Even though Omega doesn’t really take part in the organization of the Olympics aside from working with the planners for event timing and recording purposes, it is a guest of the hosting city given that both its name and many of the brand’s people are present for the entire Olympic games period which spans about two weeks. This means that not only does Omega take part in the games in various roles, but Omega as a company develops its own internal history and memories of Olympics each two years that there is an event to be a part of. I say all this to mention simply how distinct and truly unique Omega’s relationship with the Olympics is in the scope of luxury watch brand partnerships.
The feeling of joy when an athlete wins, or even when there is a disappointing defeat is almost tangible in the room when you watch any particular competition. Seeing the Olympics on television is simply not the same as being there where the struggle for excellence is truly electric. Anyone who watches the Olympics knows that for the most part seconds and parts of seconds count when determining winners. I was lucky enough to be watching when a Hungarian woman set a new world record in a particular swimming event. She not only won, of course, but beat the existing world record by about two full seconds. In the world of records that is a huge margin, and properly being able to record it is crucial. In another event during that same session, a male Japanese swimmer narrowly beat an Australian swimmer by about 0.15 seconds. If the Olympics doesn’t engender a group of highly influential people to be utterly obsessed with time and timing, then I simply don’t know what will. Many (of course, not all) of these champions from around the world will grow up (or grow into) being luxury watch fans simply because of the importance that timing had in both their training and their success. This is just one of the many interesting and probably unintentional positive side effects Omega receives from its dedicated participation with the Olympics each two years.
Speaking of timekeeping, let’s return to the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Rio 2016 Limited Edition, which with its colors both matches the personality of Rio de Janeiro as well as the Olympic games themselves. Inside the watch is the Omega caliber 2500 movement which is an interesting mechanism. The 2500 was one of the first movements to use a working industrial version of the Co-Axial Escapement technology Omega purchased from George Daniels and spent years trying to mass produce. The 2500 automatic movement begins with a base ETA caliber (Omega is owned by the Swatch Group that also owns the watch movement-maker ETA) and then uses a special Co-Axial Escapement system. Even though Omega could probably get away with calling this movement in-house, it is in truth a hybrid between their own parts and those from ETA (again, same parent company). Omega instead uses the more accurate term “exclusive” to define the movement.
You should further know that this modern version of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M uses the latest version of the 2500 movement (known as the caliber 2500d, which is the fourth iteration of the movement). Since its debut Omega has made a series of changes to it in order to improve its reliability and performance. When the latest version of the Diver 300M came out, Omega upgraded the movement from the 2500c to the 2500d which finally offers a full three-level co-axial escapement (which is what George Daniels wanted all along) that Omega was finally able to industrialize and offers the greatest stability. The Co-Axial Escapement technology was intended to increase the accuracy of the movement over time, and further decrease time between service intervals (it is claimed that a Co-Axial Escapement in the 2500d has twice the service life as a traditional Swiss lever escapement). When Omega moved from the 2500b to the 2500c, they made the interesting change from a 4Hz (28,800bph) movement frequency to the exotic 3.5Hz number (25,200bph). Power reserve for the automatic caliber 2500 movement is 48 hours, and the movement is a COSC-certified Chronometer. Rob at Topper Jewelers offer more information about the modern history of the Omega 2500 Co-Axial movement family in this article here.
The original Omega Seamaster Diver 300M watches did not have ceramic bezel inserts, but the modern versions do (both blue and black options exist). This is among the more desirable modern touches of this otherwise still modern dive watch design. As the name implies, the case is water resistant to 300 meters and also has a manual helium release vale at 10 o’clock. Even though this feature is mostly useless to all but some professional divers, it has become an iconic and distinctive element of many Omega dive watches, which was carried to the Seamaster Planet Ocean dive watch family as well. That, combined with the dial, bezel, case, and five-link bracelet design make for a timepiece which has few parallels and a lot of personality.
When Omega presented this Rio 2106 version of the Seamaster Diver 300M to retailers, it was so well-received that they decided to increase the volume of the limited-edition run. The original limited edition number was of course supposed to be 2,016 pieces. Omega later upped that amount to 3,016 pieces due to popular demand. Trust me in saying that the typically conservative and inflexible Swiss likely needed some serious persuading by their sales team in order to create a number for the limited-edition run that was more than 2,016 pieces.
You don’t need to get the Rio 2016 edition of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M to enjoy this iconic modern dive watch, but it might be the one for me since I like classic designs with a twist. It might even be up there with a basic Speedmaster as a must-have watch for collectors seeking a truly well-rounded assortment of watches which epitomize the contemporary landscape of timepieces that not only look good, but that helped so many people get into nice watches to begin with. Limited to 3,016 pieces, price for the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Rio 2016 Limited Edition reference 518.104.22.168.01.001 watch is $4,900.
>Model: Seamaster Diver 300M Rio 2016 Limited Edition ref. 522.214.171.124.01.001
>Size: 41.5mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Traditionalist Omega dive watch lover wanting something classic with a twist.
>Best characteristic of watch: Despite the aging platform (with some modern updates like the ceramic bezel insert) this relatively affordable and sturdy dive watch has a good movement, distinctive sense of brand DNA, and a classic tool watch look that will continue to look good in the future. In this particular model, the subtle nods to both Rio de Janeiro and the Olympics are tasteful and fun. Good medium size for those less interested in larger sport dive watches.
>Worst characteristic of watch: An aging platform means some drawbacks such as a rotating bezel without the same tactile experience of some modern watches and a bracelet that lacks a micro-adjust feature. The particular colorful look of this limited-edition model isn’t for everyone (but it isn’t meant to be).