Sunday Morning Showdown — Omega Seamaster Diver 300M No Time To Die Vs. James Bond 60th Anniversary
In today’s Sunday Morning Showdown, two of our writers go head-to-head in an epic battle for the ages. Strong opinions and hysterical hyperbole are welcome (so feel free to join in with the fun in the comments section below). And don’t forget to let us know which watches you’d like to see torn to shreds/effusively exalted next week. Today features another James Bond tussle. On one side is the big star of No Time To Die (2021). No, not Daniel Craig, but he did assist with the design of his titanium Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. The shark-mesh bracelet, matte brown aluminum dial and bezel, and cappuccino lume are signatures of its screen-ready style. Facing off against the No Time To Die Seamaster is the newest James Bond model commemorating the 60th anniversary of the movie franchise with a similar Milanese bracelet. This one, though, is in steel with a hidden delight.
Hot off the announcement of the new 60th Anniversary model, we’re sending it into active duty for Sunday Morning Showdown. The blue-dialed steel Seamaster must face off against its battle-hardened, tough titanium forebear to come out alive. The James Bond 60th Anniversary may be a little starstruck to be up against the watch that graced Daniel Craig’s wrist in No Time To Die (2021). Yet, as it commemorates 60 years of 007 movie magic, the new model has plenty in its arsenal. It is like a Greatest Hits selection of Omega watch features from the brand’s debut in 1995’s GoldenEye to last year’s 007 outing. Omega watches span 27 years on Bond’s wrist, which is a decent chunk of the 60-year total. Ben will be backing the new 60th Anniversary and explaining the details, while RJ will be representing the No Time To Die (or NTTD) Seamaster.
Last week, on Sunday Morning Showdown…
First, let’s look back at Daan’s solo adventure with the new and old Rolex Explorer. Even though the references appear identical, the 30-year gap between them yielded several updates and improvements. As a result, the modern reference 124270 beats out the previous 36mm reference 14270 at 67% over 33%. As today involves another sibling rivalry, we’ll let you decide if we have a close battle.
RJ: Omega Seamaster Diver 300M No Time To Die
Let me start by saying that the new Seamaster 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary made me wear my first 2531.80 again. The dial of the new 300M is incredibly nicely done. Credit where credit is due. That said, the Seamaster 300M No Time To Die is just a different watch from the standard 300M. Just before the entire COVID-19 mess, I was invited to Matera, Italy to be on-location for some of the filming of No Time To Die. When I was there, they shot the scene where the Aston Martin DB5 was under fire (I was behind a wall, as we needed to get out of the shot).
Ben: I’d hide behind a wall too with those spinning machine-gun headlights.
Anyway, back to the watch. The introduction in Matera does play a part in my mental associations with it. However, I liked this model so much that I can’t imagine I would have felt any differently if I’d seen it in the office first. The version on the titanium mesh bracelet (188.8.131.52.01.001) works best for me, although the NATO strap does add a bit of that Dr. No feeling (yes, I know that watch was a Rolex Submariner). What I appreciate about the 300M NTTD version is that it is completely different from the regular Seamaster Diver 300M models with the wave-pattern dial. For starters, the 42mm Seamaster 300M NTTD watch was entirely made of titanium, including the mesh bracelet.
The brown dial is made of aluminum (the only other Omega watch with an aluminum dial at the time was the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday “Ultraman”), and it has the vintage-color Super-LumiNova on the hour markers and sword-shaped hands.
Worn by James Bond in No Time To Die
The nice thing about the original Seamaster 300M 2541.80 and 2531.80 is that they were actually worn in the 007 movies, and it’s no different with the 300M NTTD. So it’s not only a nice-looking watch but also a reminder of the watch that Bond wore in one of the films. The new blue-dial Seamaster 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary is not a limited edition like some of the previous anniversary models, but just like those, it has not been worn in a Bond movie.
As such, it’s a tribute watch more than a movie prop. And I think that, in the end, if you’re really into Bond movies, you’ll want the watch that appeared in on-screen. Also, per Daniel Craig’s specific request, Omega used titanium for this 300M and its mesh bracelet. To me, that makes it even more special.
In all honesty, I can’t say many bad things about the new blue-dial 300M with the moiré effect on the case back. The only thing is that the new 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary is 0.7 mm thicker than the 300M NTTD, and it doesn’t have a screw-on case back. It’s a cool watch, but it’s so cool because it harks back to the original 300M from 1993. Of course, there’s also the Bond intro sequence on the case back. That might be gimmicky to some, but so is the broad arrow on the NTTD, so we’re even.
The new 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary reminds me a lot of the standard Seamaster 300M but with a special case back. The 300M NTTD, on the other hand, looks completely different. The watch has this (vintage) military vibe to it. Now yes, the 300M as such was only introduced in 1993, meaning that, on one hand, it doesn’t make much sense. But on the other hand, this hybrid kind of design also makes it nice — a modern watch with vintage vibes.
Ben: Omega Seamaster Diver 300M James Bond 60th Anniversary
Here it is, the watch that celebrates 60 years since Bond’s first on-screen appearance in Dr. No (1962). As RJ mentioned, Sean Connery was wearing a Rolex Submariner ref. 6538 “Big Crown” in the first Ian Fleming adaption. But as stated in the intro, Omega has been part of the franchise for long enough to warrant commemorating the longstanding series. It suits me, as Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal was my first experience of 007 on the silver screen. On his wrist was the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M with a wavy blue dial and Q-laden gadgets. Before my enthusiasm for watches was in full stride, I knew this watch was unique. In my Fratello EDC article, I featured a trading card that has been with me for 20 years. On the card is the Seamaster from GoldenEye (1995). The card depicts the scene where the laser-emitting lume pip cuts through a steel plate to aid Bond’s escape.
It is this very watch that inspired the initial design cues of the 60th Anniversary model. Upon seeing the new Seamaster, thanks to Daan’s wrist shots, the immediate alteration was the frequency of the waves. When Omega revived the wavy pattern in 2018, the waves were broad and laser-cut into the ceramic dial (pictured above). It was nice to have the texture back, but it wasn’t quite the same style as the ’90s models had. For the new Seamaster, the high-frequency waves return. Not only that, but the curvy lines are also denser to provide that illusion of choppy blue seas. That said, unlike the early references, the lines do not reach the dial’s edge, similar to the ceramic versions.
The dial is anodized aluminum to achieve this wavy effect, as is the bezel. At first, it seems like a backstep from the scratch-resistant Zirconium Dioxide (ceramic) material. But having experienced the matte aluminum materials with my Seamaster 300, I know that the anodization offers sufficient protection.
No Time To Spectre
The next tribute comes in the form of the lollipop seconds hand. In Spectre (2015), Daniel Craig wears the first Omega watch created for the screen. The logo is outsized on the Seamaster 300’s dial for the audience to notice. Along with the 12-hour bezel instead of a 60-minute scale, the watch features a seconds hand with a circular lumed tip. Modern-day Seamasters typically feature a fine point at the end of the seconds hand. But the Spectre model nods to vintage Seamaster 300 variations (especially from 1959) with this style. It is from this edition that the new 60th Anniversary derives its white lollipop seconds hand. The final reference to past Omega Bond watches is the bracelet. Daniel Craig wore the familiar Seamaster on a titanium mesh bracelet with straight ends in his last outing as Bond. The look was a smash hit and offered an alternative to the nine-link bracelet’s technical but slightly dated design.
The steel version of the mesh bracelet has been out for a while now. The bracelet is even available to buy online in four different widths. But this is the first time the bracelet comes as standard with a watch. Given the more polished style of the 60th Anniversary case compared to the satin-brushed NTTD model, the steel mesh still complements the overall look. Aside from the various Omega nods, the watch subtly pays tribute to the special anniversary. The aluminum bezel uses “60” instead of the traditional inverted triangle and lume pip. It might be jarring to replace the omnipresent lume pip. Yet, I appreciate that the scale is still accurate and represents the six decades of the movie franchise. The “60” even glows green to correspond with the skeletonized sword-shaped minute hand. But it is at the back where things get interesting.
Mounted on the case back is an aluminum spiral disc connected to the central seconds pinion. The pattern evokes the rifled barrel that intros every Bond flick. Within the center is a silhouette of Bond that animates his walk to aiming his gun in four frames. To achieve the animation, the 60th Anniversary uses the moiré technique. By printing each of Bond’s positions in scan lines, the overlapping spiral completes the shapes and repeats his movement. To better understand how this works, it is worth checking out this music video by John Mayer. The effect is mesmerizing, and I could see myself watching the sequence play out constantly. Combining all these dedications could’ve resulted in a visual mess. Yet, unlike the defeated henchmen, the results are anything but messy. The James Bond 60th Anniversary Seamaster 300M is a well-considered appreciation of Omega’s history and the Bond franchise.
On the wrist, you wouldn’t even know this is a Bond tribute. There are no 007 logos on the dial, Bond family crests, or secret stylized “7s”. And that’s what I prefer over the overt details on the No Time To Die model. While the NTTD dial is not as egregious as past non-movie Bond watches, I’ve said before that the broad arrow is a less-than-inconspicuous symbol that could give away Bond’s identity. But mostly, the new model’s wavy blue dial and its stainless steel case bring us full circle from GoldenEye to the modern day. The 60th Anniversary nails the brief on the surface then surprises with the sensational animation on the back. Like the 50th Anniversary Silver Snoopy’s rocket automaton, it’s a subtle detail just for the wearer. However, the added complexity contributes over 0.7mm to the case thickness, as RJ stated.
Our secret agents in the comments section now have a difficult decision. Both Seamasters have an aluminum dial that cleans up some erroneous text on the standard Seamaster Diver 300M. I, for one, do not need the reminder that the dial material is Zirconium Dioxide with “[ZrO2]” just below the center. Both combatants also feature the same self-winding Master Chronometer Co-Axial movement. This in-house caliber 8806 is tested independently by METAS and guaranteed to withstand 15,000 gauss of magnetism with a 55-hour power reserve. Yet, despite the spectacular case back, the new stainless steel 60th Anniversary is less expensive at €8,300 versus the titanium NTTD at €10,100.
Which one is better? We’ll leave it up to a crack team of agents to vote and decide.