Lots of enthusiasts, when they first get into watches, ask themselves the question “Where does the ‘high end’ really start?” It’s not as simple as just taking cost into consideration – we can all think of brands that sell watches at massive mark-ups with components that are readily available on watches that sell for a fraction of the cost. A case can be made, I think, that in terms of traditional Swiss watches, from a big brand, high-end watches begin with the entry-level offerings from Omega. They offer tons of history and real, authentic heritage (if that’s your thing), timeless and traditional styles, and a truly excellent in-house movement with some of the best technology in the industry. This is a tough to beat proposition under $6,000, and Omega has a few distinct lines that check all of these boxes. Today we’re looking at a few new additions to their classic, everyday sports watch, the Seamaster Aqua Terra.
The Seamaster umbrella now covers watches that run the gamut from hardcore professional divers, to heritage inspired tribute pieces, to modern dive watches aimed squarely at the mass market. The Aqua Terra line is the most land-based entry in the Seamaster lineup (no surprise given the name), and while it doesn’t feature a dive bezel or helium escape valve, with 150 meters of water resistance it will have no trouble standing up to just about any water based activity a regular person would typically partake in. This is Omega’s refined, everyday, sports watch, a timepiece genre that Omega practically invented.
The new versions of the Aqua Terra seem inspired by spring color schemes, with blue and olive green dials that incorporate the horizontal “teak” pattern that Omega has favored in this line for several years now, and is meant to conjure the wooden decks of luxury sailboats. This gives you an idea of the use case for an Aqua Terra – it’s more deck chairs and cocktails than dive suits and oxygen tanks.
Where previous versions of the Aqua Terra incorporated ever so subtle crown guards in the form of a case that bent just slightly toward asymmetrical on the right side, this newest generation of Aqua Terras has done away with that look, and now boasts a cleaner and more classically shaped case. The date window has also been moved to the 6:00 position, enhancing symmetry further. The finishing on the 41mm case mixes brushed and polished elements with precise transitions that are typical of Omega. They’ve been at this for a long time, and seem to have perfected the process of achieving this level of finishing on a mass scale.
Assuming you like the styling of the watch, the Aqua Terra’s not-so-secret weapon (and the factor that makes it that entry point to the high end discussed above), is the Master Chronometer Calibre 8900 movement beating away inside. Using Omega’s George Daniels derived co-axial escapement, this movement is METAS certified for timekeeping and resistance to magnetism. It’s packed with technology and built to be durable and provide years of worry free service (one of the key benefits of the co-axial escapement is less wear and tear on components, thus reduced service intervals). At $5,700 on a bracelet, this is a lot of watch for the money, and doesn’t skimp on real, high end horology. Omega