Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Watches I'm Wearing: Omega Seamaster 2253.80 "Electric Blue"

Why "Electric Blue" makes all the difference.

The first watch I'm featuring in the "Watches I'm Wearing" series is also one of the most unlikely.  Despite a passing obsession for the quintessential dive watch, the Rolex Submariner (which eventually lost out to the Rolex Explorer I for a place in my watch box), I generally dislike dive watches.  I'm not a diver, and don't like wearing pretensions of being one on my wrist.  Moreover, I've made it a goal in my watch collection to possess no more than one paradigmatic example of a particular brand's offerings, and in a head-to-head contest, no Seamaster (even the 2253.80) could ever best the classic Speedmaster Professional in epitomizing Omega as a brand.  This version of the Seamaster has been discontinued for two to three years - longer than I've been interested in mechanical watches - and even tracking it down proved a challenge that required resorting to a non-authorized (but excellent) dealer.

So how did it end up in my watch box - and on my wrist even as I type this entry?

Its fate is in part a result of the thriving community of users on the Omega brand subforum on WatchUSeek.  It was there that I first learned of this discontinued model and the "electric blue" dial that it and its full-size brother, the 2255.80, even existed.  The color of the dial changes with the kind and angle of light that strikes it; in broad daylight, I don't know of any dial more vibrant.  It is, for lack of a better description, mesmerizing.

As might be gleaned from my choice in color schemes for this blog, my favorite color is blue, and, in turn, my favorite dial color is also blue.  But the tones that we commonly find in blue-dialed watches are often pale or flat looking.  Even the dial color on my Speedmaster Date, the 3212.80, though nice, seemed to leave something to be desired.  The only time I've seen a blue dial and thought, "Yes, that's the exact hue I'm looking for!" is when I laid eyes on an image of the "Electric Blue" Seamaster in broad daylight.

Despite all horological considerations, the fact remains: at least one spot in my watch box will always hold a blue dialed watch.  This incontrovertible fact meant that I had to find a new occupant shortly after selling off the aforementioned Speedy Date.  I selected a 3510.82 Speedmaster Reduced as that replacement - a limited edition Japan-only model with a sunburst blue dial - but inevitable comparisons with the true Speedy Pro left even it's Japan-only allure lacking.  So after flipping the Reduced, I settled on finding a 2253.80, and resolved on ordering one sight unseen from Essential Watches.  It came in pristine condition, and the moment I laid eyes on the dial, I knew I'd found a keeper.

Underneath the case, the Seamaster is powered by the venerable Omega 1120 movement, which is based on the tried-and-true ETA 2892-A2.  The 1120 was used as the basis for the original co-axial movement, the Omega 2500, and is a proven, robust automatic movement.  The 2253.80 is the mid-size version of the Electric Blue, which means that it measures 36.25mm in diameter, positively diminutive by today's popular standards, especially for a dive watch (which now often finds itself in 44m+ territory).  On most wrists (and for most tastes), the full-size 2255.80 with its 41mm diameter probably offers the ideal proportions.  But for my six-inch wrist and preference for smaller watches, the mid-size stands as a rare diver perfectly proportioned for my wrist and sensibilities, with one of the most gorgeous toned dials of all time, to boot.  Since it entered the watch box, it's never had a chance to wind down.  No other automatic or manual wind can claim that distinction, not even the Explorer or the Speedy Pro.

My only criticism?  It would have been nice to have applied hour markers and screwed-in pins rather than friction pins in the bracelet.  Otherwise, this Seamaster is, for me, as close to a perfect watch as they come.

What do you think about the Seamaster 2253.80, the general lack of midsize men's diver watches these days, or blue dials in general?

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