#TimeWellSpent – A Virtual Afternoon with Omega Watches – Novelties 2021

Introduction

Omega has finally unveiled their novelties for 2021, and we at Team Matick had the privilege of being present for the virtual launch. As there are already a number of in-depth articles detailing the exact specifications of the watches in question, we’ll instead be sharing some of our thoughts on these new watches, as well as answering some specific questions that you may have.

Oh, for those of you who are too lazy to read and prefer to listen to this episode (just kidding), check us out here @ The KC & Jon Jon Show:


Seamaster

First up in the line of new releases, we have the Omega Seamaster 300. First released in 1957, the latest generation is thinner than the last-gen model, thanks to the new domed sapphire glass and reworked case geometry. It also has a new movement, with the Calibre 8912 Master Chronometer movement (previously found on the Omega PloProf) beating within.

The watch contains plenty of vintage cues, from its clean sandwich dial inspired by early Seamaster 300 models in the 1960s, to its lollipop seconds hand. All the superfluous dial text has now been moved to the caseback, a good move in our book. As for case size, the watch remains at 41mm, although it may now have more presence on the wrist, with the dial opening increasing to 30.4mm from 29.5mm. On the other hand, the new angled, thinner case and bracelet with female end-links will probably help this watch be significantly more wearable for those with smaller wrists. We hope to go hands-on soon enough, and we’ll be sure to bring you an update!

While there has been a move towards ceramic bezel inserts across the industry as a whole, Omega has opted to use an aluminium one instead for its latest Seamasters, albeit one that is fully lumed. When we spoke to Jean-Claude Monachon, VP of Product/Customer Service and Product Development at Omega, he cited aesthetics as the primary reason for this choice, citing aluminium’s more vintage look. They were also only able to achieve a similar pantone to the dial via the use of aluminium, in order to achieve a pleasing, uniform appearance. 

To assuage concerns regarding reliability and durability, Gregory Kissling, Omega’s Head of Product Management, informed us that there is an oxalic anodised coating on the aluminium that has a hardness of approximately 500 Vickers. This offers a scratch resistance similar to that of LiquidMetal technology used on other Omega models.

The flagship model of the range here is obviously the Bronze Gold Model Seamaster 300. In case it isn’t obvious from the name, this particular Seamaster 300 is fully cased in Omega’s proprietary patent-pending alloy that was inspired by ancient Greece’s Corinthian Bronze. Its composition of copper, gold, silver, palladium, and gallium, creates a soft pink hue that sits between the brand’s 18K Moonshine gold and 18K Sedna gold.

Aside from the prerequisite copper (50%), the main ingredient in any bronze alloy, gold (37.5%) is added to bolster corrosion resistance and the specific amount used is to allow it to be hallmarked as 9K gold. The remaining 17.5% contains a secret blend of silver, palladium, and gallium, which provides colouration, shine, and promotes a more controlled patination process. This particular alloy offers bronze’s corrosion resistance without the scourge of verdigris formation (the greenish corrosion residue usually found on bronze), while still allowing for the formation of an even and mild patina over time. Omega has promised us that this material will age slowly and retain its vibrant shade, while developing a natural and beautiful patina over a longer period of time.

The dial, on the other hand, is made from an aging process with regular bronze, tropicalised to a deeper shade of brown before being coated with a sealant. This coating, along with the fact that the dial will be hermetically sealed within the 300m water-resistant case means that the dial will remain untarnished. Gregory also stated that the desired colour of the dial was impossible to achieve with Bronze Gold due to its chemical stability.

TL;DR

  • Available in black, blue and Bronze Gold variants;
  • Brand new Bronze Gold alloy, offering vibrant hues with slow, controlled patination;
  • More vintage aesthetics, with less dial text and a lollipop seconds hand;
  • New Master Chronometer movements;
  • Fully lumed bezel, but now in strengthened aluminium instead of ceramic; and
  • New, more wearable case dimensions, and female end-links for the bracelet.

Aqua Terra / Constellation

Next, Omega focuses on the discerning female collector with the Constellation Small Seconds and Seamaster Aqua Terra. Firstly, both watches will now have Master Chronometer movements by METAS (Federal Institute of Metrology), with the Calibre 8800 powering the Aqua Terra, and Calibre 8802/8803 powering the Constellation. Both ranges measure in at 34mm, both feature colourful dials, and are available mostly in precious metals, although the Aqua Terra will also be available in a two-tone combination of stainless steel and 18K Sedna gold.

Coming with a new array of textured dials in various striking colours and bejewelled bezels and hour markers, there’s something for everyone here in this new collection.

TL;DR

  • 34mm dials across the board.
  • Vibrant hues and textured dials.
  • New Master Chronometer movements.
  • Mostly precious metal cases with bejewelled bezels and dials.

Trésor

Omega’s deeply underrated dress series has now been revamped, with 2 new variants of the simple and elegant dress watch. The flagship model now has a small seconds at 6 o’clock that is balanced by, for the first time, a power reserve display at 12 o’clock. Powered by the brand new Calibre 8934 Master Chronometer, it is a manual winding movement with 72 hours of power reserve. Coming in a 40mm diameter case, it measures only 10mm thick inclusive of the box sapphire crystal, despite co-axial movements usually being significantly thicker than other more traditional movements.

According to Jean-Claude and Gregory, this was achieved by building the Calibre 8934 from the ground up with an integrated power reserve complication. Unlike other movements that use a module to integrate a complication to an existing architecture, this integration allows for the movement to be significantly thinner. It was also at this point that Gregory mentioned that the Calibre 8900 movement had sufficiently high torque to be a “tractor” movement; an interesting tidbit that we hope to revisit in the future!

The other new model in the Tresor line comes without the power reserve complication but maintains the small seconds display, via the also new Calibre 8926 Master Chronometer. With just the petite secondes at 6 o’clock, it retains a more traditional dress watch aesthetic. One model with a deep, shimmering blue dial was a real standout to us here at Team Matick, and we hope to bring you more pictures of that soon.

TL;DR

  • Brand new movements with small seconds and power reserve complication;
  • 10mm thick, inclusive of box sapphire crystal; and
  • Available in precious metal and stainless steel cases.

Seamaster 300M Black Black

In the vein of the Dark Side of the Moon (“DSOTM”) (and, partially, the Planet Ocean Deep Black), Omega has now launched an all-new addition to the Seamaster Diver 300M line, the Black Black. True to its name, this new variant comes entirely blacked out: the case, crown, helium release valve, bezel, insert, and dial are all made from black zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) ceramic, along with PVD blackened hands, anthracite black Super-LumiNova, and a black rubber strap with black ceramic clasp. Omega was not messing around when they named this the Black Black, something our own Vincent discovered when he asked the question, to which Jean-Claude simply answered: because everything is black, literally.

In order to achieve some semblance of visibility and visual interest, the watch blends a serious contrasting mix of finishes; brushed and polished segments of the case, polished hands to stand out against the matte wave dial, and a textured, laser-ablated finish on the bezel insert. We believe they may have achieved this, based on the quick look we managed to get via the online presentation with Gregory, but we’ll reserve judgement for when we manage to meet this watch in the metal (or ceramic, as it were).

TL;DR

  • New blacked out Seamaster, in the style of DSOTM;
  • Fully ceramic external components;
  • Various finishes throughout to improve visibility; and
  • Nekton-style textured bezel insert.

Moonwatch Velcro Straps

In the most interesting launch of the year, at least for our resident Moonwatch fanboy KC, Omega has listened to their fans and launched a series of NASA-style Velcro straps. We say NASA-style, as they are not quite the same as the original straps used by the astronauts during space missions. Using a two piece construction rather than the pass-through design of the original, the new strap sacrifices security against springbar failure for a more comfortable fit, with less material underneath the watch.

These new straps will be available in 3 colourways at launch: a standard black version most reminiscent of the original, a white version that serves as a callback to the Alaska Project, and a silver version that harkens to the pre-Moon Project Mercury era and their pioneering silver spacesuits. All versions of the strap will come with the classic NASA “meatball” logo, a nod that Speedmaster lovers are sure to appreciate.

As our in-house Speedy fanatic has the wrist circumference of a toothpick, he was concerned about the sizing of these new straps. However, Jean-Claude was kind enough to reassure him that while the initial launch will only come in a “regular” size, short and extra long sizes will also be released to ensure that all enthusiasts will be able to find an appropriate fit.

TL;DR

  • Two piece NASA-style velcro straps;
  • Available in black, white and silver;
  • Comes with the classic NASA “meatball” logo; and
  • Three sizes will eventually be available.


Conclusion

In line with Omega president Raynald Aeschlimann’s vision of streamlining the entire collection, the focus of the new releases was evolutionary rather than revolutionary, consisting of upgrades to existing models, rather than introducing brand new ones. These upgrades include new materials, new Master Chronometer-certified movements, and subtle design tweaks inspired by Omega’s vast archives. Omega is also moving towards having Master Chronometer-certified movements powering every watch, which is a testament to the quality and standard of excellence that Omega strives for.

For Team Matick,

KC, Jon

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