Omega Introduces the Seamaster Diver 300 M Chronograph Gold Titanium Tantalum

Tri-metal fusion.

Best known as the watch worn by Pierce Brosnan playing James Bond, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M made its debut in 1993. But the blue-on-blue “Bond” model was not the flagship of the line. That distinction went to a chronograph composed of three metals – gold, titanium, and tantalum – an exotic and expensive combination two decades ago.

The tri-metal combination (the original was the ref. 2296.80 for anyone curious) made a comeback as a time-only watch for the 25th anniversary of the Seamaster 300 M two years ago. Now, Omega has finally revealed a truer homage to the original, the Seamaster Diver 300 M Chronograph Gold Titanium Tantalum, which stays to the aesthetics of its inspiration but refined to be more contemporary and technically advanced.

Initial thoughts

The original version of the tri-metal chronograph isn’t the best known variant of the Seamaster – because it was extremely expensive for the period and sold poorly – so when the time-only variant debuted in 2018, the combination of metal was rather novel. The new chronograph feels exactly like that – it is handsome and modern, but like the 1993 original, it is very expensive.

In fact, it is a lot more expensive, all things considered. Priced at a little under US$20,000, the new chronograph is significantly more expensive than its steel-and-gold counterparts – by a factor of 50%. While the price tag partially justified by the unusual material combination and good looks, the new Seamaster Chronograph is just too pricey.

The tri-tone

Though not as expensive as precious metals, tantalum is difficult to machine – it wears out tools as quickly as platinum – making it expensive to fabricate. So the metal is used sparingly on the watch, as it was on the 1993 original.

The bezel is tantalum, which complements the Sedna gold insert well. And like many of Omega’s higher-end dive watches, the insert is in relief, with polished, raised markings against a granular, frosted base.

The serial of each watch is engraved on a plate made of Sedna gold, Omega’s proprietary rose gold alloy that is resistant to fading

The tri-metal construction is most obvious on the bracelet. The innermost links are tantalum and flanked on each side by Sedna gold, with the largest components of the links being titanium. Side by side, the metals are distinct; the colour of tantalum stands out, emphasising its unusual blue hue.

As an aside, the pushers have knurled rings at the base, which are purely for show and a bit of an affectation. The pushers are not screw down, and already water resistant in themselves.

While the highlight is the contrasting metals of the case and bracelet, the dial is fancily executed. And it stands out – compared to the grey dial in the time-only variant, this dial is more striking and also possesses better contrast against the colours of the case.

Done in greyish blue, instead of the brighter blue of the standard Seamaster, the dial echos the unique colour of tantalum, a grey metal with a bluish tint. It’s made of ceramic that’s laser engraved with a wave pattern, while the hour markers and sub-dial rings are 18k Sedna gold.

High-spec mechanics

Powering the watch is the brand’s flagship cal. 9900, a massive upgrade over the Valjoux 7750 in the original. The cal. 9900 is kitted out with column wheel, vertical clutch, and silicon hairspring, plus  chronometer certification from METAS, the Swiss meteorological authority that oversees Omega’s Master Chronometer testing.

The underside of the sapphire back is laser engraved with the Seamaster emblem, which is then filled in white lacquer

One of the more practical features of the watch is the time-zone function for the hour hand, which can be set in steps of an hour backwards or forwards, making it easy to change time zones when travelling.

This numbered edition comes in a box modelled on a pressure chamber


Key Facts and Price

Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M Chronograph Gold Titanium Tantalum
Ref. 210.60.44.51.03.001

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Titanium; bezel in tantalum; bezel insert, crown, and pushers in Sedna gold
Water resistance: 300 m
Dial: Blue ceramic

Movement: Cal. 9900
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph
Winding: Automatic
Frequency:
28,800 beats per hour (4 hz)
Power reserve:
 60 hours

Strap: Titanium bracelet with inner links in tantalum and Sedna gold

Limited edition: No, but sequentially numbered on side of the case
Availability:
At Omega boutiques and authorised retailers from November 2020
Price: US$19,300; or 28,250 Singapore dollars

For more, visit omegawatches.com


 

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Louis Moinet Introduces the Space Revolution

A sci-fi battle in miniature.

Established in 2004, Louis Moinet takes its name from a pioneering, 19th century French watchmaker. A contemporary of Abraham-Louis Breguet, Moinet remains less famous than the inventor of the tourbillon, though his recognition got a boost in 2013 when it was discovered that Moinet had invented the chronograph in 1816.

Today, the resurrected name focuses on complicated watches that usually feature novel movements and often incorporate uncommon materials. The latest from Louis Moinet – and one of its most complicated watches to date – is the Space Revolution, which is equipped with twin orbiting spaceships as well as twin flying tourbillons.

Initial thoughts

As astronomical-theme watches go, the Space Revolution is one of the easiest to understand, because it’s not an astronomical complication, but rather an astronomical theme with a generous dose of sci-fi. The twin orbital oscillators are the most impressive element of the movement. While they probably add nothing to its timekeeping, they are complicated to execute and make for quite a mechanical performance.

While the theme and technical execution are interesting – but not entirely new – the watch resembles other contemporary complications in that it is big, thick, and mechanically sci-fi in appearance. The complication and form definitely bring to mind the Jacob & Co. Astronomia, which is not a bad thing since the Astronomia is one of the defining watches in the segment of over-the-top complications with modest functionality.

In short, the Space Revolution succeeds in its narrow segment, but it isn’t especially revolutionary.

The mechanics

The central carousel has two arms on separate planes, with each plane containing a flying tourbillon and spacecraft. Conceived for visual effect, the mechanics are showcased under a large sapphire dome secured to a rose gold case middle. The resulting watch is extremely thick – at least 15 mm – although the exact height is not available.

While the spacecraft appear to orbit independently at first glance, they are actually coupled to the tourbillons. Each arm of the central carousel is double ended, with one end for the spacecraft and the other for the tourbillon, which have cages in a distinct, geometric shape that echo the spacecraft aesthetic.

For maximum lightness, the pair of spacecraft are made of titanium, with each weighing less than 0.5 g. The two orbit in opposite directions at relatively high speeds – described by Louis Moinet as a space battle – with a period of five and ten minutes respectively.

In other words, the spacecraft complete 12 and six revolutions respectively per hour. That means they coincide 18 times an hour, passing each other as they move. Being on the opposite end of the same arm, the tourbillons rotate in an identical manner.

The Space Revolution is offered with two different dials, both having the same complication carousel in the centre but executed in different finishes. And both versions feature a meteorite inlay – the material used in each watch is from a different meteorite – for the top of the carousel where the hands sit.

The flat black dial – coated with the blackest-black substance for an infinitely flat, black finish that evokes the nothingness of deep space – is complemented with rose gold components, creating a warm contrast.

On the other hand, the Aventurine glass dial is a more romantic take on the galaxy, with the orbiting components in silvery colours of rhodium, titanium, or steel.

While the dial-side construction is exotic, the movement side is more traditional. It has a symmetrical layout, especially the barrel bridge, which has been open-worked to reveal the two large mainsprings.

More unusual is the function-selector slide on the back that controls the crown; sliding from one to the other switches the crown from winding mode to time setting.


Key Facts and Price

Louis Moinet Space Revolution
Ref. LM.104.50.50 (Flat black)
Ref. LM.104.50.51 (Aventurine)

Diameter: 43.5 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: 18k rose gold and sapphire
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 10 m

Movement: LM104
Functions: Hours, minutes, and flying tourbillons
Winding: Hand-wind
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap

Limited edition: Eight pieces in each dial
Availability
: At Louis Moinet retailers
Price: 320,000 Swiss francs

For more, visit louismoinet.com


Correction October 14, 2020: The coating on the flat black dial is similar to the better known Vantablack, and not Vantablack as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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