I confess. I haven’t seen a single James Bond movie.
As embarrassing as that is, the point of coming clean is that I’m a big fan of the Omega Seamaster Professional for its own merits and not because I saw it on the big screen. At the time I fell in love with the SMP, the diver with the wavy dial was the prevailing model on the market, but in 2012 Omega released an updated Seamaster with a ceramic bezel insert and plain, laquered dial (among other enhancements). Along with the improvements came a heftier price tag as Omega continues to move up market and garner more prestige, but the 2012 model is a welcome upgrade to already astonishing classic dive watch.
The blue three-hander has always been my variation of choice (apparently also Bond’s) because, of any watchmaker today, Omega produces my favorite blues. From the DeVille HourVision to the Seamaster, Omega’s blue is subtle and deep. Many other manufacturers are known for bright and often distracting blues that I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing. However, if you’re not into the blue thing, this model also comes in a black version, and if you want to kick up the complications you can find both colors in a chronograph flavor.
As expected, this timepiece is built like an elegant tank. When you pick up the watch you’ll immediately notice its heft. Alternating brushed and polished surfaces give the stainless steel case a handsome look without being gaudy. The signed crown screws in and out more smoothly than any dive I’ve handled before. Of course, there’s a helium escape valve signed with the atomic symbol for the element that, as a desk diver, I will never experience. The unidirectional rotating bezel with a ceramic insert is a nice touch and adds a healthy dose of “bling” to the watch and keeps it in parity with its rival, the Rolex Submariner. The bezel’s font received an update so it’s more similar to the Planet Ocean’s.
The domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal is invisible, allowing you to see straight to the dial. The laquered dial is a deep blue that will change color a bit depending on the angle you’re viewing. Sometimes it’s flat and other times it’s a sea of liquid blue with luminous applied hour markers floating in it. The date window gets a nice update in this version. I much prefer the darker window as it blends with the dial.
Turn the watch over and you’ll see one of my favorite caseback engravings, the trademark Omega sea dragon. The movement ticking behind the dragon is an Omega-modifid ETA 2892 (Caliber 2500). It is a certified chronometer that uses Omega’s co-axial escapement technology. It beats at 25,200 bph (7 bps) vs the usual 8 bps, so if you compare it to another watch with a ETA 2824 you can see the second hand has a longer “stride length”.
The bracelet on the Seamaster is better, as well. Screwpins are used instead of pushpins, so adjusting the size of the band is easy. The clasp is now only signed with “Omega” as they’ve ditched the “Seamaster” and “Professional.” My only complaint is that some edges on the scissor clasp feel a bit sharp. Never will I feel it dig into my skin while wearing it, but sometimes when I slide the watch on the wrist I can feel some sharpness.
The new Seamaster Professional retails for about $4,400. It’s a serious upgrade on the prior classic model, and in time this model will be heralded as a must-have diver for any collection.