Hands-On With The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary
Last November, with a great spectacle in London and in the presence of Daniel Craig, Omega introduced the Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary edition, reference 126.96.36.199.03.002. It’s a special version of the Seamaster 300M with lots of interesting elements. Omega sent us this watch for a review several weeks ago, and I’ve gathered some thoughts about it that I’d like to share with you in this article.
For the 60th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise, Omega decided to come up with this special Seamaster 300M. It is special because it uses design cues from past models and because it has an animation of the opening sequence of the 007 movies on the case back. When I first saw this watch during the presentation from Omega’s Vice President of Product Gregory Kissling, I was pretty amazed by the moiré effect on the case back. But more about that later; let’s have a look at the specifications of this watch first.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary
This stainless steel Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 188.8.131.52.03.002 uses the No Time To Die (NTTD) version in titanium as a basis. It shares the same case diameter, bracelet type, and 8806 movement. Also just like the NTTD, the bezel insert and dial are aluminum, in contrast to the regular Seamaster 300M models, which use ceramic for their dials and bezels. One difference between the 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary and the titanium 300M is that this blue version has a wave pattern on the dial. And it’s not just like the pattern on the regular 300M models but rather more in line with the original 300M from 1993. It is a notably finer wave pattern than we see in the current Seamaster Diver 300M collection.
And just like the 1993 model, this version comes in a darker tone of blue than the current standard 300M. On the dial, we find the same skeleton sword hands as on the other models but with a lollipop seconds hand. According to Omega, this refers to the Seamaster 300 that was produced in 1959 for the British Ministry of Defence — very Bond-like indeed. Another interesting thing to note is that instead of a triangle on the bezel, this James Bond 60th Anniversary edition shows “60”. This refers, of course, to the age of the Bond movie franchise.
The mesh-style bracelet is similar to the one on the NTTD version. This time, however, it’s in stainless steel. You can easily resize it by using the flap inside the folding clasp. The bracelet has seven different sizing positions. It tapers from 20mm between the lugs to 18mm at the clasp.
Animated case back
On the case back, there’s something special going on. Using a moiré effect, Omega created a four-frame animation of the opening sequence of the James Bond movies. The disc to create this animation is connected to the central seconds hand. This is just like the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award, although, with that watch, you have to activate it using the start pusher of the chronograph. On the Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary, the animation is running continuously. Compared to the titanium NTTD version, it adds roughly 1mm to the thickness of the watch, adding up to 14.26mm. The case back itself does not screw down (or feature a NAIAD lock). Instead, it attaches to the case with seven screws.
For more technical details about the watch, you read our introductory article here.
Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary on the wrist
Let’s see how this watch wears on the wrist. It might be good to know that I have an 18.5cm (~7.25″) wrist these days. The 42mm case (49.7mm lug to lug) is perfect for my wrist. It is by no means a small watch, but it’s definitely not too big either. It is relatively thick, but due to the case profile, it’s not that obvious when wearing it. My sleeves slide over the case without any problems.
What we noticed here in the Fratello office is that if you have small(er) wrists, the bracelet can be uncomfortable. It is a relatively long bracelet, which causes an issue if your wrist is not of a certain size. The long end that goes under the clasp extends towards the other end, creating a gap between your wrist and the bracelet. For the titanium model, Omega solved this by making a shorter version of the bracelet available.
At this point, it is unknown whether there is a short version of the bracelet for this steel model as well. If you do have smaller wrists — below 17cm (6.7″), for example — make sure to try this watch in the Omega boutique before you order or buy it. That said, the bracelet as such is nicely finished, feels incredibly smooth, and gives the watch a bit of a utilitarian look. I am also aware that a mesh-style bracelet isn’t for everyone, but neither is the nine-row bracelet that comes on the standard Seamaster 300M.
As the owner of the original Seamaster 300M (ref. 2531.80), I kind of prefer this steel blue version over the titanium model with the brown dial and bezel. There’s a bit of sentimental value in my preference, and I wouldn’t mind owning the titanium NTTD version as well. Both are stunning watches, but this one harks back to the first 300M for me. At the time, it was a completely new design, not one inspired by Omega’s heritage. Over the past 30 years, in my opinion, it has become a modern classic. For a long time, it used to be one of Omega’s bread-and-butter pieces. It was like the BMW 3 Series of dive watches, I would say. But let’s go back to the comparison with the 2531.80, which was featured for the first time in Tomorrow Never Dies (in GoldenEye, it was the quartz ref. 2541.80).
What I like about the new 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary is the darker tone of blue. Perhaps it makes it look more timeless, whereas the blue of my 2531.80 has faded over the years to a lighter shade than it originally was. The raised hour markers and white lollipop hand also pop much more, which I like, and the lack of a date window makes the dial look cleaner. At least on the black-dial version (ref. 2254.50), the date disc was in the same color as the dial. In the current lineup of standard 300M models, the date disc also matches the dial color.
In low-light conditions, the Super-LumiNova does its job. It glows in a combination of blue and green, featuring the latter for the minute hand and the “60” on the unidirectional bezel.
With or without the animation?
After I watched the animation on the case back a couple of times, I started to think that I could have also done without it. I have the Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary, which I like a lot, but I rarely watch the animation on the backside of that watch. It’s only there to show it to other watch enthusiasts, I guess. I fear the same would happen with the 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary. Additionally, the fact that it adds roughly a millimeter to the case thickness and probably a substantial amount to the retail price makes me think I would not have minded a watch without the animation.
For the James Bond fans
But I also know that a lot of people love the Snoopy animation, and I can imagine Bond fans will love this opening sequence, a reminder of their favorite secret agent. Several Omega retailers have told me that they’ve had people who were not watch enthusiasts in their shops asking about Bond watches. These people did not know all the technical ins and outs, but they just wanted to get the same watch as 007. The 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary model might be the perfect fit for those fans.
No Time To Die edition
Since 1995, Omega has been the watch on Bond’s wrist. Before, Bond wore all sorts of watches from different brands, including the Rolex Submariner on a NATO strap in Dr. No. In the novels by Ian Fleming, 007 wore a Rolex Explorer, the same watch that Fleming himself wore. But for nearly 30 years now, the Omega Seamaster has been Bond’s companion, first on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan and then Daniel Craig. The Seamaster 300M NTTD was designed with input from Daniel Craig, hence the mesh bracelet. Whereas all previous Bond watches were models that already existed, the NTTD was created especially for Bond, with the help of Bond (Craig). In my opinion, that’s kind of cool.
Pricing and availability
I had these two Seamaster 300M editions in front of me recently, and I would have a very difficult time choosing between the two. Normally, I am not a huge fan of titanium, but the brown dial and bezel make it a very neat-looking watch. Then again, I like the blue version because of the nod to the first Seamaster 300M from 1993 and because of the timeless dark blue color.
This brings me to the price of the watch, which is €9,000 (CHF 7,900 / US$7,900). By comparison, the No Time To Die edition has a retail price of €10,300, and the standard Seamaster Diver 300M on a stainless steel bracelet will have a retail price of €6,400 (as of February 1st, 2023). The first Omega Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary editions have already been delivered to Omega’s boutiques worldwide.
What do you think of the latest commemorative Bond watch? Is the price premium over the standard 300M worth it for the different features it provides? Let us know in the comments.