2018 saw the release of the new Omega Seamaster and with an overwhelmingly positive response for the return of the wave patterned dial, it only seemed right that for this week on the wrist (when given the opportunity) I jumped at the chance to review the predecessor.
What do we have here?
This reference is the 2253.80 Seamaster originally released in 2006, which features a 36.5mm case and an appropriately nicknamed electric blue dial. This particular livery is not one you will often spot on Seamasters, yet it does not depart from the iconic timepiece that enthusiasts know and love. A chronometer grade self-winding movement (Omega 1120), sapphire crystal and 300 metres of water resistance retain the sport watch pedigree the Seamaster was founded upon.
On the wrist
With contemporary wristwatches averaging a diameter of greater than 42mm, it is fair to approach a watch that comes in at 36.5mm with some skepticism. Having not worn a watch at this size for an extended period of time, I too was intrigued just how it would wear. After securing the push button clasp any fear of 36mm being too small instantly vanished as the midsize diver proved to be a welcome departure from modern sizing conventions. The Omega wears slightly larger than the specs would suggest, with the bracelet playing a key role in maintaining the right amount of wrist presence. It was a pleasure to wear on my 6.5 inch wrist, never feeling uncomfortable or dainty after extended periods of wear. Even with a smaller diameter the proportions are spot on ensuring the classic Seamaster silhouette remains, preserving the sport watch experience.
(If you’re considering a 36mm watch and have refrained purely due to size, I urge you to try one on and it just may surprise you as it did me)
With the nickname electric blue, there are no prizes for guessing what the defining feature of this watch is. Electric, vivid, vibrant are all apt attempts to describe the azure tones the wave textured dial exude. Blue dials can be understated, austere and serious at times, yet this Seamaster throws it all out the window as you cannot help but fixate on the lively colour palette that is your wrist. The Omega features predominantly metallic hardware as the bracelet, case and bezel exhibit combinations of brushed and polished surfaces leaving the wearer to appreciate the sharp contrast created by the dial. In direct sunlight the dial lights up a shade of teal reminiscent of tropical waters, making it easy to imagine sand between your toes and waves lapping at your feet as you take this piece below sea level, as Omega originally intended. But the magic doesn’t stop there, even in artificial or low light the blue tones range from iridescent to the electric blue that earned the watch its nickname. The more time you spend with this Seamaster, the stronger the connection between the ocean and the dial becomes. Whether it is the deep of the marianias trench or crystal waters of the Bahamas, you are unable to associate the dial with anything but the allure and mystery of the ocean. The wave motif begs you to take the Seamaster out of the office and into its natural habitat, in what would be one of my top contenders for the ultimate holiday watch.
All the Seamaster archetypes are apparent on this watch, from the scalloped edges on the bezel, classic sword style minute and hour hands, a red tipped seconds hand and two Omega signed crowns at 3 and 10. The bracelet remains akin to those that have been equipped with Seamasters and Speedmasters of the modern era, with straight grain finishing complimented by high polish on the perimeter of the centre links. Use of high polish on the lugs, bracelet and case flanks lean the Seamaster toward dressy diver territory as opposed to unabashed tool watch. Leaving the wearer to enjoy ample versitility in complimentary apparel. From a t-shirt and jeans to business attire, the Omega feels appropriate across a
variety of social settings.
Secure clicks, locks and a tight bezel action never leave you doubting the integrity or longevity of the watch, even after 13 years of use. The luminescence shows no sign of degradation as it emits a bright green glow (unlike the blue the photos would have you believe). A diver’s extension hidden in the clasp reminds you that pretty as this watch is, it is capable of being a deep diving companion should take your timepiece into the ocean below.
This 36mm Seamaster is an incredible watch, especially once you consider just how much provenance and watchmaking expertise you can attain for a little over $2,000 AUD. But no watch is perfect and there are some shortfalls, mainly the bezel. The polished, scalloped edges found on said bezel make for a signature aesthetic, but when it comes to operation it undermines the functionality of an otherwise competent dive watch. I found it tedious to operate the dive bezel with my bare hands while at a desk, I could not imagine attempting to do so offshore or underwater with any sort of dive equipment on. That said, how often do you really use the bezel to measure elapsed time?
Secondly, the helium escape valve. The idea of a manually operated helium escape valve is an interesting concept in itself, but many (myself included) would prefer the crown at 10 to be removed all together. Not long after getting the watch on my wrist it became familiar very quickly, never impinging on wearability to my surprise and delight. Safe to say I got over it, and the more I wore the Seamaster the more I came to see it as a design trait rather than personal niggle.
Scalloped bezel and helium escape valve in mind, neither features would deter me from owning any iteration of the Seamaster, let alone this number with its chameleon dial.
It’s common knowledge that the Seamaster is one hell of a watch and this particular reference is a great take on the Omega dive watch blueprint while adding fun to the mix. An electric blue dial with a wave motif? This is not a watch you buy to be sensible and understated, it’s one you wear because it makes you look at the dial a little while longer than you otherwise would and leaves you with a grin every time you do.
At this price point, there are few competitors if you’re in the market for an iconic diver with a spec sheet as enticing as this Seamaster.
As always, a thoroughly enjoyable week on the wrist, look forward to your company for the next one!
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