Omega watch lovers are given an almost tedious amount of good options when it comes to what watch to want next. The “Omega love” is high here, but let’s be honest, when it comes to wanting a new Speedmaster or Seamaster choosing the right model for you is just under being as complicated as determining a new neighborhood to move to. There are a complex set of considerations, pluses, minuses, and “should I hold out for X” thoughts that go through your head. Well, to make things better/more frustrating, Omega has released the Omega Seamaster 300M Chronograph GMT Co-Axial watch as another model that ticks off several boxes in your “want list.”
With so much focus on the Seamaster Planet Ocean and the new for 2014 Seamaster 300 (not 300M, yes, we know it is a bit confusing), the longstanding Omega Seamaster 300M doesn’t get all the attention it perhaps deserves. A decade ago, it was all about the Omega Seamaster 300M (300 M). It was the James Bond watch, and it was an extremely versatile timepiece that came in a range of sizes, styles, and with both mechanical and quartz movement offerings.
Today, the Omega Seamaster 300M collection is relatively basic and exists just under the Seamaster Planet Ocean in terms of price. The movements are not fully in-house, but rather combine custom Omega parts with stock ETA movements. Frankly, the movements are very good and the value is there too, but you can’t turn them over and admire them like you can the very pretty in-house made Omega calibers. While most Omega Seamaster 300M watches today are three-hand automatics, there are some chronograph versions (such as the Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph ETNZ Limited Edition, and its non-limited edition variants), and now for 2014, a Chronograph GMT Co-Axial.
In many ways, this new chronograph and GMT version of the Omega Seamaster 300M is a minor update to the Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph, but with a revised dial and GMT hand. That is OK with me, because I think it is a solid addition of a desirable feature. Omega actually has other chronograph GMT watches such as the Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT with the in-house made caliber 9605, but the layout is different than on the Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph GMT.
In a steel case with a matte dark gray ceramic bezel, the Omega Seamaster 300M in this form is 44mm wide and properly thick on the wrist. If there is anything you can say about Omega dive watches it is that they make for a bold presence on the wrist – especially the chronograph models. The iconic Seamaster 300M case is water resistant to 300 meters (duh) and has a manual helium release valve at 10 o’clock.
Often replicated but never really well copied is the well-regarded Omega Seamaster 300M bracelet. Omega originally designed it as a more chunky dive-style version of the Speedmaster Professional bracelet, and it continues to have its charms. It also happens to be quite comfortable. Having said that, the Seamaster 300M Chronograph GMT C-Axial is also the type of watch that can look really good on a rubber strap.
Inside the Omega Seamaster 300M Chronograph GMT Co-Axial is the Omega caliber 3603 movement that is essentially a caliber 3330 with a GMT hand. This automatic movement has a Co-Axial escapement and a silicon balance spring. It operates at 4 Hz and has a nice power reserve of 52 hours. Also, like the in-house made Omega movements the automatic rotor winds in both directions. It further has a column wheel for the chronograph and the movement is COSC Chronometer certified. The dial features the time, date, 12 hour chronograph, and central GMT hand.
Omega nicely integrated the GMT dial without making the watch appear too busy. I like how the extra indicators for the 24 hour scale are between the normal hour markers, and not inside or out side of them. Omega offers two version of the Omega Seamaster 300M Chronograph GMT Co-Axial. One (the ref. 126.96.36.199.01.001) has a black dial with red accents while the other (ref. 188.8.131.52.03.001) has a blue dial with yellow accents. Each has a unique bezel color as well to match the dial.
I am not totally sure how I feel about the “smaller” subsidiary seconds dial that has text inside of it. I think it is a clever integration of additional text, but sometimes I look at the dial and feel the sub seconds dial is an indicator for something else. A minor quirk of the design, at worst.
Why does the world need more chronograph GMT sport watches? Well, maybe inserting this functionality in a dive watch isn’t per se totally necessary, but I find chronograph GMT watches to combine two of the most useful complications in a single watch. I like chronograph GMT watches for traveling as I can time various things as well as have a reference time to home. Chronograph GMT watches also make for good daily wear pieces for those who like “intricate dials.” Of course the trick for a watch maker is to ensure that dials with all of these features nevertheless look attractive.
Omega releases a healthy slew of new watches each year, and the Omega Seamaster 300M Chronograph GMT Co-Axial exists as part of a very attractive line-up for 2014. Having said that, I think that this watch will satisfy a lot of people with its combination of style, features, and price. Omega continues to price its watches without totally in-house made movements slightly under those with them, of course. While Omega watches are still considered expensive, there is a lot to love in this new watch that really helps epitomize why so many tool-watch guys continue to flock to the brand.