Don’t judge and stop shaking your head. Just because there’s a serious amount of yellow gold staring you in the face, you needn’t leave this page. Just hear me out for a bit. If you read automotive magazines, today’s feature is akin to that one article about an exotic that most of us will never ever be able to afford. Maybe, just maybe, we say that even if we had the money, we’d never conspicuously consume such an object because it would just prove so impractical. Well, live a little and journey with me as we go big-time with a look at the gold Omega Seamaster 300. Trust me, you’ll want to hang around…
The Gold Omega Seamaster 300 is Over the Top
A dive watch such as the gold Omega Seamaster 300 must define one of the watch world’s most ridiculous niches. Strike that, it’s the most ludicrous – unless Casio should decide to market 5-figure gold G-Shocks with relative regularity. The gold dive watch is the epitome of a “devil may care” watch. It’s a timepiece that’s at once so precious but oddly just as capable as its lowly steel counterpart; call it the ultimate oxymoron. And then, who the hell buys these things? Is it purely the loud machismo characters who go through fashionable items like tissues? Or, is it the crusty character living in the Keys who made his money doing real work and has now decided to treat himself with the ultimate retirement watch that can also handle the occasional dip in the pool, ocean or hot tub? Is it for that person who feels that a gold watch is the ultimate in achievement, but who doesn’t care for a dress watch? It’s likely a bit of all three with some others mixed in, but it’s hardly a group of mainstream watch buyers.
The Gold Omega Seamaster 300 in London
Travel back to this past October at Salon QP in London and Blaise, Robert-Jan and I decided to carry on with what has now become a time honored tradition while there: visiting the Omega boutiques. Now, normally, this isn’t that exciting for me because I know the brand’s lineup and a boutique is a touch “old-hat”. Well, this time, we decided to spend some serious time trying on some of the brand’s less discussed models. We cycled through the co-axial moonphases, a solid gold (with diamond dial) Constellation, and finally ended up at the gold Omega Seamaster 300. Strike that, we had two of them out of the displays – the yellow and rose gold versions. It was here that I stopped. The rose gold was nice and warm looking, but it was just a bit too effeminate for me and I rather preferred the somewhat stark, hard appearance of the yellow gold. Yes, the yellow gold was the one for me – and it had to be on a bracelet. Blaise wasn’t so sure I had enough chest hair to pull it off (ever seen my wrists??), but Robert-Jan approved – hell, the guy rocks a pinky ring every now and then. So, we plotted to have Omega send me one for test – and they ultimately did.
The Modern equivalent to a Vintage Sub?
I don’t know what’s happening to me. Maybe it’s the fact that I turned 40 last year and my tastes are changing or maybe this is the very beginning of some sort of mid-life crisis. Whatever it is, I’ve found myself casually browsing eBay, chrono24 and other sites to take a deeper look at 1970’s – late 2000’s’s gold Rolex Submariner 1680/8’s and 16618’s.
It’s weird, crazy, and little scary – just ask my wife. Yes, there’s just something about these classic Submariners with their rich, finely sculpted, gold cases, warm dials, and polished center links. You’ll note that I stopped in the late 2000’s, as this is when Rolex introduced its current maxi case (2010) for the Submariner line. For me, this case has upset the balance of the Sub: giving it far too much of a modular look. And so when I finally laid eyes on the gold Omega Seamaster 300, with its slender lugs and aged dial, it was a little like being transported back into time.
The Gold Omega Seamaster 300 – a “hit” at the office
Omega, after a bit more than the normal request emails (they had to see if a gold Omega Seamaster 300 was in the sample group), sent a watch for review. I still remember it arriving at the office because it showed up a day later than normal…and I was seriously concerned. The box was big but it contained some serious mass. Upon opening it, I thought “damn, this is serious” and also that I needed to show it to some colleagues. However, this was a weird day where people where out of the office. I did manage to show it to one colleague and she was blown away with the weight. More significantly, though, she was dumbstruck when I told her the price.
Raid your bank account
The gold Omega Seamaster 300 costs 28,500 Euros. Let that sink in for a bit, will you? Yes, that’s twenty eight thousand, five hundred Euros. This means that when I look out the window into the parking lot of where I work in Germany – and I think Germans drive nice cars in general – this watch retails for more than the sales price or trade in value of most vehicles out there (actually, Germans paid a shocking average price of 32,000 Euros for a new car in 2016). And again, we’re talking about a dive watch here. So yes, this Omega is one serious piece of kit. And, damn, it is seriously heavy. I mean, it was so heavy that when I slipped it into my brief case before heading home, I could really feel the difference.
A rarely seen or discussed diver
When the gold Omega Seamaster 300 (ref. 126.96.36.199.01.002) was released in 2014 at Basel, it was released alongside 15 variants. Everything from platinum, titanium, two-tone gold and steel, steel, rose gold and models with bracelets or leather straps rounded out the lineup. The steel models, naturally, gained all the press, but we’ve taken a look at the two-tone piece as well. The 300 lineup was heavily loved for its classic looks – it blended attributes from 50’s and 60’s Seamasters – and new tech such as a ceramic bezel and the cal.8401 co-axial automatic movement. At 41mm with 20mm lugs, it hit a sweet spot size-wise and, furthermore, made the vintage crowd look closely due to the absence of a date wheel. The watch line has been a hit for Omega, but there’s been little said about the precious metal version…until now.
Yes, there’s so much gold
When I brought the gold Omega Seamaster 300 home, my first order of business was to resize the bracelet. This bracelet, which is made of solid gold, comprises about 40% of the total cost of the watch. It’s massive and one look at the clasp – also incredibly solid and huge – gives you a hint as to how much gold is in this colossus. The spring-loaded clasp contains the push-operated wetsuit adjustment within and here again, the entire mechanism is crafted from, you guessed it, gold. Even the little bracelet adjustment screws – which I foolishly decided to engage after my traditional end-of-week negroni – are gold. So, it was actually the next morning that I sized the bracelet. 😉
Once done, it was sadly still a bit loose on my skinny wrist, but this watch doesn’t look half bad with a little dangle. The links themselves are polished down the middle and brushed on the sides. Some don’t care for this look and I’d normally agree, but I actually think that it gives the watch some nice contrast and some scratches would add some personal character. That being said, the polished surfaces show evidence of fingerprints at nearly a glance.
The Seamaster is bold but so well executed
I’ll confess that I didn’t wear the gold Omega Seamaster 300 a lot. First, I felt a little bad about potentially scratching such a perfect watch and I do believe that it would scratch a lot easier than, say, steel. Second, and this is a relevant thought, it felt a little glaring. That bracelet doesn’t keep the Seamaster on the “down low” and I was a little self-conscious. Still, when I did opt to don it, it was an awesome site on my wrist and a pretty damn heavy one. If I had to complain about anything to the brand from Bienne, it’s the age-old comment that the co-axials are thick.
The 300 was big in every way; it was tall, the lugs were long (exacerbated by solid end links that extend beyond the case), and the clasp was nearly the length of the bottom of my wrists. But I still loved it.
Omega received a lot of flack when the 300’s debuted due to their use of aged Super-LumiNova. I can understand the criticism for artificially aging a watch, but let me tell you, it looks amazing on the gold Omega Seamaster 300. The lume color flows really well with the gold hands and even serves to remind me slightly of the old nipple dials found on the aforementioned 70’s and 80’s Submariners. The dial layout is absolutely perfect, as are the hands, and the ceramic bezel (Ceragold) is a stunner.
The bezel contains gold numerals and is lined, on the outer edge, by knurled gold and on the inside with a flat surface of the precious metal. The big, signed gold crown is easy to operate as well and by touching so much darn gold, it gives the owner a pretty unique experience.
A Seriously Capable Diver
If I have one beef with the gold Omega Seamaster 300, it’s the case back. Sure, the 8401 movement is beautifully finished, but I would have preferred even more on the gold theme with a solid case back and the old seahorse logo. Instead, we get a sapphire case back with a lot of wording on the back that tells us all about the technologies employed within the watch. We see the 300M-depth rating, the use of Ceragold, and the antimagnetic rating of 15,000 Gauss. It’s all a minor gripe because, as we always say, who looks at the back? Yet, I like my dive watches to imbue a brick-solid quality and that aligns with a solid case back.
Yes, I love it…
If you haven’t been able to tell, I’m really impressed with the gold Omega Seamaster 300. The quality and attention to detail is sublime – as it should be with a watch of this price. Aside from deciding whether you like the color of this metal or not, and if you have the means to buy one in the first place, it’s fairly foolish to try and get your head around the price of admission. No, there isn’t 20+ thousand worth of gold in this Seamaster to justify its price tag over the stainless model, so metal value alone won’t do it. What you’re really buying with such a watch is a level of exclusivity that exists for so few. Read that as snobbery if you wish, but I prefer to see it as yet another wonderful oddity that exists within the watch market. The best thing about a gold diver from a brand like Omega, though, is that it isn’t window dressing. There’s a seriously capable dive watch once you get past the 18-karat grandeur.
Coming back to one of the original statements within this article, I posit that most, if they had the freely available funds, would not buy an audacious watch such as the gold Omega Seamaster 300. Would I? I think it would only depend on where I lived, whether I felt safe wearing it, and if I chose to go vintage or new. If vintage, an old Sub would be the only combatant, but in the current realm only the Omega presents itself as a dive watch that is both, at once, beautiful and immensely competent.
If you’d like to read more about this beautiful dive watch, head to Omega’s site here.