Ten Essential Luxury Watches – Watch Number 4
Omega Seamaster 300 M Co-Axial 41MM
This is another of those ‘no watch collection is complete without…’ kind of watches. Just as there are Coca Cola and Pepsi Presidents, there are Rolex Submariner and OMEGA Seamaster diehards who swear by these luxury divers. Arguably, these two watches vie for more attention and create more emotion than any other watches in the luxury watch category.
Both of them have the distinction of having been on the wrist of the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond. The OMEGA Seamaster is the watch currently on active service, and has been so since Pierce Brosnan took on the role in 1995.
Why did they make the switch? It was for business reasons more than for any performance or aesthetic issues. One possible decider for the change of guard was a switch of emphasis in the business environment. OMEGA was eager to participate in high-profile co-promotions and product placement opportunities, especially the James Bond franchise, whereas conservative, rather secretive Rolex decided it was simply not their style.
The faithful Seamaster has a rich tradition. It been around since 1948 and comes in many editions, but rest assured, whichever modern Seamaster you choose, you can be confident it has all the essential ingredients that a first class diver should have including a screw-in crown and case back, unidirectional bezel, highly legible phosphorescent hands, and excellent water resistance to 300 metres or more, which is, of course, deeper than you are ever likely to go unless you have concrete moulded round your feet.
The Seamaster Professional Diver 300 M was worn by James Bond in five Bond movies. These Seamasters are made of stainless steel on a stainless steel bracelet, fitted with a blue dial, and a unidirectional rotating bezel with blue ring and a sapphire crystal.
But even if you are not interested in the Bond association, there are still some compelling reasons for choosing an OMEGA Seamaster, especially the versions with the Co-axial escapement. The Co-axial escapement was developed by the greatest horologist of the 20th century, Dr. George Daniels. It was developed in 1974. This invention is considered by those in the know to be one of the most significant horological advancements since the invention of the lever escapement itself. But incredibly, having invented it, George Daniels could not get anyone interested in incorporating it into their watches for over two decades.
The co-axial escapement functions with a system of 3 pallets that separates the locking function from the impulse, avoiding the sliding friction of the lever escapement. The problem of friction had been thought to be unsolvable until George Daniels developed this system.
In technical terms of the sort ‘Q’ would appreciate, by using radial friction instead of sliding friction at the impulse surfaces, the co-axial escapement significantly reduces friction, thereby resulting in longer service intervals and greater accuracy over time.
OMEGA introduced the mechanism into their watches in 1999. It’s certainly a nice to have addition, but in truth it is not the clincher for most men when it comes to wanting to own an OMEGA Seamaster.
Irrespective of the Bond allure and charisma, and the CoAxial Escapement nothwithstanding, the Seamaster has the same heady sense of adventure, machismo and derring-do that imbues the Rolex Submariner. It’s the kind of watch that makes a man feel in control.
The OMEGA Seamaster is a superlatively good looking timepiece on land, on sea, on business or on the weekend. It’s as desirable in a Brussels boardroom with a Savile Row suit as it is at home in denims and loafers.
Since it was launched in 1957, the Seamaster Diver 300M has rightfully been one of the most popular watches in OMEGA’s collection. This model retails in the region of $4,000, although it really depends where you buy from. Be sure to always buy from an authorised dealer because this is one of the most copied watches in the watch world.
Ten Essential Luxury Watches – Synopsis:
1. The Rolex Day-Date President
2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore “Bumblebee”
3. TAG Heuer Monaco
4. Omega Seamaster 300 M Co-Axial 41MM
5. Cartier Tank
6. Breitling Chronomat 44 Flying Fish
7. Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days – 47mm PAM 00514
8. IWC Da Vinci Automatic
9. Patek Philippe Calatrava
10. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711