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Editor's top pick: Omega Seamaster (Part 4)

5 min read January 18, 2021

Editor's top pick: Omega Seamaster (Part 4)

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Michael Phelps”, photo credit

The Seamaster collection may be the richest among Omega’s, which is no wonder due to its long course of running, but it may also be the most versatile, especially with its rich Planet Ocean series. We’ve picked it not only as our favorite but also as it is often a top pick among watch collectors. When it comes to Omega Seamaster and celebrities, Daniel Craig, George Clooney and Michael Phelps are just some of the names seen advertising it or wearing it in their private lives.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Michael Phelps

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Michael Phelps”, photo credit

The Omega Seamaster collection includes manual, automatic, chronometer and quartz watches, divided into several series. An Omega Seamaster nowadays has a stainless-steel case, screw-in crown and case back with the Omega hippocampus logo on it. It is usually featured with up to 1200 meters of water resistance, luminescent hands, unidirectional bezel, anti-reflective sapphire crystal and helium release valve. But each series within the collection has its own, unique features.

Seamaster Chronograph

The first Seamaster chronograph appeared in 1958. After many Seamaster Chronostop versions in the 60s, the 1969 Omega Seamaster Soccer Chronograph (ref. 145.016) gained wider attention. What followed are many Seamaster chronograph models such as the one labeled ref. 145.029 (1970); Chronograph Automatic ref. 176.0001 and Chrono ref. ST 176.0001 (1971); Big Blue - ref. ST 176.0004 and Chrono Automatic ref. 176.0007 cal. 1040. (1972); Omega Seamaster Yachting ref. 176.0010 (1973); Cemet aka the Black Tulip (1981); Olympic Games limited edition 1/100” sec. ref. DB 386.1232, quartz cal. 1670 (1988); Olympia Barcelona ref. DK 386.1031, quartz movement cal. 1675, steel and 18k. gold case (1992) and Omega Seamaster Professional Chrono Diver ref. 378.0504, the first Chrono with pushers that remained operational to a depth of 300 meters.

The 1993 chronograph was awarded the “Watch of the Year” prize in 1994 by the readers of German wristwatch magazine Armbanduhren. This same watch is the closest to the Seamaster Chronograph we know today, but more about its further evolution below.

Co-axial movements

Released in 1994, the Seamaster Professional 300m has not only became an icon of the whole Seamaster collection but of the whole brand. During the years that followed, the same model was made in a variety of colors and sizes due to the high demand. In 1999, the Seamaster Professional 300m was updated with a new movement, the caliber 2500 with the Co-Axial escapement, developed by George Daniels two decades earlier. After some testing and tweaking, Omega innovated three calibers based on this patent: caliber 8400, cal. 8500 (with date complication) and cal. 9300 (chronograph), which made a room for setting higher bars when it comes to accuracy.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer, photo credit

The next Co-Axial generation brought new calibers and already mentioned Master Chronometer Certificate, which once again propelled Omega’s watches into the very top of the Swiss luxury watches market. Combine that with astonishing anti-magnetic properties (Omega Aqua Terra Gauss was the first wristwatch able to resists magnetic force up to 15,00 Gauss) and you get mind-blowing timepieces such is Omega Constellation Pie-Pan Globemaster.

Another shiny example could well be the Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300m Titanium Tantalum from 2019 that pays tribute to Seamaster Chronograph from 1993 (ref. 2296.80), and is limited to 2,500 pieces.

It seems that this useful technology seems to be the door for the next generations of calibers. But back to the Seamaster line, which leads us straight to the Planet Ocean series.

Planet Ocean

It’s not only that we have saved the best for the end, but two previously mentioned categories – Seamaster Chronograph and Co-Axial movements wonderfully got together in Seamaster’s series Planet Ocean. But let us introduce you to the Planet Ocean series first.

Planet Ocean is an Omega’s series of luxury diving watches, belonging to the Seamaster collection. It features automatic, professional watches and the whole series is sort of an evolution of the original Omega Seamaster 300. The Planet Ocean watches are usually equipped with 600-2000 ft water resistance, a helium release valve and the chronometer certification. Watches in these series have been made in different colors and sizes (38mm, 39.5mm, 42mm, 45.5mm) and are run by different movements, with both chronograph and non-chronograph options. All models have an Omega hippocampus logo on their case backs. The first caliber used was 2500, with Co-Axial escapement. The first generation of Planet Ocean watches was used in Bond movies “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” and both movies have their limited editions (ref. 2907.50.91 and ref. 22230462001001).

Omega Planet Ocean watch series

Omega Planet Ocean watch series, photo credit

Several limited editions have also been manufactured as a tribute to the Olympic games (for example, ref. 22230385001003). Besides that, there have been a couple of other limited editions such as Liquid Metal Limited Edition (ref. 222.30.42.20.01.001) which employed liquid metal and ceramics technologies.

In 2011, the Planet Ocean series have been re-imagined and got aesthetic updates on bezels, indexes, hands, case backs (becoming transparent), plus upgrades on the movements.

In 2016, the Seamaster Planet Ocean series onboarded the new chronograph, run by caliber 9900. It was labeled as Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-axial Master Chronometer. Ref. 215.30.44.21.03.001. This was the first Planet Ocean’s watch to receive METAS Master Chronometer certificate, which made him known as one of the best dive watches of all time among watch lovers. Discover all Planet Ocean models here.

Conclusion

As you can see, Omega has one of the richest histories among watchmaking brands, driven by the everlasting pursue of perfection. It may not be the most expensive luxury brand out there, but that doesn’t make it less worthy than one. What makes it special among other watch brands is its versatility, which extends far wider than watch craftsmanship. As one of its slogans says: “Omega – Exact time for life”, after everything we’ve learned about it, we can’t help but conclude that it’s made for those who are aware that life is the most valuable possession one could have – and therefore enjoy every second of it.

Written by M.H. , image sources as noted

Continue to read the Omega Watches Series

  • Part 1 - A brief guide to Omega watches and their legendary history
  • Part 2 - Omega Collections full of Heroic stories
  • Part 3 - Iconic Omega watches
  • Part 4 - Editor's top pick: Omega Seamaster
  • Part 5 - Giants of the vintage watches: Vintage Omega Speedmaster Mark 3
  • Part 6 - Life Of The OMEGA Seamaster In Modern Times
  • Part 7 - The Story Behind Omega Speedmaster Snoopy Watches

 

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