Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light

When it comes to the realm of ridiculous, ultralight sports replica watches, there are usually some pretty clear-cut concessions being made around actual real-world utility, as well as the ever-important, but subjective, concept of individual taste, particularly in a category where more flamboyant design tends to reign supreme. What makes the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra “Ultra Light” so compelling, though, is that in addition to housing some pretty impressive case and movement innovations that yield a strikingly light presence on the wrist, it looks almost like any ordinary Seamaster Aqua Terra. It’s a bit strange to behold on the wrist because, unlike many similar halo watches that occupied this rarified space, this all-matte Aqua Terra flies completely under the radar with an impressively wearable and highly practical execution. Because of this, it is, for all intents and purposes, the ultimate Omega sports watch replica. There’s only one problem: it costs $200.
Launched way back in 2002, the Seamaster Aqua Terra is probably Omega’s most versatile sport-lifestyle watch, and about as close a competitor as the Bienne-based juggernaut has to compete with the perennially ubiquitous Rolex Datejust, which more or less tends to serve a similar design intent. But where the Datejust ends in singularity — more or less as a dressier style everyday (or “GADA” – “go anywhere, do anything”) watch, the Aqua Terra, over the course of the last two decades, has come to represent a platform of pretty impressive versatility and latitude that has included everything from simple day/date workhorses in steel or precious metal and globetrotting references with GMT complications to chronographs and regatta timers, a mind-blowingly gorgeous worldtimer, and yes — even the admittedly natural choice of super-spy James Bond. The unconventional Ultra Light is, in practice, the fullest extension of the Aqua Terra’s versatility — so much so that it almost feels more like a “concept watch” than anything, despite being readily available to anyone with the cash — and the lifestyle that might go along with it.
That lifestyle in question is that of professional golfers like Sergio Garcia, Rory Sutherland, and newly minted PGA championship winner Collin Morikawa — all of whom are Omega Ambassadors. It also might be for the young pole vaulting phenom and multi-world record holder Mondo Duplantis, another newly minted Omega wearer, who blasted into stardom this fall at an outdoor event in Rome when he cleared 6.15 meters (20 feet!) while wearing the Aqua Terra Ultra Light. And though a far cry from the usual yachting or motorsport tie-ins that we’re so used to seeing, the specific needs of these athletes helped form the basis for the watch’s design goals: a watch that was supremely lightweight, unobtrusive, and virtually unaffected by the effects of gravitational acceleration (ie: a high-speed golf swing, or a fall from 20 feet onto a landing pad).
Unlike last year’s wild Seamaster Planet Ocean “Ultra Deep,” which was 100% a concept watch and not intended for the general public, the Aqua Terra Ultra Light was developed primarily with Omega’s stable of athletes in mind. To get there, the Ultra Light was developed using a superlight new aerospace-grade alloy called Gamma Titanium and paired it with a new in-house-manufactured Calibre 8928 — a highly shock-resistant hand-wound movement that’s also been built out of titanium. Another innovative and markedly complex first for Omega. The movement is controlled by a spring-loaded crown that sits flush into the integrated lugs at 3 o’clock; simply give it a push, and it pops out of the case, enabling the wearer to more easily grip and therefore pull out the crown in order to set the time. Pushing it back in locks it against the caseband, and keeps it from digging into the wrist and out of the way during, say, pole-vaulting oneself into the history books.
At 55 grams on the nylon strap (pictured here on the slightly heavier integrated rubber strap), the watch is absurdly light, but it’s also not particularly large either, so its 41mm silhouette doesn’t lend itself to the weird optical and sensory illusion that something like a much larger composite-cased Richard Mille RM-27-04 for Rafael Nadal, the latest of which weighs a scant 30 grams, might. It’s worth mentioning that the ongoing Richard Mille and Nadal partnership has bred some of the lightest wristwatches in high-end sports horology, with the lightest being its first iteration: 2018’s RM-27 edition, which weighed only 19 grams on the strap.
Even still, this Aqua Terra is damned light — ultralight, even. But what I’d argue is really the draw here is just how truly unassuming and downright ordinary it looks and feels on the wrist. It’s really light, for sure, not unlike the 38.5mm titanium Aqua Terra Good Planet from a few years back. Further lending to this is the total absence of any flourish whatsoever. No polished surfaces, no evocative text or naming convention, and definitely no bizarre skeletonized embellishments anywhere. Only the telescoping crown in its protective holster suggests that you’re looking at something special. Even its grooved “teak deck” style dial (which is encircled by a very cool matte, dark gray bezel) and 41mm case silhouette are both exactly the same as what’s found on the standard stainless steel Aqua Terra, making it, in a word, a perfectly formed portrait of restraint rendered in a wildly unrestrained execution. It’s truly high-tech stealth-wealth on a level that not even the usual avenues of white gold, tantalum, or even palladium-cased watches could touch — and for a certain segment of customers, I can’t imagine that this is a bad thing.
Even still, it does sorta beg the question: Who is a watch like this for again? We recently caught up with professional golfer Collin Morikawa shortly after the young phenom’s impressive PGA Championship win at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California. Since the win, Collin’s been spotted wearing the Ultra Light, though it’s worth mentioning that we were probably more interested in learning more about the shot that launched him into PGA tour history, but we also wanted to know more about his ambassadorship with Omega, and whether or not anything should be done with that infamous lid on the Wanamaker Trophy.
The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra “Ultra Light” in Gamma Titanium is available from select Omega retailers and carries a price of $200 USD.