Watches are so versatile. From dress watch to tool watch, the opportunities to pick the one that fits you best are endless. Personally, I tend to buy larger watches, usually chronographs with dark colored dials. That’s my thing. That’s why I was really looking forward to this piece that I had the pleasure of wearing for a few weeks. It is so out of the ordinary for me with its colors, but because of the timeless design it felt like a friend you have not seen in a while whom you finally reconnect. I truly enjoyed every second it spent on my wrist. I wear it as I type the article now but in a few days I will have to kiss good-bye to this Omega Seamaster Diver 300M ETNZ.
Omega Seamaster 300M Background
As we all know the Seamaster line is one of the earliest model lines in the history of Omega dating back to 1948. Throughout the years the brand introduced some really cool Seamasters. Just think about the PloProf, the Chrono-Quartz, Seamaster Calendar or the original 300. Numerous chronographs were also part of this group and especially from the late 60’s they brought the “funky” to the line up. This DNA of the Omega Seamaster 300M ETNZ reference 126.96.36.199.99.001 is going back as early as 1993. This was the year Omega introduced their newest addition to the family the Seamaster Professionals. The big début was in Golden Eye, James Bond’s newest story from the same year. These watches were water resistant to 300m, had larger cases and a helium valve at the 10 o’clock (something al vintage Omega fans would associate with the vintage Chronostops of the 60’s and their crown for the inner rotating bezel positioned at the same spot). I think it is safe to say – judging by he fact that after +20 years the style is till here – that a future classic, a legend was born. This is the DNA this model still has. Of course, it has evolved since 1993 but the main characteristics and the main goal remains. That is to produce a watch that is durable, functional, distinctive and sporty. The brand just nailed it with the Omega Seamaster 300M Chronographs and the ETNZ is no exception.
The abbreviation above refers to the fruit of a long collaboration between Omega and the Emirates Team New Zealand. This collaboration is almost as old as the Seamster Pro models, as it was established in 1995. As you might remember a very similar watch came out in limited numbers in 2013. I could say this is the updated version but it isn’t. I’m not going to compare the 2 and I honestly think this one looks much better. The colors (grey, red and a touch of black) is just spot on, the strap’s design is clean and simple and the small details all over the watch just scream perfection.
Sea and Feel
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M ETNZ is a large, thick but not heavy watch. Thanks to the titanium case (and deployant buckle) the watch on a rubber strap only weights 120g. For a timepiece that has a case size of 44mm and thickness of 18mm it is not a bad ratio. However the rubber strap is so thin that it beaks the robust feel of the watch and it actually becomes sleek. The case is made of grade 5 Titanium with the classic unidirectional rotating diver bezel as seen on all Seamaster Professional models. It is made of ceramic, while the old bezels were made of aluminum. The crackly sound the bezel makes when rotating and the feel of it truly let’s you enjoy the fun of the piece. The bezel has a nice matt black finish with laser engraved numbers that don’t stand out too much anymore.
You have the usual chronograph pushers, screw-down crown and the aforementioned helium escape valve at the 10 o’clock. This crown also functions as the date corrector. In the middle of the crown there is a pusher and by pressing it the date at the 6 o’clock changes. Very cool feature if you ask me. This is where those lovely details start. The top pusher that starts the chronograph has a red aluminum ring and the bottom that would stop it has a black ceramic ring. Not that you need to color-code them but still, a bit of play with the colors. Turn the watch over and you will see the screw-in case back with the ETNZ logo. Nothing else. There should be nothing else. As plain and simple as a tool watch can be. It almost looks industrial with the deeply CNC-d logo and the unusual holes for the case back opener. On the outer ring you see 2 inscriptions; “Si14” referring to the silicon balance spring and “Column Wheel” highlighting the type of the chronograph mechanism inside.
The dial is also made of titanium adding to the lightness and durability of the watch. The minute and second hands are still the same sword-like shapes as the original 1993 versions. The 3 sub dials are not at the 12-9-6 anymore but moved to 9-6-3. It’s been like that ever since Omega stopped using the ETA/Valjoux 7750 and started building the Co-Axial chronograph movement, the caliber 3330, into the Seamaster Chronographs. This particular movement is also used in the Speedmaster Mark II re-issue for example. It has a 52-hour of power reserve and is Chronometer certified.
Let’s get back to the dial though. There are no hour markers on the dial just the matt titanium minute track. Below the 12 you read “Omega” and “Professional” in black and “Seamaster” in red. Remember those details I told you about? There is another one. Look closely and you’ll find “Ti” (Titanium) way under the word “Professional” very close to the center of the dial just above the hands. The seconds counter is at 9. It features the text “Co-Axial Chronometer 300m 1000 feet” and has a white second hand that is shaped like a sail. At 6 you have a 12-hour counter and the date. The hand of this counter (that looks like a compass) just like the hand of the minute counter are both colored red. This has to do with the fact that they are in connection with the chronograph function while the white hand on the seconds counter is working with the time function. The minute counter is also very interesting. First of all the hand is actually a triangle, where the left side of it shows the elapsed minutes measured by the chronograph (with a painted white line) while the right side of it is has a little arrow pointing to “5-4-3-2-1-START” painted on the right side of the sub dial. “Countdown Indicator” can be found on the left side of it. When the chronograph starts this little white arrow works as a 5-minute countdown. This is a feature regatta timers have, to show the crew the time they have before the actual start of the race. So when they hear the 5-minute signal the crew starts the chronograph and they can follow how much time they have left before the 5 minutes are up and the race begins. The dial is not crowded at all; the little colorful details complete it very well. It is easy to read and the Super Lumi-nova coated indexes do their job like they should in the dark.
While the usual versions come with a variety of straps to choose from the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M ETNZ has only one strap option. I have to tell you that I love the simple, thin design of it. The upper side is matt black and has a ribbed pattern that unfortunately could pick up small pieces of fluff or sand for that matter, which can sit between the ribs and would be difficult to clean out. The surface is very smooth and the ribs aren’t too deep though. The underside is red and the patterns you see there again remind me of the sail of a yacht. The titanium deployant makes the strap perfect.
The retail price for the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M ETNZ is €6.300 in Germany, which does not qualify this watch to the cheap category. This watch is an Omega and the company is not aiming the affordable category (for that Swatch Group have Tissot, Certina among other brands) but the higher-end. The watches Omega produce, including this one, are built to last with expensive materials that are of great quality, with a level of technical background that is rare in the industry. You can trust that this watch gets the job done, regardless of the harshest conditions. It’s a sports chronograph and a very good one at that. A fun watch to wear and enjoy for many years. If you buy this you only need a dress watch and you are set. Speaking of which, have you read our Globemaster article yet?