The Omega Aqua Terra might be considered the brand’s answer to the Rolex Datejust, due to its water resistance and handsome looks; however, this watch is a force all its own. First introduced in 2002, the Aqua Terra collection strikes the perfect balance between sophistication and ocean spirit. With both elegant and sporty features, this watch has seen major success over the years, even gaining feature-film chops in two of the James Bond movies thanks to its elegant feel and rugged durability.
While it may have a short history, there’s no doubt that the Omega Aqua Terra has made its mark on the minds of watch collectors and the industry alike. So if you’re in the market for this timeless everyday luxury watch, here’s our Omega Aqua Terra Ultimate Buying Guide that’ll outline everything you need to know before you make your purchase.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Collection
Release Year: 2002
Case diameter: Various, ranging from 36mm to 42mm
Materials: Stainless steel, gold, two-tone steel/gold, platinum, titanium
Functions: Various models, time/date, chronograph, GMT, chronograph/GMT, annual calendar, and Worldtimer,
Dial: Various styles but mostly with striped “teak” pattern
Bracelet: Metal bracelets, leather bands or rubber straps
Water-Resistance: 150 meters
Brief History of the Aqua Terra
Officially known as the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M and introduced in 2002, the Aqua Terra has quickly become a popular everyday luxury watch owing to its modern classic design. Although it is part of the Omega Seamaster collection and boasts a water-resistance rating of 150 meters, the Aqua Terra is not a diving watch but a contemporary daily driver that can go pretty much everywhere.
There have been three main generations of the Aqua Terra model since its inception less than two decades ago, with the newest one debuting in 2017. As is customary with Omega, the collection is expansive both in terms of sizes and materials, as well as functions and complications. Furthermore, as with most Omega models, there are men’s and ladies’ Aqua Terra watches. Although some versions, such as the Aqua Terra Chronograph, are no longer produced by Omega, they are readily available in the secondary market.
Historical Milestones of the Omega Aqua Terra Collection
2002 – Omega introduces the Aqua Terra with Caliber 2500
2008 – New Aqua Terra generation with Caliber 8500
2009 – Aqua Terra Chronograph and Aqua Terra GMT
2010 – Aqua Terra Annual Calendar
2011 – Aqua Terra Golf
2012 – Aqua Terra GMT; Midsize Aqua Terra appears in James Bond movie “Skyfall”
2013 – Aqua Terra Day-Date and Aqua Terra > 15,000 Gauss
2015 – Limited Edition Aqua Terra > 15,007 Gauss “SPECTRE”; Omega introduces new Master Chronometer Certification; Aqua Terra Master Co-Axial appears in James Bond movie “SPECTRE”
2017 – Newest Aqua Terra generation with redesigned cases and new movements; Limited Edition Aqua Terra GMT WorldTimer in platinum
2019 – Regular release Aqua Terra GMT WorldTimer; Aqua Terra “Ultra Light”
Aqua Terra Features and Options
The Omega Aqua Terra is just as elegant in engineering as it is in design. With modern models featuring both water-resistance and antimagnetic qualities, this watch is surprisingly durable. Contemporary examples will withstand magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss, making it one of the world’s best antimagnetic watches. Additionally, the screw-down winding crown and case-back construction allow the Aqua Terra collection to be water-resistant up to 150m (500 feet).
Unlike other watches in the Omega Seamaster collection, the Aqua Terra lacks a rotating bezel, making its case slick and sophisticated while still decidedly sporty. It is this handsome, refined aesthetic that makes the Aqua Terra a great everyday watch, pairing well with both a suit and t-shirt and jeans.
Another defining feature of the collection is its versatility. The Omega Aqua Terra comes in hundreds of different variations, giving collectors the choice between classic stainless steel models, their signature Sedna gold, dual-tone, and even yellow gold in older collections. You can also choose between matching metal bands, polyamide, polyester, leather, and rubber straps, further allowing you to customize the entire look and feel of your adaptable Aqua Terra.
Although there are some exceptions, the majority of Omega Aqua Terra Chronometer models share the following features
– Round case
– Smooth bezel
– Dials decorated with grooved lines
– Date window
– Three luminous hands (hour, minute, seconds); broad arrow minute hand
– Luminous and tapered hour markers
– Automatic movement
– Water resistance to 150 meters
While the most popular versions of the Aqua Terra are the simplest versions with time and date functionality (known as the Aqua Terra Chronometer), Omega also offers other versions with added complications.
Aqua Terra Chronograph
The Omega Aqua Terra Chronograph was introduced in 2009, seven years after the first release of the Aqua Terra collection. We got four initial versions of the watch, all featuring 42mm stainless steel cases. Dial options included either black or white, and both versions were available with either a matching stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap. Like the original models that first introduced the collection, the Aqua Terra Chronograph featured the same wonderful case shape, screw-down crown, and 150 meters of water resistance.
On the dial of this watch, we still have all the beautiful Aqua Terra features we love, like the pointed hour markers and broad arrow minute hand. The black dial featured raised and applied hour markers in stainless steel, while the white dial Chronograph featured blue hour markers with matching hands. Both versions also featured bright, readable Super-LumiNova above the hour markers as well as on the hands. But of course, the biggest change to the dial is the sub-dials – a running seconds counter, 30-minute counter, and 12-hour counter.
Ticking inside the Omega Aqua Terra Chronograph is the self-winding Caliber 3301 movement that features a column-wheel mechanism, rhodium-plated finish, and a 52-hour power reserve. There’s also the date complication, which appears through a window inside the chronograph sub-dial above 6 o’clock.
With the 2013 launch of the Omega Aqua Terra Co-Axial Chronograph, we got a whole suite of upgrades, the most visible being on the dial. What you’ll notice right off the bat is that the Aqua Terra Co-Axial Chronograph got the teak deck pattern on the dial, bringing it in-line with the rest of the watches from the Aqua Terra collection. Another major upgrade is the Omega Cal. 3313 movement, a self-winding mechanical chronograph featuring a column-wheel mechanism, Co‑Axial escapement, free-sprung balance, and a 52-hour power reserve. Like its predecessor, this new movement also featured a date complication; however, on this generation, the date window appears on the dial between 4 and 5 o’clock hour markers. Additionally, the new movement sits on full display, visible through the sapphire exhibition caseback of the 44mm case.
The Omega Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT
While the Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT includes the core characteristics of the rest of the collection, it feels decidedly different. For instance, though the 43mm case does house a dial with the collection’s signature teak motif, it only features two sub-dials – a running seconds register with a GMT hand at 9 o’clock, and a combined 60-minute and 12-hour counter at 3 o’clock. You’ll also notice that the date is at 6 o’clock to help create a better balance with the dial layout.
The Omega Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT, powered by Co-Axial Caliber 9605, comes in a wide variety of colors and metal variations – from rose gold with a white dial and leather band to stainless steel with a black dial and matching steel bracelet. There are even two-toned versions and models with blue dials too. With the aesthetic versatility of the Aqua Terra and the added functionality of chronograph and GMT complications, this watch quickly became a popular favorite among Omega watch enthusiasts. Although a chronograph complication is no longer an option on the present-day collection, Aqua Terra Chronograph models, whether with GMT or not, make excellent everyday watches and still remain incredibly popular on the pre-owned Omega market.
Aqua Terra Worldtimer
In 2017, Omega unveiled the limited edition Aqua Terra 150M Worldtimer, featuring a 43mm platinum case and limited to only 87 examples. Two years later, regular production Aqua Terra Worldtimer models joined the collection, available in steel or Sedna gold.
As its name suggests, the Aqua Terra Worldtimer displays the time across 24 time zones simultaneously. The periphery of the dial includes the names of cities that serve to represent the 24 time zones while closer to the middle—framing the world map depiction at the center – is the 24-hour ring, divided into night and day hours.
Flip the watch around and you’ll see Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8938 or the luxury-finished Caliber 8939 automatic movement working away via the transparent caseback.
Aqua Terra Ultra Light
Omega has been a longtime supporter of golf and counts some of the best players in the world, like Rory McIlroy, as brand ambassadors. However, the brand wanted to go a step further than sponsoring golf events and having a roster of golf pros advertising its watches. So Omega and Rory McIlroy teamed up to design the Aqua Terra “Ultra Light” watch specifically to be worn on the course. Most golfers take off their watches before playing since not only can the weight of the watch impair a swing but the force of the club connecting to the ball can rattle the life out of a timepiece.
As a result, the tough Aqua Terra “Ultra Light” is so lightweight thanks to its titanium construction that it’s barely noticeable on the wrist. Even the manually-winding Master Chronometer Caliber 8928 is made from titanium to shed more weight. Furthermore, the telescopic crown can be pushed into the case to avoid getting in the way and the ceramic bezel is scratchproof.
The Ultra Light is the most expensive regular-production Aqua Terra watch to date with a price tag of $48,600.
Evolution of Omega Aqua Terra References
The First Aqua Terra Series: 2002 – 2008
When the Aqua Terra was first released, it was equipped with Omega’s first Co-Axial movement – the Omega Cal. 2500, which was developed in the 1990s. Based on an ETA movement, the Cal. 2500 was accurate and thin, allowing the first models of the Omega Aqua Terra to measure just 11mm thick. There were also a few quartz Aqua Terra watches available in the collection.
The modern feel of this watch was accompanied by contemporary aesthetics, like a smooth polished bezel and an uncluttered dial that includes tapered hour markers and a date window at three o’clock.
The first generation of the Omega Aqua Terra was available in a choice of stainless steel or 18k yellow gold, along with the following three sizes:
– 42.2mm (2502.XX)
– 39.2mm (2503.XX)
– 36.2mm (2504.XX)
The Second Aqua Terra Series: 2008 – 2017
In 2008, Omega introduced a redesigned Aqua Terra with modified sizes, a redesigned dial, and a new movement. Inside we saw the Aqua Terra upgrade to the COSC-certified Cal. 8500 movement, which was designed in-house and featured twin mainspring barrels, a 60-hour power reserve, and a quick-adjust (jumping) hour hand. However, it also increased the overall size of the watch to 12.85mm thick, giving it a more sturdy and present feel on the wrist.
Along with an increase in thickness, we also saw major upgrades to the aesthetics of the watch, like vertical stripes (aka teak pattern) on the dial, as well as a 60-minute scale on the outside of the hour markers, which had been upgraded, too – given a more bold appearance and filled with easy-to-read lume. Additionally, there was a frame added to the date window and the hands were slightly reshaped to increase the sportiness of the watch. Lastly, the new Aqua Terra was paired with a redesigned, three-link stainless steel bracelet with a butterfly clasp for a more refined feel.
The time and date Aqua Terra watches were fashioned mostly in stainless steel and two-tone steel and red gold. Sizes included:
– 38.5mm (ref 231.xx.39.21.XX.XXX)
– 41.5mm (ref 231.xx.42.21.XX.XXX)
Following the base Aqua Terra Chronometer model, Omega expanded the collection with additional options with various features and complications:
2009 – Aqua Terra Chronograph; Aqua Terra Chronograph GMT
2010 – Aqua Terra Annual Calendar
2011 – Aqua Terra Golf
2012 – Aqua Terra GMT
2013 – Aqua Terra Day-Date; Aqua Terra > 15,000 Gauss
In true Omega form, several special-edition Aqua Terra models joined the collection including the James Bond “Spectre” in 2015, the “Good Planet” in 2016, and the “Pyeongchang 2018” for the South Korean Winter Olympics.
It’s important to note that in 2015, Omega introduced a new Master Chronometer Certification, which boasts two certifications – one from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and one from the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). In addition to being certified as a chronometer by COSC, Omega Master Chronometer watches also undergo eight METAS tests to guarantee, among other things, magnetic resistance up to 15,000 gauss.
As a result, from 2016 onwards, Omega revamped the Caliber 8500-powered Aqua Terra watches as Master Co-Axial Chronometer versions, complete with the designation on the dial.
The Third Aqua Terra Series: 2017 – Present
Current models of the Aqua Terra Chronometer models can actually be pretty easily defined due to their stark aesthetic upgrades. While Omega kept the teak patterned dial, it turned it horizontally. Omega also moved the date window down to six o’clock, which is actually how the very first date-displaying Omega watches were styled. The move is a nice nod to the past while keeping the dial uncluttered and symmetrical. Moreover, there are no crown guards and the winding crown is now conical. Also new to the collection is the choice of rubber straps and the metal bracelets have also been redesigned to be more integrated with the case.
Omega tweaked the case sizes yet again and the current Aqua Terra Chronometer watches are available in two sizes:
– 38mm (220.xx.38.20.xx.xxx)
– 41mm (220.xx.41.21.xx.xxx)
Additionally, there are ample mechanical upgrades. Inside the modern Omega Aqua Terra models, you’ll find three different kinds of Master Chronometer Co-Axial movements. There’s the Caliber 8900 (or the luxury-finished Caliber 8901 for precious metal options) that you’ll find in the 41mm models. Alternatively, there’s the slightly smaller Caliber 8800 that powers the 38mm versions. The 8900 and 8901 boast 60-hour power reserves, while the 8800 has a slightly shorter reserve at 55 hours. The 8900 and 8901 also feature a jumping hour hand, which allows frequent travelers to quickly adjust the hour without changing the minute or seconds hands. As METAS-certified calibers, all new movements also feature the latest antimagnetic technology (up to 15,000 gauss), once again making the Omega Aqua Terra amongst the best antimagnetic watches in the industry.
To accompany the new time/date Aqua Terra Chronometer models, Omega expanded the current catalog with the travel-friendly Aqua Terra Worldtimer and the golf-ready Aqua Terra Ultra Light models in recent years.
Aside from the redesigned baseline Aqua Terra Chronometers and the new Ultra Light and Worltimer models, the current Aqua Terra collection is still home to models from the previous generation such as the Aqua Terra “Golf” editions, Aqua Terra Annual Calendar, Aqua Terra Day-Date, Aqua Terra GMT, and a few others.
How Much is the Omega Aqua Terra?
Positioned as one of Omega’s more affordable automatic men’s watches, the current Aqua Terra watches start at $5,400 at retail. Interestingly, the prices for 38mm and 41mm steel Aqua Terra watches are the same despite the difference in case size.
The addition of gold on the two-tone versions bumps up the starting retail price to $7,400 but versions with matching two-tone bracelets are pricier, starting at $10,200. Only 41mm Aqua Terra watches are currently available with full Sedna gold cases, starting at $17,000 for versions with straps and $30,600 for full gold bracelet editions.
On the other hand, the steel Aqua Terra WorldTimer GMT has a retail price tag of around $9,000. The most expensive regular production Aqua Terra in the current catalog is the “Ultra Light” variant, priced at a whopping $48,600.
Buying Pre-Owned Omega Aqua Terra vs. New
Fans of the Aqua Terra watch will be happy to know that the secondary market can offer significant savings. Pre-owned Aqua Terra watches, particularly from the older generations, are notably less expensive than brand new editions sold at retail. For instance, if we stack the price of comparable stainless steel Aqua Terra models from various generations against the latest version, we quickly see that buying pre-owned is generally around 30% less expensive.
– Pre-Owned Aqua Terra ref. 2503.33.00 (1st generation, steel 39.2mm case, steel bracelet) starts at $3,995
– Pre-Owned Aqua Terra ref. 220.127.116.11.01.003 (2nd generation, steel 42mm case, steel bracelet) starts at $4,195
– Brand new Aqua Terra ref. 18.104.22.168.10.001 (3rd generation, steel 41mm case, steel bracelet has a retail price of $5,700
Moreover, if we take a steel model in the current Aqua Terra catalog and compare the pre-owned price with the new retail price, we see that the former is about 25% cheaper than the latter.
Omega Aqua Terra “Golf Edition” ref. 22.214.171.124.01.004
– 41.5mm steel case
– Steel bracelet
– Master Co-Axial Caliber 8500
– Retail Price: $6,000
– Unworn Pre-Owned Price: $4,495
The discounts for pre-owned Aqua Terra models in precious metals and/or complicated versions are even higher when compared to their retail prices. For example, a pre-owned version of the below two-tone Aqua Terra is priced 50% less than retail!
Omega Aqua Terra Annual Calendar 126.96.36.199.06.001
– 38.5mm steel and Sedna gold case
– Steel and Sedna gold bracelet
– Co-Axial Caliber 8601
– Retail Price: $13,800
– Pre-Owned Price: $6,995
In short, it’s always worth looking for a pre-owned Omega Aqua Terra watch if you’re on the hunt for the lowest prices.
*All images courtesy of OMEGA.