This time last year I picked up a 2531.80 without box and papers. My first impressions of the watch were a mix of astonishment and awe. I couldn’t fathom that such a well made watch could be picked up for such a competitive price.
I sold it a year later so I could try another watch, but ever since doing so I have regretted it. This week I found a great quartz example which I couldn’t pass on. This review will review the SMP individually, and then continue to a comparison with the Planet Ocean reviewed here; REVIEW - Omega Planet Ocean
Onto the review……..
History of the Seamaster Professional
The watch shot to fame in 1995 with Pierce Brosnan wearing it in the classic; Goldeneye. The SMP Pierce wore was actually a quartz version (2541.80), not the automatic.
Then in 1997, the watch returned to the Bond scene, but his time it was the 2531.80 automatic version. The 2531 has been used in the Bond films all the way up until Casino Royale, where Daniel Craig can be seen wearing it whilst playing poker and drinking a Vesper (three shots of gin, one shot of vodka, ½ shot of kuna lillet)
The SMP was then given an overhaul in 2007 with a new dial which includes applied markers, and red Seamaster lettering, hence it being nicknamed the ‘Red Seamaster’. The model number for this one is 2220.80. It can also be bought in a quartz version, the 2221.80. This particular watch has not appeared in the Bond films, and it appears the producers are beginning to favour the Planet Ocean instead of the SMP.
Courtesy of Omegawatches.com
Pictures Of My Previous 2531.80
Review of the 2541.80
Vital Stats of the 2541.80
Case Diameter – 41mm
Case Height – 12mm
Water Resistance – 300m
Power Reserve – N/A
Crystal - Convex Sapphire, with inner AR coating
From left to right;
2541.80 – Discontinued Quartz Bond
2531.80 – Discontinued Auto Bond
2221.80 – Red Quartz Bond
2220.80 – Red Auto Bond
The best thing about this watch is the bracelet. It is a masterpiece, there is no other word for it. Firstly it is versatile; it allows the watch to be worn at formal or casual occasions. Secondly, it is comfortable like no other bracelet I have tried. Thirdly…..erm….it’s just brilliant!
The second best thing about the SMP is the waves on the dial. In direct sunlight the watch really transforms into something special. The blue becomes vivid and the waves glow. In darker lighting conditions, the blue takes a nice subtle tone, and looks completely different (see closing pictures for demonstrations of how the SMP’s appearance changes)
The He valve is located just above the 10 marker, and the crown is well protected by nicely shaped crown guards. Although the He valve is unlikely to ever be used, it is good to know that the watch has the capacity to deal with such stresses and strains caused by diving to the extremes!
The skeleton hands are readable in all conditions and as with all the Planet Ocean, this thing glows like a torch! After a quick charge under a lamp, the dial and hands remain readable all night.
From the front the Seamaster is very attractive. The dial is well finished, the lume is good which makes for easy time telling in the most difficult conditions
The case back is beautifully finished. The Seamaster horse is engraved nicely, and the rest of the engravings are finished perfectly. It doesn’t include the anti-counterfeit logo on the outer part of the case back (from late 2004 onwards), but the serial number is engraved into the rear of the lugs.
The clasp is very good. It is easy to open and close when it needs to be, but when on the wrist it remains firmly shut. The engraving is good, and the brushed finished which is applied to most of the watch prevents unnecessary publicity of hairline scratches.
Another feature of the clasp is the diver’s extension. It is easily operated, but it doesn’t unfold when you don’t want it to. It provides about an extra inch for wearing the watch over a diving suit.
The movement is a real workhorse as one would expect. The great thing with the quartz movement is that you can just pick it up and go. The drawbacks are that you don’t get the sweep, it is slightly lighter, and you don’t get the nice warm feeling that it has its own heartbeat.
SMP vs PO
The show down! Both watches are aimed at slightly different markets within the same market. As far as the Bond heritage goes I think many would agree that the 2541 wins hands down.
As far as wrist presence goes, both are very different. The SMP is easily spotted on the wrist due to its colour, whereas the PO makes for a very nice subtle wearer.
Onto the comfort stakes, the SMP wins again. I personally found the PO sat awkwardly on a bracelet due to its thicker case. On rubber, the PO is very close to matching the comfort of the SMP though. The SMP sits perfectly, the bracelet could not be any more comfortable, and the thinner case allows it to mould to your wrist much better than the PO does.
Readability goes to the PO. The larger lume dots and broad arrow hands allow for a very clear display, especially at night. Further to this, the AR coating makes the dial a lot clearer in all lighting conditions. However, the AR can be a problem if you wear it regularly, and it is known to scratch under heavy use. The SMP only has an inner AR coating, and therefore the crystal is scratch resistant to the propensity of Sapphire, the PO is only resistant to the durability of the AR coating. Some owners remove the outer AR coating on the PO due to this.
Overall who is the winner………I am. Honestly, I could not declare a winner here. It’s like having children (I would imagine – at 23 I couldn’t comment just yet)…..each has strengths and weaknesses, but neither is better or worse, just different. Yes the PO is seen as the bigger more expensive brother to the SMP, and yes the PO looks so classy, and yes the PO has the coaxial movement, but the SMP is like Cranberry Sauce….it goes with everything (quoting Top Gear). It is always there, ready to be worn in whatever condition you wish. It is a great all rounder and is hard not to love, even though you know it is the underdog.
If I absolutely had to choose a watch, I would choose the SMP, merely because that’s the one that I feel more connected with.
I have spent this past year looking and searching for a good SMP. A few have popped up but I didn’t find one where I instinctively thought ‘that’s the one’. When this one came about, I knew it was the one. Although I didn’t set out to buy a quartz, on reflection it makes perfect sense for a daily wearer.
I have finally been reunited with a classic diver’s watch which has a massive following for good reason. If you want a great daily wearer, look no further than the SMP series!
Thanks for reading.