Green With Envy — The New Omega Seamaster 300M Green Takes On The Rolex Submariner Date “Hulk”
We’ve seen this battle many times before. The Rolex Submariner Date versus just about any dive watch that’s willing and able to throw down against the titan. The challenge is selecting a watch that can transcend the general populace as effortlessly as the Submariner. From Steve McQueen to Sylvia Earle, the Rolex Sub has graced the wrists of legendary ambassadors across the gamut. Regardless of those who wear them, the watch, the engineering, the heritage, and pure design perfection have made the Submariner an inspiration worldwide. This has led many brands to throw their hands up and proclaim, “If you can’t beat it, join it.” That is unless you are Omega with its Seamaster Diver 300M. Today, I compare the new mean, green Seamaster against the discontinued and vibrant Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV (Lunette Verte).
Yes, I am comparing the Submariner “Hulk” that is no longer available. But in reality, what is available anymore? Now, I told myself I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on Rolex allocation for this comparison, mainly as I’m sure you’re tired of everyone dwelling on it. But in this instance, it’s a blessing, as this was the only Sub reference with a green dial and bezel. This color combo allows the new evergreen Omega Seamaster Diver 300M to have equal footing against the Sub. However, the Seamaster differs in its execution in just about every other way. In 1993, and after forty years of the Submariner’s dominance as the de facto dive watch, Omega sought to bring fresh ideas to the 300m-dive-watch category and create a new classic.
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M modern legacy
The Seamaster stands out with its wavy dial, manual-release helium-escape valve at 10 o’clock, scalloped bezel grip, and skeletonized sword hands. Omega came out swinging with these design cues, which are still the calling cards of the Seamaster 300M. I appreciate when a brand nails its concept from the outset and it persists throughout the generations. Even with dimensions, powertrains, and materials morphing over the last nearly 30 years, the lineage from the original 300M is evident. That also goes for the Submariner, but it is fascinating that these watches quite often square up despite their different approaches. And I put this down to Omega emphasizing its ability to break the trend of cookie-cutter dive watches.
Both watches owe a lot to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, but this watch has a less consistent production history. Blancpain went dormant in the ’70s and came back with dress watches in the ’80s. Therefore, the Fifty Fathoms lost some of its momentum in becoming a household name. The Rolex Submariner shares the Fifty Fathoms ethos with the 60-minute dive scale bezel with a tightly knurled steel grip. More ornate than the Fifty Fathoms are the Mercedes hands of the Submariner. And even more so is the practical luminescent pearl on the rotatable bezel to line up with the current minute. Even in the early references, the Submariner demonstrates Rolex’s dedication to detail and performance in the deep seas.
Worthy green adversary
For the sake of shared visual similarity between the Rolex and Omega, I am selecting the “Hulk“. The latest Submariner in the steel-and-green-bezel guise is the 41mm reference 126610LV. Many nicknames have been put forward for this model, but I feel “Starbucks” resonates best. Not that I’m a Seattle coffee addict. But the specific green for the Cerachrom bezel is a very close shade of green to the Starbucks mermaid logo. Likewise, the 50th Anniversary Submariner ref. 16610LV “Kermit” shares the olive green of everyone’s favorite banjo-wielding frog. The emerald-green dial of the “Hulk” has a sunray finish that appears a deeper shade than the bezel under direct light. This disparity from the dial to the bezel of the “Hulk” is not as appealing as a single green hue.
In contrast, the forest-green bezel of the Seamaster blends seamlessly into the polished ceramic wavy-cut dial. That’s no simple task, as the sapphire crystal with a dual-layer of AR coating covers the dial and potentially shifts the shade of green. Therefore, Omega balanced the colors to ensure the subtle variance visually appears as the same shade. The downside is that this particular green darkens in dim lighting to almost a black/gray combination. For the Submariner, the Verte is strong and maintains its vibrancy in many environments. Yet, whereas the date aperture of the Seamaster matches the background of the dial, the Submariner has a white date disc. Rolex then makes the tonal shift more obvious by including the cyclops date magnification on the crystal.
You may think the Seamaster has recency bias as a 2022 model, with the 116610LV leaving production in 2020. While there are some improvements in the latest reference 126610LV, the 116610LV retains many innovations built up over nearly sixty years of continual improvement. Specifically, both references share a 904L (now “Oystersteel”) stainless steel case that is corrosion-resistant. In tandem, the case polishes and brushes beautifully to extend its luxury feel. Caliber 3235 is the beating heart of the Submariner Date, donning an anti-magnetic Parachrom hairspring and a weekend-proof 70-hour power reserve. The Seamaster is no slouch either, with caliber 8800 undergoing independent tests by METAS to withstand magnetism of at least 15,000 gauss and delivering a 55-hour reserve.
The “Hulk” also has the Cerachrom bezel, a proprietary ceramic with a platinum overlay on the numerals to ensure an everlasting luster. The Seamaster 300M, on the other hand, elects for a white grand feu (“great fire”) enamel diving scale within its ceramic insert to achieve a similar goal. It’s almost like two top Formula One teams approaching the rule book in opposing directions but within milliseconds of each other. The bracelet perhaps is where I feel the Rolex tops the leaderboard with the ergonomic and extendable Glidelock system. The Oyster is a straightforward and pliable bracelet that exudes comfort and design. With Omega’s Seamaster, I feel the nine-link bracelet is recognizable but oversized on the wrist with a complex clasp construction.
So, where do my preferences lie? Given a choice, I’d elect for the latest Submariner 126610LV, “Starbucks.” It seems counter-productive to spend time discussing two watches and select a tertiary option that barely got a mention. But I find the latest model has the fun element with the green bezel without hamming it up with the glistening green dial. The mismatch of tones also spoils the 116610LV, meaning it never truly grabbed me as a desirable model. Despite that, the appreciation is unbelievable, stretching upwards of €40,000 on the pre-owned market. Ignoring that and being strict with myself, I prefer the Omega Seamaster from these two dive watches. Even though the forest green is relatively muted, the consistent shade across the dial and bezel is captivating.
But I’m keen to hear your thoughts in the comments and see your votes below. Do you take the Omega Seamaster 300M in green or the Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV?