Main Technical Differences Between The PloProf 600M and 1200M
The construction of the case and locking mechanism is exactly where the main difference between the original Omega PloProf 600 and the PloProf 1200 of 2009 can be found. The Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200M (reference 126.96.36.199.01.001) does not have a monocoque case and uses a helium valve. Also, the crown has a different mechanism to it. Of course, the movement is also different. As you know, Omega is working hard to make sure most of its watches will have the in-house-developed Co-Axial movement. The Seamaster Ploprof 1200 has the in-house developed Caliber 8500 movement that we’ve also seen in a number of other Seamaster and De Ville watches. (The original Ploprof 600 uses the Omega caliber 1002 movement.) The new watch still comes with an Isofrane strap or the beautiful, stainless steel mesh bracelet. I won’t elaborate on the Co-Axial caliber 8500 movement as it has been discussed here several times.
The photos in this article show you the differences between the watches in detail. The red pusher (needs to be pushed to rotate the bezel) made of plastic has been replaced by a metal pusher, the side of the bezel has changed so there is more grip on the new one, the caseback is now screw-down and has a number of engravings on it (including the Seahorse), instead of just an industrial-looking machined finish. The dial of the new model is also quite different. Not only has the location of the date changed from 3 o’clock to 4:30, but it also has a glossy finish and “rich” hour markers.
In my opinion, the Omega Seamaster PloProf 600 is a dedicated and perhaps ‘hardcore’ tool watch for divers, whereas the new Seamaster PloProf 1200 is a true divers’ watch as well as being a timepiece for watch enthusiasts. The new watch was created for a different reason, so to speak. Nevertheless, I would have a hard time making a choice between these two watches in terms of ownership. The vintage Ploprof is awesome and chances are good that the ones you will find out there really have been used for diving purposes (more later). The new Ploprof 1200 is a new watch created by modern machinery and using modern techniques, but I do think that Omega did a helluvajob on this piece. Even with the small design changes and the lack of a monocoque case, it is still a very very cool watch to own. In the end, I believe you can’t go wrong with either one of them.
The Ultimate Cool
Although I refuse to believe that this Omega Ploprof was ever a big seller — the vintage model or the current model — I consider it to be one of the coolest diving watches around. I’ve had the Seamaster PloProf on my wrist for quite a while and, although it looks odd at first, it was quite easy to get used to. Both the Isofrane strap and the mesh bracelet are very comfortable and I noticed that even though the size – or rather dimensions – of the watch look intimidating, it is quite easy to wear. I have worn my share of 44-mm Panerai Luminor watches and I have to say that those were more noticeable than the Ploprof in terms of weight. With them, I always felt the urge to take them off after a day of wearing them in the office, but this Ploprof model felt just fine throughout the day. Probably the ultimate cool was the fact that Italian “king of style” Gianni Agnelli — who was known for making his own fashion rules rather than following the current ones — wore this Omega Seamaster PloProf as well, over his sleeves. It shows that even though the Seamaster PloProf was intended as a hardcore divers’ tool watch in the 1970s, it caught the eye of those who saw watches as a style object. (The photo below was taken from TZ-UK, published by Stefan.)
On the other hand, the PloProf was definitely used by professional divers (like the COMEX and Cousteau divers). With all due respect to Agnelli, that’s really the “cool factor” about this watch for me — even though it’s likely that the watch won’t get to see more water than the occasional hotel swimming pool if I’m wearing it. (It is the same with the Omega Speedmaster Pro, really: I know it was on the moon and used by NASA, even though sitting in a 747 at 10,000 meters in the air is probably the closest mine will ever get to outer space. The Omega Seamaster PloProf – new or vintage – isn’t really for the faint-hearted, but in my opinion it is an awesome watch that could be used for daily wear. It is a watch that can take some serious abuse, goes with any kind of attire, and is a great conversation piece. You should be able to find one of the vintage PloProf models fairly easily, but keep in mind that some of them have had a restoration in the meantime and could have a service dial provided by Omega. Make sure you get yourself informed about these details before you buy one. There is nothing much wrong with an all-restored model if you want it for daily use, but keep in mind that it does affect the (collectible) value of such a timepiece. Depending on the condition, we’ve found Omega PloProf watches for sale between $6,000 USD and $10,000. Some of these are complete, with box and papers; others are the watch only.
Reference 188.8.131.52.01.001 (the current Omega PloProf), is in the brand’s current collection, and there are actually five different versions. Three versions have a black dial and either a stainless steel mesh bracelet, black rubber strap, or orange rubber strap. Then there are two versions with a white dial, which come with either a stainless steel mesh bracelet or a white rubber strap. These new models start at around 7,000 euros ($9,400) for the models with a rubber strap.
If you are looking for a serious dive watch that you can wear on a daily basis, with modern technology on board and a comfortable bracelet or strap, the new Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200M is awesome. If you are more into vintage Omega watches, then the PloProf 600M might be more your speed. However, for all-around use (including the occasional dip in a swimming pool), I’d lean more toward the current model.