FOR DIVERS WITH WAN­DER­LUST

The up­dated Omega Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean is a pro­fes­sional divers’ watch with 600-me­ter wa­ter re­sis­tance, a helium-re­lease valve, and col­ors that match the hues of ex­otic des­ti­na­tions.

WatchTime - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Jens Koch

| e up­dated Omega Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean is a pro­fes­sional divers’ watch with 600-me­ter wa­ter re­sis­tance, a helium-re­lease valve, and col­ors that match the hues of ex­otic des­ti­na­tions.

— The Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean 600M is one of Omega’s most ver­sa­tile dive watches: It of­fers more than enough lee­way for safety thanks to a wa­ter re­sis­tance of 600 me­ters and it even has a man­ual helium-re­lease valve, should you ever find your­self in a div­ing bell. Com­pared to the larger Sea­mas­ter Plo­prof, a pro­fes­sional dive watch that is wa­ter re­sis­tant to 1,200 me­ters, the Planet Ocean range of­fers a more tra­di­tional, slightly retro-in­spired over­all look, which makes it as suit­able above the sur­face as be­low. But there is, of course, also the Sea­mas­ter Diver 300 with a slightly thin­ner case and a re­duced wa­ter re­sis­tance of 300 me­ters that pre­dates the Planet Ocean col­lec­tion, as well as the Sea­mas­ter 300 Mas­ter Co-ax­ial in­tro­duced in 2014 and the Sea­mas­ter 300 from the 2017 tril­ogy edi­tion – th­ese two mod­els of­fer an even more tra­di­tional look, but no helium-re­lease valve.

Omega launched the Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean 600M col­lec­tion in 2005 and gave it a facelift in 2016. For the re­launch, the Bi­en­nebased fac­tory re­duced the size of the case, brought the move­ment’s technology to state of the art, and changed the color scheme. e black and

Cal­iber 8900 is pro­tected from the strong­est mag­netic fields.

or­ange watch that we tested is the brand’s most brightly col­ored model. Es­pe­cially eye-catch­ing de­tails are the or­ange el­e­ments on the dive-time scale, or­ange nu­mer­als on the dial, and the or­ange and black rub­ber strap with col­ored stitch­ing. Omega also of­fers black and blue vari­a­tions that have sub­tler or­ange ac­cents.

While photos don’t re­pro­duce the shine as clearly as see­ing the watch in real life, the Planet Ocean’s pol­ished ce­ramic dial and bezel gleam like the ocean’s sur­face when the sun is low over the hori­zon. And the ap­plied in­dexes, hands and pol­ished sur­faces on the case like­wise sparkle beau­ti­fully. To­gether with the color scheme, the re­sult­ing im­pres­sion looks less like a tool watch and more like a fash­ion­ably chic watch in­spired by divers’watch styling – a snazzy time­piece you can wear while sip­ping a cock­tail at a beach­side bar.

e glossy el­e­ments only slightly de­tract from the watch’s leg­i­bil­ity. e time can be read at a glance un­der day­light con­di­tions, and at night the Planet Ocean’s bright lu­mi­nos­ity com­petes with the glow of the moon and the stars. e lu­mi­nous col­ors are cho­sen to ac­cen­tu­ate the dive time: e min­utes hand and the in­dex on the ro­tat­able bezel glow with a green shine, while the re­main­ing lu­mi­nous ma­te­rial ra­di­ates a blue hue.

Divers will be glad to know that the bezel has non­slip flut­ing, can be op­er­ated while wear­ing gloves, and of­fers a wel­come de­gree of re­sis­tance to repo­si­tion­ing, which makes un­in­ten­tional re­set­ting un­likely.

e helium-re­lease valve has a crown with which it is ad­di­tion­ally screwed, which is usual for Omega. A helium valve is re­ally only needed by pro­fes­sional divers who work at ex­treme depths and must there­fore spend time de­com­press­ing inside a pres­sur­ized cham­ber, where they breathe a mix­ture of helium and oxy­gen. e crys­tal of a watch with­out a helium-re­lease valve could leap off the watch inside such a cham­ber be­cause gas that had pre­vi­ously en­tered the time­piece’s case wouldn’t be able to es­cape.

Un­like the helium-re­lease valve, pro­tec­tion against mag­netic fields is a wel­come fea­ture for ev­ery­one who wears this watch. e usual method of pro­tect­ing a cal­iber from mag­netic fields re­lies on an in­ner case made of soft iron. is shields the move­ment from view inside an opaque me­tal con­tainer, but it can’t pro­tect the cal­iber if the mag­netism is more in­tense than 1,000 gauss or 80,000 A/m. Our test watch, by con­trast, can cope with mag­netism at least 15 times as strong: to 15,000 gauss or 1.2 mil­lion A/m. is means that the watch is also pro­tected from the strong­est mag­netic fields pro­duced by mag­netic res­o­nance scan­ners. In daily life, mag­netic fields em­anate from loud­speak­ers, head­phones, elec­tric mo­tors and many other de­vices. As time goes by, watches with­out pro­tec­tion against mag­netic fields may of­ten run very im­pre­cisely.

To keep the move­ment vis­i­ble, in­stead of an in­ner iron case, Omega uses an­ti­mag­netic ma­te­ri­als in the cal­iber per se. e hair­spring, for ex­am­ple, is made of sil­i­con, and the bal­ance is fab­ri­cated from ti­ta­nium. e plates, bridges and wheels are crafted from the usual ma­te­rial, brass, be­cause this cop­per al­loy doesn’t re­act to mag­netism. e shafts and piv­ots are made of Ni­va­gauss, an al­loy that was spe­cially de­vel­oped for this pur­pose by the Ni­varox com­pany, which be­longs to the Swatch Group. In the co-ax­ial es­cape­ment, steel plates are re­placed with an­ti­mag­netic ones. And the spring for shock ab­sorp­tion is made from an amor­phous ma­te­rial.

Ex­cept for th­ese de­tails, Cal­iber 8900 in our test watch is es­sen­tially the same as Cal­iber 8500, which de­buted in 2007 and has per­formed with fly­ing col­ors in ear­lier tests. Omega de­vel­oped this cal­iber around the im­proved ver­sion of the co-ax­ial es­cape­ment. With two bar­rels and a 60hour power re­serve, it runs for a long pe­riod of time and pro­vides good pre­con­di­tions for pre­ci­sion. e freely “breath­ing” hair­spring and fine ad­just­ment via weight screws also con­trib­ute to an ac­cu­rate rate and ex­act fine ad­just­ment. e bal­ance bridge and the height of the con­struc­tion en­hance the ro­bust­ness. e un­con­ven­tional dec­o­ra­tions are at­trac­tive, too: e screws are black­ened, the en­graved let­ter­ing is filled with red lac­quer, and the wavy spi­ral pat­tern makes the ro­tor look a bit like a whirling tur­bine.

An­other spe­cial fea­ture is the hour hand, which can be re­set in hourly in­cre­ments by un­screw­ing the easy-to-grasp crown, pulling it out to its first set­ting po­si­tion, and then turn­ing it, which moves the hour hand, but leaves the

A con­ve­nient fea­ture: The hour hand can be re­set in hourly in­cre­ments.

min­utes and sec­onds hands un­af­fected by man­ual re­set­ting. is is a con­ve­nient fea­ture for the “spring for­ward” and “fall back” of day­light sav­ing time or when trav­el­ing to an­other time zone. Fur­ther with­draw­ing the crown to its sec­ond set­ting po­si­tion stops the sec­onds hand and al­lows the hours and min­utes to be set in the usual man­ner.

Man­ual ad­just­ment is rarely needed. On the wrist, our Sea­mas­ter Planet Ocean gained a mere 3 sec­onds per day. ese good rate re­sults were reaf­firmed by our tim­ing ma­chine, which found that the daily gains in the var­i­ous po­si­tions clus­tered in a nar­row range from +1 to +4 sec­onds, while the av­er­age daily de­vi­a­tion to­taled just +2.3 sec­onds.

e move­ment is cer­ti­fied as a chronome­ter by COSC, which tests it out­side its case, and by METAS (Switzer­land’s Fed­eral Of­fice of Metrol­ogy), which tests the en­cased cal­iber. e lat­ter in­sti­tu­tion not only scru­ti­nizes the ac­cu­racy of the rate, but also ex­am­ines nu­mer­ous other pa­ram­e­ters such as the power re­serve, the wa­ter tight­ness of the watch, and its re­sis­tance to mag­netic fields.

And, as a wel­come change of pace, we also have some­thing pos­i­tive to re­port about the price: $6,450 is a very fair price to ask for such a high-qual­ity time­piece. Less costly divers’ watches with man­u­fac­ture move­ments are avail­able, but none of them can ri­val this watch’s technology and crafts­man­ship.

Omega has suc­ceeded in mak­ing a watch that can be used un­der­wa­ter dur­ing day­light hours and looks equally chic in the evening while sip­ping a craft beer or a sig­na­ture cock­tail. Above all, this watch proves its worth and prac­ti­cal ad­van­tages in daily life thanks to its long power re­serve, its highly ac­cu­rate rate, and its in­no­va­tive pro­tec­tion against mag­netic fields.

Col­ors, re­flec­tive sur­faces and func­tional el­e­ments pro­duce an ex­cit­ing mix for the Planet Ocean.

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