With all the recent fuss about Omega’s Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M ‘SKYFALL’ LE, we thought that we’d go ‘back to basics’, in a manner of speaking. The Seamaster story goes back to 1948, when Omega launched a watch with a water-resistant case with ‘Seamaster’ on the dial, but it wasn’t until 1962 that what has become a modern diving classic took off, with the introduction of the Seamaster 300. This was the first Seamaster that you could dive with, to a maximum of 300 metres below sea level, and it has been formative in establishing the brand’s reputation for solid professional dive watches.
A little while back I took a look at one of the 2011 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean releases. They came in a number of variations, including three-hand models in 42mm or 45.5mm versions, and a chronograph available only in 45.5mm. This post is about the stainless steel 42mm version with the calibre 8500, a co-axial movement with 39 jewels, 25,200 VPH and a 60 hour power reserve.
Water resistant to 600m (2000ft), there is a manual Helium escape valve at 10 o’clock, and a screw-in crown on the right. The bezel is unidirectional bezel
The crystal is domed scratch-resistant sapphire with anti-reflective treatment on both sides. The caseback is transparent, which makes it good to look at for desk divers and attractive to a wide audience, but from the point of view of it being essentially a tool watch, one could ask why.
So what’s there to like about this watch? Above all it’s a legible, functional dive watch. The dial is a wonderful deep matte black, the numerals applied polished steel – very bright and clear. The hour markers and hands have a luminescent fill, as do the polished steel hour, minute and seconds hands, and the 12 o’clock dot on the rotating bezel.
It’s a beautiful clean looking tool watch but it also seems to have a slightly dressy edge to it as well, perhaps due in part to the applied Omega logo and numbers. Even the date numerals are raised, which just gives it that extra bit of appealing detail.
I seem to have a ‘thing’ for matte ceramic bezels of late, and this is no exception. It’s an understated dark grey ceramic fill with big clear numbers and markers, and just plain good looking.
As mentioned at the outset, there are two sizes of this Planet Ocean, supposedly to appeal to a larger number of people i.e. those with a Big Watch fetish, and the rest of us. I am not quite sure I completely understand this; 42mm is quite respectable enough a size for most people. 45.5mm? That’s too big for most wrists. As it is the 42mm is reasonably thick and carries a decent bit of weight to it in its bracelet version. However, I do have a niggling feeling that where there are two sizes available for a watch, there is a strong likelihood that most will go towards the larger option
There are a number of different colour and bracelet/ strap combinations available. You can find more information about them at Omega’s website.