[VIDEO] Missed Review: The Titanium Omega Seamaster 300 2231.50.00

The Omega Seamaster has a rich and complex history that encompasses a broad range of styles over the generations. Odds are strong that each of us conjures a slightly different image upon hearing the word Seamaster, from the Bond examples of the ‘90s, to the PloProf of the ‘60s, or even the quaint, near formal examples from the ‘40s. That breadth is reflected in the modern Seamaster collection, which currently encompasses the Aqua Terra, the Diver 300, the Planet Ocean, and a range of Heritage models that include the likes of the Railmaster and the PloProf. This diversity of options has meant plenty of great references have come and gone, and a few may have even slipped through the cracks through no fault of their own. This Missed Review will focus on one such reference, the titanium Seamaster 300 2231.50.00 from the early ‘00s. 

The modern Seamaster 300 picks the story up in 1993, sporting the word ‘professional’ on its dial and a helium release appendage at 10 o’clock. The new watch was about to get the boost of a lifetime thanks to a placement on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan in his portrayal of fictional British spy, James Bond in the 1995 film GoldenEye. It is this reference, the steel 2541.80.00 with quartz movement that generally pops into my head when I think about the Seamaster. It’s not a watch I find particularly attractive, but it is one that I associate with a specific era perhaps more than any other watch. There is something truly unique about this generation of the Seamaster, which doesn’t adhere to the design codes we typically associate with the dive watch genre, all while building on one of the all-time great vintage dive watches from an earlier era of the Seamaster.


[VIDEO] Missed Review: The Titanium Omega Seamaster 300 2231.50.00

Grade 2 Titanium
Cal 1120 – ETA 2892-A2
Matte Black with Wave Pattern
Super Luminova
Titanium Bracelet
Water Resistance
Lug Width
Screw Down

The original Seamaster 300 traces its roots back to the late ‘50s, an answer to the burgeoning recreational / professional dive scene that was becoming spoiled for choice with watches like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the Rolex Submariner, the Doxa Sub 300, the Zodiac SeaWolf, all of which had been released earlier in the decade. The Seamaster 300 carved a slightly different path, with broadsword hands, a fully indexed bezel, and a twisted lug design. It was distinctive right off the bat, and is, to my eye, one of the most handsome divers of the era. 

When Omega brought the Seamaster 300 into the modern era, that original reference provided a foundation, but never served as the template. The lineage was there but not exactly apparent at first glance, something almost unthinkable these days. Instead of making a reissue or throwback style Seamaster, Omega created a new branch of Seamaster history, and as a result, the 1993 launch of the 300 has paved the path for four subsequent generations bringing us right up to today.

The modern Seamaster 300 was defined by a few interesting features, some of which remain polarizing to this day. The move to circular hour markers could be seen as the only ‘mainstream’ change, but the rest of the design found itself in ‘conversation starter’ territory. The handset made the biggest impact here, ditching the broadswords, and welcoming a set of hollow structures with lumed tips at the end, a feature that has come to define the Seamaster 300 for the past 20 years. 

In addition to the unorthodox hands, the dial utilized a tight wave pattern that brought a distinctive personality to the watch, not to mention a level of brevity to the design as a whole. The wave pattern has changed with each generation, including being left off entirely for a brief window with the 3rd generation which was released in 2012. The pattern made a return with the introduction of the 4th generation in 2018, where it was laser engraved into ceramic. The wave pattern certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s not even the most contentious element of the watch. 

In an effort to play up their technical bona fides, Omega included a helium escape valve in the form of a crown located at 10 o’clock on the case. This peculiar appendage has been the subject of ire likely since it was introduced in 1993, but for others, it’s a welcome nod to the brand’s over-engineered dive watch history. As utterly unnecessary as this feature is to virtually everyone, there’s no denying that it’s part of this watch’s identity at this point, and the silhouette of the case with a crown at 3 and at 10 is instantly recognizable.

There are two other features worth calling out that factor into the visual identity of the Seamaster 300, and that is the design of the bezel assembly, and the crown guards. While the insert has been rendered in a variety of materials over the years, it has retained the fully indexed design in the form of dots marking each minute around the entire circumference, with the typical hashes that mark the first 15 minutes. But the insert isn’t the only thing worth mentioning here, it’s the edge of the bezel that’s the real focal point here. 

Large shallow grooves have been designed into the turning assembly of the bezel, likely meant to seat your fingertips to make rotating a bit easier. In practice, I don’t find turning it to be any easier (in fact, it might be harder) than a regular coin edge bezel, but the visual impact of this design is sizable. Same goes for the crown guard, which is formed organically by the shape of the asymmetric case wall rather than feeling tacked onto the design as an afterthought. The 1957 design went this route as well, though in far less dramatic fashion. 

Each of these features provide a deep level of visual intrigue to be discovered and appreciated, and make the Seamaster 300 a truly unique experience in a somewhat homologated genre of dive watches. The manner in which all the details come together here may not be to the taste of all of us, but that’s exactly what makes it such a compelling experience. Many iterations of the Seamaster 300 have come and gone over the past 20 years, but none bring things together quite as well as the reference 2231.50 in particular, which serves as a perfect amalgam of the first generation of the modern Seamaster 300.

After appearing on the wrist of James Bond in ‘95, the Seamaster 300 gained significant cultural relevance, cementing the watch as a mainstay of the Omega dive watch repertoire. The first generation of the watch lasted 13 years, and encompassed a myriad of configurations. They are easy to differentiate from later models thanks to the placement of the word Seamaster on the bottom half of the dial. Different materials, movements, and colors all made appearances, but the 2231.50 from the early 2000s hits a little different to my eye, and represents something that’s been lost in recent generations of the watch. 

The 2231.50 captures the svelte dimensions of the 1st generation Seamaster, measuring 41mm in diameter and 12mm in thickness (more on that later), and renders the whole thing in grade 2 titanium. This watch was one of three titanium references to be released, and presents the most straightforward interpretation of the bunch. It uses a black matte dial, which subdies the wave pattern, creating an ultra legible dial that deviates from other Seamaster 300 examples in a couple key ways. 

The biggest difference apparent right off the bat are the lume filled broadsword hands. This reference trades the new-era hollowed out hands with a more traditional set that harken back to the ‘50s. The result is a more balanced experience overall, in my opinion, and one that’s less distracting on a day to day basis. This watch feels like a far more straightforward, serious take on the platform, while retaining just enough personality to be easily recognizable as a Seamaster 300. A better example of this might be the more subtle removal of the white outline around the date aperture at 3 o’clock. That one, seemingly small move is indicative of their broad intent with this watch.


Finally, the bezel insert itself is also presented in titanium, with infilled markers etched into its surface. This brings a uniformity to the case and to the design overall that lends to the heightened ‘toolish’ feel of the watch at the expense of some of that brevity I mentioned earlier. I love tool watches of this era, and while I generally don’t think of Omega in the same vein as a Sinn or even an early 2000s IWC, this watch has those kinds of vibes. Whatever you want to call it, there’s no denying that it’s in short supply these days. 

In comparing this late 1st generation Seamaster 300 to the current (4th) generation, you’ll notice a lot has changed. The latest models can be had in a variety of materials, from ceramic to gold, and host a broad selection of Omega’s own in-house, co-axial equipped calibers. The ceramic dial sits within a 42mm case, and the helium release valve has become a bit more prominent with each generation. It’s a lot of watch and certainly plenty capable. The 2231.50 feels almost quaint in comparison, but Omega captured something here that seems to have been lost in the latest and greatest. 

Slipping this early 2000s titanium watch on the wrist is a revelatory experience. It’s light, but not too light, simple to use and understand, and all the little details are bang on. Things like the profile of the case, which make the watch feel and wear far slimmer than the 12mm reading on the calipers. The manner in which the helium release valve has been integrated within the case design also feels much more thoughtful, tucked into the case wall just enough to not interfere with the dial and bezel. And finally, the uniform finishing across the case and bracelet that drives the point home: this is a tool watch through and through.

The final piece to that equation is the movement. Omega used the caliber 1120 through much of the first generation of the Seamaster 300, which is a base ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement. Use of such movements has waned in recent years, even within Swatch Group brands such as Omega, thanks to the in-house/in-group trend that’s become pervasive over the past decade. Innovative movements and the engineering involved in creating them have paved the way for a rejuvenated industry, and are partially responsible for the expansion of the hobby. That “in-house” label is associated with an element of prestige too tempting to pass up for many brands, both new and old. While I appreciate a great movement as much as anyone else, I think we should be careful not to equate that “in-house” label with being better. 

When discussing new movements and their perceived benefits, I’m quick to point out that it is, in fact, quite difficult to make a movement as good as something like the ETA 2892. It’s thin, robust, and well understood thanks to generations of use and evolution. For applications such as the Seamaster 300, it’s a movement that makes a lot of sense. Is it better than the Master Chronometer Caliber 8800 at use in the current generation of the watch? Well, it might not be as pretty or as pinpoint accurate over time, but when it comes down to other factors, like maintenance costs and serviceability over time, as well as the dimensions it allows for, the ETA will suffice just as well. Ultimately, it will come down to what you value in a watch. For me, tools such as this don’t need anything fancy, they just need to work, and be easy (and inexpensive) to keep working.


That’s really what the appeal of this watch boils down to for me. It represents something we rarely see today – something simple from an upscale brand. It’s difficult to imagine a Seamaster like this being made today by a brand like Omega. That’s not a knock on anything the brand is currently doing, but more of an exaltation of what they’ve done in the past. You don’t need to look far to see a great example of upholding these values, even within the Omega stable. The Speedmaster has also spawned a litany of variations over the years, but Omega has preserved its original ethos remarkably well the base Speedmaster Professional. There is no such spur within the Seamaster family, even within the Heritage range. 

The Seamaster 300 2231.50 is a special watch upon reflection, and one that we might not see repeated anytime soon. Thankfully, it’s not all that old, and nice examples can be found in the $3,000 range. Today, it falls in the same vein as watches like the Sinn U50 (or U1) and the Tudor Pelagos, but it wears even better thanks to Omega’s thoughtful case design. It’s not an odd watch, but it’s certainly a unique experience that’s only gotten better with age. It’s a watch that says a lot about its era, much like others we’ve looked at, and which you’ll continue to see us explore in future Missed Reviews.

Images from this post:
Related Reviews
Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.