One of the strangest side effects of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic on the luxury watch industry is the rise of what might be called “phantom limited editions.” With so many events postponed or canceled, 2020 brought with it a wide crop of limited-edition models commemorating things that never actually occurred, and perhaps the highest-profile example of this is the series of designs Omega released for the (currently postponed) 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. This “phantom limited edition” concept is beginning to drive massive collector interest, as searches for Omega Olympic models were up over 200 percent in 2020 on the popular online watch trading platform Chrono24. With this swelling consumer interest, and with major international events like the Olympics still very much in doubt for the foreseeable future, Omega is doubling down on the phenomenon in preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympics, currently scheduled for early 2022 in Beijing. The new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition combines one of the subtlest designs in the brand’s Olympic stable with an unorthodox sales strategy designed to capitalize on the current watch market landscape.
The 42mm stainless steel case of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition follows the familiar pattern of the Seamaster 300M, with its twisted lyre lugs, 10 o’clock helium escape valve, and the line’s signature scalloped bezel. The “Beijing 2022” Special Edition adds a laser-ablated titanium relief bezel insert to this iconic formula, adding significant visual depth and redirecting visual focus toward the dial. This insert first appeared in 2020’s Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition and remains a sharp departure from the standard ceramic look. Around back, the solid caseback is engraved with the Beijing 2022 Olympic logo and uses the brand’s proprietary Naiad Lock system to ensure the engraving is always perfectly aligned after the caseback is removed and reattached. Like the rest of the Seamaster Diver 300M line, this model boasts a respectable 300 meters of water resistance.
At first glance, the dial of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition appears almost standard, with the line’s signature skeleton sword hands, engraved wave pattern ceramic dial, and an oceanic blue sunburst finish. The Olympic tribute is small and remarkably under the radar, given its use of vibrant color. At 12, 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock, the applied indices are painted in the colors of the five Olympic rings: black, red, green, yellow, and blue. While the colors themselves are bright, the elements are small enough not to overwhelm the dial, and the integration of the colors into the classic Seamaster design feels vastly more nuanced than simply placing the Olympic rings on the dial.
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition is powered by the in-house Calibre 8800 co-axial automatic movement. In addition to Omega’s signature co-axial escapement, the Calibre 8800 offers a massive 15,000 gauss of magnetic resistance, a silicon balance spring, and certified accuracy within the brand’s exacting Master Chronometer standards. Power reserve stands at 55 hours at a 25,200 bph beat rate. Omega pairs this model with its iconic five-link Seamaster bracelet in stainless steel.
Where Omega’s Olympic tie-in models have traditionally been numbered limited editions in the past, the market interest surrounding the Tokyo 2020 variants and the continuing uncertainty surrounding how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have convinced the brand to take a different tack. To capitalize on this moment, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition is a non-numbered special-edition model. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition will be available through authorized dealers in April 2021 at an MSRP of €6,100. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.