The concept of perfection is always a bit odd. The first thought I think many have when it comes to the concept of perfection is that it is truly unattainable. It is mostly a mark for one to strive towards. There is also the thought that somethings need to be imperfect in some regard in order to be perfect. Now saying an object is perfect is always subjective. What maybe perfect for one person maybe completely useless to another. That being said, some things are more easily universally qualitative than others, as there seems to be some relatively universal subjectivity in the watch world. How accurate a piece is, the level of decoration and finish on the movement and case, wearing comfort, bonus points added for innovative and/or unique technologies, “heritage,” overall uniqueness, and the highly subjective “je ne sais qoui,” seem to be fairly universal criteria in the watch world. So let us see how this relates to the Omega Aqua Terra 38mm.
When choosing this watch, I was looking for the perfect watch for everyday wear. I wanted something from a big brand (check). Something water resistant enough to not freak out about it every time it gets mildly humid outside, something shock resistant enough to withstand getting whacked into a door frame, something dressy enough to not look out of place with just about every attire imaginable (while slightly ignoring truly traditional conventions), and if possible, throw in some watchmaking pedigree, movement decoration, and something unique to set it apart from the rest. As many have written about before, I have settled on the Omega Aqua Terra.
In my case in particular, I went with the black dial, black rubber strap, 38mm version. 38mm wide, 45mm lug to lug, and about 13 mm thick, this would seem to be about a goldilocks size. Omega rates it at 150m water resistant, the “Co-Axial Master Chronometer” rating claims accuracy to -0/+6 seconds a day (mine was rated at +2 per day according to their online certification, and has held that every time I have bothered to check), and the >15,000 gauss anti-magnetism rating was enough to get me to drink the hypothetical Kool-Aid and buy the damn thing (I am also constantly around audio equipment, so the anti-magnetism rating is a definite plus). The watch also has a display case back, allowing a look at the wave-styled Geneva striping that turns this movement into a real looker. If you are more well endowed in the wrist department, or would prefer something larger, there are 41mm time only versions, along with a new 43mm World Time complication, along with older ones such as the chronograph and GMT if you need your large watch fix. In addition to that, there are numerous dial variations if black is too dark for your liking. Omega gives the option of a rubber strap, leather strap, or steel bracelet. I’m usually not a fan of bracelets, and the current price delta between the two did not make sense for me to buy the bracelet over the strap (I also was not impressed with the Aqua Terra’s bracelet in particular). Last I checked, to buy the strap and clasp would cost about $550 dollars, where as the bracelet alone would be $700, separate from the watch. While it is still cheaper to buy the watch with a bracelet and then purchase a strap later, I decided why pay the extra overall if I am never going to use the bracelet. I really enjoy the rubber strap that comes with the watch. The integrated lug look achieved by the metal insert adds a fun and sporty flair. The case design and finishing is standard Omega, which is not a bad thing. The curved lugs and the contrasting brushed and polished finishes really make the watch shine in the light. The finishing lines are all extremely crisp, and satisfying to touch and gawk at. While time and date watches are hardly unique, I think the strap manages to make this watch stand out in a crowded space. It seems to me to be almost like a baby Aquanaut, albeit much more easily attainable in every regard.
However, to me, the watch is far from perfect, The case is a bit thick, causing it to get caught on higher dress sleeves. While moderately sized, I think the watch could stand to have longer lugs, helping elongate the dimensions a bit and help with the aesthetic proportions. The Omega Aqua Terra is not quite a dress watch, but not quite a sport watch, and that is the problem. It is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. In the pursuit of being the perfect watch for all people, it has managed to succeed at being a good watch for most people. Nothing wrong with that, and it will make for many happy owners (including myself), but I think these things are worth considering.
With that criticism, it will take a great deal of effort to remove this watch from my cold dead wrist. In addition to being a great daily wearer, this watch marked numerous milestones, all at once. I purchased the watch from a dealer who is also a dear friend of mine, and my significant other was with me (much to her annoyance) when I wrote the check. When the watch arrived at my door, I had just moved into my new apartment, starting a new chapter in my life. For that reason, along with many memories since then, I will be keeping this watch for as long as I can, as it has handles every thing I’ve thrown at it so far with grace. Also, for the record, I do think it is perfect.