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Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews 2018 saw Swiss Omega release an entirely updated Seamaster 300M diver watch collection (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here). The updated Seamaster 300M was intended to retain the core look and feel of the popular Omega diver’s watch while bringing the product’s technology and materials into the 21st century. This is the first Seamaster 300M watch collection to include a “Master Chronometer” certified in-house made Omega movement, which to me is a big part of keeping the “Professional” nature of this sports watch intact. Omega further has no shortage of Diver Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42mm (the official name of the watch) versions which includes this standard all-steel with black dial model to more exotic models with gold and ceramic. At the time of writing this watch review article, Omega has 15 different versions of the Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer on its website.

I chose to review this reference 210.30.42.20.01.001 “steel on steel” model with the black ceramic dial and bezel because in my opinion is represents the original, core look of the what the Seamaster 300M is to me. Originally released in 1993 when Jean-Claude Biver was at Omega, the Seamaster 300M sought to be a competitive alternative to the Rolex Submariner… that didn’t immediately look like a Rolex Submariner. Now about 25 years later I think many people will agree that the distinctive hand set along with hour markers continues to help the Seamaster 300M stand apart from the competition. The watch also has pricing on its side if judged alongside the Rolex Submariner. The retail price of this specific steel Seamaster 300M is under $5,000 and about $3,500 less than the Rolex Submariner. With that said, competition in the high-end dive watch space is extremely fierce and consumers today spending upwards of $4,000 on a sports dive watch are mostly seeking status and prestige as opposed to utility and style.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

In the 1990s Omega’s popularity with the Seamaster 300M in large part hard to do with the collection’s very accessible pricing. By today’s standards the Seamaster 300M feels expensive – even though Omega has really upped the value proposition in terms of materials as well as the excellent in-house made caliber 8800 automatic movement. Starting with a Co-Axial escapement, the caliber 8800 is also (virtually) immune to the effects of environmental magnetism, features a reliable silicon balance spring, and boasts Omega’s impressive METAS Certification seal (which also include COSC Chronometer certification). Operating at 4Hz, the automatic movement has a power reserve of 55 hours and includes the time along with a date window complication. The result is an accurate, reliable, and very resilient mechanical movement – exactly what you’d want in a diver’s style timepiece.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The newest generation of Seamaster 300M watch is slightly larger than the outgoing generation with a 42mm wide versus 41mm wide case. Water resistant to 300 meters, the case is about 12mm thick and has a roughly 50mm lug-to-lug distance. Wearing comfort is high, but it is a heavy and chunky watch – especially when paired with the metal bracelet. One of the most interesting albeit subtle updates to the case is the tapering of the helium release valve crown which is located at 10 o’clock on the case. This slight design tweak is a quick way to visually separate the new versus old generation Seamaster 300M models.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Manual helium release valves on dive watches are old school technology which are only needed in rather rare situations. If you are not a commercial diver you probably won’t ever have a need to use the helium release valve. Automatic helium release valves are a bit more useful, but again the valve itself is only useful when in decompression chambers. So why does Omega insist on keeping this vestigial element on what is supposed to be a modern-use high-end sports watch? Visual distinction is the answer. While not everyone even likes the look of this 10 o’clock crown, it does help visually distinguish the Omega Seamaster 300M from other dive watches out there. So while this is meant to be a legit “professional diver’s watch” it is also not without its “branding quirks” that take away from a product purely focused on streamlined utility.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The beauty of the Seamaster 300M case overall – including its swoopy lugs and distinctive bezel design – continues to help the collection have style appeal as well as nostalgic appeal to high-end watch consumers today. Even more so than Omega’s other diver watches (such as the later introduced Seamaster Planet Ocean collection) the Seamaster 300M has also represented a entry-level tool watch side to the brand. It was the brand’s authentic professional diver’s watch with only the smallest element of luxury fluff to help justify its high-end persona. It was always meant to the the Speedmaster of dive watch – which means it by design is more about function and utility than purely form and style. The question for me in regard to this 2018 and later Seamaster 300M is if it retains this character? In some ways yes, but in other important ways no.

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Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega has remade the original 300M watch with the exact same sensibilities as the 1993 model as though it came out today. That means that Omega made a better vintage watch as opposed to making a better dive watch for today’s professional divers… that is still an “Omega.” If you’ve always like the original Seamaster 300M and want a refreshed experience with it – then this timepiece will easily satisfy you. If you are seeking a modern dive watch experience from Omega, aside from arguably the movement, this is a retro watch in freshly made skin.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Let’s talk about the dial for a little bit. Legibility is truly fantastic because the hands and hour markers are as large as they can be and also high (relatively speaking) off the dial. The applied hour makers and hands also have a polish which really picks up light and helps them contrast well with the black ceramic dial. The ironic result is that because this dial picks up light and reflects it, it ends up being more legible. Usually the opposite is true because light causes blurring and glare which makes dials less visible.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The black ceramic dial has horizontal wave patterns which evoke the look of the original Seamaster 300M watch dials. Updated Omega Seamaster 300M watches from several years ago did not include waves on the dials, offering a fresh look that did well in the market. For consistency’s sake and to help demonstrate the neat laser etching on the dial, the new Seamaster 300M watches brings back the dial waves for a whole new generation.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

A very real upgrade to the case over the previous generation Seamaster 300M is the bezel rotation tactility. Inside the bezel is a ceramic insert, which in addition to black comes in other colors such as blue for other models. The Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer case also has a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback which is new for the Seamaster 300M. Omega offers version of the watch on both a steel bracelet or a rubber strap. I’m usually a bracelet guy, but I actually recommend considering the strap option. Let me discuss why.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega’s Seamaster 300M bracelet has not been much enhanced for the new generation of watches. The core design is still an offshoot of the Speedmaster bracelet and has only really been augmented with Omega’s useful micro-adjust delpoyant clasp. The bracelet is fine but its not a looker and its never going to beat the Rolex Submariner bracelet in a contest. This new generation Seamaster 300M bracelet is more fluid than the original and certainly better made. It isn’t however the world’s best looking bracelet in my opinion and also doesn’t wear as comfortably or elegantly as it might if it was designed differently. The available rubber strap for the Seamaster 300M doesn’t just wear much more comfortably on the wrist, but it helps show off the case’s attractive lug design all the better.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

You can opt for some fancy Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer watches right now with 18k Sedna or yellow gold accents and a ceramic and titanium model. The collection is sure to be updated with more models including the popular titanium Seamaster 300M watches of the past. As a late fan of the original Seamaster 300M watches I admire Omega’s expert ability to remake their early 1990s brand success with an even better version of the original. What Omega failed to do however was place the Seamaster 300M into today’s generation of watch lover in terms of relevancy or place of distinction. While the 1990s was not that long ago, in a real sense this is another “retro-refreshed” model by Omega. A lot of collectors  want that from the brand and we admire their tenacity in doing so. What Omega needs to do next is fill the void they have which is “what is our diver’s watch of today?” Perhaps that is just the Planet Ocean, but with its higher-prices such a piece will not appeal to watch lovers who want a diving watch equivalent of the Speedmaster.

Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Even as a now-retro-styled tool watch the Omega Seamaster 300M performs well. It does all the things a good dive watch should, and  also boasts great legibility as well as a gracefully aging design. Price-wise it is a good entry point in the better sport watches by Omega, and is competitively priced when compared with direct competition from other Swiss brands with in-house movement-based lifestyle diver’s watches. Price for this reference 210.30.42.20.01.001 Omega Seamaster 300m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42mm watch is $4,850 USD. Learn more at the Omega watches website here.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Omega
>Model: Seamaster 300m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42mm reference 210.30.42.20.01.001
>Price: $4,850 USD (as tested)
>Size: 42mm wide, about 12mm thick, and about 50mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a good-looking casual everyday sports watch that doesn’t mind getting wet or dirty if the occasion calls for it.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Watch enthusiast who has never or has not in the last 20 years experienced the Seamaster 300M collection and is keen to see how this distinctive diver matches their personality.
>Best characteristic of watch: Omega legitimately improved on the design and construction of the original Seamaster 300M in a product that is very much faithful to the original. Dial legibility and movement features are great.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Bracelet isn’t the best looker and watch might be best on a strap. Helium release valve doesn’t try to hide its vestigial nature.

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  • aWtchslvr

    Good, gorgeous and not expensive. What else do I want?… the grey with rubber strap.. lol

  • Swiss_Cheese

    I think I’ll hold out to next year when Omega releases the Omega Seamaster 300m MOONWATCH MOON EDITION.

  • A bit deja-vu but always a great classic: you love it or you hate it.
    The masterpiece is always the caliber.

  • Julie Hill

    Can’t deny the brilliance of this watch, but i always find the dial designs way too fussy and i can’t stand the skeleton hands. It’s a tool watch, keep it simple, keep it clear.

  • Expat

    IMHO, blue is better on the bracelet, and black is better on the black rubber.

  • Joe

    Aren’t most of these calibres running at 3.5Hz?

    https://watchbase.com/omega/caliber/8800

    • Nello Alexandri

      One of the many times Omega made George Daniels has roll over in his grave.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        He ( Sir George ) couldn’t have minded to much. He sold the Co-Axial escapement patent to Omega in 1992. Patent ran out in 1994.

  • SuperStrapper

    While certainly more palatable with the updates, I still think this is one of the ugliest watches in the current catalogue. It’s always just come off as overly fussy and trying too hard. Weird bracelet, circus school handset, seasick dial, and a case that looks designed by a committee.
    Just not the Omega for me.

  • SPQR

    “You can opt for some fancy Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer watches right now with 18k Sedan (should that be Sedna?) or yellow gold accents and event (even?) an all ceramic model.” – Please proof read this article as there are even more spelling errors than usual. Also there is not an “all ceramic” Diver 300M. it is actually ceramic and titanium.
    As for the hypothesis that the Seamaster Diver 300M should be a “diving watch equivalent of the Speedmaster” I am not sure what this is supposed to mean. If the author is referring to pricing then the pricing for the Diver 300M in the 1990s (or Seamaster Professional as it was known) was higher than the Speedmaster Professional (at least in Europe and the UK). Today the Diver 300M retails for slightly less than the Speedmaster Professional. It is not as iconic as the Speedmaster and likely never will be (few watches will ever could be). It is however priced lower than the Planet Ocean or the far more retro Seamaster 300 Master Co-axial and the Plo-Prof. It is even priced lower than the Seamaster Aqua Terra if only very slightly in some markets. From that perspective it is almost a bargain.
    The Speedmaster is not an “entry level” chronograph from Omega. It is an icon and while the price is reasonable it is certainly not “entry level” and no doubt will start to creep up in view of the numerous 50th anniversaries of the space program that are just starting this year. I will avoid mentioning so-called “Limited Editions” as there madness lies.
    Just my own opinion, but the only possible candidate for true icon status in Omega’s current dive watch stable would seem to be the Plo-Prof. The newest titanium version feels cheap and in no way as solid or as “monumental” as the original or the 2012 stainless steel re-edition. In fact it is really nothing like the original Plo-Prof at all. Omega, having given in to the desire for a lighter watch with the titanium Plo-Prof, are not likely to reintroduce a stainless steel Plo-Prof anytime soon so if the author yearns for an Omega diving watch as iconic as the Speedmaster he is probably in for a very long wait. Even if Omega did make some sort of “anniversary” Plo-Prof the price would be far higher than the Speedmaster. (I hope I have not given Omega an idea for yet another “Limited Edition”).
    If he means he wants a low entry price point for an Omega diving watch then the Diver 300M is already that watch. As it stands the Diver 300M is full of Omega’s unique (or traditional/retro/old fashioned – delete as appropriate) design cues, their latest movement technology and is finished to a standard far higher than its price would suggest. In that respect it is a classic Omega. So quite what the author is getting at I cannot really tell as it does not seem to be fully explained in the article.

    • Independent_George

      Wow, I forgot all about Omega fanboys.

      Brand partisanship is so very very exhausting.

      • SPQR

        Not being a “fanboy” at all. The point is the Speedmaster is iconic. You do not have to like Omega as a brand or even like the Speedmaster to get the iconic status of that watch. The Seamaster Diver 300M is not iconic. If the author is waiting for a “Speedmaster of dive watches” from Omega he is going to wait a very long time. So do not see where the “fanboy” comment is going.

    • SuperStrapper

      With 29477392847388282 different speedmasters, how can anyone reasonably assume any of them will appreciate? Omega is their own worst enemy there, they’ve completely diluted and devalued speedmaster cache. Its It’s still a great watch (most of them anyway, who can keep up?) But hardly a collector’s item.

      • SPQR

        My comment did not say any Speedmaster would “appreciate”. In fact never mentioned investment or speculation in buying watches at all. Nor did I give a view on any watch being a collectors item. The point being made is that the author seems to want Omega to produce a “Speedmaster of five watches”. One assumes this must mean some form of iconic Omega dive watch on a par with the Speedmaster and its celebrity/iconic/recognisable status. My comment is that he is going to be waiting a very long time for that to happen as the Diver 300M while quite a bargain for what it is it certainly is not, in my view, an icon. So the investment/appreciation in value line is all your own.

        • SuperStrapper

          I don’t believe the speedmaster is the most recognisable Omega to the general public. Watch nerds, sure.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Only a steel proploff with mesh bracelet will do. All 1/4 kilo of it.

    • Sir Willie Stroker III

      Great comments here and below. I haven’t seen anyone like this since Marius. Keeping the writers and regular commenters in check is sorely lacking here.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    This helium valve thing? Well, it’s about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. It’s pretty much just a talking point. Other than that it’s just a pokey out annoying completely unnecessary crown. I really like this watch but they need to change the bracelet ( too old fashioned looking ), remove the wavy lines ( tacky ) remove the helium value ( useless) and fill in the hands to make them heaps more legible.

    • SuperStrapper

      They did that already. It’s called the Aqua Terra.

      • egznyc

        While I appreciate the humor, you’re also absolutely correct. And that’s why I’ve always preferred the Aqua Terra over this beastly watch.

    • egznyc

      Right you are, Raymond!

    • Independent_George

      I like the hands and the dial waves because they make this this watch unique. I agree about the helium valve, but oddly I don’t hate it. Not a fan of the bracelet.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Unique does not necessarily mean good The waves n the dial should be a lot more subtle.

  • dr3

    The dial looks much more subtle in real-life I find, oddly due to it being so glossy. All that text and even the waves seem to fade to the background. The Helium valve (though functionally dubious) I feel balances the crown quite nicely.
    The metal bracelet is a disaster. The rubber one far nicer, and shows off shape of watch better.
    I don’t mind the hands that much, but age the design (although not so much as that bracelet!)

  • Markus Vlasits

    Ariel, thank you for your thoughtful review of this timepiece. I found your analysis of this actually being a neo-retro style watch very interesting. As far as I know no one has commented on this aspect so far.
    When I saw the watch for the first time my thinking was different – I liked the fact that Omega had taken a proven visual concept and updated it, very similar to what Rolex does to its timepieces. Probably it’s fair to say that the crown mostly does neo-retro reissues of its original designs and rarely innovates …
    As for this Seamaster, many readers have commented unfavorably on the shape of the hands and the He-‘wart’. To me these are simply unique features of the design language of this timepiece. You don’t have to like it, but it’s part of the overall package …
    Best regards from São Paulo,
    Markus

    PS – I agree the watch looks way better on the rubber strap ..

  • No longer affordable, that’s for sure. Strictly status at this point. Lovely and gorgeous, yes. but the modern pricing from all of these Swiss companies is absurd.

  • cluedog12

    Thoughtful review.

    This is Omega constructing a modern, up-to-date dive watch. Neo-retro is fashionable. Modern is so 2010.

    For this brief slice of time, neo-retro is the bleeding edge of wristwatch fashion. After the debacle that was the altimeter date window, we’ve backed off the idea of novelty for the sake of novelty. Tapping the best of the past is the current fashion. We are left with two types of modern dive watch: extroverted (neo retro – like this Omega) and introverted (conservative – like the Rolex Sub).

  • Modern diver >> manual He valve for “visual distinction”. You know what also works for “visual distinction”? The tiny part on the dial where they cram a novel that starts with “OMEGA”.

    Hideous watch, it’s a mess.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Rolex pretty much make a million watches in about 5 different designs (yes I am being generous more like 5 versions of the the same design) with relatively few metal and dial configurations.

    However those million people could potentially buy a speedmaster or a dive Omega, and yet no 2 watches would be the same.

    With Rolex once you have seen 10 Rolexs on 10 wrists, you have seen what 999,000 of the Rolex owners are wearing.

    • Steve_Macklevore

      Rolex have a brilliantly understandable range that evolves gradually and usually for the better.

      Omega have an incomprehensible range that is all over the place in terms of style, size and utility. Omega would do so much better if they followed Rolex’s example (but not their pricing!) and reduced the size and complexity of their range.

    • Tony NW

      The Cellini (dress), DateJust (semi-dress) and Submariner (diver) lines are radically different from each-other. Within the semi-dress and diver lines, there are a ton of options, including different bezel styles (e.g. fluted, rotating bezel, colors there-in e.g. YachtMaster), colors/faces, etc. … which is about what Omega is doing, they just lack a cohesive enough identity for you to realize it.

  • ray h.

    I am wearing my Seiko skx 007 and I am just thinking how elegant it looks in comparison to this monster.
    The price is also elegant compared to the monster price of the Omega. Win/Win.

    • Drazen B

      I wouldn’t call this Omega a monster, but certainly a deviation in looks and appearance from the Seamaster 300M of the yesteryear.
      Sized-up wrist jewelry, maybe.

  • Dave D.

    Full disclosure: I’ve owned this exact model for about 8 months. I really enjoy it. It’s my only watch at the moment. Got it new at a 20% discount, which hasn’t been discussed enough. And that was before they raised prices by about $300, which was not mentioned in the article. The price noted by Ariel is no longer correct.

    Honest question for those of you who have been so critical of this watch: what diver, other than a Sub, are you wearing that you perceive as better (in any sense of the word that you come up with)? I’d love to know what other watches I should be considering. But let’s keep it in the same price range, give or take $1000.

    If I’m being honest, there are moments when I feel like it’s just a little big on my 7″ wrist, but there are other times when I really like it’s 42mm profile. I’ve considered flipping it for a BB58, but the gold tones of that watch are just a little too much retro for me. If/ when Tudor releases a blue bezel variant, I might be more compelled to buy one, but right now, I’m having trouble finding a similarly sized diver that I’d prefer over the Seamaster.

  • commentator bob

    What is really weird is that Omega makes what is arguably the best looking dive watch on the market, and calls it the Seamaster 300, and then makes this ungainly thing and calls it the Seamaster 300M. Watch nerds have a hard time keeping that straight, much less ordinary buyers.

  • James

    It’s really lost the dress-watch versatility that the former generations enjoyed. That was a big part of the watch’s appeal, especially as worn by 007. Strictly a sports watch now.

  • Marceau Ratard

    I have the grey dialed version with the blue bezel. It’s a fantastic watch. I owned a submariner and I don’t regret selling it. This is a keeper for me.

    I agree about the 90’s styling, this is totally fine with me.

  • ray h.

    It is elegant in a manly way. Maybe that is the problem ?

  • Drazen B

    Prefer the previous model with 2500 cal. movement.
    Every new Omega Seamaster seems to be a little over-designed and adds on size/diameter.

  • Drazen B

    Quite opposite.
    Seiko SKX is a study in itself of a functional, simple, sturdy tool watch. It descended from the tool watch and kept its intended use and target market. That’s probably why some are having issue identifying themselves with it – it’s a bit too much in this era of decorative desk-dive instruments.

  • Neil C

    The helium release crown reminds me of one of Archie’s horns

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    PBJ is in the market for a two tone Sedna with blue dial & strap. My Seamaster Chrono has the bracelet, and it does look dated to me. The ceramic dial and insert are a nice upgrade compared to mine.

  • Roman Hamilton

    Hmm…love the watch, but it has a wart on it. 🙂 (That blasted, bloody hydrogen release valve crown). Argh, a beautiful watch, but that wart on it kills it dead.

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