In mid-2023, Swiss Omega announced a special set of 11 watches produced in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Omega “Seamaster” collection. That number of “special edition” watches (not limited, per se, but produced only for a certain amount of time) is a testament to how large the current “Seamaster” collection is. Under this name aegis, Omega has watches ranging from daily-wear elegant sports timepieces to serious underwater tool watches. At any given time, Omega has dozens of “Seamaster” family watches in production, including various models from the Seamaster Planet Ocean family, such as the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M 39.5mm “Summer Blue” (Ref. 188.8.131.52.03.002) that I am reviewing here today. The Planet Ocean collection is designed as a tool-focused daily-wear diver’s-style watch that nicely straddles the world of wristwatch utility with that of fashionable style. One of the newer members of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean family is this smaller-sized model for men. Omega also produced an even smaller 37.5mm wide Seamaster Planet Ocean with mainly women wearers in mind. That said, most legacy Planet Ocean watches are in 44mm-wide range.
Many people don’t know that when Omega originally released the Seamaster name, it was not attached to a serious tool or diver’s watch. My understanding is that, in 1948, Omega wanted to offer a “weekend watch” that would provide a wearer luxury and style but also be able to handle getting wet and playing with the kids. Thus, the Seamaster was really a lifestyle watch from the start, and it only later merged with the serious diving tool watches that Omega would later become well-known for. Why the Planet Ocean needs to be the “Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean” versus just “Omega Planet Ocean” is a topic for another debate, but it is interesting for me to observe how brand product family names evolve over time.
Omega has intentionally changed little about the Seamaster Planet Ocean over the last decade or two. The watches continue to have similar case shapes and dials which are inspired by vintage Omega diving timepieces. This includes the hour markers, placement of the few Arabic hour numeral markers, and the “broad arrow” style hands. What Omega has done over the years is improve the construction quality of its Planet Ocean watches while continuing to use ever-upgraded in-house automatic movements. Of course, Omega has also experimented with a large assortment of colors and sizes for its Seamaster Planet Ocean models.
Those with smaller wrists are going to be very happy that Omega decided to make a “full performance” mid-size version of the Planet Ocean. By that, I mean this under-40mm-wide version of the Planet Ocean still has 600 meters of water resistance and a modern in-house Omega automatic movement. Personally, I very much prefer the larger 43-44mm wide (or larger) versions of the Planet Ocean that Omega produces. I recently wore the 6,000-meter water-resistant Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep and was delighted by its larger proportions. For me, the 39.5mm Planet Ocean has somewhat strange proportions given that it tries to pack a larger watch in a smaller package. A lot of wearers prefer the look of the Planet Ocean dial to that of, say, an Omega Aqua Terra (which is just “Planet Ocean” in Latin) or an Omega Seamaster 300M. For that reason, Omega apparently feels compelled to make as many of its watches as possible in as many sizes as possible. That makes sense from a commercial perspective, but I do think consumers who are interested in an Omega Seamaster but aren’t sure where to land have some confusing choices to sort through. Omega dive watches tend to offer a consistently good wearing experience, so what you end up choosing is often just a matter of style.
The “Summer Blue” color effect on this Seamaster 75th anniversary version of the 39.5mm wide Planet Ocean is pretty. The colors are somewhat different on the various 11 different Summer Blue models, but the core theme seems to be experimenting with multiple shades of blue on the same dial while maintaining effective legibility. Thus, the “blue on blue” color theme works pretty well and is epitomized by this Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M 39.5mm Summer Blue model. The dial is brushed blue ceramic with a gradient effect. The uni-directional rotating bezel is also in blue ceramic but polished and in a darker hue. Omega opts for pretty blued hands and hour markers, painted with a lighter blue Super-LumiNova color. The only non-blue colors in the watch are the steel for the case and bracelet. Overall, I think that Omega did a lovely job with the colors and the price premium for the “Summer Blue” edition of the 39mm wide Seamaster Planet Ocean is only about $300 more than other “standard” versions of the 39mm wide Seamaster Planet Ocean.
The watch itself remains one of the most durable smaller-sized diver’s watches around. Omega was careful not to strip out anything of importance in the smaller-sized case for the Planet Ocean. That means the case maintains its 600 meters of water resistance and its manual helium release valve. This latter feature is both antiquated and vestigial for most watch-wearing purposes. Omega maintains this feature because the extra crown at the 10 o’clock position for the valve has become a distinctive visual feature of all watches in the Planet Ocean collection. Maintaining recognizable “profiles” is a key effort needed today by any luxury watch brand such as Omega.
Size-wise, this version of the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m is 39.5mm wide, 14.2m thick, and has a 45.6mm lug-to-lug distance. Aside from the thickness (which can’t be helped and is part of the overall personality of this piece), that is a pretty small footprint on the wrist for a serious diver’s watch. Over the dial is an AR-coated domed sapphire crystal, and over the back of the watch is a special engraved caseback (with Greek mythology’s Poseidon on his seahorse chariot) instead of an exhibition window to view the movement. Note that standard versions of the Seamaster Planet Ocean 39.5mm 600M have a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback.
The watch case and bracelet weigh a hefty 194 grams, which makes for a very solid-feeling watch. The bracelet is attractive and very comfortable but basic in its overall three-link design. Omega places its handy micro-adjust system inside the fold-over push-button deployant clasp. Using this micro-adjust feature allows you to expand or contract the bracelet size by several millimeters, all the while not changing the look of the watch. I say this because certain micro-adjust systems wear awkwardly (due to space in the deployant clasp) if the bracelet is in an “expanded” position.
Inside the Seamaster Planet Ocean 39.5mm Summer Blue is Omega’s in-house, METAS-certified Caliber 8800 automatic “Co-Axial Master Chronometer.” Anti-magnetic and highly accurate, the caliber 8800 movement operates at 3.5Hz with 55 hours of power reserve. The movement uses a silicon regulation system and is nicely decorated (in case you ever have a chance to open up the caseback and look at it). The automatic movement provides the time along with the date.
Where Omega should take the Seamaster Planet Ocean from here is a difficult question to answer. Omega must keep the Planet Ocean fresh while keeping it the same. That is a tall order, and luxury watchmakers like Omega have responded by using the opportunity to experiment with colors, sizes, and materials. For a lot of people, this just over 39mm-wide size for the Planet Ocean is exactly what they have been looking for. I am happy that Omega makes this size, but I (with my smaller 6.75-inch wrist) still prefer the larger Planet Ocean models. The “Summer Blue” color theme is particularly pretty, but most versions of the 39.5mm Seamaster Planet Ocean will wear similarly. For an even more compact wearing experience, consider the watch on one of Omega’s excellent matching rubber straps. Price is certainly on the more premium side, these days, and the reference 184.108.40.206.03.002 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 39.5mm 600M Summer Blue watch is $7,400 USD. Learn more at the Omega watches website.
>Model: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 39.5mm 600M “Summer Blue” (reference 220.127.116.11.03.002)
>Price: $7,400 USD
>Size: 39.5mm diameter, 45.6mm lug-to-lug, 14.2mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: If I needed to wear a dive watch with a blue suit.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Smaller-watch lovers seeking a high-performance luxury diver’s watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Special 75th Seamaster anniversary colors are pretty. Rare mix of size and tool-watch performance. Good all-around luxury watch for those who like the colors and size.
>Worst characteristic of watch: In my opinion, the Seamaster Planet Ocean was designed for larger proportions and looks its best that way. Expensive.