The Watch I Took On My Summer Holidays — Ben Shares His One And Only Pick From Omega
After two years of limited air travel, 2022 is already fulfilling my summer holiday quota. In June, I went on back-to-back trips from the Algarve in Portugal to Dubrovnik in Croatia. Both destinations were booked in 2019 for 2020 and subsequently postponed each year until this one. After three years in the making, I was ready to soak up the sun and culture and engage in a little R&R. Accompanying me was the Omega Seamaster 300. Find out why I chose this watch and how it performed.
The Seamaster 300 has been my trusted companion since 2021. I knew at the time of purchase that adventure awaited me and this watch. You can read why I bought it here, but the short answer is that the Seamaster 300 is a capable, reliable, historically significant, understated, and drop-dead gorgeous dive watch. The updates also strip back the dial text from the outgoing model without totally changing the formula. When holiday packing came around for seven days in the Algarve, there was no debate — the Seamaster 300 was the one. Knowing I would be in and around water necessitated a watch with decent water resistance. The depth rating of 300 meters was more than enough. And even though I wasn’t planning to dive on this trip, one can never go wrong with a little overkill.
Omega Seamaster 300
This particular holiday was more about relaxation than exploration. Although it was dry the whole time, the mild early-June temperatures weren’t always ideal for sunbathing. Therefore, we spent plenty of time enjoying the tourist hotspot of Carvoeiro. The beach was glorious for the first part of the week and great for swimming, especially around nearby caves. In the second half of the week, seaweed crept in, making swimming somewhat slimy. The Seamaster 300 was on its steel bracelet for this holiday. But when swimming near jagged rocks, I wondered if a rubber strap would better stand up to scrapes and dings. However, the PUSH adjustment clasp became crucial on dry land after active hikes and a few too many Pastel de Natas — my favorite pastry.
At the end of each day, the watch was slathered in sun cream, DEET spray, sweat, salt water, and sand. Yet, taking the watch in the shower and drying it with a microfiber cloth — the kind you find in a sunglass case — brought back the sheen for evenings out. The Seamaster 300’s versatility in the day-to-night transition makes it a pleasure to own. The watch never felt out of place and was always up for the challenge. I’m incredibly impressed with the hardened aluminum bezel. My first fear with this latest model was Omega reverting from ceramic to aluminum for the bezel. It was mostly for aesthetic reasons, as the matte aluminum bezel is far less blingy than the shiny ceramic. But ceramic has added scratch resistance. Even so, the bezel still shows no sign of wear, which isn’t the case for the outer and inner steel elements.
Time to burn rubber
Not long after our flight home, it was time to prepare for our next destination. Initially, we intended to spread the vacations apart, but due to the constant re-scheduling and flight/hotel availability, they ended up quite close. I tried to mix it up and bring a few watches with me, but even the thought of disembarking a plane during an emergency makes me fear leaving my bag behind with other watches. Through a process of elimination, the Seamaster 300 became the top choice again. This time, however, I swapped the bracelet for the Rubber B SwimSkin Ballistic, which you can read more about here. On the flight to Dubrovnik, the watch choice paid dividends as caliber 8912 allows me to adjust the hour hand forward and backward without interrupting the running seconds, something I didn’t need to do when going from London to Portugal.
This was not my first time in Croatia as I had sailed from Split and around the beautiful islands in the Adriatic Sea before. However, in those previous visits, I had never made it as far south as Dubrovnik, primarily due to its distance from Split and the difficulty to get there and back in a week. Dubrovnik was always a place I desperately wanted to see. It also acts as the setting for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. The temperatures were ten degrees warmer than in Portugal, so the Rubber B strap had to withstand a higher volume of sweat. That was no big deal, though, because the 100% vulcanized rubber dries instantly, unlike fabric NATO and perlon straps. With the heat, I could stand about an hour in the sun before needing a refreshing dip in the clear blue sea. Needless to say, I was thankful for the quick-dry capabilities.
PUSHing it to the limit
Our time in Dubrovnik included day trips and excursions. But hiking during daylight hours required a seemingly endless supply of water (and gelato). Luckily, Croatians are very proud of their fresh and clean water supply to various public fountains. I noticed thirsty tourists taking off their smartwatches at these fountains to avoid water splashing on the touch screens. A pesky faucet was no match for the Seamaster 300 as I bravely kept the watch on to refill our bottles (to my wife’s utter indifference). Of course, we were there for the history and beauty of Dubrovnik, but a part of me was excited to see the filming locations of Game of Thrones. I was surprised to learn that the first time they brought the cast and crew to the site for season 2 was in the height of summer — a rookie mistake with all those heavy costumes and long working hours.
After experiencing the City Walls tour during peak summer, I can sympathize with the cast and crew. Both times, we waited until just before closing to walk the circumference of the Old Town. By evening, temperatures cool down, reducing the intensity when exposed on the perimeter wall. But also, the setting sun casts a beautiful shadow over the terracotta roofs. It was here that I took a wrist shot with the sunset and the town as the backdrop. Later Game of Thrones episodes sensibly moved production to the off-season in late autumn. However, at all times, the Old Town remained open during filming to minimize disruption to local businesses. And when a scene required the closure of shops and restaurants, the owners were handsomely rewarded for the inconvenience.
Final flight call
Both holidays were genuinely magical in their ways. Coming back home made me realize how much I missed swimming in the sea. While the UK coasts can be breathtaking, the cold seas truly take your breath away (and not in a good way). In all scenarios, the Omega Seamaster 300 stood up to everything I could throw at it. That even included airport scanners. For the trip to Portugal, I traveled with two other family members who also wore Omega watches. One had the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M, and the other had the discontinued 40mm Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial on the wrist. After a security frisk, he had to go through the special scanners where you raise your arms. As he left, he noticed his Speedmaster had stopped running. It came back to life after being demagnetized in the airport lobby’s Watches of Switzerland.
With at least 15,000 gauss of magnetism resistance, my Seamaster 300 and my family member’s Diver 300M were entirely unaffected. It demonstrates Omega’s ambition in deploying Master Chronometer certification to a growing number of watches in its collection. The Omega Seamaster 300 was my choice, but what did you decide for your vacation or staycation? Let me know in the comments below.