|Bezel||Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant|
|Movement||Self-winding Calibre 9300 with column wheel mechanism. Silicon balance spring on free sprung balance. Two barrels mounted in series, automatic winding in both directions. Rhodium plated finish with Geneva waves in arabesque|
|Crystal||Domed anti-reflective (both sides), scratch resistant sapphire crystal|
|Waterproofness||Waterproof to 600m / 2,000 ft|
|Power Reserve||Approximately 60 hours|
With a 45.5mm diameter case and brilliant orange bezel and pushers, this watch is no shrinking violet. Indeed if those two features left you in any doubt as to its ambition, the serious heft, not only in terms of weight but also height, should confirm it; there are no blurred lines with this piece.
The Planet Ocean line was launched in 2005 with very impressive 600 metre water resistance, harking back to a specific model in their line up launched in 1970 – the PloProf (plongeur professional) – which was also rated to that depth and created with a similar colour scheme. Fast forward a few decades and the new line is much less polarising than that model, at least in terms of the visual aesthetics; it’s a handsomely styled watch, taking queues from the 1993 Seamaster and magnifying them.
It is equipped with Omega’s in-house calibre 9300 co-axial movement, which powers through an impressive 60 hours and can be seen through a transparent case back. This is a nice touch from the brand, particularly at this price point. The finishing is of a good standard and the movement is interesting to study. Importantly this movement winds in both directions, so what it loses in smoothness, it makes up for in efficiency.
The layout of the dial is exceptionally legible, particularly with the oversized sub-dials easy to read in any light. At sea level at least . . .
And this is the main point of contention with this watch, or indeed any ‘diver’ with any function other than just a date. If it’s such a serious diver, why does it come with a chronograph? Surely this is an unnecessary feature; not only is it not going to be used under water (you have the unidirectional bezel to time how long you have been under water for), if it was, activating the pushers could breach its waterproof seal.
This is where the purists and the modernists will clash. Of course, if one were actually diving to such depths, or at all, it would be preferred to have a cleaner face on the watch for legibility and durability. But having said that, it is improbable that the watch you would choose to wear for such endeavours would be a £5,000 luxury steel sports piece… Let’s face it, that argument is academic and, nowadays, it comes down to the look you prefer.
Either way, this watch is a sports watch from its core, but does that mean it cannot be worn with a suit?
On paper, it is the polar opposite of a dress watch. Accordingly, would I advise that it be worn with a suit? No. Indeed its material, size, function and colour all scream no.
But it’s your watch and your choice, so you can wear it with anything you want. That’s the beauty of horology and no one can criticise you for it. Let’s say you are looking for your first luxury wrist watch. You have identified Omega as the brand you identify most with and are looking for something in steel that combines quality, aesthetics, history and longevity. You have selected the Seamaster line because you like the idea of a watch that combines heritage with good water resistance, although you never intend on using it for diving; just perhaps the odd dip in the pool. You are also attracted to the additional functionality and look of having a chronograph; it gives the piece more visual interest, not only regarding the dial but the pushers add an extra dimension of masculinity. On top of that, you are spending a significant amount of money; you want something that stands out a little from the crowd both in size and colour… Frankly if you think about it in those terms, there are not many watches that combine all those attributes as successfully as this one.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Chronograph reference 126.96.36.199.01.002, with perhaps one of the longest names in horology, is a fantastic sports watch that looks exceptional in pretty much any casual environment. And if you wear it with a suit, I won’t be judging you for it.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Chronograph reference 188.8.131.52.01.002 is currently priced at £5,360 on a stainless steel bracelet. It is also available on a rubber strap at £5,280. They are currently selling for around £4,000 on the secondary market.