Omega Seamaster and Seamaster Planet Ocean watches get a fair amount of attention at aBlogtoWatch for good reason, and today we are going to look at the Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial GMT in detail. So why all the love? First of all, we are serious dive watch guys even though not all of us actually dive. Such is the power of the high-end sport watch and the allure of “desk diving.” Omega has evolved a lot over the last decade but is thankfully strongest where it counts when producing refined tool watches with a lifestyle twist. When the Planet Ocean versions of the classic Seamaster were originally released in 2005, they were touted as a more durable, high-end range of divers meant to compete with timepieces such as the Rolex Submariner- but without fitting into the same exact mold.
While the Submariner and GMT-Master II watches are decidedly more classic and traditional-style sport watches, the Planet Ocean collection has a different approach, being about modern size, style, and options. Omega more-or-less produces the archetype of a modern luxury dive watch, while the competing Submariner (which we would really argue is a distinct animal) focuses more on being the “timeless dive watch.” We mention this because given the size and popularity of these two major Swiss watch makers, they more-or-less set the bar for what you should get when investing in a sub-$10,000 diver's watch that has an in-house made movement from a “big name” brand. Sorry to disappoint anyone looking for a clear winner between the timepiece icons: they are both excellent in their own respects. I would also venture to suggest that these are each watches that can exist in the same collection or rationally appeal to two equally sophisticated people with slightly different styles and tastes.
Allow me to say that the Planet Ocean timepiece range has always been very difficult to photograph as well as reproduce in marketing images. While the watches look lovely when Omega dolls them up in fancy photography, you really need to see one in the flesh to appreciate it. Omega designed the case, dial, and sapphire crystal to play with light in a particular manner that is simply hard to capture in photography. While the watch is very legible, Omega offers it with a curved crystal and reflective elements on the dial on purpose. It is supposed to offer a “hint of bling” that adds a twist to the otherwise sober refined package. It is an item that literally plays with the light, being an almost flirtatious item on your wrist. What does this mean practically speaking? Well let’s compare it to another dive watch we really like that in some ways is much more conservative – the Tudor Pelagos (reviewed here). In non-reflective brushed titanium with a flat crystal and perfectly matte dial elements, the Pelagos in many ways is the perfect German tool-watch (even though it is Swiss). It looks nice without asking for extra attention and is “duty ready” whenever you like without ever suggesting a party. The Seamaster Planet Ocean is also an extremely capable professional dive watch, but is a bit cockier in its demeanor. It wants to show off a bit and demands attention. If you choose to wear a Planet Ocean exclusively while diving or during other intense activity it will complain that you two never go out for drinks anymore. So while it is a real dive watch, it tends to enjoy looking good in the process.
Omega has also really made a Seamaster Planet Ocean for everyone. In addition to range of colors and dial styles, there is a three-hand, chronograph, and GMT model available. The latter, which I am reviewing today, is the newest version of the Planet Ocean and was released in 2013. In addition to adding a GMT complication, it also adds a third case size in addition to the existing 42 and 45mm wide models. The GMT is 43.5mm wide and in my opinion it is the perfect size for a Planet Ocean. You know what, a lot of people at Omega agree. The people on their product development team as well as the CEO feel that this bowl of Seamaster porridge is just right for them. While the 42 and 45mm wide Planet Oceans are nothing to scoff at, I truly like this middle size model. Oh, and just to clarify, the three-hand version of the watch is available in both 42 and 45mm wide sizes, while the chronograph is only offered in the 45mm wide case.
Omega needs to appeal to a lot of different types of consumers all around the world, which helps explain why there are so many different dial options even within the GMT collection. This particular model is the black dial and bezel with orange trim that includes orange colored Arabic numerals. You get the conservative look of the mostly black dial, with a hint more sportiness with the orange numerals. There is also the orange-tipped GMT hand as well as “GMT” label on the dial. For review I have a version of the watch on the high-end rubber strap, but of course the Seamaster Planet Ocean is only truly complete on the matching metal bracelet. Having said that I really so also like the strap. Surely you can have the watch with both, but at this time there isn’t a quick strap changing system that some other brands such as IWC have been building into their watches. I only say this because in the future it would be great if Omega made it more convenient to seamlessly go from a strap to a bracelet.
Perhaps the biggest complaint most people have about the Seamaster Planet Ocean collection is the thickness of the case. If I had any complaints it would really be only that. The case isn’t inordinately thick, nor do I feel it is at all disproportionate. Most of the time I even like the heft on my wrist, but having said that I find that when a sport watch has a slightly lower profile I tend to wear it just a bit more often. Some people even complain about the modern Rolex Submariner being too thick – which I actually find quite slim for a dive watch. Though it is worth mentioning that compared to the Submariner’s 300 meters of water resistance, the Planet Ocean has 600 meters of water resistance. At some point that extra durability becomes a mere bragging right, but that does require a thicker case and sapphire crystal.