Announced recently by Omega and covered in this news article here, the Biel-based brand has just announced the renewal of its role as the official timekeeper of the America’s Cup, with the 36th edition to be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from the 6th to the 21st of March 2021. At the same time, Omega is also releasing a new limited edition watch to celebrate this partnership, a watch based on the rugged professionally oriented PO 600m with a very handsome colour scheme. Let’s have a closer look at this new Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m 36th America’s Cup, now in the metal.
Omega and the America’s Cup
The America’s Cup is renowned as the oldest trophy in international sport and since 1851 is considered to be the most prestigious sailing race in the world. The concept goes that a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America’s Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. Due to its prestige, the America’s Cup attracts the world’s top sailors, yacht designers as well as large sponsors.
2021 will see the 36th edition of the America’s Cup where Defender Emirates Team New Zealand will be racing against the winner of the Prada Cup, the Challenger Selection Series, with the winner being the first team to score seven points. This edition will also be the third time in history that Omega serves in the prestigious sailing race, ever since the brand began its partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand and legendary sailor Sir Peter Blake in 1995. In addition to sponsoring Team New Zealand, Omega has been appointed the official timekeeper of the 36th edition of the America’s Cup.
The new Planet Ocean 600m America’s Cup
In addition to this role, Omega has simultaneously announced the launch of the official 36th America’s Cup watch, a new edition of the Seamaster Planet Ocean with an unprecedented colour scheme and multiple references to the world of regatta.
With its 43.50mm case and its diving credentials, this limited edition is technically no different from the third generation PO 600m introduced in 2016. This new version of the model (more an update than a brand new watch) was the occasion for Omega to demonstrate its technological savoir-faire in materials and watchmaking, as both displayed great innovation spirit. In this instance, the Planet Ocean 600m America’s Cup retains the modern and technical character of the model and adds some unique touches to make this watch a regatta-oriented model.
Starting with the case, we have a solid, well-executed watch that, as always with the PO 600m, oozes quality and robustness. You can hardly fault this watch, as the materials, the adjustments and the assembly are simply excellent. The steel case is classical Omega, with twisted lugs and brushed surfaces enlightened by a polished bevel running from one lug to the other. The watch is hefty and toolish in its dimensions, with a 16mm height. Yet, the case is superbly designed with short lugs and fine integration of the strap that allows for a watch that is balanced on the wrist. It certainly makes a statement but not in the detriment of comfort.
As all Planet Ocean 600m models, this America’s Cup edition features a domed sapphire crystal with efficient anti‑reflective treatment, a screw-in crown and a screwed caseback, all of that to guarantee a solid 600m or 2,000ft water-resistance. At 10 o’clock is a Helium Escape Valve making this watch suitable for saturation diving.
Let’s now move to the elements that make this edition unique. First, the unidirectional bezel has been redesigned with a new insert that can be used to record elapsed time, to measure dive sessions and, the novelty here, that can serve as a regatta countdown, with 2 dedicated 5-minute areas.
A regatta countdown timer reveals the critical time remaining before the start of a boat race, which can vary anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. A regatta race is preceded by audible and visual signs to alert skippers to get themselves positioned as close to the imaginary starting line as possible. Manoeuvring a boat at sea and dealing with erratic wind and waves is not quite like a runner on blocks or a race car on the starting grid waiting for the signal. Yachts tack back and forth, and a countdown period lets them manoeuvre to the best position being very careful not to cross the imaginary starting line. For those of you familiar with the sport, the initial positioning is extremely strategic and nerve-wracking.
In the context of the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m America’s Cup, Omega has developed a new ceramic insert, executed in blue with scales and countdown in white and red liquid ceramic (no rubber inserts here, as seen on some editions of the PO). This bezel works in conjunction with the minute hand, so when the countdown starts, the wearer has to position the triangle index in line with the broad arrow hand to measure the remaining time.
The dial follows the same pattern as the bezel. It is executed in white, polished ceramic and incorporates blue applied indexes and hands, as well as multiple red accents on the Arabic numerals, the minute hand, the ‘Seamaster’ logo and the depth rate. Specific to this America’s Cup edition too are the logo at 6 o’clock and the seconds hand counterweight in the shape of the trophy.
Complementing the regatta-ready looks of this limited Planet Ocean 600m is a blue rubber strap with a textile-like structure, a red lining and white stitching. Soft and ergonomic, this strap is secured by a stainless steel folding clasp with security push-buttons.
Under a specific sapphire caseback with the logo of the 36th America’s Cup transferred is the in-house and high-tech calibre 8900. This automatic movement comes with all the modern features of a Master Chronometer watch, meaning a co-axial escapement beating at 25,200 vibrations/hour, silicon and non-ferrous parts all over and a magnetic-resistance up to 15,000 gauss. A twin-barrel architecture allows for a comfortable 60-hour power reserve. The movement is decorated with Omega’s signature Arabesque Geneva stripes and blackened screws. The precision of the movement is certified by Omega’s internal chronometer institute, approved by METAS.
Availability and Price
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m America’s Cup is a limited edition of 2,021 pieces and is delivered with a 5-year warranty. The watch will be priced at EUR 6,600 or CHF 6,500. More details at www.omegawatches.com.