Omega seems determined to take James Bond from the line of fire and send it to the casino tables.
To be honest, the Seamaster Collection got my attention after they started appearing in James Bond movies. Untill then, somehow, the collection hasn't been in my radar and I haven't discovered the treasure. Then I found myself looking at the beautiful wave-patterned dials of the Seamaster Professional 300 models. Even though I got interested in different brands and models over time, Omega Seamaster had always its place in my my mind as a watch that offered the optimum in every aspect. Like everything else, the Omega Seamaster Collection has changed as well. And the models in the collection had much more mature faces with various updates and improvements.
The collection, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, attracted great interest with its brand new models introduced at Baselworld 2018. Let's take look at the innovations by having the Ref. 126.96.36.199.01.002 model under the spotlight.
The model's case has grown by 1mm to 42mm after the latest updates. The case is water resistant to 30 bar (300 meters / 1000 feet), as always, and equipped with scratch resistant sapphire crystals on both sides. The domed sapphire crystal is anti-glare coated on both sides. A good feature for clearer legibility but it requires attention due to its delicate coating. The model's Bi-Color concept is expressed through several accents all made of Omega's patented 18K pink gold alloy; Sedna™ Gold. The alloy, which brings heat and sportiness to the dial, is also used to fill the symbols on the black ceramic bezel insert. Manually controlled Helium Release Valve is present at 10 o'clock as a signature detail of the model family. On the other hand, using such a feature on a 300 meters water resistant watch is more of a show-off as there are other watches in the market with the same water resistance rating but no helium release valve. Let me add that, the newly developed valve can be safely opened and closed under water.
The new model's dial is designed with a glossy black background decorated with the wave pattern, another signature detail of the model family. Seeing the wave pattern on the dial creates a nostalgic effect, but I think the size of the waves shadow the elegance of the dial while offering more sportiness. The chapter rings of the dot hour markers and hands are also manufactured from Sedna™ Gold in line with the Bi-Color concept. The white font over black background date disc is a clever choice for preserving the dial's visual integrity.
Omega is extremely generous for using cutting edge technology in their movements. The model is powered by the manufacture Caliber Ref. 8800 which offers magnetic resistance up to 15.000 Gauss by its components made of anti-magnetic materials, despite lacking the Faraday Cage solution due to the sapphire crystal display case back. 35 jewels self-winding movement beats at a frequency of 25.200vph and offers a power reserve of 55 hours when fully wound.
The model we have opted for review comes on a black rubber strap. The strap, which offers great wrist comfort, is secured by a stainless steel Omega signed folding clasp. There is also a Bi-Color metal bracelet version in the collection (Ref. 188.8.131.52.01.002) designed with 18K yellow gold accents.
The rubber strap version retails for $6,500.00 while the model with the stainless steel/18K yellow gold bracelet is available with a MSRP of $9,700.00 (US list).