Omega’s new Aqua Terra line doesn’t only disappoint, it’s maybe the most meh release we’ve seen in a long time. It misses on three fronts: Dial, sizing and a certain je ne sai quoi. I honestly thought we couldn’t get much more disappointed than we were with that central seconds abomination they put out last year. I was wrong. Perhaps I have been doomed by my own expectations. If somehow there was a mashup of the central seconds, and this newer iteration, I would have been happier than I was with either release.
The most obvious miss here was changing the classic paneled dials we had come to associate with the Seamster Aqua Terra Line. I actually liked the “women’s” (take note Omega, 38mm is a classic gentleman’s size). Nothing could be more “off brand” than changing the cornerstone visual of this iteration of the watch. If you’re going to go this route, the change needs to resonate, and this did not. Here, instead of opting to push the boundaries of their own branding, the design team evidently wanted to create homages to the recently released colorways of Rolex’s new colorful lines. Not that I would mind it generally speaking, virtually every other Omega recent release copying Rolex color ways actually look better than their Rolex counterparts. However, these colors come off a bit flat to me, and were not worth turning away from what has become the classic dial styling of this line.
They did nothing to fix the sizes of the Aqua Terra. For the “classically-wristed” gentleman such as myself (I sport a perfectly proportioned 6 and 7/8th inches), a sport watch needn’t be 41mm, with a close to 48 lug to lug, as the largest Aqua Terra stands. The 38mm is, on the other hand, a bit too small for the height, and also too large for most women to want to wear. Here, perhaps I was disappointed due to my own expectations. I was hoping for a replacement to the 41 in something about the size of the planet ocean, a 39.5, with perhaps a 46.5 lug to lug. Something that could be worn under the cuff in the office by day, but with enough wrist presence to pop a little with rolled cuffs by night. That wasn’t to be the “case” (sorry, I am after all a father). The lugs measure again a disappointing 19 mm, tapering insufficiently to 16, and I don’t see any technology so far in the bracelet clasp to add any additional comfort. Considering brands like Formex can pull this off, I don’t know why we can’t see it in Omega’s recent releases.
Finally, the Aqua Terra line doesn’t know what it wants to be. A screw down crown, on a non diving watch, to me is an absurdity. I fish in my globe master with no fear of a little water, the gaskets should do the trick, and if they don’t? Well that’s what insurance is for. I keep wanting to see a throw back to the almost “mariners’ tool watch” that the old Seamaster was, with tips of the cap to Omega’s version of the “Dirty Dozen” with a central second hand. A copper sunburst dial, in a 39.5, no screw down, central seconds, and the caliber 8900 with a flatter profile, and applied indices would have been perfection. Why no screw down? Why so the “seafaring” master of the waves could use the quick set hour hand at his or leisure of course! I’d also have preferred the date function to be gone totally from this.
Instead we get a pale imitation of the newer Rolex lines, with silly on “on-the-nose” colorway names like blue lagoon and cumquat or some such. It’s just as well, in some ways as I write this, I realize I’m simply pining for a non-fluted bezel iteration of the Globemaster in a copper or salmon dial, with no date and a central seconds hand, perfect for leisurely weekends. Maybe such a piece is on the horizon.