The Colour of Sunset Over The Ocean
The Bienne brand's diver collection has constantly grown over its virtually fifteen years of lifespan and, this latest, in 2019, as if making a nod to the past, chose to reinterpret the original colour which was the key to the success of this family of watches by adorning two newcomers with an exquisite deep orange.
At Baselworld in 2005, curious visitors crowded in front of the Omega stand displays above which an immense poster reigned supreme. This gigantic panel showcased the American swimmer Michael Phelps (1985). This great champion, with his navy blue bathing cap decorated with the US flag pulled over his head and his swimming goggles tight against his eyes, unfurled his powerful arms whilst, under the splashes triggered by his paced movements, the peaceful vastness of the ocean appeared.
The excitement of the sport gave way to serenity whenever the gaze swept over the poster from top to bottom and dived into the heart of the deep blue inhabited a host of marine fauna and flora. At the bottom of the poster, a tribe of clownfish swam between the smooth tentacles of lush anemones and prompted a myriad of smiles because the connection with Disney Pixar's Finding Nemo, released two years beforehand, was perfectly obvious.
Yet, what attracted the crowd wasn't (only) Michael Phelps, the plethora of aquatic animals or even the splendour of this unforgettable panel, but the watch which had just been presented. This new piece, baptized Planet Ocean and integrated into the Seamaster collection, surprised with its vivid orange colour which coated the steel and aluminium bezel, the Arabic numerals on its dusky dial as well as its alligator strap. And this new piece pleased because it was unlike any other, its diameter and its thickness had been perfectly studied, the time-data which it displayed was ultra-readable and its super-waterproofness enabled immersions down to depths of 600 metres.
Fourteen years on, Omega reconnects with this original shade which it has softened however by adding a touch of red to create two new models equipped with a self-winding movement (calibres 8900 and 9900) hosting a Co-Axial escapement, a silicon hairspring, two series-coupled barrels, a 60-hour power reserve and, above all, Master Chronometer certification, as such providing that the watches had successfully gone through a battery of tests, under the watchful eye of Metas, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology.
This duo is composed of a three-hand version and a chronograph and embraces technical breakthroughs developed by the Bienne-based watchmaker as regards materials. In short, on the notched unifirectional revolving bezel which tops the 43.5 and 45.5 mm-diameter steel cases, the aluminium ring has been replaced by an orange ceramic ring adorned with a diving scale fashioned in liquid ceramic and the traditional reference point coated with Super-LumiNova®. This same material, praised for its resistance to scratches and its lightness, takes pride of place on the three-hand dial whilst on the chronograph, its intense grey hue is the result of ceramized titanium.
The 43.5 mm version hosts an hour chapter featuring luminescent indexes linked by a sectorized minute-tracker topped with three orange-varnished applique Arabic numerals. The central arrow-shaped hour and minute hands, the Seamaster Planet Ocean collection's signature, are rhodium-plated and highlighted with white Super-LumiNova®, whilst the direct-drive is tipped with an orange striation. The date displayed at 3 o'clock completes the main time-data.
The 45.5 mm-diameter version, elegantly blending three shades-grey, orange and white – on its dial, reproduces the same identity details (the hands and indexes, but a single Arabic numeral, the 12) as the aforementioned model. It features a helium escape valve on the case flank at 10 o'clock as well as two push-pieces, dedicated to the chronograph function, each decorated with an orange ceramic ring, at 2 and 4 o'clock. Two white-encircled counters stand out on the grey face: a small seconds at 9 o'clock and a totalizer grouping together the chronograph minutes (mini orange-edged hand) and hours. In this version, the date is set at 6 o'clock.
One of the Planet Ocean's numerous qualities is its versatility, its ability to be perfectly at ease in the depths of the sea or perched high on a mountain top, worn with a wetsuit or with a three-piece suit, or even with a casual outfit such as the famous t-shirt/jeans/trainers. For underwater immersion and for nautical activities, it is equipped with a strap embracing three rows of links completed by an expandable folding clasp, which can be extended even more so to be worn over neoprene. For everyday use or for a one-of-a-kind look, Omega proposes a NATO decorated with multicoloured stripes, white with orange and grey central bands for the three-hand model and a “sailor's shirt” look in the same shades for the chronograph.