A lot of firsts with this watch!
This is the very first Professional Omega Seamaster 300m released in 1993. This quartz version (2541.80.00) in particular is the first Omega watch in a Bond movie – worn by Commander Bond in 1995 Golden Eye. Also this movie was the first one when Pierce Brosnan played the famous Ian Fleming’s main character.
Although in Brosnan’s second Bond he wore the automatic version of this watch, to many (myself included) the true Omega Bond is this: battery powered, ticking, soulless 🙂 … quartz version.
Also this is the first Seamaster to feature a Helium Escape Valve and last but not least: my first Omega watch 🙂
And not only this is my first Omega, but it is the first Swiss watch in my collection. As mentioned previously a number of times, I was (still am a bit and potentially will be for as long as I live) a Seikoholic … until my friend Alex gave me this Omega SMP to “Check it out”. I vividly remember the moment when I first put on this watch on my wrist (my friend Alex and I have the same wrist sizes and bracelet fit perfectly) it was the best feeling I’ve ever got when putting a watch on from the first moment. Perfect size for my wrist, extremely well balanced with the metal bracelet, slender yet hefty, in one word: amazing!
This particular watch is from 1998 and it looks so fresh as it had a first class treatment at my favorite watch maker (more details at this link https://ceasornicarie.ro/2020/05/08/polish/ ). Since then it was fitted back with its original ghosted bezel insert and a new crown (as I managed to mess it up in the first days of having the watch … probably was too much used with the Seiko divers screw down crowns…. :))
The dial of this Omega SMP300 has the first iconic blue wave patter which plays amazingly in different lights and can be admired through a slightly domed sapphire crystal. The lume markers and writings are printed with no metallic rings and no applied logo. Which at first may seem like a less fancy way, however exactly for this muted uniform aspect I love this version. The skeletonized hands (also emblematic for the SMPs in general) are extremely attractive with little lume dots which glow very nice in the dark complementing the hour markers.
The very thin lume application on the hands edge is amazing showing an outstanding attention to details. To many WIS the minute hand of this version is considered too short (Omega fixed this “issue” in the second automatic version) as it is not reaching the minutes markers on the edge of the dial, however I don’t have an issue with that. The red tip of seconds hand brings a discrete splash of color and if I wished for anything different on this watch it would have been for the version with the red “Seamaster” writing at 6 o’clock (but I think that was the case for the 36mm quartz version of that period or the later 41.5mm generation with metallic applied Omega logo and metallic circles around the lume dots.).
The date window is very well integrated in the dial. It has a nice white frame and white background, from a distance creating a nice symmetry with the lume rectangular marker at 9 o’clock. The date change is not automatic from the crown movement in the first position. It is a semiautomatic date change as when the crown is pulled at the first position, by turning the crown, only the hour hand is moving (like in a GMT watch) without hacking the time. So by advancing back and forth over the midnight the date changes. On the second position of the crown the seconds hand hacks and the minute hand can be adjusted
The case for this SMP in particular is in my opinion one of the best mainly due to its thin profile, at 11.5mm thickness being the thinnest SMP300. The alternate polished and brushed surfaces play very well with the light creating an elegant appearance. The twisted lugs are Omega’s trademark and the pointy crown guards create a nice visual at the 3’oclock. The diameter is 41.5mm and lug to lug 48mm (52mm if I measure with the extending end links). At 147g it is exactly in my sweet spot (probably because this is the standard weight of a diver watch on a bracelet which I am used to) but what it stands out for this watch is how well the weight is distributed throughout the circumference if the wrist with the watch head being not that heavy (thin case and quartz movement), clasp made of a solid stainless steel piece (nicely balancing the watch head) and the bracelet having the same width from the case to the clasp.
This watch (as SMP300 name suggests – if it was SMP500 than it would have been the official Wall Street NYSE watch :)) have a water resistance of 300m with screw down crowns and screw down case back. I am amazed by how thin this watch is since I was used to see this kind of depth rating on Marinemasters divers (MM300 and Tunas) which are easily 3-4mm thicker
The bezel is nothing like I was used to from my (too) many Seiko divers I had. With its scalloped profile it does not provide the best grip however the action is firm with a satisfying click (120 of them) and very little back play. I guess if I mentioned that the 12 o’clock triangle perfectly aligns with the 12 o’clock marker on the dial, one WIS would definitely determine that I was a Seiko fanboy :). The bezel insert have developed a nice ghosted patina from its originally blue color. Which in my opinion blends very well with the overall subdued aspect of this watch.
Helium Escape Valve for the SMPs is like the cyclops on Rolexes and Tudors … you are intrigued/annoyed at first when you see them, but once you wear the watch they blend in so well than you stop noticing or getting bothered by them. Moreover, I like to play every now and then with the HEV (taking advantage it is a manual one) although I am not in a decompression chamber 🙂 and I don’t think I will ever be in one.
Despite the fact that the bracelet does not tapper at all towards the clasp (which normally for me the more it tappers the better) I find it best in class. It is so good than for the last almost half a year since I got the watch, I have never took it off. And I am that kind of WIS who (especially for divers) likes to regularly switch to rubber, natos and leather … (especially with the amazing leather straps I have from 7friendsandwatches). So for me to fully always enjoy the SMP300 experience I think I will only wear her on this OEM bracelet which is very conforming on the wrist due to its 9 elements per link which are alternating in appearance (brushed/polished) and dimensions/shape. The clasp is extremely sturdy and very well built (with an amazing diver extension) and it does have a small flaw: no micro adjustments. Which for some it may be an issue. The bracelet does have half links which may allow for a better fit however I find myself lucky as I have found the perfect configuration for my wrist. I would like to take this opportunity to kindly ask Alex to look for the spare links as I could not find them in my messy WIS drawer :).
The back of the watch is very nice as well! The wave pattern on the dial is continued on the back, having in the middle the famous hippocampus nicely embossed (present on the Seamasters since 1958) and a small embossed Omega logo. There are in total 5 Omega logos present on this watch: on the back, clasp, HEV, crown and dial. So, from any angle you look at it you know what brand it is.
And last, the movement: yeah! It’s a quartz. And I like that 🙂 it is not the most accurate in the world (although is less than 10s per month which is great to my standard) and the seconds hand does not hit perfectly aligned all the minute markers. But since it is not a 9F Grand Seiko, I don’t mind. I learned to appreciate the convenience of a quartz and also enjoy the overall lighter and thinner case. The caliber is Omega’s 1538 with 6 jewels with rhodium-plated finish and an end of battery life indicator. Declared battery life is 42 months and … to be honest…. I would very much like to get to see for myself the second hand ticking two markers at the time … meaning that I should still have this watch in my collection until December 2023 when in theory the next battery change will be due. I guess only time will tell if this will be true. I promise I will get back to this article in the comment section and mention if this will be the case.
As a closing thought: this is my very first Swiss watch which had a medicine like effect on me, curing my Seiko addiction (as Alex nicely said earlier today … :o))