Deeply De­tailed

Omega’s new­est col­lec­tion of div­ing watches draws to­gether a range of key tech­ni­cal ad­vance­ments, writes Sean Li

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style | Watches -

Omega has spent the past few years ad­dress­ing some of the most fun­da­men­tal is­sues fac­ing watch­mak­ers, from coun­ter­ing mag­netic fields to de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als that are not only durable, but aes­thet­i­cally and er­gonom­i­cally pleas­ing. No de­tail has been too small to con­sider. Spe­cific ad­vances have been em­ployed in­di­vid­u­ally in dif­fer­ent col­lec­tions, but now Omega has brought them all to­gether in its new­est range of dive watches, the Omega Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean Deep Black line.

While many will be fa­mil­iar with the Speed­mas­ter col­lec­tion, and in par­tic­u­lar Omega’s moon watches, which Nasa se­lected for the Apollo mis­sions, the brand has been no less ob­sessed with planet Earth and the ex­plo­ration of the oceans. The deep sea is no less tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing than deep space; divers and their watches have to with­stand tremen­dous pres­sures in an en­vi­ron­ment that, un­less you’ve had di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence, is dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend.

One of the first things you’ll no­tice about the Planet Ocean Deep Black col­lec­tion is that all four mod­els have a case made from ce­ramic, an un­usual ma­te­rial for div­ing watches. Omega has mas­tered the use of ce­ramic through var­i­ous it­er­a­tions of the Speed­mas­ter Dark Side of the Moon pro­duced over the past few years. For the Planet Ocean, each case is carved out of a sin­gle block of ce­ramic—an ideal ma­te­rial for black watches be­cause it’s in­her­ently black. Un­til the de­vel­op­ment of ce­ramic cases, de­sign­ers want­ing to pro­duce a black watch had to coat metal cases in black ma­te­rial. They used var­i­ous tech­niques, such as par­ti­cle vapour de­po­si­tion (PVD), di­a­mond-like car­bon (DLC) and an­odiza­tion, to achieve this re­sult, but the prob­lem with a coat­ing is that if it gets scratched hard enough, the metal un­der­neath will show through. How­ever, even if you man­age to scratch ce­ramic, which by its very na­ture is very re­sis­tant to scratches, you will still see black.

The ce­ramic ex­tends to the bezel, where three dif­fer­ent treat­ments are ap­plied across the four watches. In the blue and the red mod­els, the coloured 15-minute quad­rant of the bezel is achieved by in­ject­ing rub­ber into the ce­ramic. The colours are not cho­sen at ran­dom; cer­tain colours are no longer vis­i­ble be­yond cer­tain depths. The first colour to dis­ap­pear is red, at 5 me­tres, and the last is blue, at 275 me­tres. The watches are rated to 600 me­tres. At these depths, any of the new watches will ap­pear the same, en­tirely black.

The red and blue mod­els differ from the gold and black ones in that the bezels are brushed in­stead of pol­ished. How­ever, they all share a com­mon point in that liq­uid metal is used, also in­jected, for the nu­mer­als and other gra­da­tions. At 12 o’clock, you’ll find a Su­per­lu­mi­nova dot that will glow in re­duced light, whether on land or un­der­wa­ter; the lu­mi­nous ma­te­rial is also ap­plied to the mark­ers on the dial it­self, as well as the hands,

en­sur­ing you can con­tinue to time your dive or noc­tur­nal ex­cur­sion.

Those with an eye for de­tail will have no­ticed en­grav­ings on watch case backs, if they’re screw down cases, sel­dom align with the watch case it­self. They’re usu­ally at an an­gle, if not com­pletely up­side down. That’s be­cause the case back is en­graved be­fore be­ing fit­ted to the watch; given that the threads are not matched be­tween a par­tic­u­lar case back and the case it­self, the en­grav­ing ends up at an an­gle. For this col­lec­tion, Omega has de­vel­oped a new patented mech­a­nism, the Na­iad lock, to en­sure that re­gard­less of how the case back is fit­ted, it doesn’t need to be matched to a spe­cific watch for the en­graved text to be aligned ex­actly as the de­sign­ers en­vi­sioned.

You’ll find this same at­ten­tion to de­tail in­side the watches. Not only does the Planet Ocean Deep Black col­lec­tion use Omega’s sig­na­ture coax­ial es­cape­ment, on this oc­ca­sion with a 24-hour GMT func­tion along with a date, it’s also a Mas­ter Chronome­ter watch. This is the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem Omega de­vised with the Swiss Fed­eral In­sti­tute of Metrol­ogy (Me­tas) when it de­vel­oped its ex­treme anti-mag­netism tech­nol­ogy. This new cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem was nec­es­sary be­cause Omega had no other way of test­ing the anti-mag­netic prop­erty, which, at 15,000 Gauss, far ex­ceeds the mag­netic re­sis­tance of other watches. Omega took the test­ing regime with Me­tas much fur­ther, though, ex­tend­ing it to eight stress and ac­cu­racy checks per­formed on the en­tire watch, rather than on the move­ment alone, to re­flect the real-world en­vi­ron­ment a me­chan­i­cal watch would face day to day. The full results of each watch’s Mas­ter Chronome­ter cer­ti­fi­ca­tion can be checked on a ded­i­cated web­site.

The straps for the new watches have also re­ceived at­ten­tion; the fabric pat­tern is ac­tu­ally rub­ber on three of the watches (the red, blue and dark mod­els), and the straps have an anti-bac­te­rial coat­ing. The watch with the Sedna gold ac­cent is fit­ted with a wa­ter-re­sis­tant leather strap with a black rub­ber lin­ing. All the watches get a ce­ramic and ti­ta­nium de­ploy­ant clasp.

The com­bi­na­tion of all these fea­tures in one col­lec­tion ex­em­pli­fies Omega’s ob­ses­sive at­ten­tion to de­tail. It’s a com­bi­na­tion that makes the Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean Deep Black such an ap­peal­ing time­piece, even if it’s never sub­jected to the ex­treme en­vi­ron­ment it was de­signed for.


into the deep Omega Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean Deep Black with a glossy black ce­ramic case

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