Bi-ceramic bezel. Er… Rolex, right? Two-colour Cerachrom ceramic bezels introduced into the Rolex GMT-Master II in blue and black in 2013, and red and blue in 2014? Made using a patented system? Well, in the new Omega Planet Ocean 600M GMT, there is a black and white ceramic bezel used for the first time by Omega. In fact Omega describe their bi-ceramic bezel as the “world’s première polished bi-ceramic Zirconium oxide black-white bezel ring.”
The similarities between the two watchmaking giants continue, of course, because Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer testing has now been matched by the METAS certification applied by Omega. In both, the additional tests are performed after the movements have been chronometer-certified by COSC. In the photos below, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, and the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer GMT.
Warning: this is not a diver’s watch
Leaving aside brand rivalries, the Omega Planet Ocean 600M GMT is a good-looking watch. It’s large at 43.5mm in diameter and 17.04mm thick, and pretty hefty. The watch has most of the diving watch features, such as a helium escape valve (a feature useful only for professional divers), 600 metres water resistance with screw-down crown, bracelet with diver extension and so forth. But the bezel is bi-directional, so that it’s easier to adjust for use with the 24-hour GMT hand. A diver’s watch always has a uni-directional rotating bezel to ensure that the diver can never accidentally decrease the displayed dive time. In this watch, the bezel is marked with a 24-hour scale instead of the 60-minute scale that you would need to see elapsed dive time. So it’s not a diver’s watch even though it’s water-resistant to 600 metres and has a helium escape valve. To underline the fact, Omega have removed the word “Professional” from the dial. So it’s an unusual combination of functions, to my mind a bit perplexing.
The watch is powered by the self-winding Omega calibre 8906 movement, which runs at 25,200 vibrations per hour (3.5 Hertz) and provides a power reserve of 60 hours. It is COSC certified, guaranteeing a precision of max deviation -4/+6 seconds per day, and then certified by METAS, an independent certification organization that tests the cased-up watch for eight parameters including resistance to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss and a precision of max deviation 0/+5 seconds per day.
The watch has a black leather strap with a rubber lining, providing a degree of anti-slip during swimming.
Price and reference
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-Axial Master Chronometer GMT 43.5 mm, reference 184.108.40.206.01.001, costs €7,100, $8,400. Available from August 2016.
4 thoughts on “Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Master Chronometer GMT 43.5 mm”
I can’t decide if this article was written by a Rolex fan-boy or he’s just hating on Omega for some reason.
I love all mechanical watches. My writing is simply a voyage of discovery, I’m learning as I go…
The Bezel on the Rolex GMT Master II is not a bi-ceramic bezel at al. The ceramic is made in a single colour and then once it has been made a chemical process is used to create the second colour. Omega’s process is different because the bezel is made from 2 different colours at the same time during the manufacturing process. Also the “Superlative Chronometer” standard of Rolex is not the “equal” of the METAS certification used by Omega. First, Rolex’s “Superlative Chronometer” is an internal Rolex only standard METAS is an independent external testing process. Second while the chronometric performance is similar the METAS test require the watch to resist a magnetic field of 15000 Gauss and remain within the chronometric performance limits. No Rolex can do this.
Omega has not “matched” the Rolex “Superlative Chronometer” standard. Omega introduced the METAS “Master Chronometer” standard before Rolex introduced their “Superlative Chronometer” certification. However Rolex’s certification is an in-house unverified standard. METAS Master Chronometer certification is an independent and external certification open to all watch manufacturers not just Omega. Rolex cannot match the METAS standard as none of its watches can resist a magnetic field of 15000 Gauss and still keep running let alone keep a chronometric performance equal to the Omega watches given the Master Chronometer certification. The title “Master Chronometer” is also METAS’s designation not Omega’s. As for bi-ceramic bezels Rolex does not have one. Their two colour bezels start off as one colour with the second colour being added by a chemical process after the bezel is made. Omega’s bi-ceramic bezel is just that – two colours of ceramic before and after manufacture. You may find the Planet Ocean GMT perplexing but give Omega credit for taking the industry lead on chronometric performance and materials science. Personally I think Omega should have removed the helium release valve on this watch as well as the “Professional” appellation and just gone for a GMT watch not a diver/GMT hybrid.