Welcome to another Sunday Morning Showdown. With sunshine finally appearing after a gray winter, it’s time to look forward to spring and summer. This week, we have a very special showdown. It’s a battle that we have never seen in our series — the current Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M versus the current Rolex Submariner Date. It’s time to see which of these two iconic divers will come out on top. As always, Fratelli, their fate is in your hands…

Robert-Jan and Jorg are going toe to toe in today’s battle. Both men have selected famous names from big brands to battle it out. Do either of these really need any introduction? Just as a small reminder, the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 126610LN, which Robert-Jan picked, came out in August 2020. It is part of the current generation that shook the watch world as the watch’s diameter grew to 41mm. Additionally, The Crown updated the movement to its caliber 3235. The current Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M, on the other hand, was first presented during Baselworld 2018. Omega updated the longstanding watch’s design and equipped it with a new movement. But that was almost six years ago. Where do we stand now when it comes to the Submariner versus the Seamaster? Let’s find out!

Last week, on Sunday Morning Showdown…

But first, let’s take a look at last week’s Sunday Morning Showdown. In last week’s battle, Thomas’s IWC Mark XX beat Daan’s Zenith Pilot Automatic by a mile. The IWC took 73% of the votes, while the Zenith was left with a meager 27%. As always, the comments section turned out to be an entertaining read. Quite a few people who voted for the IWC deemed it a classic. But there were quite a few commenters who preferred the Zenith over the IWC as, to some, the latter feels a bit boring. Either way, the Mark XX was the clear winner in last week’s battle of the pilot’s watches. Now it’s time to turn it over to Robert-Jan and Jorg in this week’s battle of the dive watches.

Jorg: Omega Seamaster Diver 300M

We have been discussing the Omega Seamaster Professional/Diver 300M in the Fratello offices lately, not just the latest generation but also all the different models and configurations we have seen since its introduction in 1993. As some of you know, some Fratello team members proudly wear their Seamasters. Nacho owns a Seamaster Professional 300M ref. 2254.50 that he wears a lot, and our photographer Morgan recently bought a Seamaster “Bond” ref. 2531.80.00, which he loves. But that’s not where it ends. Robert-Jan and Gerard also own multiple Seamasters.

Recently, we had a wide variety of current Seamaster Diver 300M models in the office, which gave us all a good idea of what makes it such a great watch. Nevertheless, Thomas dedicated an article to the current-generation Seamaster Diver 300M and how he would love to see it evolve. What stood out was that he addressed solving issues by referring to previous generations of Seamasters. While there is something to be said about the slimmer profile that previous generations had and a more elegant bracelet, I don’t think the past is where the future is for Omega.

I love a variety of different Seamaster 300M models

Seeing all the Seamasters together reminded me how much I love the current generation of Omega’s divers. While I am not a fan of every iteration the brand has put out, I adore some of the absolute stunners. As I said in my recent review of the black ceramic model, there are quite a few. I love the bicolor stainless steel and gold version with the black dial and bezel, one of the first models that came out. Another beauty is the blue James Bond 60th Anniversary model that Omega added to the collection early last year. But my absolute favorite is the Sedna Gold version of the Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph. Wearing that watch was a transformative experience.

One final model I want to highlight is the stainless steel one with the green dial and bezel that Omega added in 2022. Although it was a simple color change, that green hue transformed the Seamaster 300M into a stylish diver rather than an archetypical tool watch. It’s this stainless steel model that, for me, best competes with Robert-Jan’s Submariner Date. Rolex offers only two stainless steel Submariner Date models — the classic version with a black dial and bezel (126610LN) and the one with a black dial and green bezel (126610LV). However, while Omega offers a wider variety of configurations, I don’t think color is the deciding factor in choosing one or the other.

Just as a quick reminder, the details of the Seamaster Diver 300M

Before we get into the details of why I would pick the Seamaster, let’s remind ourselves of some specs. The current Seamaster Diver 300M has a 42mm stainless steel case that is 13.7mm thick, 50mm from tip to tip, and 20mm between the lugs. For some, those dimensions are on the larger side. But on my 19mm wrist, the watch feels right at home. Not forgetting that this is a professional tool watch at heart, I like its substantial size. It gives the reassurance of wearing a proper piece of kit. And to those who prefer a smaller Seamaster, I do not disagree that one should exist, but it should be an addition to the collection rather than the new standard size.

Inside the case, Omega uses its Master Chronometer Co-Axial 8800 automatic movement with 55 hours of power reserve. The movement has a silicon balance spring that helps it withstand magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss. Furthermore, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters and has a helium escape valve (HEV). It’s one of those divisive elements that people love to pick on, with some calling it a “mole.” But I like quirky design details if they fit the overall design, and they work nicely in this case. I have always found the typical ’90s design of the Seamaster 300M somewhat quirky, with its angular shapes and slightly over-the-top detailing. But it has an undeniable charm that won me over quickly.

The Seamaster feels like coming home

As mentioned, a slimmer profile for a next-generation Seamaster Diver 300M would be nice. And a more elegant bracelet with a smaller clasp almost seems like a must-have. In reality, though, I have worn several current Seamaster Diver 300M models since the update in 2018 and never had any real problems with either of these specifics. Even the date window at 6 o’clock fits nicely in the overall design. Overall, the best way I can describe the feeling of putting any Seamaster on my wrist is “coming home.” I have a special connection with the Seamaster name since my father’s 1966 Seamaster De Ville was the watch I saw him wear when I was growing up. It’s a special bond beyond just liking a watch, as I explained in my review of the Sedna Gold Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph.

The truth is, I don’t have that bond with Rolex. That’s a more impersonal bond that has grown out of respect for the brand creating amazing products. It’s not the same as the deep love that I have for Omega and the Seamaster in particular. This plays a big part in choosing the Seamaster Diver 300M over the Submariner. But there is more. I love the Submariner a lot. I love its history, design, and the fact that it feels the least flashy out of the many ceramic-bezel Rolex models. But I would never pick the Submariner Date. I would always go for the dateless version as the Rolex Cyclops still sticks out like a sore thumb.

It’s all about combining the head and the heart

Lastly, an important factor for me is the price of the Rolex Submariner Date ref. 126610. Its current price of €10,700 is too much for me. I know Omega has upped its prices drastically over the past two years, and I wasn’t a fan of that, to put it mildly. It rocked the foundations of sympathy that I have for the brand. However, with the current price of €6,600 on the stainless steel bracelet, the Seamaster Diver 300M is still seriously more affordable than the Sub. At €4K less, the watch easily competes with the Submariner and connects me to my family history. That is why I would pick the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M over the Rolex Submariner.

Rolex Market Availability

Robert-Jan: Rolex Submariner Date ref. 126610LN

I like watches that are a little bit over-engineered. The Omega Seamaster PloProf and Ultra Deep are good examples, as is the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea. But these two brands are also keen to show innovation in very wearable watches, like the Seamaster 300M and Submariner (Date) collections. I have a couple of Seamaster 300M watches from previous generations and a five-digit Sea-Dweller as well. When I have the new versions of these watches in my hands, I can see and feel that a lot has changed in the past 20–25 years (gosh, I feel old at moments like these).

The modern interpretation of an icon

The good thing is that all these changes and modern innovations are big news in the watch industry but are marginal compared to the developments in the car or tech industries in the same period. Although the production of watches has changed drastically, using more tech solutions, the end product is still very analog and old-fashioned “technology.” And that’s often also the reason for us watch geeks to buy a mechanical watch. It brings us back to different times, offering a hint of nostalgia, perhaps, and (sometimes handmade) craftsmanship.

It’s hard to beat the Rolex Oyster bracelet

Both the 300M and Submariner (Date) changed — “drastically” according to watch enthusiasts and “just barely” to those who aren’t. Today, they both have ceramic parts, promise better performance (accuracy) than their predecessors, and come with properly designed bracelets. Well, at least the Submariner has a properly designed bracelet. Does that justify the €4,000 price difference? Of course not, but the bracelet is such an integral part of a watch and the joy of wearing one that it’s incredibly important to me. This is why I never really felt I needed the current Seamaster Diver 300M. Frankly, if I were to buy one, I’d get it on a rubber strap and wait until Omega comes up with an updated version of the bracelet with a better taper, at least.

That said, I also sold my Submariner 114060 a few years ago. It was incredibly comfortable on the wrist, partially due to the superb bracelet, but the fat lugs on that series were not for me. The watch looked clunky, and while it still had a 40mm diameter, it felt and looked much bigger than my 40mm Sea-Dweller 16600.

More expensive than a Seamaster Diver 300M

Then, in 2020, Rolex introduced a new lineup of Submariner models, correcting the thick lugs and restoring some elegance to these dive watches. Whether it’s this reference 126610 or the 124060 (without date), the Submariner regained some of the looks of the five-digit versions. I think Rolex did an amazing job overhauling the Submariner (Date), and despite the brand’s apparent unwillingness to sell these watches, I prefer them over the current Seamaster Diver 300M. Even the €10,700 price is not crazy for the watch when compared to some of the other offerings from other brands.

We will soon find ourselves on the premises of Watches and Wonders, hardly seeing daylight for about a week, and just as we have in recent years, I am sure we will conclude that “everything is at least 10K these days.” Having seen some of the watches under embargo that will come out that week, I know that €10,700 for the Submariner Date isn’t as extreme as some of you think.

Comparing apples to oranges?

Can we compare an Omega Seamaster Diver 300M with a Rolex Submariner Date? The price difference would get you a watch from another brand on top, but purely from a brand/specification standpoint, we certainly can. In fact, if I were to go for a Seamaster 300M today, I would pick the Olympic 2024 version with the white lacquered dial and Moonshine Gold bezel, with a retail price of €9,900. And yes, that one comes only on a bracelet, but I’d exchange it for a rubber or NATO strap right away. But Jorg aims at the all-steel models that retail for €6,600. That price is still fair despite the steep increase since 2018.

The Submariner will never look old

But so is the price of the Rolex Submariner Date 126610. It’s a watch that will never go out of style, is not waiting for any updates, uses 904L-grade steel, keeps its value (if that matters to you), and, as written above, is incredibly comfortable on the wrist. In the end, comfort is an important factor that determines whether you wear a watch or keep it in the sock drawer. As soon as I have to fiddle with straps or third-party bracelets to make the watch more comfortable on the wrist, I know it’s on its way out.

The Submariner is incredibly comfortable on the wrist

I love the design of the Seamaster Diver 300M, and I even appreciate the HEV crown. As you know, Omega is very close to my heart, but in this case, the Rolex Submariner ticks a few more boxes. The dimensions are friendlier (41mm diameter × 12.3mm thickness × 48mm lug-to-lug) than those of the Seamaster Diver 300M (42mm diameter × 13.7mm thickness × 50mm lug-to-lug). Also, because of that, it’s more comfortable to wear. That comes at a price, though, and the question is if you’re willing to pay it. If you are, the Rolex Submariner is hard to beat.

Cast your vote!

Here it is — the current Seamaster Diver 300M versus the current Submariner Date. Both are very capable dive watches, but which would be your pick of the two? Cast your vote, and share your motivations in the comments below!

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M vs. Rolex Submariner Date 126610LN