Review: Omega Seamaster Professional 007 Edition
It’s a bold claim to state that this, the Omega Seamaster Professional 300M 007 Edition is the greatest watch Omega has ever made, but I stand by it. Sure, the notion that the century-and-a-quarter old brand peaked in 2019 is hard to believe, but believe it you should. Here’s why.
It Puts The “Tool” In Tool Watch
Whichever side of the fence you sit on when it comes to vintage-inspired timepieces, however you feel about paint that pretends to have aged to a deep, creamy colour, you have to at least acknowledge this: if any brand were to get a pass to play on its heritage, it’s Omega. This watch may have been produced to celebrate a fictional character, but Omega’s history serving nations in the defence of freedom—actual freedom—is very much real.
It was the single largest supplier of watches to the British armed forces and its allies in World War Two, and to put that into figures, that’s well over 100,000 soldiers, pilots and seamen who entrusted their lives to this watchmaker. If you want any further proof of how important Omega was in the allied war effort, you only need to watch Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Given Nolan is a man obsessive about details, the period-correct Omega CK2129 on Tom Hardy’s wrist is telling of the importance of the brand.
Those watches are what we affectionally know now as “tool” watches, meaning they are built to serve a functional purpose to the best of their abilities. A lot of the tool watches we see today have crept away from the original brief, adding the glitz and glamour the paying public desires—but not this. Wrought in titanium, it’s lightweight and simply finished. The dial loses its fancy waves for a stark, high-contrast look. There’s no date muddying the waters. The case back hides the appropriately anti-magnetic calibre 8806. Even the hands themselves are brushed to increase legibility.
And best of all, you can choose to wear it on a matching titanium Milanese bracelet or a woven NATO strap—that’s it. You won’t find a shred of cow hide here. It’s a display of pure functionality we rarely see from luxury watchmakers these days, and I for one support it. It may not be actual military issue, but it’s close enough that the Ministry of Defence’s broad arrow insignia feels truly deserved—if only for old times’ sake.
It Doesn’t Go Overboard On Bond
Now, I may have mentioned this before, and I know this is personal preference, but my care cup doth not overflow for Omega’s James Bond connection. I’m more of a Jason Bourne fan to be honest, especially since Radiohead’s opening credits track was swapped out for that Sam Smith number. The irony of Smith’s effort being titled “The Writing’s On The Wall” is palpable given it’s where most children’s best work is done.
So, a little part of me was therefore quite amused when the watch was announced for a film that didn’t get released, but actually I think it worked out for the best anyway. The watch wasn’t a limited edition—which wouldn’t have made sense if they were all sold out years in advance of the film’s release, although given Omega’s propensity for limiting watches to “just” tens of thousands meant it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway—and its ties with Bond are limited to a tiny engraving on the back. So, if you like Bond, great, here’s the next Bond watch. But if you don’t …
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like this stunning watch could have quite easily been a swing and a miss if there were some awkward 007 logo on the dial or a cheesy motif on the back. Side note: who remembers the Bond 50th Anniversary Seamaster? Can anyone explain why the rifling effect on the back depicted the entire round including the case being fired? I mean, all it needed was five minutes on Google.
Anyway, this global, pandemic-shaped hiccup in Omega’s plan is, I think, what’s made this watch go from merely good to great. The appeal is universal, it’s open to everyone and doesn’t have to pull any cheap tricks doing it. I’m looking at you, Rolex.
It Costs As Much As A Submariner
Speaking of Rolex, the third and final reason why I think this watch is the greatest Omega of all time isn’t so much an opinion as an observation: this is one of the most expensive non-limited edition, non-precious metal Seamasters ever. In fact, unlike the entry-level Seamaster, this does not undercut Rolex’s Submariner, it meets it squarely at level pegging.
To the buying public who’d rather spend less, this sounds terrible. But there’s something more at play here. This is an Omega, a highly desirable one and one with incredible residuals that costs as much as a Rolex. What does that tell you? It tells me that the gap Omega’s been working back to Rolex since the 1993 introduction of this very model has finally been closed. This watch has demonstrated absolutely, unequivocally and without compromise that Omega can be as good as Rolex. And by good, I don’t mean as high quality or good looking. That’s been true forever. I mean successful.
Given that Omega has fallen short in many of the big plays throughout this and the last century, losing out to both the Submariner and Sea-Dweller, I’d say that makes this a milestone win. And, given the way Rolex seems to work is to sell enough to not have enough to sell such that desirability increases in a self-perpetuating loop, that Omega has closed this ground without forcing people to get on their hands and knees and beg means that this very real desirability should only beget more desirability. With that, like a titanium snowball, this watch could roll Omega right back up to level pegging, if not more, where it will inevitably resume its reign and be destined to repeat history all over again. So it goes.
This is the first watch from Omega in a long time that’s really created a buzz. There have been others in recent years that have raised temperatures in certain bubbles, but this one seems to have a universal appeal that I think we’ll look back on in years to come as the turning point in Omega’s fortunes. It’s that intangible quality, that right stuff the Speedmaster had all those years ago, and here it is again for a modern world. Godspeed, Omega. We’re rooting for you.
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