the watch it is possible to admire the caliber Master Chronometer 8800, thanks to the visible caseback. It could be argued that on a diver watch the visible movement is a superfluous detail. If in terms of functionality I could agree, I find that Omega has rightly wanted to show its know-how in terms of movements. The 8800 caliber it is first of all very pleasant to look at, with its bridges and oscillating weight decorated with a motif Côtes de Genève.
On a technical level this movement incorporates all the innovations achieved by Omega since Co-Axial escapement, to the sfree pyral in silicon Sil4 which guarantees better precision than a racket equipped with a walking period adjustment racket, and better resistance to magnetic fields.
Last but not least it is a caliber Master Chronometer certified METAS approved, resistant to magnetic fields up to 15.000 gauss. The ability to withstand such a large amount of gauss, makes the Seamaster Diver 300 a perfect watch even in everyday life, if we think about how many magnetic fields surround us: from our smartphone to the most common household appliances. There power reserve is equal to 55 hours.
The iconic bracelet has also been redesigned. In general it has cleaner lines and is less "rounded" than previous versions. The adjustment and sealing of the additional links, a sore point in my opinion in the old Omega bracelets, has finally been rethought thanks to a system that includes two screws (one on each side) that ensure a passing pin between one link and another. One of the safest and least wear-and-tear systems among high-end watches. The folding clasp has been patented and is extendable both for small everyday adjustments and for the needs of divers.
On the wrist the Seamaster Diver 300M it is certainly an important presence if worn with a bracelet and you have a wrist like mine measuring 17,5mm in circumference, but in the end it is a full-fledged diver and this is normal. In addition, it features great versatility thanks to the possibility of mounting it with a rubber strap, or to the infinite quantity of NATO straps that Omega produces.
La perceived quality it is truly high, from the alternation of finishes on the case and bracelet to the dial which is the real star of this watch. Caliber 8800 is an important plus, to be taken into consideration. Although previous versions were equipped with robust movements, this in-house caliber represents even more a watershed with the past. This movement, which enjoys METAS certification, boasts not only a great one strength e precision - with an average of 0 / + 5 sec. per day but its great resistance to magnetic fields up to 15'000 gauss makes it suitable for today's needs.
The selling price of the version we tested ref. 18.104.22.168.03.001 is equal to € 5.200,00, while that of the version with a rubber strap is equal to € 4.900,00. Finding a better diver on the market at this price is virtually impossible.
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