When aBlogtoWatch met up with Omega to cover some of its new 2021 watch releases, it became immediately clear how important materials science was to the team in Bienne, Switzerland. For Omega, that means two things this year. First, it means new ways of finishing popular materials like ceramic. But it also means introducing new materials and techniques, such as Bronze Gold, as well as a new more scratch-resistant aluminum anodization technique used for some bezel inserts (as is the case in the new steel-cased Seamaster 300 models). Right now, however, we are talking about one of the hippest new Omega watches for 2021: the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black.
Rendered in stealthy all-black ceramic, this is a new version of the still freshly-revised (in 2019) Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer (aBlogtoWatch review here) watch that has proven very popular. This “phantom” Seamaster Diver 300M blends high-tech construction and a thoroughly sexy, masculine wearing experience. In some senses, this is the core Seamaster 300M, just rendered in black ceramic. In other respects, this is a very different watch from the other models, given how it feels and looks on the wrist — as well as the fact that it has finishing styles you won’t really see on other modern Seamaster 300M watches. This version of the Seamaster 300M also shares a name (and color scheme) with my favorite chewing gum, a caffeine-infused Lotte product called Black Black from Japan.
Omega and ceramic are nothing new, but some people may have forgotten the absolute winner that the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watch (aBlogtoWatch review here) was for the brand and its fans. It feels hard to believe that it was released back in 2013! Omega didn’t need to reinvent the Speedmaster, but what they did was finally make a black ceramic watch that was finished like traditional metal with features such as contrast polishes. Until then, most ceramic watches had a single case polishing finish. Omega really popularized the idea that if you polish ceramic as you might metal (you can’t exactly use the same machine processes for that given how much harder the surface “high-tech ceramic” – zirconium dioxide – is), a ceramic watch can offer the benefits of ceramic (scratch resistance, color permanence, etc…) with the traditional beauty of a polished metal timepiece.
Since the Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon was released, Omega has continued to explore and experiment with ceramic in several interesting ways (notably for a variety of Seamaster Planet Ocean watches in ceramic). That includes not just new colors, but also new formulations and machining techniques. An excellent example of this for the new Seamaster 300M Black Black is that the crown and manual helium release valve are not black-colored PVD-coated metal, but all ceramic. This is achieved thanks to a sophisticated ceramic injection molding technique. Previously, such parts could not be made out of ceramic, because it was too difficult to mill pieces of ceramic into such precise components in any volume. Today things are different, and sophisticated watch makers which benefit from the industrial excellence of the Swatch Group can make black ceramic feel fresh all over again.
To understand the evolution of the Seamaster 300M as a ceramic watch, it is a good idea to compare this new 2021 Seamaster 300M black ceramic model with its predecessor, the 2019 Omega Seamaster 300M Black Ceramic & Titanium. As the name implies, that watch (which more or less shares the same form factor as this new one) was a blend between ceramic case components and some in titanium. The latter metal was chosen for its weight savings, as well as the fact that it was relied upon for parts that (at the time) Omega could not machine in ceramic. Today things have advanced.
An interesting talking point of the Seamaster 300M Black Black is just how much of the watch is in ceramic. That includes the 43.5mm wide (sometimes referred to as 42mm wide depending on where the case is measured), roughly 14.5mm thick, 300 meter water resistant, case, bezel, crowns, dial, and even the strap buckle. The other interesting talking point that I believe more people will appreciate is the fact that this is probably the most legible “all-black” watch I’ve seen in a long time. Bell & Ross had a phantom version of the BR01 a long time ago that similarly was able to create an all-black experience using shades of gray on the dial. Similarly, Omega mixes shades of gray and interesting finishing techniques to offer a “phantom” watch aesthetic with all the legibility of a tool watch. Note the special anthracite-colored Super-LumiNova lume (that glows blue). Omega representatives reminded us during the meeting that this is still supposed to be suitable as a professional diver’s watch. The implication is that despite the black-on-black dial (which is normally harder to read), legibility is not an issue here.
Omega is right about this. The mix of various shades of black and gray, together with different finishes, allows for this all-black watch to be perfectly legible. This makes it not only a great-looking timepiece, but also a fine Omega tool. The frost finishing on the bezel is a fascinating example of some of the novel ways that Omega is finishing ceramic, much of which is thanks to laser finishing technologies.
Inside the Seamaster 300M is the in-house made and METAS-certified Omega caliber 8806 automatic movement. It operates at 3.5Hz (25,200 bph) with 55 hours of power reserve. The movement is highly anti-magnetic, uses silicon in the regulation system, and still nicely polished. You can admire the movement through the sapphire crystal on the otherwise ceramic caseback, which is always a nice touch on a professional-style diver’s watch.
Unfortunately, no matching black ceramic bracelet is available for the Seamaster Divers 300M Black Black yet. That will be truly something if and when Omega is able to manage that. For now, the watch comes on the same high-quality custom-fitted black rubber strap that is available for other newer Seamaster 300M models. The watch wears very comfortably on the wrist and blends the macho modern looks of an all-black watch, with the timeless distinctiveness of Omega’s landmark dive watch. Price for the reference 18.104.22.168.01.003 Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black watch is $8,650 USD. Learn more at the Omega website here.