Up there with the best, thanks to a variety of reasons difficult to predict from official images. I have developed a preference for watches with differently shaped main hands – I look at watches where the hour and minute hands are the same shape just different sizes and I immediately feel something is off but it takes time for me to realize that is what’s putting me off (one of the few notable exceptions is this Grand Seiko).
Another charm of smaller cased watches is that the hands tend to fit perfectly, as they do here – there often is a limit to the size of the hands that can be fitted onto a watch because of the strain they put on a movement, which in turn results in large watches having small hands, and I’ll spare you an analogy here. With this Seamaster 300M Chronograph, not only are the hands the perfect length and width, but are also easy to distinguish not just from each other, but also the dial itself.
Something not always visible on images or in real life is how the frame of the main hands is highly reflective. I was impressed when I was walking through a bit darker section of a street (easy to do when it gets dark by 4PM here in Budapest) and the hands reflected back all of the muted yellowish light that was available. This comes in handy when the lume is not charged – which, again, can happen easily when it’s dark outside and the watch is hidden under the coat’s sleeve. In fact, it is one of the best performances in legibility I have seen in a while. Contrast between hands and dial surface and contrast between hand sizes and shapes are the very key to good legibility.
Lume on the hands and indices is torch-like for a short while after it’s been charged and remains charged for as long as every watch with high-end lume does. As is normal for Seamasters, the minute hand and the pip in the bezel are green while the rest of the markers and hands light up in blue-ish green – on this particular piece the two colors are actually not that different. Last but not least, the domed sapphire crystal received strong anti-reflective coatings on both sides, rendering it definitely one of the better crystals out there and a good match for a sturdy tool watch like the Seamaster 300M chronograph.
The Omega Caliber 3330 Movement
The Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph 41.5mm features the Omega Caliber 3330, which, as those familiar with Omega caliber numbers will know, is a heavily modified base ETA 7753. The 3330 is an automatic chronograph with a column wheel (considerable upgrade over the cam-system of the 775x range), with Omega’s Si14 silicon balance spring in its free-spring balance wheel, and with 52 hours power reserve.
Part of the thickness of the Seamaster 300M Chronograph comes from its extremely sturdy case – you can feel the crystal is very thick and so is the caseback – and part of it is from the movement. It is a relatively narrow movement that is a good fit for the 41.5mm case, but with its automatic winding and date, it does have some thickness to it. An appreciated detail is how the Seamaster 300M Chronograph 41.5 is a COSC-certified chronometer. Overall accuracy of the Seamaster 300M for the time that I’ve had it was a couple seconds too fast per day, on average.
Traces of the 7753 legacy can be found in the previously discussed corrector pusher at the 10 o’clock position, set inside the helium escape valve, as well as the thickness of the caliber and hence the watch itself. Last is how the minute counter of the chronograph, found inside the 3 o’clock sub-dial, does not jump at the end of each timed minute but rather sweeps – I personally prefer jumping chronograph minutes, but this surely doesn’t make that much difference. The way the chronograph hands are color matched red to separate them from the main time display is another appreciated, thoughtful detail.
Three more notes regarding the date mechanism: the 3330 incorporates a quick date change, meaning the advancement of the date disc happens between at about 11:50pm and 00:05am – up to two hours faster than on most common mechanical movements. The other quirk is how, although a corrector pusher is used, the crown does feel as though it snaps into a first position upon pulling it out after unscrewing it, and only after that does it move into the second position where the main hands can be set. Last, for a chronograph watch the date disc is as close to the surface of the dial as it can possibly be, something that allows for an easy reading of the date – with the added benefit of it looking tidy up there where it belongs, and not further down in the bowels of the watch.
The Seamaster 300M Chronograph 41.5mm truly isn’t the watch that’s been making headlines recently, but that shouldn’t make any difference. Not everyone has or wants to spend 8 to 10 thousand on a watch (or more), but many do very much turn to the big brands to get their dose of functionality, durability, timeless design and yes, a recognizable luxury name.
The Seamaster 300M in this variation – or with a black dial and bezel – I think is one of the best all-rounder watches offered today in its segment. It does most everything you’d want it to do – COSC accuracy, rugged construction, cool and nicely executed steel bracelet and clasp, ceramic bezel, high-end dial, good legibility, tried and proven movement, chronograph, quick changing date, silicon hairspring… and a timeless look with the proportions it deserves.
Along with all these strong points you’ll want to consider its considerable weight and its sensibility to getting the bracelet sized just right – pushing your AD to get you a micro-adjust clasp might not be a bad idea. If I had to wear just one watch for the rest of my life, I’m not convinced this would hands down be the one, but it would be among those few I’d want to choose from.
Price for the Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph 41.5mm is 5,400 CHF with taxes. omegawatches.com
>Model: Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Chronograph 41.5mm 188.8.131.52.03.001
>Price: 5,400 CHF
>Size: 41.5mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Friend who prefers choosing one high-quality, all-rounder item that he plans on using for long.
>Best characteristic of watch: One of the best all-rounders out there. Proportions, size, classic looks, functionality, legibility, and quality of execution.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Really heavy. Frustrating diver’s extension. Clasp very much needs a micro-adjust.