News of the latest James Bond tribute Omega Seamaster 8500 Replica was kept top secret ahead of its official announcement. But our own David Bredan infiltrated Omega’s boat-party launch event (drysuit over tuxedo, of course) to bring us these hands-on pictures of the new limited-edition Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” and save the world. James Bond jokes aside, David did join Omega for the unveiling event on the River Thames in London, and here is the colorful new watch dedicated to the fictitious secret agent. In the colors of the UK’s Royal Navy, the “Commander’s Watch” is not for a single specific movie, but rather celebrates the cult of Bond and commemorates several film anniversaries at once.
Surely, from Omega’s point of view, there are not enough opportunities to capitalize on the star power of 007 and their Official Timekeeper (or something of the sort) relationship with the film franchise. As noted, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” is not for a film, like the Seamaster Aqua Terra for Spectre or the solid gold Goldfinger watch, for example – not that we require such a reason for making a new watch.
Omega, naturally, has long used this approach within their co-axial movements, including their older 2500s. Here we may see the free sprung balance highlighted against the rest of the motion. I really like that it’s black, something I actually only see from Damasko’s in-house movements, although Omega was doing it until it had been cool.Free sprung balances lack a regulator by definition. This eliminates a non-ideal external effect from the hairspring which should contribute to stability. You still require a means to correct the speed, however, and that’s usually done with a variable inertia equilibrium, just like we see here. I’ve highlighted the heavy gold screws on the interior of the border. This approach closely resembles Rolex’s and is atypical in that the screws don’t protrude from the exterior of the equilibrium. This allows the balance wheel to be massive as you can, again contributing to stability, without enlarging the remaining portion of the movement to produce the extra distance that would be consumed by the screws. In my opinion, Rolex’s and Omega’s strategy is quite elegant, over the conventional approach (frequently used by JLC, for instance), and roughly equal (although dissimilar) to Patek’s Gyromax. Regardless, by moving two opposing screws farther away from the axis of the equilibrium, the rate can be slowed. These screws can also be used to correct the poise of the equilibrium. I appreciate its simplicity.
Rather, someone noticed that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of You Only Live Twice (1967), the 40th anniversary of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and the 20th anniversary of Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Missed opportunity for a “trilogy” with a watch for each movie? With a current list of 26 James Bond films since the first in 1962, though, we could potentially expect something similar every couple of years. In fact, there will be no fewer than four Bond film anniversaries to celebrate in 2019… so save a spot in your watch box for that limited edition.
By 1997, Omega was the Bond watch for the second time in Tomorrow Never Dies after the relationship began with GoldenEye in 1995. It was a Seiko in The Spy Who Loved Me and the Bond watch in You Only Live Twice has not been positively identified, according to my internet research. Beginning with GoldenEye and for a number of movies, the spy often wore a blue Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. So, while 007 tribute and prop watches have come from other lines, such as the (confusingly named, but different from the 300M) Seamaster 300 (Spectre edition hands-on here), Aqua Terra, and Planet Ocean (as here for Skyfall), the Seamaster Diver 300M is relevant and fitting for the Omega and 007 relationship.
But the triple anniversary doesn’t fully explain the Omega Seamaster P Replica or its red-white-and-blue color theme. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” is referencing and channeling the Royal Naval Reserve Commander facet of the James Bond character. If you’re like me and not totally caught up on every movie and the complex 007 universe, it might be getting a bit arcane for you too. For the launch event, Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann explained that Omega was “fascinated” by Bond’s “connection to the Royal Navy, which is an organization that Omega also has history with, and we wanted to pay tribute to his rank as Commander.” In each of the three films that the Commander’s Watch pays tribute to, Bond is apparently seen wearing his official military uniform at some point. Good enough for me.
Red, white, and blue are the colors of the Royal Navy’s insignia, and for the the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch,” as you can see, they are expressed as a white ceramic dial, blue markers and skeletonized hands, and a varnished red seconds hand. The seconds hand’s counterweight is the familiar logo comprised of a gun and “007,” and the blue ceramic bezel insert’s first 15 minutes are filled in with red rubber. The numbers of the date wheel are all blue except for the number 7 in red.
With a 41mm steel case (water-resistant to 300m, of course), these are mostly cosmetic changes to the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M that is actually Omega’s entry-level mechanical men’s watch. As Bond helped make the NATO strap cool, this version appropriately comes on a five-stripe blue, red, and gray polyamide NATO strap, but it also comes with the five-link steel bracelet that is very much part of the Seamaster 300M’s character. The clasp has the Omega branding along with the 007 logo and even the “TM Danjaq” trademark.
Through a sapphire crystal case back, the rotor caries the Royal Navy’s Commander rank insignia (loop above two stripes) and winds the Omega Co-Axial 2507 COSC chronometer-certified movement. This is different from the standard production Seamaster Diver 300M’s caliber 2500 movement and solid case back. The caliber 2507 has been used in other James Bond 007 limited edition watches, and I believe the main difference from the 2500 is found in its decoration – specifically, the “bullet” design in the center. You can learn more about the 2500 family of movements and how they compare to other Omega movements in our article here. The caliber 2500 movements are based on the ETA 2892, upgraded with Omega’s Co-Axial technology, and beat at an unusual 3.5Hz with a power reserve of 48 hours.
As a more colorful Bond watch with some overt branding, this seems more on the 007 memorabilia side than the stylish spy’s apparent taste for somber tool watches. In addition to the steel model and an even more limited yellow gold one, there will also be a one-off white gold model that will be sold via an online auction later in the year along with reference numbers #007 of each of the other models. Doing the auction online is a first for Omega and pretty much any major luxury watch company but follows an (slowly) increasing move toward online sales, such as the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday watch that quickly sold out online earlier in 2017.
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” is limited to 7,007 pieces in steel for a price of 4,650 CHF (without VAT), and there will be an additional seven pieces made in 18K yellow gold, for a price of 28,000 CHF (without VAT) each. omegawatches.com