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First Look: Omega Explores New Depths with Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional


The quest for the world’s most waterproof timepiece has been going on, at this point, for the better part of a century — and in a sense you could say it’s been a decades-long battle of record-setting between a handful of bold and technically ambitious watch manufacturers. If we want to stick with that analogy, the latest salvo was fired earlier this year by Omega, which — somewhat quietly, until its big reveal this afternoon at London’s British Museum — built a special model of the Seamaster Planet Ocean that accompanied adventurer and explorer Victor Vescovo in his record-breaking descent into the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in all of Earth’s oceans, and thus established a new standard for wristwatch water-resistance.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep - side

Vescovo, as part of his “Five Deeps” series of expeditions to the deepest points in all of Earth’s five oceans, piloted the Limiting Factor, a specially built submersible whose hull is made of grade 5 titanium, into the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Marian Trench. (You may recall that Omega’s competitor, Rolex, famously reached a then-record depth of 35,787 feet in the Challenger Deep back in 2012, in an expedition headed by filmmaker James Cameron. Vescovo’s expedition discovered a slightly deeper point, reaching 10,928 meters, or 35,853 feet.)

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep - soldier

The 55-mm case of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep Professional — only three were made, and none for commercial sale — was machined from cutouts from that titanium hull and required the use of a new, weld-free forging technique. The impressive result was a case that measured just shy of 28 mm thick but was tested to withstand water-pressures to an astounding and nearly unprecedented 15,000 meters — basically 22.5 tons of pressure.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep - profile

Obviously it’s not just the case itself that is a concern in a watch for extreme depths, but the sapphire crystal. Omega took inspiration from the loadbearing conical design of the viewports on the Limiting Factor submersible, using LiquidMetal, a material Omega and other brands within the Swatch Group have long utilized, for a “firm yet flexible” assembly. Omega’s patent-pending “hot bonding” technique allowed the watchmakers to avoid the use of more traditional polymer seals and thus reduce the crystal’s thickness, to just 9.5 mm. The openworked “Manta” style lugs are fully integrated into the case and help reduce the case’s overall load. The Five Deeps Expedition logo is engraved on the caseback in a pattern of concentric circles that evoke the sonar technology used in the expeditions.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep - caseback

Despite its massive size and high-tech tooling, the watch is in every sense an Omega, and the company has already stated that some of its technical innovations will be applied to future commercial dive watches. It has a matte black dial (thus to avoid reflections underwater) with luminous numerals, a ceramic dive-scale bezel, a sandblasted finish on the titanium case, and even an element that alludes to Omega’s Moonwatches from the Speedmaster family: a polyamide strap with a velcro closure, similar to the type used on space missions. The straps were chosen strategically as the best type to fasten and hold the three Ultra-Deep watches in their positions outside the hull of the submersible — two attached to the robotic arms, the other to one of the “landers” that scour the ocean floor for scientific data.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep - angle

For Omega, the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep Professional is not just about World’s Deepest Watch bragging rights but a new chapter in its diving history — from the Omega Marine in 1932 to the first Seamaster in 1948, to the game-changing Seamaster 300 in ’57 and Ploprof in ’70, and beyond. It just goes to show that even in an Omega year so dominated by its history of space travel, the brand is still making historic strides right here on Earth.

 

9 Responses to “First Look: Omega Explores New Depths with Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional”

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  1. William Stalvey

    I would encourage Omega to produce this particular watch at a fair price….make it affordable and you will see people jump on that Ultra 8…I personally wear the Rolex deepsea d blue and own Omega ploprof and am always willing to experiment with bigger and better….contact me if you need any more intel….

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  2. Gerry Dimatos

    Rolex’s Deep Sea Challenge Deep Sea is rated to 12,000m, or around 39,000ft.
    Omega has been playing catch-up ever since…
    Whilst the Omega holds the record this is because James Cameron’s expedition did not find Vasco’s slightly deeper point in the Mariana Trench….
    Both watches are monstrosities…
    From Gerry Dimatos.
    From Gerry Dimatos

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  3. Gerry Dimatos

    Whilst I do respect Omega as a brand, I certainly would not compare them to Rolex – ever.
    Given that they found an even deeper point of the Mariana Trench and found an extra 10 feet changed nothing.
    Omega should have spent the money elsewhere.
    No one will buy this watch even when it does become commercially available.
    Apart from the original Speedmaster which is a standout design that Omega had the common sense to leave alone the constant chopping and changing of their designs – especially the Planet Ocean leaves Omega with no real image of what an Omega should look like…
    The use of ETA movements in the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s really hurt the brand and they have never really recovered…
    From Gerry Dimatos in Melbourne Australia.

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  4. Joe Grubenhoff

    I guess I’m missing the point of a watch that can withstand ridiculous pressures the no human diver could ever tolerate and then strapping it to the hull of a submersible where it seems the pilot couldn’t read it. What exactly has been proven? Accomplished? It’s as practical an endeavor as designing a watch the could survive the heat of the solar corona. I certainly understand pushing the limits in horology to inspire innovation for more pedestrian timepieces that one could purchase and wear but this crosses the border of absurdity.

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  5. Abraham

    Beautiful watch, but given its size, can it rally be regarded as a wristwatch? A picture of it on the wrist may give us an idea?

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  6. Martin Reeves

    An absolute tour de force that, despite enormous and complex engineering and manufacturing challenges, resulted in a stunning looking watch! Impressive. Congratulations to the Omega team!

    Reply
  7. Son Nguyen

    Would you please let me know the price of the Ultra Deep Blue…Thank you so much for your time.

    Reply
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