Omega has announced the launch of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal in a limited edition of 1948 pieces, in honor of the year the Seamaster was launched. The watch features a ceramic bezel with the numbers and scale made from Liquidmetal, an alloy created by Swatch Group researchers collaborating with Omega’s product development team.
Liquidmetal is an amorphous metal – a metallic material with a disordered, non-crystalline atomic structure. Its fusion temperature is half that of conventional titanium alloys but when it is cooled, its hardness is three times as great as that of stainless steel. Its amorphous structure allows it to bond seamlessly with the ceramic bezel.
The Liquidmetal is a bulk metallic glass alloy consisting of five elements: zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel and beryllium. A bulk metallic glass can, by virtue of its low critical cooling rate, be formed into a structure with a thickness of more than a tenth of a millimeter. Zirconium is an important constituent part both of the Liquidmetal alloy and of the ceramic material which is made of zirconium dioxide (Zr02).
Creating the bezel involves several steps. First, ceramic rings are formed. The numbers and the fine lines of the minute scaling are then engraved into the ceramic bezel rings and polished. The alloy is heated and pressed into the cavities in the ceramic material, after which any excess Liquidmetal is removed. Liquidmetal can be manipulated at a lower temperature than metals normally used in watchmaking, so the heating process does not damage the ceramic material.
The Liquidmetal numbers and scales are then satin brushed. Because the ceramic is a harder material than the alloy, the satin brushing of the fine details can be done without affecting the ceramic bezel. The final, perfectly smooth bezel is particularly resistant to scratching and corrosion because of the hardness of the two components. The ceramic dial matches the color of the bezel exactly. The watch is powered by Omega’s coaxial caliber 2500.
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