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 126.96.36.199.01.001, costs €7,100, $8,400. Available from August 2016.