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Vintage Seamaster 300: Vietnam Rep vs Gen Comparison

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You probably got here while following a link from this thread. For your reference, here's a link to last year's franken vintage SM300 thread, which has more details on the origin and particulars of the rep case.

A couple of caveats to keep in mind: The Omega 166.0324 is not identical to vintage SM300 cases (165.024 and 166.024). Some of the differences are obvious (e.g. fonts on the engravings), while details like lug thickness are more subtle.

Also note that the VN SM300 case has been lightly modded. When I first got the case, the entire surface was mirror-polished. I had it refinished to brushed/polished/brushed.

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(Gen in lower shot)

Ubiquitous commented that my franken looked like a Seamaster 300 on steroids, a description I love. It definitely has exaggerated and beefier proportions: Check out the Superdome and the extra-tall bezel. It’s what I imagine Omega might have released if they’d decided to take on the Sea-Dweller in the 1960s.

Note that both crowns are genuine. The rep uses the earlier Naiad crown, which is a push-in design that uses the same principle as Super Compressor cases: More pressure equals a tighter seal, or so the theory went. It was replaced in later SM300s by the narrower, taller screwdown crown seen on the gen.

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(Gen on right)

The difference between the crowns is very clear from the front. I wish I’d chosen a darker background so the crystal profiles could be easier to see. The rep crystal is much taller and curvier.

In the lower set you can see the sharply machined bezel teeth of the gen, compared to the melted –looking bumps on the rep. Also note the lug profiles and the placement of the holes. Big difference from this distance and angle, but pretty much impossible to tell from the front and from afar.

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Here’s the rep caseback, with the shallow engravings we’ve come to expect. Older versions of the VN rep were notorious for being "CERTIFED", but this was corrected in newer versions. (I’m assuming the two generations of VN reps are related, but I don’t know for sure.) The tell that persists is the pointed "A” in “WATERPROOF”. The inside of the caseback looks good to the untrained eye, but it actually looks nothing like the gen. Remember that serial number 613288, as you’ll see it on many, supposedly genuine SM300s on eBay.

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And the beautiful gen caseback, with multiple engine turnings on the inside. If you’re wondering about that big swirl around the OO of WATERPROOF… I slipped while trying to open the case! Very annoying, and it makes me miss the Oyster caseback. Note that the gen vintage caseback is very different from the new one.

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Finally, the view from the front. The bezel insert is the rep’s biggest weakness, and the first thing I tried to change last year. Unfortunately, its dimensions (and the dimensions of pretty much everything else on the VN) are too different from the gen. The numerals on the rep insert used to be pineapple-yellow, and looked terrible. Vintagizing helped a lot.

The Vietnamese case served me very well for the last 6 months, but I don't expect this will be the last we see of it! I continue to sift through listings in search of parts...

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Great comparison, M! The gen is great, thats for sure, but the rep looks awesome too. I would love to wear it.

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Great write-up! I enjoyed reading all three of your SM300 threads, read them like watching a favorite movie. It is my favorite Omega watch from all times. Just too bad the genuine is just so higly sought after and thus expensive...

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