Omega managed to exceed my expectations when I finally got my hands on the first ceramic-cased Planet Ocean which I’m reviewing here today. Debuted a few months after Baselworld 2016, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT “Deep Black” carves yet another niche within the brand’s larger line of high-end Seamaster Planet Ocean diving watches. Cheap replica watches Omega not only has plenty of dive watches to choose from (seriously, no shortage whatsoever), but the brand also has a number of GMT watches to choose from.
I say all this to explain that while the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black doesn’t immediately satisfy an existing need, it does represent a desirable accumulation of a lot of things Omega has been tweaking for a while, and is arguably a current best-of-breed product within its relatively narrow niche. To really appreciate this watch, you need to ignore most of the marketing images Omega has of it (they make the colors look way too flat) and also forget what you think the watch represents (a black GMT diver). Rather, we need to look into a series of details contained in the watch design, movement, and construction, as well as consider the versatile and highly contemporary appeal of a watch like this.
Omega’s modern rivalry with Rolex isn’t lost on most people who are paying attention to the watch world. A common question that is asked when Omega releases a new product is “what Rolex are they trying to make an answer to?” The existing Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT watch is in various forms Omega’s answer to the Rolex GMT-Master II – even though they are rather distinct products. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black continues to aim at Rolex, but with its ceramic case, larger size, and more high-tech look isn’t just answering Rolex, but also Tudor at the same time. If anything, Omega seems to be trying to make “uber-watches” that succeed at multiple levels and are intended in one fell swoop to beat multiple products. Not all are successful, but when Omega gets something right, like the luxury replica Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black, they do it very well.
Omega made a big splash back in 2013 when they debuted the sexy-looking Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watch. The magic in that product was combining the look of the new generation Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph with both a black ceramic case and dial. Moreover, Omega cleverly and wisely offered the ceramic case in contrast finishing with some brushed and some polished surfaces. This mimicked the look of metal (but black in color) which allowed the watch to retain so much of the look people came to expect in a Speedmaster. It was a hit, and I am sure that Omega wanted to reproduce its appeal in other areas of their collection.
It would be fair to compare the Deep Black in the Planet Ocean collection to the Dark Side Of The Moon in the Speedmaster collection, but honestly, they aren’t the same thing. Whereas the Dark Side Of Moon is merely a ceramic version of the Speedmaster, the Deep Black is a ceramic Planet Ocean, but also has a unique assembly of parts and features, making it not merely a ceramic version of the existing Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT range.
Further, there are a few versions of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black which add further flavor to the concept. This version is the reference 18.104.22.168.01.003, and in addition to combining black with red accents, it is one of the versions of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black models offered in a mostly all-matte finishing. When I first saw this watch in Omega’s marketing photos, I was a bit underwhelmed and concerned that it might be too devoid of shine and appear flat and down-market given its high-end pedigree. In person, this watch easily exceeds the relatively lackluster presentation the professional marketing images offered – which honestly isn’t that rare even if watches are less likely to look better in person compared to their marketing images.
Omega here has an amazingly good-looking serious tool watch with just enough style. For me, this has always been the value in a Planet Ocean, and whereas the Rolex Submariner and its ilk are a bit more retro-themed, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean has been able to feel highly contemporary despite having a number of “vintage influences” to the design.
At 45.5mm wide, the Planet Ocean Deep Black GMT is 2mm larger than the 43mm wide Planet Ocean GMT. Other differences aside from the case material are the movement and design of the bezel. Let me make a very important remark on this being valued as a GMT watch. If your sole goal is to have a durable GMT watch because you reference two time zones all the time, you might want to look at more GMT-centric GMT watches. With a traditional 60-minute countdown rotating diver’s bezel, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black does away with a bi-directional GMT bezel as you’ll find on the smaller Planet Ocean GMT – making it more of a diver versus GMT watch.UK Cheap fake Omega watches instead put a 24-hour scale on the dial and included a nicely sized GMT hand (with a lumed tip) that is there when you need it, but ultimately sits where it belongs in the background behind the hour and minute hands when it comes to visibility.
This is a very important concept to understand because a lot of people get annoyed with GMT watches, as they find the inclusion of an additional hand distracting. If you want a cool diver’s watch that is mostly about knowing the local time first with the GMT a distant second function, then the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black is a very good choice. This makes it sort of a standard dive watch where the ability to know a second time zone is available, but not thrust in your face all the time. I don’t know how many other people value this niche type of style, but I personally do a lot.
Omega did an excellent job on the newly tweaked Planet Ocean dial mixing a matte black ceramic face and little new refinements such as slightly new fonts. Case and dial tweaks abound, and if you are a Planet Ocean veteran owner, it will be interesting to see the differences to previous models even though they are the same at a glance. We detailed more of them while covering the larger range of new-for-2016 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean watches here.
Omega should be praised for really making the Planet Ocean dials better and better. The white gold hands and hour markers pop nicely against the matte background making for excellent legibility, while various luminant colors work to offer admirable darkness visibility.
Like the 44mm-wide Speedmaster case, the 45mm-wide Planet Ocean case translates to ceramic from steel quite well. There is a serious tool-watch feel in the matte finishing which benefits the theme Omega is going for here (dark and serious, but meant for fun). I will say that it is a very different flavor than I’m used to in the Planet Ocean family, but I think Omega nailed it and even at this high price Omega easily competes with offerings at more prestigiously priced brands even. So what you end up with is a timepiece that is, yeah, expensive for an Omega, but also really cheap for a Blancpain, Hublot, or Audemars Piguet. This is a hot luxury sports watch, and I just hope people are able to incorporate the Omega name in the upper echelons of luxo-sport watches where at times the brand does solidly belong.
Even though 45.5mm wide is big, and the watch is quite thick at 17.18mm, the sharply sloping lugs make the watch fit well on most wrist sizes. I am not saying that the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black wears small, but it sort of adapts to various wrist sizes nicely given the case design with the stocky lugs. With a richly sloped, domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, the case is also water-resistant to 600 meters. Note that this is a 600-meter-water-resistant watch with a caseback exhibition window as well. Speaking of the caseback, note the new “Naiad Lock” system which is basically Omega’s name for a screw-down ceramic caseback. You also have the collection’s distinctive manually operated helium release valve at 10 o’clock that you’ll never use, but it looks cool to have as part of the total package.
I’ve not actually seen the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black models with the more polished surfaces, but I have seen the polished ceramic dial on other models and feel that those “shinier” Deep Black models fit in more traditionally with the larger Planet Ocean family. It is these uncommon matte-finished blue and red-accented models which are the most unique.
Omega even went so far as to include as much ceramic as possible in the matching matte black folding deployant clasp. The rubber and fabric strap is fun, comfortable, high-end-feeling, and not at all pretentious – a good thing. Speaking of comfort, let’s jump back to the case, as it wears very well in terms of comfort on most wrist sizes. Again, this is a large watch, but given the strap integration and overall snug fit on the wrist, this one of those watches you can easily forget is there.
The rotating bezel is ceramic with a ceramic inlay that further uses Omega’s Liquidmetal technology… mixed with vulcanized rubber. This is perhaps one of the most complicated bezels to produce out there. Liquidmetal fills cut-out sections with metal so that you have permanent markers on the bezel that will never fade away (like painted numbers). Then you have the red-accented area on the rotating timing bezel which uses a similar filling technology but with rubber versus metal. The rubber is able to achieve colors which are brighter than can be achieved in any stable way using red or blue ceramic. The Liquidmetal or rubber is totally flush with the bezel and should make for a good look years into the the future. Of course, there is a lume-pip at the 60-minute indicator as part of being a true dive watch. I have to say that I personally really like this more dive-focused execution of a dive watch GMT product.
Let me finish by talking about the movement inside of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black which is Omega’s new in-house-made caliber 8906 “Master Co-Axial” automatic movement. This is one of Omega’s new “Master Chronometer” watches which basically means in-house-made + co-axial escapement + anti-magnetic movement + COSC Chronometer certification + METAS chronometer and performance certification. This is up there with the very best Omega has to offer and, in my opinion, is only matched by the performance you’ll see in some other very performance-oriented watches such as Rolex and perhaps Patek Philippe (to an extent). The caliber 8906 movement operates at 3.5Hz (25,200bph) – an uncommon frequency but one that all Co-Axial escapement watches from Omega share. The movement further has 60 hours of power reserve and features the time, date, and second time zone GMT hand.
Omega’s in-house movements are still stunning in their view through the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback showing the full glory of hte movement and its detailed finishing. The decoration on the metal is clearly industrial for higher production numbers than all-hand-finishing can support, but a real pinnacle of machine polishing. Overall, with really competent modern mechanical movements and an ultra-contemporary sports watch design, the UK replica Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black is just sexy enough to be Swiss and still be a very serious tool watch – a perfect combo for many collectors and enthusiasts. But it, unfortunately, isn’t what you’d say is a bargain.
If you look at the article we linked to above when we launched the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black GMT, you’ll see the other versions which total the four-piece launch collection. The ritziest is a two-tone reference 22.214.171.124.01.001 model with 18k Sedna gold on the bezel and crowns which goes for 13,400 Swiss francs. The monochromatic black reference 126.96.36.199.01.001 Deep Black has some polished surfaces and is the same price as the all-matte-finished references 188.8.131.52.01.002 (blue accents) and reference 184.108.40.206.01.003 (red accents) watches at 10,400 Swiss francs.