The new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey removes weight, but does it add value?Zach Blass
- The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey uses a new silicon nitride ceramic [Si3N4] case that is 2x lighter than conventional ceramic.
- Its dial, bezel, and in-house 8906 movement are crafted in grade 5 titanium.
- The new case material, and titanium components, result in a weight of 107g – but is that enough to justify the US$22,200 price tag?
The innovative spirit of Omega cannot be understated. This is the conglomerate brand that adopted the Co-Axial escapement, produced an array of coloured ceramics before it was the norm, created the METAS certification, and developed Spirate – which allows them to regulate a watch between 0/+2 seconds per day. Today they have announced their latest development, a new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey that uses a new silicon nitride ceramic [Si3N4] case that is two times lighter than conventional ceramic and a new variant of their in-house automatic 8906 calibre crafted in grade 5 titanium. The only problem is: does the novelty justify its higher price tag?
Let’s rewind for a second. Dimensionally speaking, the specs are unchanged in comparison to previous Planet Ocean 600m GMT watches in ceramic with the dimensions remaining at 45.5mm in diameter, 17.4mm in thickness, and 51.5mm lug-to-lug. The crown, helium escape valve, and bezel ring are crafted in grade 5 titanium, offering a contrasting hue to the dark grey ceramic elements of the case. As I mentioned before, the new silicon nitride ceramic [Si3N4] case is billed to be two times lighter than conventional ceramic. This new ceramic, paired with the external titanium elements and a dial made of sandblasted grade 5 titanium aids in Omega’s pursuit for the watch to be as lightweight and robust as possible.
Internally, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey also aids in the lightweight mission with a new variant of the familiar METAS-certified 8906 Co-Axial movement: the 8906 Ti. Crafted in black ceramised grade 5 titanium, the movement foregoes the usual Geneva waves in arabesque for a more future-forward grained-matte texture with machined bevels. It is both a sleek and stealthy look much more apt for this release – traditional decorations would have felt out of place here. The in-house automatic calibre offers 60 hours of power reserve, and METAS Master Chronometer certification, along with date and GMT functionality.
All of this sounds and looks nice, but in the context of its US$22,200 retail price questions arise. Above, you can see both the Deep Black and new Dark Grey Planet Ocean watches. They each share the same dimensions and movement functionality, but where they differ is in colour, type of ceramic used, the material of the dial, the material of the buckle on its rubber strap, and the variant of the 8906 movement used. The Deep Black has a conventional black ceramic case, black ceramic dial, standard 8906 movement, and a black ceramic folding clasp. The new Dark Grey uses the new Si3N4 ceramic case, a sandblasted grade 5 titanium dial, a new 8906 Ti movement with black ceramised grade 5 titanium mainplate and bridges, and a grade 5 titanium buckle. This amounts to a weight difference of 31 grams, with the Deep Black having a total weight of 138 grams and the new Dark Grey a total of 107 grams. The price difference, however, is much larger, with the Deep Black price nearly half as much with an MSRP of US$12,300.
To be clear, I have yet to try this new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey on the wrist. I cannot speak to how much lighter the Dark Grey would feel on the wrist than the Deep Black. But, I do know that my titanium Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211, a smaller 41mm watch to be fair, weighs a total of 100 grams. Clearly Omega is placing some of the R&D cost burden of the new Si3N4 material onto the consumer. What remains to be seen is whether or not the Omega fanbase will be willing to bite. I certainly applaud Omega for developing a lighter and more robust blend of ceramic, but I cannot help but wonder if the market really wanted or needed this innovation – at least at this price. I do know, however, that Omega fans would love to see a slimmer version of this watch. Perhaps case dimensions, rather than materials, would be the next best step.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey pricing and availability
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey is available now for purchase. Price: US$22,200
|Model||Seamaster Planet Ocean Dark Grey|
|Case Dimensions||45.5mm (D) x 17.4mm (T) x x 51.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Grey silicon nitride ceramic [Si3N4] case|
|Water Resistance||600m (screw-down crown)|
|Dial||Grey, sandblasted grade 5 titanium|
|Crystal||Sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback|
|Strap||Grey rubber strap w/ titanium folding clasp|
|Movement||In-house automatic 8906 Ti|
|Power Reserve||60 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT|