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Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

Did they do it? Did they do the Worldtimer in steel?” I had to know. It was only the second day at Baselworld 2019, and already Omega was showing its latest novelties in secret, but to retailers only — with no media present and certainly no photographs allowed. I’d spent the last two show cycles impatiently waiting for 2015’s platinum halo edition to make its way into the regular line (and eventually onto my wrist) — and this had to be the year.

“Yes. They did,” answered my inside man.

And??

“It’s gorgeous. It’s seriously gorgeous,” he added breathlessly, as though adjectives failed him in that particular moment. What I didn’t know is that Omega had not just shown him the blue-dialed Worldtimer in steel (whose announcement we covered here), but also an equally gorgeous Sedna gold variant with a stark white dial that complements the laser-ablated map relief in the center perfectly. Wait, laser-what?

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

Laser-ablated. It’s how Omega has rendered the gnomonic projection of the earth at the center of the dial in such staggering detail. Essentially, the dial center’s grade 5 titanium surface is zapped with a laser at varying levels of intensity, creating chemical reactions that yield an equal variety of intense texture and colors, meant to evoke the planet’s seas and landmasses, encircled by a glass 24-hour ring. But what really surprised me about seeing this dial in the flesh is just how much depth and dimensionality it hides — not unlike the textured rotating globe that you might remember from geography class. The visually striking end result uses super-modern manufacturing methods to achieve the time-honored tradition of putting a map in the center of a worldtimer’s dial. Last time Omega got it done by hand in two-dimensional enamel, and this time it was 3-D painted with lasers. Either way, it’s enough to get a cartographer hot under the collar — and I mean that in the best possible way.

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Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

The rest of the eggshell-white dial is rendered in somewhat traditional worldtimer manner: You have the sharply beveled applied hour markers, a deep, tonneau-shaped date aperture at 6 o’clock, and subtle longitudinal striping, which looks a bit like the vertical “teak-deck” style dials from the 8500-series generation of Aqua Terra watches. Around the outer perimeter of the dial, we have 24 of the world’s time zones, as defined by those with a single-hour offset. Yes, there are actually 37 time zones in the world, if you want to get really technical, with a few involving a 30- or 45-minute offset, but I appreciate the fact that Omega keeps things relatively traditional here. Zones with Daylight Savings Time are rendered in light blue, and those without DST are in tonal gold — another neat touch. The hour hand independently adjusts in hourly increments without stopping the movement, and if you land in those less common offsets, just pop the crown out to the third position and make your adjustment from there.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

Functionality-wise, Omega’s new Worldtimer runs a bit like a traditional GMT watch, albeit one whose information is simply presented in a different way. Rather than a 24-hour hand running around the center of the dial, as Omega did with its Calibre 8605-powered Aqua Terra GMT of year’s past, we now have a rotating 24-hour disc, which simply reads the local time in each of the world’s primary time zones. I particularly like how there are 24 triangular markers that read outwards from the disc, enabling the wearer to easily trace their gaze from the time at the center to the respective time zone at the perimeter. The Worldtimer is powered by Omega’s Calibre 8938 (note that the solid-gold watches like this one get Calibre 8939, which denotes the gold rotor and gold balance bridge embellishments), an amagnetic Master Chronometer movement with 60 hours of power reserve.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

Speaking of which, I had a love/hate relationship with the Aqua Terra GMT of year’s past. On one hand, it was gorgeous, super legible, highly water-resistant, and was fitted with a globetrotting movement that dunked on any of its contemporaries, making it a serious contender for true GMT supremacy. In essence, it was nearly the perfect “one watch” for someone like me. “Nearly” being the operative word though, because it wore thick and flat on my 6.5” wrist – cruelly broad for its 43mm proportions, no matter which straps I fitted it with. Ever since having conceded defeat, I’ve never been able to fully reconcile just how troubling that watch was until slipping on the new Worldtimer, which is also 43mm and still water-resistant to 150 meters, but built around Omega’s third-generation Aqua Terra case (fourth-generation dial, if we’re keeping score here), whereupon a closer inspection reveals its biggest changes are not just cosmetic, like the shape of the crown or the re-orienting of the dial’s teak deck, but in the size, shape, and angle of the lugs.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

At 43mm by 15.5mm, the new Worldtimer is hardly a small watch, but Omega’s edits to this larger case included shortening and sharpening its twisted lugs, which now taper in a steeper downward angle, reducing the overall lug-to-lug measurement to 50mm and enabling the watch to sit closer to the wrist. Even in solid gold, and weighing just over 150 grams, it still wears comfortably, thanks also to the highly supportive leather strap which pushes directly downward from the lugs, rather than out and down, as rendered in the previous generation. Everything about the redesign lends further credence to the fact that the raw case size of a watch and even its weight are secondary to how well the lugs are designed — and Omega nailed it here.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there’s a marked dearth of good “worldtime” traveler watches out there. And when I say “good,” I’m referring to those with easy hour hand adjustment, some means of simultaneous observation of “home” or “globe time,” and enough water resistance to not give the wearer pause when confronted with a hotel pool or oceanside getaway on the other side of the world. Getting all that data into a legible dial and then housing it all in a sporty but wearable case has, apparently, long proven to be a challenge for most manufacturers — particularly in the under-$10,000 segment, but I’m starting to think that Omega is getting us the closest with its Aqua Terra Worldtimer.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

Granted, in solid gold, this is not a $10,000 watch. Far from it — the price for this Sedna rose gold edition on strap is $22,700 (ref. 220.53.43.22.02.001), and $36,200 with the solid gold three-link bracelet (ref. 220.50.43.22.02.001). I’ve long maintained, though, that if gold’s not your thing, but a little bit of bling still is, Omega’s Sedna gold offers the best of both worlds. Rich in color, but less ostentatious than yellow gold, it carries a warmer, more masculine hue that’s almost bronze in the right light. And in this particular reference, it still jumps off the wrist, but in all the right ways.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer in both Sedna gold and stainless steel is expected land in Omega retailers in December. For more information, head over to omegawatches.com.

Hands-On: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold Watch Hands-On

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  • Mikita

    “Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Sedna Gold”

    Am I the only one who feels like repeating Master two times is an overkill? $36k opens the gates into truely exceptional handcrafted pieces, so I don’t feel like Omega is milking the right cow here.

    • DanW94

      The name wasn’t long enough or pretentious enough. Since they were just randomly throwing extra words into the name you think they could’ve strategically worked the word “Bator” in there.

      • Lingua Franca

        Ulan Bator can easily replace Beijing at GMT +8

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Not an ugly watch. Don`t like the lugs. Mapprinting to corny for my taste. Picture with pasport and pencil very hodinkesque.

    • Agree. Disagree. Ok. Thanks?
      😉

    • Independent_George

      You are right about the passport & pencil picture. It looks like one of their strap-selling photos. The only thing missing to make it truly Hodinkeesque is a globe, a mahogany desk, and a portrait of Winston Churchill.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I am in Bienne right now and I think this wonderfull city deserves to be on a dial. Look at this impressions:

  • Sheez Gagoo
  • cluedog12

    Beautiful watch, this is the type of excellence Omega is capable of achieving when they aren’t busy chasing after low hanging fruit (Speedy Tuesday, painfully slow buildup to a proper 321 Reissue Chronograph).

    Speaking of which, where’s the hands-on coverage of the Blancpain Air Commad Chronograph, my the low hanging fruit watch of 2019.

  • Well, Sedna is also a red/pinkish planet, and so is the tone of the gold, so I think you’re reaching a little bit here 😉
    There’s no third lug – each side of the strap has an integrated gold (on the SS watches, steel) bar that’s purely for aesthetics. The straps otherwise attach to the lugs with a normal springbar, and other aftermarket straps can be used.

  • Independent_George

    When I was a kid, I was fascinated by schoolroom globes and I still like spreading out paper maps across my desk and dining room table, so I like it when watchmakers indulge in anachronisms like this. I like the fact that there is still a watchmaking culture at Omega that isn’t concerned with institutional investors, marketing spreadsheets or herd-like consumer demands, and that they still create watches for tiny niche consumers.

    I don’t think Omega gets enough credit for it’s precious metal cases, especially their “Sedna” gold cases. I have always liked how Omega’s gold really brings out the twisted lugs. They disappear a bit in steel, but, to me at least, the twisted lugs display well in gold. I agree with Zach 100% about Omega’s Sedna rose gold, and even though “Sedna” is a very silly and unfortunate name. It’s very warm and rich color without screaming “Hey look everyone, a gold watch!”

    The re-orienting of the dial “teak decks” mimic the longitude markers of a globe, and it’s a perfect flourish for this watch. The indices draw the eye toward the map, which looks very well done, even if it ignores half of the planet. The small triangular markers help align the eye with the interior time zone cities. I like that Omega kept Chicago over Mexico City, because even thought Mexico City has a helluva lot of people, Chicago is much better city, even with the issues they currently have. And Omega even put thought into the date window!

    Nitpick. I have never liked the arrow minute hand. I understand that it’s an Omega thing, like the PR indicator is for GS spring drive models, but on this watch it’s distracting, and it looks too much like a GMT hand.

    This is a watch that I like very much, but I will probably never own. Maybe if I started collecting 10 years earlier and built up my core collection earlier, I could indulge in a watch like this.

    • Very thoughtful response, thanks! I totally agree with the sentiment about Omega innovating – they’ve never been a brand to sit still, and though it’s certainly produced some quirky stuff over the years, their adherence to evolution on top of tradition is what gives us winners like this, and makes the brand so much fun to watch.

      • Independent_George

        And as we speak/post about Omega and innovation, Omega has just released the AQT Ultra Light with a push-in crown and a titanium movement.

  • SuperStrapper

    Despite my general distaste for coloured gold I do sometimes enjoy the redder ones, and Sedna is a lovely alloy. The watch overall is too much going on for me. I like busy dials, I don’t know this one is busy so much as it is fussy. The very interesting globe detail is too much a contrast to all the sharp lines and transitions elsewhere, and I don’t know if that white was a great idea… Can I see it silvered?
    While comfortable I’m not a fan of the look of the AT strap system with the metal attachment that ends up looking like part of the lugs.
    I think the AT in general is a great line of watches and this one certainly has its sport, but if I had 25 for Omega this one wouldn’t make the list.

  • PowNation

    Beautiful watch, and I applaud Omega for achieving the level of detail in center earth dial, but a couple things don’t sit well with me. One, why are some zones marked with cities and others with states or countries? Just seems like an odd inconsistency. Yes it bothers me that ‘Bienne’ is there instead of say Paris or Berlin or Rome. Two, the overall proportions. Wish the case was slightly smaller, the center dial a bit larger to fill more of the dial, and the Aqua Terra hour triangles smaller to allow for the larger map.

    In any case, great overall design effort by Omega.

  • SPQR

    Good things: In-house world timer movement for a lot less than most other Swiss brands; Useful water resistance capability so it can actually be taken overseas as a travel watch and used in the pool, the sea etc; available in stainless steel; well proportioned handset (unlike the last Aqua Terra GMT which had a 43mm case with the handset from the 38mm which meant the GMT and minute hand were basically the same size); lug to lug seems to be reasonable so it should fit lists of wrist sizes; laser ablated titanium world disc is a typical Omega trope – executing a traditional complication in a high tech way just like the moonphase on the Speedmaster Moonphase from 2016; anti-magnetic properties and METAS certification possibly over blown but greatly appreciated anyway.

    Bad things: far too thick (having tried it on at an Omega event it is thicker than a Speedmaster Moonwatch and not far off a Speedmaster Co-axial 9300); no micro adjustment for the bracelet clasp so could get uncomfortable in hotter climates when travelling which is perhaps not the best idea on a travel watch (though you can use the rubber strap on the stainless steel version); the biggest issue though is that you cannot actually use it to tell the time because there is no minute chapter ring so you can only set it accurately in 5 minute increments and you can only tell the time accurately once every five minutes.

    • spice

      Useful comments, thx. Like (steel/blue + bracelet) in the pix but missing minute chapter ring is a downer (for me) and have never liked Omega’s thickish watches on my wrist when I’ve tried before – but will look again. Also, pity about AUS & NZ (missing) on the fancy map projection?

  • Timestandsstill

    I’m a fan of world timers in general and this one is especially nice. And in steel I think it’s an exceptional value. I liked it from the first time I saw the press releases many months ago. I currently have one on order, only wish they could have stuck to the earlier scheduled October release rather than December…. oh well.

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