Watches in bronze cases have been proliferating throughout the industry for several years, with brands large and small offering timepieces clothed in the maritime-evocative material. But leave it to Omega to put an entirely new spin on the trend, as it does with the undisputed headliner of its 2021 releases, unveiled today: a new version of its vintage-look Seamaster 300 model, which not only marks the debut of an all-new case metal called Bronze Gold but also the first use of the manufacture’s Master Chronometer caliber in the vintage-look Seamaster 300 series.
The Bronze gold that forms the Seamaster 300’s 41-mm case is a patent-pending alloy that combines 50 percent copper, 37 percent gold, and small amounts of other noble metals including palladium and silver. Differing from other bronze alloys used in watchmaking, which are largely amalgams of copper and tin, this mixture produces a metal that will remain corrosion-resistant over a long period of wear but will not acquire the greenish verdigris oxidation characteristic of traditional bronze, the phenomenon responsible for bronze cases’ individual patina but also the one that makes their surface toxic to the skin. The vast majority of bronze watch cases, of course, use casebacks made from non-allergenic materials like titanium to avoid skin irritation and discoloration, but Omega’s alloy can be used for the back as well as the casebody and bezel. It will also develop a patina much more slowly than its non-gold-infused brethren.
For inspiration in creating the material, Omega’s engineers turned to vintage nautical paraphernalia such as ship’s propellers and diving helmets, which were constructed of bronze, and to an ancient, prized material called Corinthian Bronze, which historical references indicate included silver or gold in its composition for greater longevity. Bronze gold continues Omega’s mission of developing new proprietary gold alloys for its various watch models and families, such as Moonshine gold and Sedna gold; in terms of its color, the new metal falls somewhere between the yellow tone of the former and more reddish hue of the latter. Debuting Bronze gold, which was more than two years in development, on the Seamaster 300, which is based closely on a landmark vintage model from 1957, was a no-brainer. The Seamaster 300 was Omega’s first “professional” dive watch, following up the original, far dressier 1948 original and lauded for its extraordinary 300-meter water resistance. Omega resurrected the model for its 60th anniversary in 2017 and has been building it out as a contemporary collection ever since, alongside the bulkier and more avant-garde Seamaster Diver 300 family.
Sharp-eyed aficionados will also notice some other new features of the latest Seamaster 300 series (which in addition to the flagship Bronze Gold model also includes three new references in steel). Among them are a slightly thinner, more elegant case profile, owing to the addition of a new curved sapphire crystal; new, more ergonomically shaped bracelets with streamlined fittings and a thinner, brushed-and-polished clasp; and a wider opening for the dial (30.4 mm up from 29.5 mm).
The dial itself is notably different in style, now featuring a “sandwich” construction (you’ve probably seen the style on numerous Panerai models) with a base layer coated in Super-LumiNova and a second plate over the top with cuttings for the recessed hour markers and numerals. On the Bronze Gold model, this dial is even more special, made from a traditional bronze alloy that has been artificially aged to provide its dark brown color, which in turn echoes the brown aluminum used for the dive-scale bezel insert. The dial’s numerals are now in the vintage Arabic open style of early Seamaster 300 models of the 1960s and, on the steel models, the period-appropriate lollipop seconds hand has also returned to complement the hallmark Broad Arrow hour and minute hands. The dial is also cleaner, with all references to the movement now appearing on the caseback.
As for the movement per se, it is also new to the Seamaster 300: Omega Caliber 8912, which is the first to be used in the historically inspired series from the brand’s growing portfolio of Master Chronometer movements, which have gained widespread renown for their chronometer-certified accuracy, co-axial escapements, and 60-hour power reserve as well as an industry-leading level of antimagnetic resistance. The movement is on display behind a sapphire window in the hallmark wave-edged caseback. The Seamaster Diver Bronze Gold edition comes on a brown leather strap and retails for $11,200. The steel models, with blue or black dials, are priced at $6,150 on a strap and $6,500 on a steel bracelet.