A 75th anniversary is not one you let slip by without a proper event. And so Omega set out for Mykonos this year to blow out the candles for the Seamaster. We’ve seen a slew of updates across the entire collection, but here we are going to focus on the modern centerpiece of the model range: The Seamaster Diver 300m, sometimes referred to as the SMP300m.
This is the watch made famous by James Bond in Goldeneye, the one that cemented Omega as the watch of 007. Over the years it has undergone numerous changes in form, size, and color.
In 2018, Omega released the latest design of the watch – upsizing it from 41mm to 42mm and adding the controversial (but now accepted) exhibition caseback showcasing the METAS-certified Co-Axial caliber 8800.
This is the Seamaster Diver 300m that we’ve had in our lives for the better part of half a decade – itself released to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster writ large. At 75 we aren’t seeing a massive change to the watch, but we are certainly seeing a celebratory one. So what does that mean exactly?
It means thoughtful changes that not only harken back to the past, but also speak to the modern context of watch design. From a heritage perspective, this new Seamaster brings back the closed caseback – with a twist. Instead of the well-known Seahorse engraving, things here are a bit more ornate with Poseidon and his trident etched prominently.
From a modern perspective, we have the first thing that jumps off of this new take on the SMP300m: The dial. While Omega is calling this a gradient “Summer Blue,” I will go so far as to say this is the brand’s take on a smoked or fumé dial treatment, where the gradient goes from dark along the edges to a bright blue at the center – in this case an illustration of the changing colors at the depths of the sea.
The dial surface is a matte, grained texture which is different from the glossy ceramic surface of the existing models in blue, black, white, and green. We have the same laser-etched wave pattern that we know from the existing models.
In advance of this release, rumors abounded that Omega had returned this watch to its previous 41mm size. Instead, we have the same 42mm size as the existing model range born from the 2018 release, including the same non-tapering steel bracelet and a rubber strap. The bezel insert here is a dark blue ceramic with a blue enamel (grand feu) diving scale.
This new 75th-anniversary steel Seamaster will cost $5,900 on strap, $6,300 on bracelet, and is available soon.
What We Think
There’s no doubt that the imaginations of Seamaster-faithful everywhere were running rampant with ideas of what this anniversary event would yield. It would seem that 75 is not the year of massive change but – to be honest – that is not necessarily a bad thing.
We enthusiasts have a ton of big ideas, and we’re always yearning for brands to blow things up, take big swings, or revert completely to the past. Sometimes the best move is to stay the course, especially when talking about one of your most popular watches.
And that is precisely what Omega has done here, choosing iteration over innovation and delivering a really handsome take on an already winning formula. While writing this, I was talking to some of the team here at Hodinkee and a thought occurred to us about what a watch like this is.
Given the ornate dial choice, this feels very much like a Seamaster Diver 300m for someone that already has one. This isn’t the everyday watch, but rather something special to add to the collection, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Omega is known for its special or limited edition watches and this one feels very much in line with what we’ve seen the brand do in recent years around various Olympic Games. And look, if you do happen to choose this as your one and only Seamaster, then more power to you.
It works just fine in that context. Now while I happen to take no offense to any of the design choices made here, am I left wanting a bit? Absolutely I am. In fact, Omega has delivered one specific special edition of late that would have seemed – to me – to have been a perfect starting point for a home run on this 75th anniversary.
I am referring to the James Bond Anniversary Seamaster released at the end of last year to commemorate 60 years of the famed MI6 agent. If Omega had decided to take that watch and put this very same engraved caseback on it, I think the watch world would be going bananas as we speak.
In the end, I still think this is a nice commemorative release, though it lacks a bit of timelessness. And then lastly, I think many of us were hoping to see an updated bracelet, maybe one with some taper. We don’t get that here, so here’s hoping the 80th anniversary delivers in that department.
Overall, I am a fan of this smoked dial design. It’s modern, and it’s special. Keeping it a matte texture was certainly the right choice and it plays well in contrast with the blue ceramic bezel. I am sure we will have this one in for hands-on review sometime soon, so I’ll reserve any real critical judgment until I can experience it in real life. Until then, I’ll continue enjoying today’s barrage of Seamaster releases.