Pre-Owned Spotlight: An Omega Seamaster Diver Extravaganza
As the new year kicks off, I’ve had an Omega Seamaster on my mind, so I thought I’d put together an article to showcase a handful of the models that I’ve been lusting after. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a model you didn’t know existed or even find a new favorite to add to your list. Either way, when it comes to making a solid dive watch, Omega cracked the code decades ago. And although the current selection is overwhelming indeed, I think it’s always good to look back at some of the recent yet discontinued models. These are often quickly forgotten in favor of the latest offerings, and sometimes that’s for the best. Yet it’s within that selection that the future classics can almost certainly be found. Plus, with ever-rising retail prices, you may find a watch that you love at a pretty reasonable price.
Keep in mind that I use the term “reasonable price” as a brand-new Seamaster Diver 300M will set you back €6,100, while Planet Ocean prices start at €7,300. Did you blink and miss it? Well, I’m sorry to say that this is the reality of price increases. And those prices are sure to keep crawling up slowly over time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m (painfully) aware that pre-owned prices also continue to climb, but the watches I’ll highlight today come in close to half the price of their current-day counterparts. In some cases, they even offer some pretty interesting features. I’m not saying that these are better than the modern models, simply that slightly more budget-friendly alternatives are available from the brand’s back catalog. Now, without further ado, here are my three picks.
Omega Seamaster Professional 300M 2231.50.00 — Titanium + sword hands = heaven
It’s no secret that I’m a die-hard fan of the Omega Seamaster Professional 2254.50.00. I even wrote an article last year asking for the brand to bring back the sword hands in the SMP line. However, recently having delved deeper into the reference, I discovered the incredible gem that is the 2231.50.00. This fully-brushed titanium version of the classic 2254 takes the sword-handed SMP to the next level. Its dial remains virtually unchanged from the original version, with the only aesthetic differences applying to the case and bezel. Instead of the black anodized bezel on the classic 2254, this watch has a circular-brushed titanium bezel insert with deeply engraved numerals and markings.
Unlike the steel version, the case and bracelet have the signature darker/warmer titanium tone. Some love it, others hate it, but I think it gives this already amazing watch a tough-guy makeover. This is only enhanced by its fully-brushed 41mm titanium case and bracelet. Other than the sapphire glass, there’s not a single shiny surface on this timepiece. Only the hands will catch the light, separating them from the black wave-pattern dial. A subtle color-matched date disc at 3 o’clock is nicely integrated and doesn’t disturb the visual balance that the dial’s oversized lume markers offer. For an asking price on Zeitauktion of €3,450 (including box and papers), you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-looking dive watch. The Tudor Pelagos is left quivering in its dive fins!
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial GMT 2535.80.00 — A double-take inducing GMT diver
If you’re not aware of this model, you may have found yourself doing a double-take and rubbing your eyes to make sure you’re seeing things clearly. I can assure you that you are. This is not your standard blue-wave-dialed Bond Seamaster. This is a brilliant GMT version, packing a Co-Axial caliber to boot. As opposed to the 50th-anniversary Seamaster GMT references, which have 24-hour bezels, this version uses a 24-hour scale on the dial. This allows the bezel to remain unchanged — a proper dive bezel in true Seamaster fashion. I love how subtle the integration of the GMT feature is on this watch. The case dimensions are also barely affected by it as it maintains its 41mm diameter and gains 3mm in thickness. Three millimeters sounds like a lot, but when you start at 11.5mm, you’re still well within what’s reasonable.
With a blue aluminum bezel that has faded slightly already, this watch is bound to develop some nice patina, something all but impossible for the modern, ceramic-packed SMPs. For €3,650 on Zeitauktion, you get a 300m-water-resistant dive watch with a flyer GMT movement. In more ways than one, this watch may well be the answer to my quest for a perfect all-around sports watch. It hits the sweet spot between the regular Seamaster divers and the slightly too-thick chronographs (which tower on the wrist at 15.6mm thick). In my opinion, this is the ultimate under-the-radar Omega diver from the early/mid-2000s. Don’t be surprised if this particular model is gone in a flash, only to appear on my wrist a couple of weeks later!
Seamaster Planet Ocean 2201.50.00 — The pre-ceramic, Bond-approved PO
This third pick seems like a total no-brainer. It’s a Seamaster that spent time on Bond’s wrist on the silver screen and gives you all the pre-ceramic patina-prone appeal of older models. This 42mm Planet Ocean has a matte black dial, applied Omega logo, aluminum bezel insert, and painted numerals at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock. With a 600m water-resistance rating and a helium escape valve, it’s very much a proper dive watch. After having the latest Planet Ocean in for review, we couldn’t help but wonder backward down the path that lead Omega to that particular model. What we found was a lot more pleasant to me. Sure, you have to step up to 42mm from the 39.5mm model, but with the modern alternative at a whopping 43.5mm, this one comes in at a real sweet-spot size for a modern dive watch.
Aesthetically, it’s a pretty neat watch. Somehow it feels like much more of a spiritual successor to the 2254.50. It has two large arrow hands, which makes little or no sense, depending on who you ask, but they do give it that unmistakable Planet Ocean aesthetic. With a blue-AR-coated domed sapphire crystal and one of Omega’s most simple yet best bracelet designs, this is the full package. The watch is on offer at Chrono24 and is in great condition, with the box but no papers, setting you back €4,057. That’s not bad at all for what once was Omega’s top-of-the-line dive watch and James Bond’s very own choice. Replacing the 45.5mm (ref. 2900.50.91) from Casino Royale, he opts to wear it in Quantum of Solace. Though this is one of the worst modern Bond films, the watch is certainly far from a bad pick.
And just like that, my three picks for a future-classic Seamaster have been revealed. Which one would I pick? My answer (today) would be the 2535.80.00. Of course, the apple of my eye remains the 2254.50.00, but there’s something about the idea of a well-executed diver/GMT hybrid that gets me excited. It’s a perfectly versatile adventure watch. However, you’d be hard-pressed to go wrong with any one of these three picks. Omega has always made some of the most compelling dive watches out there and continues to do so today. But for me, it’s these slightly older models that offer the most bang for your buck (if you’re okay with a scratch and ding or two).
Which Omega Seamaster diver would be your pick? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!