The Omega Seamaster Pro 300m:
A Subjective Review
Posted by Justin Time on TimeZone
Only a handful of watches ever reached the popularity of the Omega Seamaster. Trying to explain why may be as pointless as explaining a joke. Instead, I will simply share my views as an owner with you. I bought a stainless-steel Omega Seamaster Pro Diver 300m last year. I selected the 3/4 size to fit my small wrist. I’ve been very pleased with it-not the wrist, of course, the watch. It is elegant, modern, accurate, and rugged. Though I never put its diving competence to the test, I found the design and operation of the rotating bezel less than optimal. The Seamaster Pro is also heavy for every-day wear. This watch could use a lighter material, but it is not the only one. Overall, the Omega Seamaster Pro is a very good value-I bought it second-hand at half price. You get a dependable watch with modern styling, excellent depth rating, and a well-recognized name at a fraction of the cost of the competition.
- Movement-A typical watch consumer, I barely know the essentials of a mechanical movement, and am poorly qualified to discuss it. The ETA 2892/2 is designed and manufactured within the SMH group, the conglomerate that owns Omega. The movement is widely used outside SMH, and even by some highly respected watchmakers. I cannot tell you if Omega finishes the ETA 2892/2 differently from TAG/Heuer (S/El model), or how this movement stacks up against others. In my layman view, the ETA 2892/2 movement is inexpensive and common, but fully competent. It has performed dependably for me and deserves a solid rating of 6.5 out of a possible 10.
- Accuracy-So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised. My Seamaster runs about +2 to +3 seconds within a three-month span, well within its chronometer rating (-4/+6 seconds/day). It is too early to tell-the measure of a good watch is how it performs after 10 or 20 years-but so far so good. The Seamaster Pro has an efficient rotor: the watch tics immediately from a dead stop with just a slight tilt of the case. It also has a good power reserve, and survived weekends resting on my night table. Rating: 7.
- Style & Construction-The Seamaster Pro is an elegant watch. Its modern style is bold without being aggressive. The dark blue dial is especially striking with the bezel of the same color. With the stainless-steel bezel, the watch is dressier, but the conservative overtone does not quite fit the modern styling of the watch-the effect is subtle; I agonized for two weeks before opting for the blue bezel. The ocean-wave grooves on the dial embody elemental energy, perfect for a diving watch. The large circular markers are filled with tritium for easy reading in all lights. The elegant sweep-hand with its red pointer and tritium dot adds a nice touch. Less successful are the hour- and minute-hands. The square and triangular cut-outs from these wide stainless-steel hands reduce the contrast with the dial, especially in low light. The tritium paint on these hands shows up well in the dark. The date window is not magnified but large enough for aging eyes.
Compared to the Rolex Jubilée bracelet, the Omega bracelet is more rugged, and resists stretching far better. The safety latch on the clasp uses a push-button that is a nice touch not often found in watches at this price range. I find it more secure than the Rolex pressure-fit clasp, and easier to use than the flip-lock on the Tag/Heuer. I have two complaints. First, the bracelet style clashes with the clean design of the dial/bezel. The plainer style of the Rolex Oyster bracelet would have fared better. Second, the traditional push-pins on the links are difficult to remove safely without the right tool-IWC Porsche Design, for example, supplies a pin-pusher with some of its watches. Without this tool, unskilled owners should ask a jeweler to adjust the bracelet to avoid scratching. I much prefer the consumer-friendly design of the IWC links (automatic Fliegerchronograph) that requires no tools at all. Consider the price difference, though…. Rating: A solid 7.
- Ergonomics-The crown is nicely protected by protrusions from the case. The screw-down mechanism also works well. The flush fit of the sapphire crystal on the bezel protects the crystal edge against chipping. The brushed SS finish is easy to care for, but the long clasp scratches easily.* I personally find the SS Seamaster Pro to be rather heavy. My 3/4-size watch weighs a whopping 130 grams (slightly over 4 1/2 ounces), heavy for my small wrist (7 inches). Some of you might actually prefer this heavy weight. I don’t. I would not care for the full-size Seamaster Pro at all, unless it is in titanium. I must admit that, compared to the heft of the automatic IWC Fliegerchronograph or Orfina Porsche Design, the weight of Omega Seamaster Pro does not seem excessive. The rotating bezel for diving time is a big disappointment. While beautifully styled, the indentations on the bezel perimeter are slippery and useless if your fingers are cold or wet, not exactly optimal
for a diving watch! My Seamaster bezel is stiff, requiring an enormous effort to rotate.** If you are a serious diver, please investigate this aspect further before purchase. The Seamaster Pro does have an excellent depth rating (300 meters or 1,000 feet) for a mechanical watch thanks to the helium valve. I have not used it and find it to be an overkill for casual divers, and most users-just one more thing to go wrong. Rating: A disappointing 5 (or 7 if you do not intend to use the watch for diving).
- Service and Resale Value-I have not had a reason to send this watch back for servicing yet, so I cannot comment in this area. I would appreciate any experience, positive or negative, that you have. The Seamaster seems to hold its price pretty well after the initial drop. Annoying as it is, the current trend to associate a watch with a well-known person-the fictional James Bond, in this case-seems to have boosted the sale of the Seamaster. I bought the Omega Seamaster Pro used, at about half price, and would have no trouble re-selling it quickly at the same price.*** Rating: 7.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the Omega Seamaster Pro 300m. It is an attractive, young-looking watch that is well-made, accurate, dependable, and reasonably priced. Its popularity is well-earned. On the negative sides, even the 3/4 size is a bit too heavy for small wrists. The rotating bezel for diving is difficult to use and the bracelet would benefit from a re-design. Overall, this watch is a good buy at the US retail price of $1,700, and an outstanding value in the used-watch market. I rate it a solid 7 out of a possible 10.
*I found that Never-Dull removes scratches easily but gives the surface too much shine. At the recommendations of my favorite watch dealer-Thank you Jeff!-I used a styro-foam block made for nail polishing and restored the original brushed look successfully. Be warned, though, that cosmetic fixes can have disastrous consequences. I defer to Jack Freedman’s post on this subject.
**In one of the responses to this review, a person-I unfortunately cannot recall who it was-recommended that I put a few drops of water under the bezel, then rotate it several times to loosen it up. It helped some, but did not eliminate the problem.
***The resale (street) values in the US of most modern watches track the European retail prices, not the inflated US retail prices. If you use the European/Asian retail price as a guide for new watches, then nearly all modern watches in mint condition re-sell for about 80% of their retail prices, just like Rolex. The disparity is resale value seems to be an artifact of the inflated US retail prices.