The Seamaster 300m lineup has seen a fair bit of evolution since falling into favour during the Pierce Brosnan Bond days. In its current guise, the high spec diver features an anti-magnetic METAS certified caliber that boasts impeccable accuracy, all while sporting crisp textured ceramic dials that bring its beloved wave pattern to a higher level of execution. Looking at the collection more broadly, there are over 30 variants of the Seamaster 300m on offer (not counting the multiple strap/bracelet options of each reference), however only four are offered in a black ceramic (ZrO2) case, and none whatsoever look anything like the Seamaster Diver 300m Black Black; yes, that’s its formal name, and no, we don’t hate it.
While the all-black-everything look has become a bit played out in some areas, especially the custom car scene, it’s a look that is still relatively scarce in watchmaking. The logic here is that there’s an obvious need for (relative) legibility in any wristwatch, and getting that legibility out of an all-black watch isn’t exactly easy. The good news is, Omega isn’t one to falter when it comes to the details, and the Seamaster 300m Black Black delivers that bit of functionality surprisingly well.
A Game of Contrast
One of the biggest pitfalls of an all black watch of any sort is a lack of contrast, one most often worked around by using varying shades of dark grey. While this is a good jumping off point, Omega took things a step further in its use of polished surfaces. Everywhere from the dial, to the indices, to the hands, to the case itself, the interplay of polished and matte surfaces give the Seamaster 300mm Black Black a surprising level of legibility. When the dial’s waves catch the light just right, the watch transitions quickly from stealthy tool watch to flashy statement piece, but for a moment. Though counterintuitive, fact of the matter is that this otherwise subtle watch is designed for the street rather than commando ops, and its design reflects that appropriately.
The dial will be the first thing to catch you by surprise, however the 60-minute unidirectional timing bezel plays an equally leading role in the appeal of this watch. The relief cut of its indices stand out immediately against the texture below, and aside from aesthetics, this design element provides added grip when operating the bezel. The lumed pip at the zero mark also assists in tracking timed events when lighting conditions are less than ideal.
Omega has unveiled a new anthracite Super-LumiNova luminous material with the launch of this watch — a special compound developed specifically for the Black Black. It’s colour-matched perfectly with the dial and bezel, which we can only presume was a challenge in and of itself. As is often the case with any sort of darker luminous material, the hands and indices won’t glow quite as long as they would if this was a lighter and more traditional luminous compound, but that’s a detail we’re willing to accept for the sake of the finished product.
Going Ceramic — Daily Wear?
This conversation has come up now more times than I can count, and for the most part the outcome remains the same. Given that ceramic watch cases are effectively scratchproof, any ceramic watch is a good choice for daily wear, but this advice always comes with a caveat. A daily-wear watch is one that can do “everything”, and how someone defines that “everything” is a moving target. Are you pushing papers? Doing household chores? Turning wrenches on your project car? Renovating your home? If you’re going to buy a luxury watch with the intent of it really doing everything, I’d lean away from ceramic.
The long and the short of this thread comes down to scratch versus dent; allow me to explain. Looking at the materials through a different lens, and perhaps getting into hyperbole, imagine that you have a hammer, and on the table are a ceramic mug on one side and a tin cup on the other. Materials science 101 dictates that true metals are more malleable than any form of ceramic, and thus, should you swing the hammer hard enough the ceramic will chip, crack, or shatter into bits, while the tin cup will just keep denting.
Now, in the case of daily life and a watch case, it’s by no means something you need to be paranoid about — so long as you’re not bashing into things like a rogue elephant on the streets of Kathmandu. If you happen to be the large, lumbering, uncoordinated type, you can just spend less on the steel Seamaster 300m and call it a day. If you do go that route, you’ll notice one key detail. The ceramic Seamaster Black Black is a touch larger than its steel counterparts, which was likely a move to further bolster its overall rigidity. In all-black form, you’re looking at a diameter of 43.5mm over the steel 42, and it’s a tangible difference on the wrist. The overall case profile still wears well on a wrist with a circumference below seven inches, however a 42mm reference will fit a touch more discretely.
The Hot Take
This Seamaster Diver 300m Black Black is a particular watch for a particular buyer, but for those that it resonates with, it’ll resonate hard. The more I thought about it while testing it out, the more I found myself thinking this is the watch that Bond should have been wearing in No Time To Die. It’s clean, it’s stealthy, it plays the part better than the faux patina nostalgia angle of the current 007 Seamaster, far as I’m concerned. Missed film opportunities aside, I can’t think of an all-black watch that is this thoughtfully executed from both form and functional perspectives. At $11,800, it’s certainly not a “bargain buy”, but I’ll challenge you to find any blacked out ceramic dive watch for less money that’s anywhere near as good as this one is. Good luck.