Omega Planet Ocean Titanium
During Basel 2009 - 2016, Omega unveiled the latest model in the Seamaster Planet Ocean line - the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal. It's the first Planet Ocean to be constructed from titanium, and the first to use the new Omega in-house Omega Caliber 8500, not to mention the first Planet Ocean with a blue color scheme. Omega recently sent WATCH TALK FORUMS an example of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal for a first-ever review.
The Seamaster Planet Ocean has been around since 2005 (and previously reviewed by me in several magazines, and here on WATCH TALK FORUMS last year). In the time since its introduction, Omega has made some substantial improvements inside and out to the Planet Ocean, some of which we're seeing for the first time here in the Titanium Liquidmetal variant. The first major change is in the materials used in the case and bracelet of this model - this is the first time we're seeing an all titanium version of the watch. I'm extremely impressed with Omega's execution of the titanium. In most every instance I've seen a watch made from titanium, I've been turned off by dull and sometimes yellowish hue that titanium can have. Somehow, Omega has managed to create a titanium formulation which looks very close to stainless steel. In fact, the casual observer won't be able to discern that the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal is made from anything but stainless steel. So kudos to Omega for creating an extremely attractive aesthetically pleasing titanium for the case and bracelet. The 45.50 mm titanium case is water resistant to 600m/2000ft.
At first glance, one might think that very little has changed (with the exception of the usage of titanium) with the bracelet on the Planet Ocean, however this is not the case. When it was first introduced, the Planet Ocean had a bracelet with adjustable links held in place with friction pins - a design I was critical of. Since then, Omega has incorporated screws (one on either side of the link holding a friction pin in place) into the adjustable link, which is a superior design in my opinion. Fortunately, Omega did not change the wonderful clasp on the Planet Ocean Titanium, which has been a fan favorite on Omega Seamasters for over a decade.
The traditional aluminum bezel insert on the unidirectional rotating diver bezel on the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal has been replaced with Omega's new Liquidmetal ceramic and zirconium alloy. When I first learned Omega was implementing ceramic into their bezels, I was a little disappointed. Firstly, because this is yet another example where Omega is chasing Rolex, who was the first manufacturer to use ceramic in their bezels. Secondly, because I haven't been a fan of ceramic based bezels. Ceramic is essentially glass, and while a manufacturer like Omega or Rolex can do amazing things to increase the hardness, at the end of the day I think a traditional aluminum bezel insert will resist chipping and cracking more readily, and is considerably less expensive to replace. The other issue for me is a matter of personal taste. Like Rolex-made watches with ceramic based bezels, the Omega Liquidmetal bezel has considerable color-shift depending on the prevailing lighting conditions. You'll note this particular phenomenon as you look at the photographs I've taken of the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal below. The color of the bezel can range from deep blue to periwinkle, to an almost slate grey depending on the angle you hold it and the corresponding light. Some people really like the shifting color, but my personal preference is for the bezel to hold a more consistent and true color regardless of the angle of light. That said, I really do love a blue dial/bezel watch, and found this new Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal to be the most attractive Planet Ocean model I've ever tested.
The Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal also receives a substantial upgrade in the movement department. Historically the Planet Ocean models have been equipped with the ETA 2892 based Omega Caliber 2500. However, the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal is the first model in the Planet Ocean line to receive the in-house Omega Caliber 8500 (launched in 2007). The Omega Caliber 8500 is a self-winding 39 jewel mechanical movement with a power reserve (coming from 2 serial mounted barrels) of 60 hours, and a freely sprung balance which vibrates at a speed of 25,200 vibrations per hour (VPH). The Omega Caliber 8500 is an Officially Certified COSC chronometer and like most modern Omega calibers, is fitted with the George Daniel's Co-Axial Escapement. Additionally the Caliber 8500 features a balance spring constructed entirely of silicon for improved resistance to shock and magnetism. I had hoped that when Omega was able to design and build a movement around the Co-Axial Escapement, rather than simply retrofit the escapement into an existing movement (as was the case with the Omega Caliber 2500) that we might see Omega set the balance to oscillate at the industry standard frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, but Omega has not chosen to go this route with the Caliber 8500. Aesthetically, the Caliber 8500 is a gorgeous movement, and Omega has provided a sapphire observation back built into the caseback of the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal to allow the owner to view the Caliber 8500 in all it's rhodium plated glory (while still retaining its excellent water resistance rating.).
Those familiar with the Planet Ocean will be no strangers to the dial - it's much the same, standard three-hand layout set against a lovely blue lacquered dial. The orange accents on the watch work really well with the blue in the watch (I'm sure any other University of Florida alumni out there would resoundingly agree) providing both aesthetic appeal and eye-catching visibility. Were the decision up to me, I believe I would have gone with a black date on white background, vs. white date on black background chosen by Omega for the date wheel. But beyond this minor quibble, there's little to fault with in the dial with the lights on or off, thanks to ample amounts Super-LumiNova on both the bezel (green glow) as well as the dial hands and markers (blue glow).
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal (reference number 188.8.131.52.03.001) is an interesting next step in the evolution of the Planet Ocean. Clearly Omega has decided to go "all in" in their quest to make the very best watch in the luxury dive watch segment, and have implement all their latest technological advancements in materials, movements, and design features into the Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal. Omega has successfully combined all of this gee-wiz new technology into an extremely attractive package - the best looking Planet Ocean variant to date in my honest opinion. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal has a retail price of $8,200.00.