Review Of The Omega Seamaster GMT – White Dial Version
Review of the Omega Seamaster GMT – White Dial Version
By: John B. Holbrook, II
November 03, 2003
It is as much to my surprise as I write these words, as it will be yours to read them when I say that this watch represents my 4th Omega Seamaster this year. Even more astonishing is that I’ve purchased another GMT Seamaster! The madness all started in January when I bought my black dial GMT. It was followed up by a black dial SMP Pro, and later a 41mm Seamaster Aqua Terra. I honestly thought the AT would be my last Omega for quite a while. What I did know for certain was that the AT would be my last black dial watch for a while – I was ready for white.
In my search for a white dial sport watch, I was initially drawn to the Rolex Explorer II. I blame watch photo Jedi Master “Jocke” – the sensational pictures of his white dial Exp. II really hooked me. That, and conversation I struck up with an Exp. II owner who was sunning himself in the chair next to me on a cruise I took this past Spring really got me interested.
SO WHY DID I GET ANOTHER SEAMASTER GMT INSTEAD OF THE ROLEX?
As I don’t have access to a Rolex Exp. II, I can’t do a “shootout” comparison like I did with the Submariner vs. SMP Pro I did a few months ago. However, I can give you brief synopsis of the factors which changed my mind about the Exp. II as I was comparison shopping:
- Size – Even though it’s technically the same diameter as the Rolex Submariner, the Exp II just looks smaller. At nearly 42mm, the Seamaster GMT looks much more impressive on the wrist.
- Bezel Exp II bezel is fixed, Seamaster GMT is a bi-directional rotating bezel.
- Crown even owners of the Exp II will tell you the Twinlock crown is just too small.
- Water Resistance Seamaster GMT is 300 meters water resistant, the Exp II is only 100 meters.
- Bracelet/clasp While each has pros and cons, I’ve consistently found the Seamaster bracelets superior to the Rolex Oyster.
- Price At about $3800.00 retail, the Exp. II is nearly twice the price of the $1995.00 Seamaster.
In comparison, about the only thing the Exp. II had going for it relative to the Seamaster GMT was the Rolex name on the dial, and possibly the 3185 movement. Sure, it’s an in-house movement which is more desirable from an horological standpoint, but not inherently better because of it. Besides, the Omega Caliber 1128 is a highly modified ETA 2892-A2 - ETA is owned by Swatch, and so is Omega. So in many respects, the Omega 1128 can be considered in-house too.
Some will argue that the Rolex is the better investment over time. Sorry, I don’t buy it. On some Rolex models, perhaps this is truer than for others. But I regularly see used, near mint Exp. II’s selling for between $2000-2500.00 on the various online sales forums. That’s at least $1000.00 depreciation off the retail price. Used Seamasters seem to go for about 50% of their retail. In either case, you’re out about $1000.00 in depreciation. In the final analysis, for me the Seamaster GMT was a far superior choice.
WHY I BOUGHT A 2ND OMEGA SEAMASTER GMT
Based on the number of black dial Seamaster GMT pictures I see posted on the Internet, I have to conclude that it’s likely the 2nd most sought after Seamaster, behind the “Bond” SMP. When I bought my black dial GMT in January, I debated which version to get. I think many people tends to look at this decision the same way - a choice between one or the other. I am now convinced that the two watches are different enough that owning both doesn’t feel like owning two versions of the same watch. Further, as good as both watches are, I think if you had to make a decision between the black dial and the white dial GMT, the white dial is the better watch.
The white dial Omega Seamaster GMT has an impressive list of specifications:
- Omega Cal. 1128 (23 jewel, COSC certified automatic movement based on the ETA 2892-A2, 44 hour power reserve).
- Sapphire crystal, anti-reflective coated on the inside.
- 41.5mm diameter (without crown).
- All brushed stainless steel finish.
- Water resistant to 300 meters
- Speedmaster-style bracelet with the 2 button sport clasp w/dive suit extension.
As you can see from the above pictures, the dial lettering, the quality of the paint is beyond reproach. Even under extreme magnification, note how evenly the Super Luminova is applied to the hands, and how there is no trace of ink bleed in the logo. Note that due to the “wave” pattern of the dial, the logo work must be applied to a very uneven surface – amazing!
Many people question the visibility of the white hands and markers against the white dial with this watch. Rest assured this watch has a high degree of visibility – as much as or more so than any other watch in my collection. As far as night time visibility is concerned, the Seamaster line has long been regarding as the reigning champion of luminescent glow.
The Seamaster case is a work of art. The bezel, case sides, and lugs all have gorgeous, smooth angles like facets on a diamond. In my opinion, the Omega Seamaster case is more beautiful than other dive watch made. The Omega signed crown recesses nicely into case when it is screwed down, and integrates nicely with the crown guards. While the GMT case maintains the same water resistance rating as the Seamaster Professional, it does not have the integrated helium release valve which is found on the SMP. This gives the SMP a slight functional edge for use as a true deep-dive watch, but also gives the GMT a nice clean look. The case back of the GMT has the traditional Omega Sea monster medallion engraving. As much as I like to be able to see the movement via a display back, the Omega Sea monster is such a symbol of tradition, and the detail of the engraving is so well done, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Besides the finish, dial color, and bezel design, the other big differentiator between Omega’s two GMT Seamasters is the bracelet and clasp. The white dial GMT implements a unique variation of the bracelet traditionally known as the Speedmaster bracelet. Unlike most of the various Seamaster models, there is no alternative bracelet choice for the white dial GMT. It’s only offered with the all brushed “Speedy” bracelet. I consider this bracelet a perfect match for this sport watch – the “Bond” bracelet is dressier and looks better on the black dial GMT. The two-button sport clasp on the white dial GMT is my all time favorite watch clasp. Its tops for security, functionality, and appearance. Again, the black dial GMT is more of a dress watch, so the single button “hidden” dress clasp is more appropriate for that model, and is a decent clasp. But the two-button sport clasp is incredible. Omega bracelets use push pins contained within bushings which are an absolute pain to resize. And as good as the two-button clasp is, it does lack a fine adjustment for size, instead relying on a less precise half link in the bracelet. Even with these shortcomings, this bracelet and clasp combo is tough to beat.
In the end, I’ve added a 4th Seamaster, and a 2nd GMT to my collection, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. The brushed finish on this watch is gorgeous, and I’m hoping in the long run will be prove to be more scratch resistant than other watches in my collection. My only regret is not having purchased this watch sooner.
*All text and images contained in this review are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.