The Omega Aqua Terra Shades refines the rainbow GADA proposition The Omega Aqua Terra Shades refines the rainbow GADA proposition

The Omega Aqua Terra Shades refines the rainbow GADA proposition

Borna Bošnjak

It’s no secret that colourful, everyday watches really kicked off in the last few years, surely contributed to by the awful pandemic dreariness. Omega was a brand that got in on the action early, outfitting a quintet of Aqua Terras in colourful, yet subtle, sunburst dials at the start of 2022. The 38mm Aqua Terra is the perfect canvas for this type of watch, with ideal specs for everyday wear, with equal capability for dressing up or down. A year later, Omega went one step further, introducing new colours and a couple of tweaks that tidy up the design, making it an even more compelling choice for potential buyers.

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm atlantic blue

Undoubtedly, it’s the dials that are the primary focus. Omega used both PVD and CVD techniques to achieve the colours, resulting in coatings or chemical reactions that produce each of the five hues. While the technique of achieving the colours may differ, the dials all begin as brass blanks which are then brushed outwards in a sunburst fashion. Once the desired colour is achieved, Omega gives them extra lustre and depth by applying a layer of lacquer. The dial names may be familiar, as they continue the naming scheme from the 2022 Aqua Terra. There are three subtle colours – Atlantic Blue, Bay Green, and Sandstone – accompanied by two brighter, warmer shades – Terracotta, and Saffron, my personal favourite.

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm terracotta dial close up

Even though the names are the same as last year’s, there are important changes worth noting. For starters, the dials are seemingly a tad more vibrant, and their brushed pattern more noticeable. Otherwise, the only change to the dial layout is the addition of a trapezoidal, polished date window frame, the absence of which stood out like a sore thumb in the 2022 model.

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm terracotta wrist

As opposed to the 2000s, case sizes seem to be following a decreasing trend. I’m really glad that Omega chose the 38mm size for the Shades collection, and though they’re still a little thicker than I’d like for an everyday watch at 12.3mm, the compat lug-to-lug helps it wear way better than the 41mm Aqua Terra. Take these thoughts with a grain of salt, however, as my 15.5cm/6.15in wrists don’t cater well to most pieces over 40mm.

One aspect of the case that I see being contentious is the all-polished finish. Don’t get me wrong, the lyre lugs are still beautifully expressed, but considering that this is still a sporty watch, I do wonder whether the 38mm Shades could’ve benefitted from a couple of brushed surfaces. Nevertheless, the entire collection features 150 metres of water-resistance, matching the standard for pretty much any Aqua Terra.

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm sandstone

Well, okay, it’s not the entire watch that’s polished, as the redesigned three-link bracelet features brushed outer links. The wide mid-link matches the polished case finish, the bracelet ending in a butterfly-style clasp. Omega bracelets are quite wonderful, so I don’t see it being necessary to swap to other strap options too often, but considering the versatility that this watch is trying to achieve, a 19mm lug width will be a bit more difficult to accommodate.

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm movement caseback

The final piece of the puzzle comes courtesy of the Omega Calibre 8800. This co-axial movement is a staple in the brand’s line-up, serving as a base for other complications and present in practically every Omega collection. The 55-hour power reserve is admittedly nothing spectacular, but when you consider the movement’s METAS certification and 15,000 Gauss of accompanying magnetic resistance, the spec sheet looks all the more impressive.

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm saffron

In summary, the new Aqua Terra Shades 38mm collection is the natural successor to the 2022 models, bringing subtle refinement to an already excellent watch. Owing to its polished case and (mostly) polished bracelet, the Shades will be among the less sporty Aqua Terra models – and that’s okay. Omega has plenty of watches for those who want an all-brushed spec monster. Considering the likely scenario for the Shades – clasp gently rested against a swanky wooden desk, as its young professional owner types away at some spreadsheet – I’m pretty sure it’ll do just fine.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Shades 38mm pricing and availability

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Shades 38mm collection is available now from Omega boutiques and retailers. Price: A$10,975

Brand Omega
Model Seamaster Aqua Terra Shades Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm
Reference Number
Case Dimensions 38mm (D) x 12.3mm (T) x 44.9mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 15 bar
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Atlantic blue, bay green, sandstone, saffron, terracotta
Lug Width 19mm
Strap Three-link steel bracelet, butterfly clasp
Movement Calibre 8800, in-house, automatic, co-axial escapement, METAS-certified, anti-magnetic to 15,000 Gauss
Power Reserve 55 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Now
Price A$10,975