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A Casual Review of the Black Ceramic/Titanium Seamaster

  1. KeithS Jan 3, 2021

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    Introduction:

    Last summer, after moving for the umpteenth time for work, I decided to start adopting a minimalist approach to life. As part of that pursuit, I decided to pare my collection down as much as possible. I settled on keeping just two watches and was surprisingly quite content. Apparently, alternating every week between two watches (in this particular case, a Bond Seamaster and a Rolex Explorer II) was just enough to stave off the urge to buy more watches. This state of contentedness/simplicity/sanity lasted for three months, almost. And then one day, I noticed unsightly discolorations on several of the lume plots of the Explorer II and decided that it needed to get sent off for some work under warranty.* Needless to say, this was a mistake and a devastating blow to my newfound approach to watch ownership. Within a week, I had snatched up a Seiko turtle. Several weeks after that, I found a watch that had previously caught my eye in the WRUW thread lingering over in the sales section of another forum. I tried to resist, really, but within a month of sending off the Explorer II, I had this watch on my wrist as well:

    Review1.jpg
    "Stop trying to make your bicep look bigger." -my ever supportive wife.

    As no one has posted a review on the black ceramic/titanium Seamaster Professional yet, I thought I would share some of my thoughts. Especially since there now seems to be a bit of animosity towards people (like me) whose main contribution is in the form of pictures in the WRUW thread.

    *Quick sidenote/venting: Rolex held on to my Explorer II for 10 weeks and then sent it back without making any repairs, but with a few new scratches on the caseback and bracelet. Thanks, Rolex!


    Technical Data:


    Reference: 210.92.44.20.01.001
    Case: black ceramic
    Crystal: domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating
    Bezel: grade 5 titanium with black ceramic insert and white enamel numerals
    Caseback: grade 5 titanium with sapphire crystal
    Dial: brushed blacker ceramic
    Hands: PVD titanium
    Hour markers: PVD titanium with white Super-LumiNova
    Crown and helium escape valve: grade 5 titanium
    Diameter: 43.5 mm
    Height: 14.5 mm
    Lug width: 21 mm
    Lug-to-lug length: 51.5 mm
    Movement: calibre 8806
    MSRP: $8100 (USD)


    The Case:

    As indicated by the name, the case is made out of a black ceramic. The crown and helium escape valve are nicely contrasting titanium. Although a good bit larger, in terms of finishing and proportions, it is nearly identical to the stainless steel versions. I also find that the polished bits reflect less light and make the ceramic case less ostentatious.

    Review5.jpg
    The Seamaster keeps getting bigger.

    The finishing on the case is excellent. It has a polished surface, brushed sides, and crisp lines in between. And in addition to being a novel material that sets it apart from the run of the mill stainless steel versions, the ceramic part of the case has proven to be very scratch resistant and continues to not show any signs of wear. Even the undersides of the lugs remained unblemished, which is more than I can say for any of my other watches. I was initially worried that a slipped spring bar might actually chip the case, but I can now say from experience that the ceramic can withstand a blow from even the most malevolent of springs bars.

    Review6.jpg
    So far, the case remains unscathed by everyday wear.

    Review7.jpg
    Even the underside of the lugs remain scratch-free.


    The Dial:

    In contrast to previous versions of the Seamaster Professional, the black ceramic/titanium Seamaster Professional features a monochrome, symmetric, and date-less dial. The dial is a matte gray with raised polished waves. The hour markers are a bright white with gray titanium borders. The hands are the now-classic Seamaster Profession skeletonized sword hands, which for this watch are made of a coarsely brushed titanium that match the hour marker surrounds. I find that this rougher finishing gives the dial a more tool-like aesthetic, which I appreciate. I know there is much dislike for the skeletonized sword hands, but I grew up obsessing over the 2531.80 Seamaster Professional and think of them as an integral part of the Seamaster Professional line – just like the even more divisive helium escape valve.

    Unfortunately, this dial also features a minute track with an interrupted circular border. Of all the changes that were made in 2018 to Seamaster Professional line, this is the one that I detest the most. It seems to me that the circle on the outside perimeter of the minute track should either be complete or be completely absent. Oh well, it's a small gripe and I hardly notice when wearing the watch.

    Overall, I still find the dial to be very striking, legible, and one of my favorites on any modern Omega.

    Review8.jpg
    Imagine how much better the dial would be if they just used a normal minute track.

    Review9.jpg
    My first attempt at macrophotography: note the coarse finishing on the hands and hour marker surrounds.


    The Rubber Strap:

    The strap that the black ceramic/titanium Seamaster Professional comes with is essentially the same as the one that comes with the stainless steel versions. The only differences are that this strap is 21 mm in width at the case end and that it has a black ceramic pin and buckle. Like the standard Seamaster Professional rubber strap, this one is dense, but flexible. The rubber does not have any particular smell and also does not attract lint – I am told these are traits of a high-quality rubber. It also features a titanium-reinforced keeper and a nicely polished black ceramic buckle. The strap is very comfortable and seems durable. With an MSRP of $8100 USD, however, I really think this watch should have come on a titanium bracelet. As I paid well below retail, this was not a deal-breaker for me.

    Review11.jpg
    Why are you not a titanium mesh bracelet or something fancy?

    Review 12.jpg
    The wave motif continues.

    Review10.jpg
    The ceramic buckle is also supremely scratch-resistant.


    Wearability:

    I initially had some concerns about the size of the black ceramic/titanium Seamaster Professional. Coming in with a diameter of 43.5 mm and a lug-to-lug length of 51.5 mm, this watch is the largest I have ever owned. That said, due to the immediate downward angling of the rubber strap, the watch is easily accommodated by my 6.8 to 7.0-inch wrist. The black ceramic case also has a slimming effect on the overall height of the watch, which makes the 14.5 mm height much less pronounced on the wrist than one might otherwise expect – even on a big fat OEM NATO strap.

    It's obviously a very sporty watch, which might lead one to think that it has limited versatility. However, thanks to its monochrome color scheme, it looks good on a variety of straps and can be dressed up a bit. While the ceramic bezel insert is still a little flashy, the rest of the watch is more subdued and doesn't scream across the room for attention. I think this makes it pretty easier to wear it in a variety of settings.

    Overall, the watch is very lightweight, comfortable, and can be worn easily with anything ranging from gym to business attire.

    Review2.jpg
    No overhanging lugs to see here, folks.

    Review333.jpg
    Rather than losing some girth, Omega has cleverly let the black case do all the slimming.


    Minor Flaws in Execution:

    Omega made up a problem and then tried to solved it when they started using the Naiad Lock system on their casebacks. In theory, this system should ensure that the text on the caseback is always aligned with the rest of the case when installed properly. On my particular example of this Seamaster, this is not the case. After doing a bit of searching, this seems to be a rather common problem with this model. See this thread of another example. The watch used for this WatchBox review also had a misaligned caseback.

    review17.jpg
    This didn't have to be an issue, Omega…

    In addition to having a misaligned caseback, my ceramic/titanium Seamaster Professional came with a mis-printed Master Chronometer card. The access code is printed as "000000." I would have thought this a rather easy mistake to fix; however, the folks over at Omega have been punting my emails and phone calls around to various managers with vague promises to look into it. They have yet to come up with a solution, and, at this point, I'm not hopeful that this issue will ever be rectified.

    Review 19.jpg
    Oh no! How will I be able to tell if my watch is truly a Master Chronometer, Omega?


    Final Thoughts:

    I really like this watch and will be holding on to it for the foreseeable future. I particularly enjoy the fact that it flies under the radar from a distance, but has a lot of details that can command attention on closer inspection. It is at least as versatile as its stainless steel counterparts and looks good on a variety of straps. That said, I doubt it will ever become a future classic and prices on the secondary market already seem to be falling.

    Omega's customer service still needs improvement.


    Other Pictures:

    Review13.jpg
    Looks good both on and through the wife's camera.

    Review14.jpg
    Sturdy enough that I plan on diving with it.

    Review15.jpg
    With a cheap black NATO strap, this Seamaster can definitely look the part of a "tool watch."

    Review 16.jpg
    My favorite NATO to wear this particular Seamaster on.

    Thanks for reading!

    (Edited to delete duplicated pictures.)
     
    Edited Jan 4, 2021
  2. funkright Jan 3, 2021

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    Great review. Nice watch :thumbsup:

    Wear it in good health! :D
     
    KeithS likes this.
  3. jB1128 Jan 3, 2021

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    Thank you for sharing - very nice writeup and great pics :thumbsup:.

    I love the 'No Date' look on the SMP300!
     
    KeithS likes this.
  4. Nobel Prize Spell Master! Jan 3, 2021

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    This is a watch I knew nothing about. I feel your review has fixed that for me. Interesting that it’s a no date.

    Good insights and great pics.

    Thank you fir sharing
     
    KeithS likes this.
  5. aleksejeremeev Jan 4, 2021

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    Excellent review, detailed beautiful photos. And I agree with you that the readability of the dial is an important function in the watch. Sometimes the clock does not read the time well, so such watches often lie in a box.
     
    KeithS likes this.
  6. SwissMe Jan 12, 2021

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    Beautiful watch, nice review! Wear in good health
     
    KeithS likes this.
  7. bdg5593 Mar 15, 2021

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    Do you think this would be too big on my 6.5MM wrist?
     
  8. KeithS Mar 16, 2021

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    I assume you mean your wrist circumference is 6.5 inches. You’ll have to try it on, but I imagine that would be pushing it.
     
  9. bdg5593 Mar 17, 2021

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    I do and thank you!
     
  10. mz_cle Mar 17, 2021

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    Beautiful watch and great write up. I finally had the chance to see and handle on yesterday, and it's a piece with great details.

    Also...
    I thought I was the only one who was annoyed by the chapter ring on the new diver 300s, and I like these watches a lot on a whole.

    [​IMG]
     
    KeithS likes this.
  11. andrewlaeddis32 Apr 26, 2021

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    Nice!
     
  12. funkright Apr 26, 2021

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    Very nice. Awesome review :thumbsup:

    If they eventually make this with a date and GMT complication I will jump in with both feet :D
     
  13. Chubsmaster Apr 26, 2021

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    Great review, it is a beautiful watch!
     
  14. Barqy Apr 26, 2021

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    Well written review. Great content in terms of information and photography - nice job!