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Toad's Review - Ziggified Omega Seamaster (SMP) Chrono


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*Updated 2008/Sep/20 - Added movement modability, better close-up pics, orange hand painting issue and lume shot


What the @#%!$?? Another Omega Seamaster (SMP 300) Chronograph review?

A quick search on RWG will show that many people have bought this watch, and many people have reviewed it. So, what's the point of yet another Omega SMP 300 review? Some examples include:

  • Gioarmani's Gen vs. Rep Comparison
  • Andreww's Review
  • Jasonz1000 Review
  • Taiji's Review

    and obviously...By-Tor's SMP Entry in his excellent Omega guide.

    The fact of the matter is this: this is an awesome rep.


    Is it the most accurate out of the box? No.

    Is it covered in shiny ceramic, chunky rubber and have a multi-layered carbon fiber dial? No.

    Does this even have an exotic new movement, decorated rotors or anything made in Switzerland on it? No, no and no.

    So really...what's the point? I bought this rep from Joshua over a year go shortly after discovering RWG, making it my first high end rep after spending hours doing research here and asking dumb questions on this forum ("Who makes the best SMP Chrono?" is significantly more sophisticated a query than "Who makes the best Sub?"...I assure you).

    Not only does this make my watch an old model it also means this review is NOT of a shiny new timepiece, but of an old, scratched up, used fake.

    I have always liked Omega Seamasters and Rolex Submariners ever since my interest in high end timepieces was piqued. Much of this interest I'll admit, was generated from watching a lot of James Bond movies, being equally as interested in finding out what his watch could do, as seeing if these movies really were filled with Pussy Galore. While I know my watches will never be able to saw through ropes or chains, search for radioactive ore or fire a frickin' laser, I like them nonetheless.


    After receiving my tiny box from China a whole new world of high quality, affordable timepieces was introduced. And since this rep just came back from the The Zigmeister spa receiving a complete servicing and some mods a whole new world of what a rep can not only look and feel like...but now OPERATE and FUNCTION like has arrived.

    This has inspired me to write this review.

    I'm also hoping to consolidate a lot of the info out there on modding this watch...and who really needs an excuse to take and post more pictures?

    I'm no Seadweller when it comes to reviews...or By-Tor when it comes to photographs...or Ubi/Freddy/Stephane who can showcase ultimate modded Frankens...or even a Lanikai who can take a wristie shot and make any watch look small. BUT, I can give you high value in word count and minutia.

    So...as always...enough of the chat...onto the business...


    The Omega History is essentially recycled from my Hour Vision Preview here:

    Toad's Omega Hour Vision Preview

    Ask anyone to name a high end watch and besides the reality of probably getting named Seiko, Timex and Swiss Army, Omega will likely appear near the top of the list for most well known luxury brand of watch.


    "The details of my life are quite inconsequential...very well, where do I begin?"

    Dr. Evil

    ...roots in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1848 and a 23 year old Louis Brandt setting up an assembly workshop producing pocket watches using components delivered by local craftsman. These roots based on high end device manufacturing using third party components had formed the backbone behind modern Omega manufacturing for years, where modern Omegas for the most part, were built upon movement bases supplied by ETA and not built in-house. Current production is now based in Biel, Switzerland and is now owned by the Swatch Group, makers of fine luxury products the world over.

    With the introduction of the caliber 8500 movement in 2007, Omega has branched out to production of beautifully finished movements using their Cotes de Geneve in Arabesque scalloped finish with polish and performance rivalling that of hand made boutique houses, but using more economical industrialized manufacturing techniques.


    ...a far cry from


    Unlike lesser known high end brands like IWC or A. Lange & Sohne, media exposure through high end endorsements and high profile product placement has been a key strategy for Omega since the early days of the company. Omega has placed itself as official timekeeper at a number of significant sporting events from the 1909 Gordon-Bennett Cup ballooning race to a series of Olympics from the first official timekeeper in the 1932 LA Summer Olympics to the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as well. Key endorsements include media superstars like Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Pierce Brosnan, and of course Daniel Craig and the whole James Bond franchise, as well as sporting stars like Michael Schumacher, Ellen MacArthur and uber-swimmer Michael Phelps.

    I mean who wouldn't want a little Nicole Kidman in their lives? The occasional trip to the moon doesn't hurt Omega's spotlight placement in the media either.


    Product placement and endorsements are not necessarily a bad thing as they help define the image portrayed by the items at hand. Omega's approach differentiates the various Omega lines:

    • Constellation - Contemporary dress styling...inherently more feminine (don't hit me for this one...I'm an SMP guy)...endorsed by Nicole Kidman
    • Speedmaster - Sport and racing...with limited edition lines for Michael Schumacher
    • Seamaster - Dress, sport and Diving...Bond and the like, and includes the Aquaterra and Railmaster lines
    • Museum - Limited edition line reviving the style of the 1900's
    • Deville - Traditional styling...used by David Duchovny in the X-Files, and Will Smith in Enemy of the State



    In 1932, with the Omega Marine, Omega introduced arguably the first waterproof watch in the world (they could use waterproof vs. water resistant back in those days). Having water resistance to 13.5 atmospheres or 135 meters made it popular among the ocean explorers and the ever popular submarine sect.

    Jacques Cousteau wearing an Omega Marine below.


    Aaaaarrr...I'll show YOU who has the best Sub!

    It wasn't until 1947 that the Seamaster name was first used, and 1948 that the first Seamaster was produced. The Seamaster line was inspired by the rugged waterproofness of the Omega Marine and it's succeeding 30 mm model and was sold widely to the British army during WWII and proved to be the most precise wristwatch caliber ever tested at Geneva.


    I say Commander, off to kick some Commie Pinko hiney, wot?

    While the Seamaster line traditionally was modelled along the lines of traditional style dress watches which could take the occasional dip, from the 1970s onwards Omega re-tooled the line to follow a sportier, chunkier and trendier route adding a heavier look, diver-oriented features like calibrated rotating bezels, chronograph functions and easier to read dials and often specialty aqua-oriented features like my favourite...the regatta countdown timer



    Complex? I suppose...but not so complex this function can't be found on a $200 Nautica watch. The Omega execution of this feature however, has definite class.

    Currently, the Seamaster line includes the descendents of the Seamaster Deville - the Aqua Terras which follow dressier stylings and 150m water resistance and the Seamaster Professional (aka SMP 300m) series introduced in 1993 having 300m water resistance.


    2599.80.00?? What do these numbers mean?

    WARNING: The following codes are not used consistently by Omega, but are entertaining as a guide.



    So, a model 2831.80.08 is a full-size Seamaster Professional, stainless steel case, with blue bezel and dial, on the optional blue sharkskin strap.


    Mmmm...did I say Titanium?

    The 2299.80.00 is a Seamaster Chronograph Automatic in Titanium with blue bezel and blue dial and default straps, and the 2599.80.00 is a Seamaster Chronograph Automatic with blue bezel with blue dial and default straps...our piece in question here.

    The current SMP 300 Chrono model 2225.80.00 doesn't work with the table above.



    The specs for the gen are:

    Steel on steel

    Reference: 2599.80.00


    Caliber: Omega 1164 (ETA/Valjoux 7750 base)

    Self-winding chronograph, chronometer movement with rhodium-plated finish

    antimagnetic cover

    Sweep 1/8s running seconds

    gradual date change

    Power Reserve: 44 hours


    Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal


    Stainless steel case

    Blue dial


    Down to: 300 meters / 1000 feet


    Case Diameter: 42 mm

    The specs for the rep are:

    Steel on steel

    Reference: 2599.80.00


    Caliber: New Asian 7750 running at 28.8k

    Self-winding chronograph, calibrated by The Zigmeister to chronometer specs

    antimagnetic cover

    Sweep 1/8s running seconds

    gradual date change

    Power Reserve: ~44 hours


    Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal


    Stainless steel case

    Blue dial


    Down to: running tap water


    Case Diameter: 42 mm




    What else can be said, but that the case is beautiful. It captures the same brushed and polished details as the gen in every way with the same dimensions. There is even a non-functional HEV included in the correct 10-o-clock position.



    This is probably the biggest flaw on the whole watch. The caseback captures the essence and function of the gen but that's about it. The hole pattern will work with gen Omega tools, and works just fine with an El Cheapo Jaxa caseback tool.

    As seen below the wave pattern of the rep is merely created using engraving and brushing to finish. The gen wave pattern is much more refined with graduated depth to the edges.


    The sea monster shape is correct enough, but the background beaded matte finish does not match the etching of the gen, nor does the lack of the polished sea monster.

    I've been tempted to get a gen caseback...but these are hard to come by, and when they do, they come at a premium. A gen case set with caseback from Ofrei goes new for over $800USD.



    The rep even includes the antimag cover, nicely engraved. A dealer pic is enclosed above.

    When I first opened this rep...remember...this was my first rep. I tried to look at the movement. I ordered a Jaxa tool and cracked open the case. When I took the case off, I had no idea how to remove the antimag cover. There were no screws...no tabs...nothing. That stumped me.

    Thanks to RWG...somebody else posed this stupid question so I didn't have to look like a stump, and I found out that on close examination, you will see a couple little gaps where the antimag cover meets the case. CAREFULLY stick a screwdriver into the space, and pop up the cover.



    Obviously the movement uses a New Asian 7750 running at 28.8k producing a nice smooth sweep at 1/8s on the running seconds at 6 subdial. The movement being what it is, means the subidal layout is bang on...unlike the problems with the tight spacing of the 3-6-9 Speedy's. Having the standard Asian rep movement, I was victim to the noisy, dry rotor.

    The movement is NOT rhodium plated like the gen, but instead according to The Zigmeister was nicely plated in gummed up dirt and a lack of oil. A full breakdown and servicing and everything works great. The rotor is silent, power reserve is up, accuracy is as per COSC spec.



    The dial is beautiful. Accurate in almost every way. An ultra macro comparison of the dial with side-by-side images (i.e. not reproducable in real life unless using a loupe with both a gen and rep side by side) will show that the wave pattern is not quite as pronounced on the rep. Other than that...we're good to go.

    The lume isn't the greatest, but the lume dots look accurate. Some people have upgraded the dial to a gen dial as in Lazarini's pictured below. This is a great option if you can get a gen dial (which fits without problem) for a reasonable price.


    A The Zigmeister lume job might have been in order to bring out the day-glo...but given that the artistic element of this dials lume doesn't quite compare to that of a Muller or IWC Cousteau Diver, I didn't bother.

    A re-lume job can cost in the neighbourhood of $100 and up using RC Tritec Superluminova...and a used gen dial can be had for as little as $50 used, to over $100 from the few I've seen on eBay in the past...so the choice is yours...re-lume or gen dial...or even better...never look at your watch at night without a black light!!


    The current version of the SMP 300 Chrono uses redder hands and chapter ring markers, and adds a bit of red lettering along with the double AR. This makes for a very nice but subtle splash of colour and is going to cause a few people to upgrade when they make a good rep of it.


    "Red letters? RED LETTERS???...must spend $300 for new version of watch."



    By-Tor's snappy photo

    They look good to me.


    Who says there are no Swiss grade AAA+++ reps?

    Ooooh...if it says Swiss Made...you know it's good!!



    They look fine to me...now.

    There has been discussion whether or not the hands of the subdials and chrono seconds are too orange or too red, but there appears to be some variation on the gens depending on the year the watch was bought. Remember, this watch has essentially been in production unchanged for over over 10 years. Only in the last couple years did they make a stylistic change to the 2225.80.00 adding a bit of red lettering and definitely red hands.

    The big issue with the rep however, is that the hands are more orange than the markers on the rehaut ring/chapter ring. If you look at By-Tor's photos, you will notice this difference. The Zigmeister repainted the hands on my piece to match the colour of the ring markers. He did it as a surprise to see if I would notice...but in comparing my watch with that of pics of Lanikai's...I couldn't notice the difference.

    The Zigmeister did the paint mod to Lanikai's before mine so of course I couldn't see a difference when comparing pieces. Dooh!! Thanks again The Zigmeister for the amazing work.

    It's a small thing, and if you know to look for it...you will not be able to keep your eyes off of it.



    Original Rep Datewheel


    Takashi's Datewheel Comparison

    This is another shortcoming of the rep. There appear to be a few datefont variations out there. The one that came with mine wasn't too bad, but was a tad small and the wrong font. The Zigmeister upgraded it to the proper genuine ETA datewheel to get things looking good. The datefont mod does make a difference and with a movement servicing is an inexpensive upgrade.




    The bracelet feels great. No rough edges..smooth and buttery. It has the nice polished and brushed finish of the gen, but uses screws for the adjustable links instead of the gens pins. Is this a shortcoming? For accuracy yes...for function...yes too as sthe screws are rep cheap Asian screws which busted off on me when I was adjusting the bracelet. The Asian screws use cheaper materials and have low QC/QA so the threads are not as precise and the heads not as strong.


    The INSIDE of the bracelet is where you can see differences with the gen as well. The level of polish is not as high in the rep as the gen, and the ends of the polished-brushed-polished link pieces are not as equally lined up on the rep as the gen...especially at the join on the SEL. This is noticeable if you know what to look for...but only if you have the watch in hand and not on the wrist.


    Otherwise...the bracelet feels and looks great.


    The clasp operates just like the gen, and has a very good quality feel to it. The divers extension is operational and manufactured much better than that found on the Rolex Subs.


    The "S" on Seamaster sits a little lower than the gen, and the PROFESSIONAL font is a little different but again, this is hardly noticeable on lettering that measure 1-2mm high.


    Comparison with Gioarmani's gen



    The rep crown to me looked great, but it threaded in over only a couple turns. It was also not mounted to the stem very tightly (a quick fix). Although following The Zigmeister's advice for screwing back in the crown of rotating the crown COUNTER-CLOCKWISE while pushing it in until you feel the click of the threads lining up BEFORE screwing the crown in using a clockwise fashion, I still stripped the crown threads after a year.

    Insert one The Zigmeister installed gen case tube and gen crown...and boy, does it feel different. The gen tube and crown look the same, but the threads are cut deeper and at a different angle so the crown screws in more securely and smoothly with less risk of stripping. And of course, Rob lined everything up so the Omega character is lined up vertically...better than the gen.

    This mod can be performed by either drilling out the old tube and press-fitting a new tube INTO the drilled out REMAINS of the old tube, or removing the old tube entirely and glueing in the gen tube using a gap filling glue like epoxy or gorilla glue. The risk with this mod is, because the gen tube and rep tube case hole are not the same size requiring the tube to be glued in, once installed, you should not screw the crown down very hard, or you risk detaching the tube from the case. The crown will be sealed to the tube correctly once the threading begins...but given that mine was never waterproof to begin with...it's a moot point.

    Discussion on this mod can be found here:

    [*]Crown and Tube Replacement

    [*]Ofrei Crown and Tube Parts



    Lani's Amazing Metallic Morphing Bezel Shot

    The bezel itself is great as is the insert. The insert pearl on my rep didn't look too bad in my opinion (a bit rough magnified many many times compared to the gen...but great in person). The big criticism on the pearl however, is that many of the rep pearls are either off-centre, or too low.

    My pearl was centred correctly, but sits a little low in the triangle compared with the gen.


    To me, this is minor and not worth fixing.

    If you do want to do the fix, directions can be found here: Bezel Pearl Upgrade Mod

    Current versions of this rep appear to have the insert markers lined up on the bezel points as opposed to the older versions which were lined up on the recessed parts of the bezel. Mine arrived correct.

    What I mean by the points is illustrated below.



    The crystal is accurate. Unfortunately. This means it lacks AR so it does produce quite a lot of glare. It is very difficult to get decent pics of the dial because of the glare. The current version of the SMP Chrono (with red letters) includes an anti-reflective coating making the dial easier to read, so that is a big improvement.


    2006 IWC CD with stock AR and SMP Chrono with no AR

    If you want to get the ultimate in dial popping beautiness...you can take the easy way out like Lanikai, and go for an aftermarket uber-AR treatment by Jakub or Chief. ;p



    or even better...go for the crystal-less option of Lazarini: Lazarini's SMP Mod Thread


    Sweeeeet...Nice AR...Where's the Crystal???

    By-Tor has shot a couple amazing photos of this watch in spite of the glare on the dial. How does he do it..."Lighting...". Hmmm...simple to say...hard to execute.



    Gioarmani has bought 2 of these reps from Andrew and both passed water resistance with flying colours. Other users have experienced the same water proof performance.

    Me? Out of luck...I have standard Asian rep, non-water resistance. The crown, crystal and caseback were alright...but as usual, leaks were present in the chrono pushers. I get the standard Josh/Andrew water resistance of a "50m dash in the rain".

    My thread on this can be found here: Toad's Waterproof Test Thread of the SMP Chrono


    This watch can get a few mods.

    ETA/Valjoux 7750 Movement

    A few people have done this and it will obviously work. I'm assuming the usual new ETA compatible hands will be required...or possibly broaching to make it work.

    - Gen crown and tube (not visibly different, but the performance is greatly improved and fixes stripped threads)

    The case number of this watch is 178.0514

    The Omega part numbers are: Crown No. 42154, Tube No. 090 ST 1237

    - Gen dial

    According to Taka, the gen dial fits without problems. IMHO, this upgrade is good if you can get a gen dial for a reasonable price otherwise stick with a...

    - RC Tritec Super Luminova Re-lume

    The lume out of the box is not great...but usable in very dark rooms and readable even after 8 hours. In semi-dark rooms, the watch is actually hard to read as the lume is nowhere near strong enough to make very low light visibility happen...pitch dark visibility is barely adequate.

    - Orange hand paint matching

    The hands for the subdial and centre seconds out-of-the-box are painted more orange than the ring markers. Ideally, colour matching like The Zigmeister's on this piece will make the whole watch blend together properly.

    - Crystal AR

    Lani removed the crystal himself. I'm not at that point to be willing to do that myself...but if you are...go for it and send it out for a relume...or send out the watch head for crystal removal service with the re-lume. Although not accurate, this is a nice upgrade.

    - Insert pearl upgrade

    To me, I don't see the low pearl as that much of an issue...but it can be upgraded as outlined above.

    - Caseback

    I'm not sure if a gen caseback would fit. Pretty sure...but I haven't heard of anybody doing it so I'm not sure. That would be a nice upgrade...but again, given that the watch should be on your wrist and not crystal down...the inaccurate back is not much of an issue.

    - Gen bracelet

    Again, I'm not sure if a gen bracelet would fit...so YMMV and proceed with caution.



    Yeah it's a PAM movement but I thought it was cool...

    This is a great watch...one of my all time faves. After receiving a The Zigmeister movement servicing, I can assure you that the performance and reliability of the movement is greatly improved. Was it worth paying with shipping and service more than the initial capital cost of the piece? That depends on how much you want the watch. There have been great rep watches that have had production stop and availability scarce. Not knowing if the SMP Chrono would be one of them, I thought a little servicing and couple mods would help future proof my ownership of such a great looking and now great performing item. So to me, having the master The Zigmeister work on this piece was more than worth it.


    Rob is a gentleman and a scholar, and his professionalism and pride in work are evident in both communication and the final product and I thank him for a great job (and free bubble wrap!).

    The datewheel mod makes a nice visible difference, and the gen crown and tube upgrade really make the piece feel high quality when setting the time.

    For more discussion on the long term expectation of reps...click here

    Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this (if you made it through to the end), and I hope you learned at least a little something. I look forward to possibly amending this if the new red lettered chrono ever comes into Rep Land.

    As always, I look forward to comments and questions.


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Wow... just wow!

This must be the best review I've ever read. This rep is so good (and the watch so cool) that it certainly deserves this.

I will definitely add this to the Omega Guide, plus pin it to the Omega section when the thread has ran its course.

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As you can see, I am new here. I have been reading like crazy for the past couple of weeks (learning lots) and have really been eyeing up the Omega line. I am pretty much deciding between the SMP (either chrono or non) and the SOSF, and that review was incredible...very helpful, very informative and "noob" friendly...

Thank You, Steve.

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Wow.....just ....WOW! :clap:

What an amazing review. An absolute pleasure to read :tu:

Just to show a small sign of appreciation of the hours you must have spent on this (and in line with our policy of rewarding great posts like this) I have added a 6 month platinum membership to your accoun.

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Wow.....just ....WOW! :clap:

What an amazing review. An absolute pleasure to read :tu:

Just to show a small sign of appreciation of the hours you have spendt on this (and in line with our policy of rewarding great posts like this) I have added a 6 month platinum membership to your accoun.


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I have to disagree, I don't agree that this is the best review ever, as far as I am concerned, this is the best post I have ever read, on any forum.

Amazing work and detail, well done to say the least.

The snobs from Time Zone can only wish that someone someday will do up a post that even comes close to this one in quality, detail, cross reference, etc...

Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to share this with the members here, including me, who also owns one of these babies, with a Tudor 7750 for power.

This is what makes RWG the best of the best, and this is what separates us from the snobs, quality and excellence.


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Great review Toad, although this one reads more like a finely crafted novel! I happen to be wearing my SMP Chrono as I read this, and couldn't help but admire it between every paragraph. Although it may not be the "best" rep out of the box, it is certainly in the top ten, and with the lack of a good SMP rep, it makes this one all the more desirable.

People, if you don't have one of these beauties, pick one up before they stop making them!

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Thanks for the time you spent on this, and thanks for sharing it as well.

Posts with this background and exquisite links makes the board worth checking several times a day. This makes our "job" very enjoyable.

Not just informative but fun to read also, keep it up Toad!



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  • 4 weeks later...

What a fantastic review!!

After re reading it I'm wondering if the shorter hour hand on the rep can be replaced with the gen hands or must the A-7750 be changed to an ETA?

It's a small difference but noticeable to me.

I can't attach a photo since I'm operating on a hotel computer but the following link has one:


Thanks again for a killer review.


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