Posted on November 29 2017
Omega's moon watch, the Speedmaster, is the Swiss companies most famous watch. Its appeal is highest among knowledgeable watch enthusiasts. Buyers who care about the history and technological significance of their timepiece.
For the more casual watch fan the Seamaster, Omega's divers watch, is more desirable.
The original Seamaster was a water-resistant dress watch. An uncomplicated watch designed for active men wanting a watch for “town, sea and country”.
With the 1957 introduction of the Seamaster 300 the line became more associated with genuine divers. This culminated in the production of the 'PloProf'. A bold and chunky timepiece designed to break diving records.
The Seamaster line had by then divided into two strands - the 'Professional' and 'Dress' ranges.
The Seamaster then became more widely known to the public. Lindy Hemming, an Oscar-winning costume designer, selected the watch for James Bond's GoldenEye.
Bond author Ian Fleming had been clear. Bond wore a Rolex.
Hemming felt differently. She believed that Omega had produced a watch that was more authentic for Bond's spy role.
Bond and the Seamaster still have that link.
Then in 2003 Omega launched the Seamaster Aqua Terra.
Where the Seamaster professional line had increased the functionality through innovation, the Aqua Terra was a return to the ranges roots. A luxury dress watch designed not so much for diving, but as a reliable and rugged tool watch. A direct competitor to Rolex's Explorer 1.
The first part of the Aqua Terra to catch your eye is usually the distinctive “teak concept” dial. It's reminiscent of the pattern on the wooden surfaces of luxury yachts. This dial adds a distinctive character to these Seamaster models.
As does the arrow on the minute hand. And to round off the attractive dial there are neat, tapered indices.
In 2012's Bond film Skyfall, Daniel Craig's character wore the Aqua Terra. This gave the dressier Seamaster extra boost.
Did Bond whet your appetite for this watch?
But your budget can't stretch to the Omega?
Let me take you through some similar styled and more affordable watches. I promise that I have some beauties for you.
Corgeut is a Chinese homage watch brand. This stunning Omega Aqua Terra homage is typical of the brand. It's a faithful reproduction of the Omega. But branded as Corgeut.
Whilst, not replica’s or fakes, all Corgeut designs are copies of Swiss watches. The watches are usually mechanical and often use reliable Japanese movements. That's the case with this model.
This particular variant of the Aqua Terra is the > 15,000 Gauss.
The Omega original was the first watch resistant to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss. It’s the kind of innovation that Omega has excelled at. But also hints at why a homage watch may be an alternative choice.
A lot of fans want a nice looking watch and don’t want to pay for unnecessary functionality.
The Corgeut looks like the Omega, with only the dial text being the obvious difference. It is powered by a Miyota automatic movement and has a sapphire crystal and exhibition case back.
It's very affordable and the first place to start if you want a full Aqua Terra homage.
The Seiko SARB isn't an Aqua Terra homage. But if you want a similar watch from another manufacturer, this could be the model.
It's a Japanese import that ticks some of the same boxes as the Omega. It's a plain but tough dress watch.
Japanese giants Seiko have released many iconic watches. From cult divers like the SKX007 to their luxury Grand Seiko range. Like this model, you won't see these on the high-street.
The SARB035 is from their Japanese 'domestic market only' range. Watches designed to be sold only in Japan. The internet gives us access to that market.
It's smaller than the Corgeut and has a pared-down aesthetic. The Omega is a simple watch, but this is simplified further. It works.
While it doesn't have the sporty element of the Aqua Terra, it does have it's own charm. Importantly, it's powered by an in-house Seiko movement.
It's attractive, reliable and a great watch in its own right.
Like the Corguet, this is an inexpensive alternative to the Omega Aqua Terra. It's a quartz homage from a well-known American brand. Let's take a closer look.
The Forte looks like the Omega. That's obvious. It has the textured dial, the arrow hands and the plain markers. If judged on appearance, this watch does the job.
In terms of specs, it's as expected. This is a sub $100 watch, so it's no surprise that it uses a quartz movement. The glass is interesting. It's Krysterna crystal, the brand's own innovation.
It's bigger than some of the others on the list. The case is 42mm wide and 12mm thick. It's a comfortable size, but I wouldn't want to see an Aqua Terra homage any bigger.
This is a real budget watch. A fun quartz piece that won't break the bank. If you'd prefer to buy from a US company rather than Chinese - go for the Stuhrling.
Stuhrling Forte 3953
This Accurist is a cracking watch for the money. A real treat if the Omega's textured dial is a must-have.
Accurist are a familiar brand here in the UK.
Accurist grew from as a small family run firm in post-war Britain, to be the watch worn by The Beatles. The husband and wife founders had a clear vision. They wanted to produce affordable British watches built from Swiss components.
It's a concept that has proven successful. They're stocked throughout the UK and may be a brand that you've not considered.
The signature model is a blue dialled watch that resembles the Aqua Terra. Again, it's not a homage. It's very similar and draws obvious comparisons, but it's not a clone.
The first feature to grab my attention was the dial. It's a deep blue, with a distinctive wave texture. It's not the teak effect of the Omega, because it's not a full homage.
The size? Perfect at 40mm.
Everything else is as you'd want on a budget high-street watch. A reliable quartz movement, mineral crystal and full stainless steel construction.
You've seen the Chinese, Japanese and American models. I'd suggest that you also take a look at this British watch.
Accurist Signature 7219
The Tissot Gentleman's watch has one big advantage. It's an affordable entry-level Swiss-made watch. If quality is of importance to you, this could be the answer.
It’s a real favourite of mine. It's a classically styled dress watch. The appeal for me is that it feels contemporary. It is a little wider, thicker and larger than the earlier generation of watches that inspired it.
It’s a good place to start with Tissot if you're new to the brand.
The design is similar to the Aqua Terra, but again it's not a homage.
It's a restrained watch that succeeds by doing the simple things well. There’s a pared-down dial, with plain indices. No teak effect here. The text on the dial is kept to a minimum, as is the colour palette.
It's neat and practical and that is part of the ethos of the Aqua Terra.
Of course, the Swiss-made wording also plays a part. Particularly on the price. But it's this Swiss craftsmanship that is a major selling point. There's a big difference between a Chinese homage model and a Swiss brand like Tissot.
So the Gentleman is powered by a Powermatic automatic movement. It has an 80hrs power reserve and a silicon balance spring. This decorated movement can be viewed through the exhibition back.
This is a watch that you buy for the quality. For the movement, construction and attention to detail.
Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium
The Omega Aqua Terra is a very interesting watch. It's an exciting mixture of dress and sports watch.
It's part of the Seamaster line but isn't a dive watch. Instead, it can be seen as a return to the Seamaster's roots. It's a rugged tool watch or a beefed-up dress watch.
It's refined, mid-sized and versatile. I'd argue that it is also under-appreciated.
If it's also out of your budget you'll need to find an alternative. There aren't that many good examples.
I've presented you with a list of five alternatives. They range from inexpensive quartz models to Swiss-made automatics. You should find one that works for you.
Do you know of more? Let me know in the comments.