Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer
Was the Seamaster Planet Ocean 2016 a true game changer? Let's find out
The Master Co-Axial
Omega turned up at Baselworld 2016 with lots of novelties and an innovative technical background motif; an upgrade to the Master Co-Axial Chronometer calibers on many of their new collections. This time it happened to the Speedmaster Master Chronometer Moonphase, to the Constellation Small Seconds and even to the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer. This year it happened instead with the new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. The very simple axiom that is also the leitmotiv of this collection is as follows; is updating a product line that is already successful on the market more complicated and risky than actually creating a brand new one? Maybe it is but not for the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer; the original calibers have become Master Co-Axial ones and, from now on, you will be able to register your watch and check the results of all the certification tests it has undergone. The Master Co-Axial opens a new era in the brand-customer relationship.
An incredibile range extension
The collection is ample and, basically, the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer is presented in four different versions; time-only version, GMT version, chrono version and chocolate version (the last one being the most daring one.) Suffice to say that these are all in-house Master Chronometer calibers holding a METAS certification, the new Swiss certification standard among whose evaluation parameters is being anti-magnetic beyond 15,000 Gauss. 15,000 Gauss is the maximum value that can be currently measured and the precision of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer is not affected at all by magnetic fields up to this value when tested under working conditions.
However, innovation doesn’t stop at a mechanic level and it is generally the final product of what a Product Marketing Manager would call “Touch and Feel”; the new bezel with rubber inserts (a true novelty in the world or watch-making) breaks the “cold” rigidity of ceramic by creating a new touching sensation that gives you the idea of roughness that alternates to a perfectly smooth base. The GMT version is equipped with a two-colour bezel (black and white) and this is the first time that Omega have crafted a two-colour bezel using the so-called Liquidmetal technology that can be compared to Rolex’s patented Cerachrom used on their Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” 126710 BLRO, it looks like this is some sort of competition between two big names for the crafting of the best ceramic-made bezel!
A continuous improvement
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer 2016 is the summary of a fine-tuning operation that involves components that are imperceptible. These, in the long run, actually make the difference for those who feel satisfied with their current watch and those who want to trade it in for a new one because they feel bored with it. Those small details also enhance the whole experience and level of satisfaction of those who have decided to purchase a new timepiece. The dial and the bezel are made of ceramic and, for instance on the stainless steel version, they provide a perfect style wholeness. The font of the Arabic number available on the dial has become a bit more “angular” and it creates a discontinuity feeling with the font present on the dial. Those of you who pay full attention to small details will immediately notice a thin round mark that links together all the minutes lines on the dial and that almost creates a feeling of continuity with the bezel.
The year that marked the introduction of the NAIAD Lock
A few more words about these timepieces’ small details; the caseback is made of anti-glaring sapphire and it is the focal point of the whole design pattern thanks to its prominent knurling that transforms the caseback into an original trademark. It looks as if the designer followed some of our recommendations after all! All these timepieces are water-proof up to 600 metres, the caseback seals the new 8900 caliber (time-only version), the 8906 caliber (GMT version), the 8801 caliber (chocolate version) and the 9900/9901 caliber (chrono version.)
A consistent product upgrade over the years
The sapphire-made glass covering the dial features extraordinary anti-glaring properties on both sides and, when you touch it, is seems as if it could disappear from one moment to another. If I were to compare it, for instance, to the first watch of this series, the Omega Planet Ocean Casino Royale, I could easily say that, even when it comes to a component that is no longer discussed at large – least it were to be replaced by hesalite crystal – and that we only write about because we are kind of forced to, development is always at the core of Omega’s values and quality levels have been raised again, so much that it looks as if we were handling a luxury diver’s watch.
The helium escape valve. Yes or No?
A component that can’t be missing on this type of timepiece is the crown with a screw that covers the helium expulsion valve at the end of a saturated diving session. Despite having discussed at large the need to insert it or not, Omega have transformed a technical component into a distinctive style element. How do you think the case of the three-hands looked like if the left side of the case-middle were completely smooth and the case basically symmetric? The 43,5mm-wide case of the time-only version and of the GMT version and the 45,5mm-wide case of the chrono version are all available in stainless steel, titanium and Sedna 18K gold-steel. The Titanium version is coupled with a rubber strap secured by a folding clasp and a stitching motif that reminds us of the shades of both the dial and the bezel. Alternatively, the same versions are also available with bracelets that are made of the same material as the case with a finishing feature that sports typical propeller-shaped lugs.
On the wrist
The titanium gray colour enhances the contrast with the orange shade of the rubber and creates an unusual and fascinating game of colours, a unique feature in this particular diver’s watches market sector. The indexes have been coated with blue Superluminova, the minutes counter and the glowing dot located at 12 o’clock on the crown are green so that the user can immediately spot how many minutes of oxygen they still have at their disposal during a diving session. The final proof that a diver’s watch is not solely a technical instrument is Omega’s re-interpretation of the chocolate version; it is clear that the natural habitat of this timepiece is not only the depth of seas and oceans. Thanks to a 39,5mm-wide and a 14mm-thick case, the use of 18 carats Sedna gold for its crafting and a leather strap, this version can easily be positioned within the category of luxury premium watches.
They are thick
It looks like the only weakness of the GMT version and of the Chronograph version is the 17mm-thick case and the almost 19mm-thick case respectively, otherwise, these timepieces are full of personality and innovative details, The time-only version can be crowned as the best and most interesting version of this new collection. Perhaps, the Chronograph version, misses a bit of simplicity and cleanliness, two elements that usually guarantee a long-lasting feeling of satisfaction for that small group of people with a generous wrist who can only wear timepieces whose case is wider 45,5mm.
The new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer collection underlines the willingness of the Swatch group to move the Omega brand towards a higher positioning level by trying to translate its history into new “hi tech” collections, both for what movements and details are concerned. The now former CEO of the brand, Stephen Urquhart, recently announced in Basel that the manufacturer’s novelties for the year 2016 are yet to come and we are really looking forward to discover them all during this year. What is your bet? Do you also think that it is high time Omega launched a Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer that is completely made of ceramic?
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®