So I had developed a bit of a thing for the Omega Seamaster GMT. I wanted to see if GMT watches were really for me so I decided to pick up an Alpha Explorer II Black Face to see if I really liked 4 handed watches. (Back story, I ended up buying an Omega Great White before the alpha even arrived).
Placed the order June 1st, order arrived yesterday (June 18th). I wasn't home so USPS left a slip for me to pick it up.
Now I need to come clean, I bought a couple fake Omegas back in my first year of college. I liked the style but my I just could not justify doing the college party thing with a $1500+ Omega on my wrist and didn't know of brands such as Alpha at the time. For the purpose of this article I will compare this to those fake Omegas, a Getat PAM homage, and the Great White I have.
-This watch has "the look" from 1+ foot. The paint on the GMT hand right, the bezel is right. The metal on the hour markers is not dirty. There is no dirt in the case that I can see. It is keeping time at ~+6 seconds a day right out of the box. I met with my mother (who knows 0 about watches, she has a 5 year old watch from walmart head together with scotch tape) for lunch today. I was wearing the great white and had the alpha in the car and for fun I asked just by looking at the two, which was the 'nicer' watch. She said she thought the Omega was worth maybe a little bit more, I asked her how much, and she said maybe 10% because the second had was a bit smoother. You can't really argue with that.
-The bracelet is SOOOO much easier to change the links in then any other watch I've owned full stop. I think this is more a knock on Omega (the fakes and the real one share a pin design) but I have never spent less then an hour sizing an omega bracelet and I did this in less then 3 minutes. Unbelievable.
-The cost. This actually cost me less now then the fakes did (and I did my research) 7 years ago, and half as much as my Getat PAM homage. It's easy to forgive a lot of bad when you look at the price.
-The QC is a bit off. The bracelet had 2 loose screws in it (I had heard this and checked all of them when sizing). The cyclops is a bit cock-eyed and off center.
-The bracelet is the most rattly light weight bracelet I have ever felt. Far worse then either of the blatant fakes. As you walk around you can even hear it rattle, and taking it off sounds like BB's rolling around. When closing the clasp the edges of the bracelet painfully push into my wrist. Honestly I could never understand why people paid so much for real brand name bracelets because the fake ones I had were so good that I thought you could but just about anything and be fine. If this is what people thought a cheap bracelet was I can understand paying $400 for an Omega.
-The worst thing though, and the reason I am considering having this be a catch and release, is operating the crown. It is VERY lose when unscrewed, with several mm of play. Finding the individual notches is almost impossible. For the whole first day I thought the GMT had was not able to be resent independently from the hour hand, that was just designed to be 4 time zones ahead forever (it's not, it is adjustable, though now that I have it set 5 hours ahead (real GMT, I have a lot of colleges and friends in London so this is the most useful to me I have every intention of never changing the GMT hand. Again I want to compare it to the fakes and the Getat homage. Both are head and shoulders easier to use and feel. Knowing that the alphas are likely made in the same place as the fakes I don't understand what the reason for this is.
Now I know it seems like I have an overall negative view of the watch, but that isn't the case. It's what I would expect from an $80 dollar watch, its just that my other $80 dollar watches have blown me away. This is more of what you would expect. If you're thinking of getting one, go right ahead. The look of the watch is great, and the pricing is such that if it DOES break a couple of years into ownership you're not going to have your wife leave you if you bought another one, just don't expect the quality to be almost as good as something like a $70 mechanical Seiko or orient.
I most likely think I'll keep this, and use it as my suit watch (I know, I know, it's not a dress watch, but I hate "true" dress watches and this is subtle enough and thin enough that it works).
On to the pictures (I can't take pictures to save my life, sorry):