Omega’s long association with the Olympics continues with a new Seamaster announced this week. What began in Los Angeles in 1932 with the use of straightforward, regular production Omega stopwatches in competition has evolved into a deep partnership that has not only produced a slew of limited edition watches over the years, but has been a source of real advancement in timekeeping. The touchpads swimmers use to stop the clock in swimming competitions, modern starter pistols connected to electronic stopwatches, and the photo-electric cells used to determine the winner of a “photo-finish” were all developed with the help of Omega. Unlike some partnerships between watch brands and large commercial entities, there’s something very natural about Omega’s work with the Olympics, and one has the sense that there’s a real bridge between the modern movements that Omega puts in their newest sports watches and the rather advanced technology used to record timed events in Olympic competition. Not every Olympic themed watch that Omega has released has been a design success, but the new Seamaster for the Beijing 2022 games strikes a nice balance between on-the-nose Olympics branding and a core Omega aesthetic.
The Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition takes the now familiar updated Seamaster case and adds a titanium bezel ring, replacing the polished ceramic we’ve all become accustomed to. This appears to be the same bezel we saw in the “Nekton” Seamaster released last year, with minute markers and numerals rendered in positive relief, with a prominent grained texture throughout the bezel’s surface. The end result here is a watch that reads as slightly more toolish than its ceramic accented counterpart, but the 42mm stainless steel case retains the same profile and fit. At this point the Seamaster Diver 300M is something of a known quantity among enthusiasts, so you might be able to easily imagine how this watch would wear if you’ve ever tried on one of the standard Seamasters.
At first glance you might not immediately notice the Olympic connection with this particular reference, but pay close attention to the minute and hour markers at 2:00, 4:00, 8:00, 10:00, and 12:00. Those splashes of color represent the Olympic rings, and against the bright blue wave dial this Seamaster could almost be thought of as the latest entry in the sub-trend of “Rainbow” sports watches. It’s not nearly as blingy or impossible to obtain as the iconic Rainbow Daytona, but if “subtle Rainbow” is a thing, the Beijing 2022 Seamaster might be it.
The blue dial is a Seamaster calling card, and this one has the laser cut wave dial in ceramic that is common to the latest generation of the diver, and a throwback to the earlier “Electric Blue” dialed Seamasters that this watch most closely resembles. Looking closely at the included publicity photos, it appears that the dial on the Beijing 2022 watch has been given a light sunburst texture, which the current crop of standard Seamasters lacks. Of course, it’s a subjective matter of taste as to whether you prefer the polished ceramic dials found in the standard lineup, or the somewhat more reserved on the Beijing 2022 edition, but it at least presents yet another option for the Seamaster shopper.
As one would expect, the new Seamaster is powered by Omega’s Calibre 8800, a METAS certified Master Chronometer with a co-axial escapement. Unlike the regular Seamaster, this version has hidden the movement behind a closed caseback, which features an engraving of the Beijing 2022 logo. Omega also makes use of their NAIAD Lock feature here to keep the orientation of the logo consistent even if the caseback should need to be removed and screwed back on.
The Beijing 2022 Special Edition will be available in April with a retail price $6,150. Omega