Discovering well-known models freshened up through the use of titanium is never not fun. Titanium is light, comfortable, and arguably cool with a dash of novelty factor — even though the industry has been using it for over half a century. The new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey Titanium GMT watch goes the extra mile, and then some, by crafting the dial and even the movement from this lustrous transition metal. The case and bezel are in silicon nitride ceramic — a first by Omega “on such a large scale watchmaking piece” — that stands quite close to titanium in its color. With all that effort put in, it will be interesting to see how this new titanium Planet Ocean watch measures up against Omega arch-nemesis Rolex’s Yacht-Master in RLX Titanium — especially since we criticized RLX Titanium above all for its rough surface treatment.
As cool as the dark, metallic hue of titanium is as a decorative element, many titanium watches take advantage of its featherweight quality (relative to stainless steel and precious metals, but not to carbon) by using it for the entirety of the case, bezel, bracelet, and clasp. The result is unique: It’s not easy to forget the first time one feels in their own hand the eerie lightness of such a watch after wearing rather more heavy and cumbersome steel pieces. Still, most all of those watches are fitted with regular, run-of-the-mill movements with plates and bridges in brass, topped with brass dials. Omega swaps titanium for ceramic for the exterior and adds a titanium movement and dial in pursuit of a similar high-tech aesthetic and low weight.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey Titanium GMT watch belongs to an extremely exclusive club of timepieces that have their movement and dial crafted from titanium — the case and bezel are in ceramic. While we look forward to going hands-on with this new piece in the future, we can say from experience with other titanium movement-equipped watches that the difference is indeed noticeable between a lightweight watch and one that goes further still at reducing heft. Some might remember a rather more niche Omega watch, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light from 2019 that debuted a titanium movement — and cost just under $50,000 – as well as ultra-high-end creations by Greubel Forsey (and the like) to use titanium movement parts.
The Planet Ocean Dark Grey watch is powered by the Omega 8906 Ti movement, the GMT variation of the 8900 caliber that was among the first to debut the METAS-certified testing procedure that Omega uses on its increasing range of Master Chronometer watches. This bi-directional self-winding movement looks dashing in black ceramized dark grey titanium (for the mainplate and bridges) to go with the theme topped off with laser ablation decorative techniques, is resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss, provides a GMT and time zone functions, and operates at a 3.5Hz frequency over its 60-hour power reserve.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey Titanium GMT watch measures 45.5mm wide coupled with a rather shocking 17.4mm thickness and a relatively more moderate 51.5mm lug-to-lug distance. A domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides is on the front while a flat sapphire crystal reveals the Omega 8906 Ti movement on the back. There is a helium escape valve at 10 o’clock that will surely continue to divide opinion but is arguably an essential element of the Planet Ocean design. The Planet Ocean Dark Grey watch comes on a rubber strap with a woven design secured by a grade 5 titanium buckle. Lug width is 22mm, as befits such a massive case.
The dial appears in dark grey sand-blasted titanium with black coated, polished dial furniture to contrast against it. Legibility, then, should be good, with huge lumed surfaces and dashes of orange to liven things up even more. The case and bezel are in silicon nitride ceramic (Si3N4), which seems to match the dark tone of the grade 5 titanium that Omega uses for the dial and movement of this Planet Ocean GMT watch. Omega did not share any specifics on how and why this particular type of ceramic is better than the zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) it’s used on most all other watches — it might be lighter while offering the same scratch-resistant properties but, again, we’ll judge that when we go hands-on and get a feel of just high light the new Planet Ocean Dark Grey watch is.
Overall, the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey Titanium GMT (188.8.131.52.99.002) watch is a serious piece of engineering with its gorgeous, dark grey titanium movement and impressive ceramic exterior, but it comes with a price to match. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey Titanium GMT watch is priced at $22,200 — or about $8,000 more than the Yacht-Master in RLX Titanium that offers a titanium bracelet in place of a titanium movement. There is no word about this titanium Planet Ocean watch being a limited edition. You can learn more at the brand’s website.