Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands-On

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands-On

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

For 2012 Omega released a new 18k red gold version of the Seamaster Planet Ocean three-hand and chronograph models with a new type of "Ceragold" bezel. Ceragold is more or less the gold version of Liquidmetal (that I discussed in more detail here). It is a special process that Omega uses to inset gold in the engraved ceramic bezel. In a sense, this is Omega's answer to Rolex's Cerachrom.

So why isn't it just "gold Liquidmetal"? Because it isn't. The Liquidmetal process is very similar to Ceragold, but uses a different type of metal. Ceragold actually uses gold. In a nutshell, the ceramic bezel is formed and then the numeral and index holes are engraved in the ceramic bezel disc. After a conductive layer is formed in the engraved area, layers of 18k red gold are applied using an "electroforming" process. Next, the excess gold is polished off and the Ceragold bezel is finished. Omega details the Ceragold process rather well here.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

So as you can see, Ceragold is similar to Liquidmetal, but not quite the same. Plus, it is a cool term. Note that as of now it only applies to the forming of the bezel. Each of the watches I have photographed are 18k red gold on black, but there are also white with gold models available. The black and gold models are extremely sexy though.

These watches are the 45.5mm wide versions of the Seamaster PO. There is the chronograph and three-hand version available with the Ceragold bezel - both look pretty fantastic. Omega will also offer the smaller three-hand Seamaster PO in the 42mm wide case with the Ceragold bezel. The watches contain in-house made Omega automatic movements. For more information about the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean watches see my review here.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Watches Hands On   hands on

Being gold models these watches have the higher-end 8501 or 9301 calibre movements. These versions of the 8500 and 9300 movement range have 18k red gold bridges and rotors. At this time I don't think there is a matching 18k red gold bracelet, but the watches do come on black alligator straps. Omega makes a damn solid diver and nothing is lost here with the 18k red gold versions of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold models. Prices are $22,500 for the 42mm PO, $25,000 for the 45.5mm PO, and $33,000 for the 45.5mm PO Chronograph Ceragold models.

12 comments
Greblixx
Greblixx

Yes, Ulysses31. Your observation is very pertinent. The same watch over and over again. For some reasons, Omega and Rolex don't understand that the world is in the 21st century (gold or ceragold is not enough).

They think their fans are eternal, even if their products are getting more and more tired and age so badly.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Ceragold aside, this is a boring watch.  The overly conspicuous branding all over the back makes it look more like a sponsored F1 car than a watch.  I'm not saying that it isn't good-looking; it has a nice enough dial, but it's just too similar to what has come before, just in a different material.  Whenever someone criticises a Grand Seiko or Rolex for being dull, one simply has to point at the legion of slavering Omega fans - same thing, just a different preference.

star42
star42

Oh man I need this in my life!!!

 

Great photos Ariel. Usually I don't give watches with gold components a second look, but these are done SO very well! The black and red gold strikes a perfect balance that doesn't scream out (John Bigg's favourite descriptive term) ostentatious. I would certainly avoid the all gold bracelet (if it does happen) and stick with the elegant croc strap.

 

Pricing is still too steep IMHO, but these models are the first in Omega's new range that come close to justifying their immense cost.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Gold dive watch = tacky. The fit and finish are obviously impeccable, but it still looks liek a douchbag's watch. All it needs is an optional diamond bezel.

star42
star42

 @Greblixx Really? So the fact that the new Planet Ocean has a brand new in-house made movement, sapphire display back, dual counter chronograph vs. tricompax layout of old, and a independently adjustable hour hand still does not qualify as "enough" changes to an updated model? Well I don't know what you deem to be worthy changes then. Would you and Ulysses31 prefer an entire redesign to the popular Planet Ocean range?

 

To me the new Planet Ocean took what was brilliant about the old watch (design, co-axial escapment, sizes), and updated it with new and improved technologies that are more than just cosmetic. Yes they look the same with just cursory inspection, but to those who know and appreciate the intricacy of fine mechanical timepieces, the updates are pretty impressive, and much more comprehensive than most other brand at this price point. 

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

 @star42  @Greblixx Perhaps these are innovations to those who only keep their eye on the Omega world, but a bi-compax layout isn't innovative.  Nor is an independently adjustable hour hand.  These things have all already been done by others.  I don't think Omega should be lauded for being able to replicate what others have already achieved.  I suppose once China puts a man on the Moon we should all throw a party and forget that the US had already been there, done that? 

 

I appreciate intricacy as much as the next man and I am not diminishing genuinely interesting innovation like the increased use of silicium in movements, but the other things you've mentioned don't speak to me of innovation but of a company that is rigidly hanging on to old designs without broadening their portfolio.  I have nothing against the PO as a model but that doesn't mean there isn't room for newer, fresher designs.  We don't all want to be wearing the same watch as our grandpas. 

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

 @nateb123 LOL, fair enough.  I do like the odd Fortis but I wouldn't call their often crowded dial designs "restrained".  Mainly i'm talking about watches that don't have, oh I don't know, razor blades or bullets embedded in the case.

nateb123
nateb123

 @Ulysses31 Sorry but I read "I'm a fan of more restrained designs" as "I pretty much should just buy Fortis watches"

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

 @star42 I'm not saying that the Planet Ocean formula should be tampered with, but that Omega wouldn't hurt their business to diversify a bit.  I'm a person who tends towards more restrained designs personally.  The Omega is a great watch, well made and not garish looking unlike something by Hublot.  Internal improvements like the movement and the material are commendable, and they sell because of a large and loyal customer base.  I just don't think they will win many more customers carrying on making incremental improvements other than those in emerging markets who are only interested in owning a "lifestyle" item rather than having a full appreciation of the watch itself.

 

I really love vintage Omegas.  Take a look at this page to see just how diverse and beautiful these timepieces are: http://www.old-omegas.com/

I'd like to see that level of variety again.  For me to find a watch appealing it is not only a matter of appreciating the technical marvels inside but also the exterior design - it has to stir something inside me and as irrational as it may seem, these designs just don't do it for me.  I'm afraid I can't really rationalise that aspect - I guess we just love different things.

star42
star42

 @Ulysses31 I understand what you mean. I appreciate a good technological breakthrough in the world of horology as much as the next guy. I mean if we are not excited by the next mechanical marvel that transcends the industry then we wouldn't be reading this blog. However we are not talking about Greubel Forsey here, or MB&F, or Urwerk, or any of the aforementioned independent brands that specialise in highly exclusive technological marvels, with a price to match. We are talking about Omega, an (previously) entry level luxury brand, and the Planet Ocean model which is still considered to be a affordable tool watch for the everyday folks. I believe the innovations that has been injected into the new PO (Ceragold, Ceramic/Liquid metal bezels, individually set hour hand etc) are inline with the target customers base of this model and the activity that they would like to participate whilst wearing it, whose demands a certain level of musculinity, durability, and style that the PO affords.

 

Yes Omega can pump in a toubillon or 4 into the Planet Ocean. They can squeze in a rattrapante + a flyback function + a 1/1 000 of a second capability into their chronograph. Hell for the sake of innovation why don't they install a mechanical device that can record high/low tide times? Now as a Planet Ocean wearer myself, would this watch still be a "Planet Ocean"? No. It is not. Do I want any of the technologies I'd mentioned on my watch? No. Am I excited that my favourite watch now comes with a new in-house made movement that is more accurate, a highly scratch resistant ceramic bezel /ceragold case that will enable my pride and joy to look new for much longer, and a hour hand that has a second time zone complication built in? Yes. Very much so.

 

And how much do you think a Planet Ocean with a hot-off-the-press technological marvel complication will cost the average consumer? A lot more than the current MSRP I surmise. 

 

The old arguements of "oh the watch brands are getting boring and not making enough breakthroughs" and "they are just doing the same thing over and over again" are used abit too liberally. Yes Rolex are doing the same thing over and over again, the Planet Ocean does not look different enough to the previously models, Hublot are just a one trick pony. But guess what? They sell! People want what these companies are putting out, and the reason is because people like what they have been doing all along. Is it good business sense to drastically transform what was already a winning formula? I don't have a MBA, but I'd hazard a guess that it would not be a good idea to do so.

 

As Ariel stated on one of his Podcast, there really hasn't been any true new complications being invented in recent time. Their are reimagining and upgrades to existing complications, but not "true" new innovations in terms of time telling functionality and complications. If there are, or if anyone have any good ideas, I would love to hear about them.

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