The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-axial GMT Titanium
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial GMT Titanium
I will certainly remember the first working week of September as a very pleasant one and I’m quite sure every watch enthusiast out there would probably agree. Having the chance to go hands on and one shot with all the new timepieces from the 2014 Omega collection, including some world firsts, has relieved me from a hot muggy day in Milan. What’s here today is not a single article but simply the first in a long series of contents and exclusive coverage of the Omega brand (as well as it is going to happen with other brands from the Swatch Group) and part of a road map that is going to be with us until Baselworld 2015.
Where to start then? I thought the best way was, and is, to simply begin with the review of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial GMT Titanium 43.5mm, and for a good reason: I personally own a 2007 Planet Ocean Casino Royale (please find HERE our review) the very first limited edition Planet Ocean named after the most famous secret agent, based on the first Omega Planet Ocean collection launched in 2005 and I have continuously followed up its development over the years: fully revamped some years ago, this collection has been the flagship, along with the renewed Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial, of what I refer to as the “Omega 2.0”, by which I mean that unstoppable and unexpected acceleration upmarket the brand has given all its products line up, by debuting an endless series of new innovative technologies that, borrowing terms from the Business sector, have made it change from a “Fast Follower” to a “Product Pioneer”.
Its line up, made out of three hands timepieces and chronos, when first introduced, has marked Omega’s entry into the restricted club that includes “integrated” manufacturers (such as ROLEX and SEIKO for example), meaning all those brands that produce in-house every single part of their calibers: with Omega, it happens parts are usually made by sister companies ETA or Nivarox but, just to stop any argument whether it might be considered a member of this club or not, we are entitled, in my opinion, to call its movements fully in-house as these two companies are highly integrated into each brand of the group and, as far as it concerns Omega, they produce movements and spirals exclusively for it. The Planet Ocean has debuted two new flagship calibers, the 8500 and the 9300, widely regarded as the best-in-class in their respective categories in terms of pure performance and long term reliability, while featuring top notch finishes if we take into account we’re talking, in both cases, of large scale calibers.
The Planet Ocean, conceived as a professional diver’s watch, is a somewhat atypical diver’s one while being mostly on the dressy everyday watch side; with the heavy duty being carried out by the Seamaster 300m I think. Two years ago, as a result of the partnership signed with the GoodPlanet Foundation, Omega has upgraded the Planet Ocean by releasing the Limited Edition Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial GMT 43.5mm Good Planet, soon followed by a series of additional GMT versions, among which , this year, they added the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial GMT 43.5mm Titanium. Apologies for such a long introduction, but it was necessary as the Planet Ocean collection has been expanded so much and so quickly (and even more is to come I guess) that, truly yours, has felt lost for a while.
Today’s reviewed timepiece is the top offering of the Planet Ocean’s GMT proposals: its case, 43,5mm wide, is just nearly in between the two Planet Ocean’s cases: 42mm and 45,5mm. It’s made of Grade 5 Titanium, an alloy that when polished has a stainless steel case mirror finish like, half its weight, and perfectly blends high-tech and classicism. Its “Luxury – High Tech” touch and feel is its strongest point: a classic case, with a blue lacquered dial, on the traditional side, merged with the proprietary ceramics and Liquidmetal blue bezel, a world exclusive that attracts those looking for something new and unique as well.
The end result with the Liquidmetal technology is even more appealing with this GMT than with any other Planet Ocean, for its 24 hours scale on the bi-directional rotating bezel has been made to amaze! If you just try to rotate the watch on a sunny day, you can easily get its color as it changes from a vivid blue to matte blue or even vaguely grayish or finally a mirror like look, you might easily feel the scale is somehow floating into the blue, an optical illusion made possible by the special production process needed to get it.
Talking about its caliber is like talking about how the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-axial GMT 43.5mm Titanium’s feels on the wrist: it is a hefty bold watch, miles apart from those super light titanium wristwatches enthusiasts soon discard in favor of the stainless steel version, as caliber 8605 is quite big and heavy and helps feel its presence once it’s been wrapped around your wrist. I rather think that, vice versa, the steel version, though I’ve yet to try out, to be honest, is way too heavy.
It has all those features that you would today expect on any manufactured movement and let an enthusiast’s eyes sparkle: it is COSC certified, has a bi-directional winding rotor, adopts a silicon balance spring and a co-axial escapement for enhanced precision and durability, boasts two barrels for a 60 hours of Power Reserve and is visible through the case back where you can easily appreciate the Arabesque Cotes de Genève finishes on bridges and rotor. It also features the independent setting of the hour hand, a function provided already on the 8500 caliber that lets you think it has been perhaps conceived as a technical basis for future developments such as this GMT complication and, last not least, the fast change date mechanism.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-axial GMT 43.5mm Titanium is available with a titanium bracelet at 7700€ or on a blue rubber strap and folding buckle with double push release button at 7150€. It is quite a high price justifiable, anyway, by the tech package, the materials adopted (Titanium is far more difficult and hence expensive to work with than steel) and high end finishes that positions it into the top range GMT offering where it is difficult to find such a mix of all in one features. I would, with no hesitation, opt for the bracelet version and give it a score of 9 out of 10: it is overall a nice watch, very appealing and suitable for everyday use, but it still lacks a point on the road to perfection and is somewhere into its rotating bezel that’s still missing that perfect ratcheting sound you may easily find on an ISO compliant 120 twitch bezel. Last but not least, just a consideration about customization: just think for a while you might replace the bracelet with a NATO or Coramid strap with the Omega Seamaster logo embossed on it, would you like it?I would!
(Photo credit: courtesy of Omega Watches; Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter - Watches & Luxury