When Omega introduced the new Seamaster Planet Ocean with the new in-house caliber 9300 last year, this was something that really interested me. Omega was so kind to let me review this dive watch with impressive specifications and impressive dimensions.
It takes a few days or weeks to get a good idea what a watch is really like and how it’s on the wrist. Is it really that big or heavy, does wear comfortable, how is it in different circumstances, is it easy to read the time and how does it perform? I strapped the Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono on the wrist for six weeks and wrote a review. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotto do it…
When I became interested in watches, the Omega Seamaster ‘James Bond’ was one of the first watches that caught my attention. Together with the Rolex Submariner and Sea-Dweller, these were the iconic timepieces that determined my taste as a beginning collector. Somehow it always felt like the dive watches of these brands were rivals, yet in a different price range and with different specifications. The Seamaster Professional never had an in-house movement and the two Rolex models were ‘above budget’. The launch of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono with its in-house caliber 9300, kicks off a new phase in the competition between these two titans.
The case dimensions of the new Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono (or short POC) shows more resemblance with the new Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea than with the older Sea-Dweller ref.16600 or the Submariner. Its case measures 45,5 mm in diameter and the case is 19.2 mm thick. Yes that is very thick! For comparison, the Sea-Dweller Deepsea is 17.7 mm thick and measures a mere 44 mm in diameter. Strange enough they feel more or less the same on the wrist. There is of course much more to a watch than its dimensions…
Let’s start by looking at the history of the Omega Seamaster. The new Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono isn’t anywhere close to the first Seamaster that Omega created. The Seamaster has a long history and through the years we’ve seen quite a few variations. The first model that was introduced in 1948 looked like a dress watch and it wasn’t until 1957 when the Seamaster got the looks of what we now consider a dive watch. A round stainless steel case with a rotating bezel and a depth rating that allows more contact with water than washing the dishes or taking a shower. The Seamaster 300 reference 2913 (see photo left) has become a collectable piece and prices for a good one can easily reach the level of a new Planet Ocean and more.
Although Omega says the Seamaster 300 was the first in the ‘Professional’ line, the in 1988 launched Seamaster 200m is the first Seamaster with the word ‘Professional’ printed on the dial. It was the third version with ‘Professional’ on the dial, launched in 1993 and unofficially called the ‘James Bond’ version, that gave the Seamaster Professional its huge popularity among a much bigger audience.
The design of the Planet Ocean, launched in 2005, recalls that of the first Seamaster 300 meter models that were launched in 1957. Look at the hands, bezel and many other design elements. The Seamaster Planet Ocean was also the first Seamaster collection to be equipped with Omega’s proprietary Co-Axial Escapement movement, caliber 2500. The newly released Seamaster POC is equipped with a true in-house caliber.
The first thing that is noticed about the Seamaster POC is it’s size. It’s huge and members of several forums already nicknamed it SeamONster because of its dimensions. It’s big and thick, no doubt about it, but I was truly amazed that it does not feel uncomfortable on the wrist. But later more about that. The watch has an easy to read dial and because its hands and markers are treated with luminous material it also has great legibility in the dark. The responses on the watch were very positive and although some people mentioned its big size, everybody seemed to like its looks, style, finish and of course the movement that is visible through the sapphire caseback.
The Seamaster POC is a dive watch in the first place and that’s the reason for its big case. It can go to a depth of 600 meters or 2,000 feet and the dive time can be measured on the rotating dive bezel. And if you consider to become a professional diver working in a diving bell with gas-mixes, than it’s good to know the Seamaster POC also has a Helium escape valve. The watch comes on a steel bracelet, however it’s also available on a rubber strap.
Besides the dive watch features, the Seamaster POC is also an impressive chronograph with the very impressive in-house movement caliber 9300. It indicates time, date and offers a chronograph function.
The black glossy dial features applied hour markers with super luminova. The markers at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock are shorter to give space to the applied ’12’ and the date. The upper part of the dial features an applied omega logo and brand name and just below we see the word ‘Seamaster’ printed in orange and ‘Professional’ in white font. The centrally positioned hour and minute hands end in an arrow and have applied super luminova.
Printed at the lower part of the dial is ‘co-axial’ – ‘chronometer’ – ‘600m/2000 feet’ in silver/white. Both recessed subdials are emphasized by a surrounding thin metal rim. The left subdial shows the subsidiary seconds. The right subdial is the chronograph register, showing both the elapsed hours and minutes.
Around the dial is a rotating dive bezel, that isn’t black but rather anthracite, with silver colored numerals and minute markers between o and 15 minutes. This version isn’t equipped with the Liquidmetal® yet; the only version of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono that comes with the Liquidmetal® bezel, is the titanium version with blue dial.
The huge dimensions of the case are already mentioned, however what also needs to be said is that the size and weight didn’t result in unwearable watch. On the contrary, it was actually quite comfortable and when comparing it to its big Rolex nephew, the Deepsea, I found it to be even more comfortable.
The case, bezel, pushers, crown, bracelet and clasp are all very well finished. All parts show a serious attention for details, that really give this watch a lot of extra when it comes overall experience and satisfaction. I’m also delighted that Omega finally equipped the bracelet with screws for sizing it. With the old bracelet with push-pins it was a sheer nightmare to size bracelets. The new bracelet with screws makes it so much easier to size a bracelet to your wrist.
Above and below the screw-down crown with embossed Omega logo, are the pushers for operating the chronograph. The pushers have a polished steel top and the sides are black (orange and blue on models with different colors for dial, bezel and strap). The ribbed parts around the pushers seem to have no function, expect visual.
A screw-down Helium escape valve is on the left side, at the 10 o’clock position.
This photo also shows the nice finishing details, that feature polished and brushed parts. The side of the dive bezel, features a more pronounced rib for enhanced grip. It also looks more like the side of the bezel of the vintage Seamaster 300 from 1957.
Another lovely detail on the Seamaster POC is the domed sapphire crystal. The crystal is treated with anti-reflective coating on the inside and outside.
Omega’s new caliber 9300 is simply magnificent. When we’re looking at price/product ratio than this is just superb. No beefed up ETA/Valjoux 7750 that is sold for 6k€, no a serious in-house movement with superb specifications and great performance. The same movement is also used in the new Speedmaster that our friends of Fratellowatches reviewed.
The movement has two mainspring barrels, mounted in series, delivering 60 hours of power reserve when fully wound. Of course it features Omega’s co-axial escapement with the silicium (Si 14) balance spring and free-sprung screw balance.
Omega dedicated a part of their website to explaining the co-axial escapement. So in stead of trying to explain it my self, I suggest you have a look at this page at the Omega website.
The chronograph is controlled by a column-wheel mechanism, something connoisseurs will absolutely appreciate. Furthermore the movement shows a lovely finish, although we need to make you aware that it’s machine finish. For the price Omega sets on the Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono, we couldn’t expect hand-finished parts! The bridges, main plate and rotor feature a rhodium plated finish with Geneva waves in arabesque.
The verdict – pros and cons
The Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono is a superbly finished and designed watch. Everything part has been designed with attention for details and the whole watch looks attractive, sporty and robust. Exactly what you would want from a dive watch with chronograph.
Of course the rather huge size is one of the draw-backs, however when comparing it to the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea I’d say that the Seamaster POC wears more comfortable. This is probably due to the very short lugs and because of this, the watch ‘hugs’ the wrist. On my average size wrist it looks good.
The pro’s are: an impressive watch with a superb design, that perfectly matches with everything a rugged dive watch with chronograph should be about. The dial is very legible, even when it’s dark. The domed sapphire crystal is anti-reflective coated on both sides and even the case-back is made of a sapphire crystal so the magnificent in-house caliber 9300 is visible.
I believe this is the only serious competitor for the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea in the market. Both feature a great in-house movement and more or less the same look and feel. A robust luxury dive watch. The Omega also adds a chronograph, while the Deepsea can be taken down to 3900 meters in stead of the 600 meters of the Seamaster POC. But let’s be real… who really goes that deep with a luxury dive watch on the wrist?
The price of the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono with co-axial caliber 6100 with steel bracelet is € 6100 Euro including taxes. On the rubber strap it costs € 6000 euro. Yes, it’s roughly € 700 Euro more expensive than the previous version, but I think the new movement is worth the premium. Altogether it’s a great watch for a good price.
More information can be found on the Omega website.