Hello, this is my first post on WatchProSite, it is a review that I have written in 2016 when I purchased my Omega. I figured this is a nice place to post this review, since there aren't many review of this titanium version around.
Last summer I purchased one of my grail watches, a watch that I have desired for many years now. Last year December I turned 40, and I thought buying a grail watch would be a great way to commemorate this anniversary. The watch in question is the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph Liquidmetal Titanium. That is a mouthful. The specific model number is 126.96.36.199.03.001. After almost half a year of researching the watch and Googling these numbers, I know them by heart.
At first I wanted to buy the three-handed model in stainless steel. After some research I decided that I would be more pleased with the chronograph, specifically because of the movement. After trying the watches on and getting a close look at the blue Liquidmetal bezel on the titanium model, I was sold. The only issue was the huge price difference. €2000 Euros to be exact. This meant some of the watches in my collection had to find new homes. So last summer I finally pulled the trigger and I thought I might as well write a small review of my new acquisition.
Case width: 45,5mm
Case length: 51mm
Lug width: 22mm
The Seamaster Planet Ocean was first introduced in 2004, as a more luxurious counterpart to the Seamaster 300 meter Professional. The cases are beefier, they have a higher depth rating and basically extend the Seamaster line into the more modern and ‘toolish’ realm. This newer line of Planet Ocean watches is even beefier thanks to the slightly bigger in-house movements introduced by Omega. When I first held it in the metal so to speak, I was immediately impressed by the way the watch felt, both in the hand as well as on the wrist. Having relatively small wrists myself, I didn’t think I could pull off the 45,5 models. However the 45,5, although large, wears smaller due to the short lugs. Being made of titanium the weight of my POC is also kept at a pleasant 160 gram instead of the 250 plus grams of the stainless steel version. I am used to heavy watches having some divers like my SaS Sea-1 and Prometheus Manta Ray that weigh in excess of 240 grams. I was a little afraid I might not like the lighter feel of the POC Ti, but it has just enough weight to let you know that you are wearing it without it feeling uncomfortable. Another thing immediately visible is the exquisite finishing of the case.
The case offers a combination of brushed and polished areas, that are very beautifully defined and the lines on the case flow like lines on a fine sports car. The upper part of the side of the case is highly polished and continues down to the end of the lugs. The lugs are curved inwards creating an elegant fin like edge on top of the lug making the Planet Ocean classic enough to peek out from under a suit sleeve. Unfortunately, that would be the only sleeve this watch could peek out of, being in excess of 19 mm thick. However because of the relatively short 51 mm lug length, the POC wears smaller than it would suggest. The titanium used in this watch very closely resembles stainless steel being just a shade darker. The polished areas shine just as clear and do not have the usual grey hue that is typical of titanium, thanks to the use of grade-5 titanium or Ti-6Al-4V as it is also called. Because of this the case is also significantly lighter than the stainless steel version but still has enough heft to imply quality. I have never been a big fan of titanium mainly because I like the look of stainless steel better, and find some titanium watches to feel flimsy. None of this is the case (no pun intended) here. The watch has a transparent case back showing off the beautiful 9300 movement. Some people find the omission of the beautifully engraved solid case back of the previous Planet Ocean line a bad thing, however, with a movement as beautiful as this, I really do prefer to be able to admire it.
In general Omega uses mat dials for their Planet Ocean line (The new 2016 updated versions introduced at Basel World will have glossy ceramic dials). However this titanium version has a very nice blue lacquered dial with a very rich and deep shade of blue. What I like about it is that it changes colors depending on how the light falls on it, ranging from dark navy blue to a very flashy cobalt blue. In combination with the beautiful blue Liquidmetal bezel and the slightly darker tint of the titanium you get a very eye catching contrasting pallet giving a mesmerizing effect. The applied indices are positioned perfectly and contribute to the perfect legibility of the watch. The classic broad arrow hands continue the reflective effect of the indices making the whole very aesthetically pleasing. The Omega logo and marquee are also applied, and the ‘Seamaster’ in orange really compliment the blue shade of the dial.
The POC has a two register layout giving the watch a classic feel within the contemporary scheme. The two chrono registers at the nine and three o’clock positions have a pattern of concentric circles breaking the monotony of an otherwise all glossy watch face. The little orange plongeur minute hand at the three o’clock position not only fits in perfectly with the complete color scheme but kind of looks like the hands on vintage PloProf divers giving the POC a subtle wink to its dive pedigree. One cool feature is the hour hand on the three o’clock positioned register hidden beneath the minute’s hand. This adds to the legibility and practicality of the watch with great equilibrium. Taking all this in consideration it is my honest opinion that the dial of the POC titanium is one of the most legible and aesthetically pleasing dials on any watch. All this is protected underneath a high quality sapphire glass with no distortion and almost no reflection at all. At certain angles it almost seems to disappear.
The lume on the POC is Superluminova of course, and consists of two colors. The indices and hour hand light up blue, while the minute hand and lume pip on the bezel are green. I have read many reviews of the Planet Oceans, and in all of them the lume is mentioned to be very bright and to last all night. The latter is true, it does, although faintly, last all night. But I was disappointed with the level of brightness of the lume. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I found the lume to be a little on the weak side. After a couple of hours in direct sunlight, I expect the lume to light up a room. In the case of the POC, this is not true. Compared to my Seiko Marinemaster, which can be used as a torch, the lume leaves a lot to be desired. Then again I am comparing it to one of the best in the business. It is very beautiful though and the effect of two colors is something to be admired. If I were to rate the lume from one to ten, ten being the Seiko Monster, I would give it a solid eight.
The POC titanium has a beautiful ceramic bezel insert with the Liquidmetal technology used for the scale numerals and markings. The shade of blue is slightly lighter than the lacquered dial. Just like the dial, it also reacts to light changing from almost a grayish blue to dark blue. Unlike the ceramic bezel found on the black Planet Ocean, this bezel is polished to a high gloss. Touching the scale with the top of my nail, I can vaguely feel the relief where the Liquidmetal has been deposited. The bezel itself has a nice action. The 120 clicks are clear and positive and there is absolutely no play.
This titanium version was the first of the Planet Oceans to receive the Liquidmetal bezel since the limited edition of the previous line. It is also the very first Planet Ocean to receive a blue dial and to be constructed completely out of titanium. This is very nice from a historical point of view. The next generation of titanium Planet Oceans will no longer come in blue (as far as I know) so who knows, this model might get some collectors appeal in the future.
A lot has been said about the caliber 9300 housed in the POC. It has been around since 2011 and has enjoyed great acclaim. It is a COSC certified movement and is known to be very accurate. In the first days, mine seemed to run a second slow a day and gain that second again overnight. After the first week it started to gain less than one second a day consistently. After three weeks of continuous wear the watch has gained a total of 6 seconds. That is quite impressive. I had also ran the chronograph for 24 hours one day to see if it affected the accuracy, but that did not seem to have any effect. After half a year (not continuous) the accuracy seems to have stabilized at around plus 2 to 3 seconds a day. This might have to do with the occasional dormant periods.
Apart from the performance of the movements, it is also very aesthetically pleasing. The movement is decorated with Rhodium plated parts, beautiful and unusual Côtes de Genève in Arabesque, and perlage on the lower main plate. It also has blackened screws that turn a deep and dark shade of blue when viewed at certain angles. Thanks to the sapphire case back this work of art can be glanced upon at will. Other contemporary contenders of this movement are of course the Breitling B01 and the Tag Heuer caliber 1969 (or CH80). Both have higher power reserve ratings of 70 hours versus the 60 hours of the 9300, but the 9300 has two barrels (DLC coated) running in tandem, giving the 9300 a more even rate over a longer period of time. Just like the 1969 and the B01, the 9300 offers a column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch, but has a free sprung balance mounted on a full bridge increasing its shock resistance. It also has a silicon balance spring, a special DLC coated balance wheel made from a special alloy and of course three level co-axial escapement. Thanks to this, stability is increased and service intervals are further apart. The design of the 9300 using the classic two register lay out to display three register functionality is one of the features that sets it apart. Both the recorded hour and minutes can easily be read without much effort. This set up also lends for the chronograph to be used as a second time. In combination with the possibility to set the hour hand individually without stopping the balance or altering the minutes hand gives this the POC almost a GMT functionality. The action of the ceramic clad pushers is buttery smooth both to start and stop, as well as to reset.
No doubt the 9300 from Omega is one of the most modern and technologically advanced mass produced movements of its time. The next generation of this family of movements (caliber 8900/9900) will now be completely antimagnetic (METAS certified) making them even more advanced.
My POC came on a solid titanium bracelet. I am not a huge fan of rubber straps so I opted for the bracelet. It took a little getting used to the weight of the bracelet, being a lot lighter than the stainless steel version. However because of that it somehow felt more stable. I expected the watch to be top heavy, but I was absolutely wrong. Even with the bracelet fitted a little lose on my wrist, the watch keeps its position perfectly. The clasp is very nice, milled out of a solid block of titanium. It opens and shuts perfectly without any play. It has a nice diver’s extension that adds an additional inch or so. Even the little pins on the extension are made of ceramic making it even more durable. The addition of screws instead of pins to hold the links makes this bracelet one of the best out there.
The Planet Ocean has been a grail of mine for a very long time. I feel very lucky to, not only have been able to buy one, but to have had this opportunity to buy this higher end version being both a chronograph as well as the more exclusive titanium Liquidmetal version. I am ecstatic with this POC. It is far beyond everything I expected. I love the color, the weight and shine of the titanium, the Liquidmetal is really unbelievable and the 9300 movement is the most accurate I have ever owned. With the exception of the lume, which is good but still second to Seiko headlights, there is nothing negative I can find with this watch. Some reviews mentioned the lack of micro adjustment for the clasp, but for me that is not an issue. Besides, the 22mm lugs are perfect for changing straps. I am wearing mine with a flat shark mesh bracelet giving the POC a very classical retro look.
The new line of Planet Oceans has hit the stores. Many new models have been introduced featuring new technologies like rubber in ceramic, new colors of Liquidmetal bezels, and ceramic dials and even an all ceramic case (Deep black). Undoubtedly the prices will also be jacked up to compete with the likes of Rolex et al.
This does mean that the production of the older line, will eventually halt. Being the first models with the 8500/9300 family of movement I believe that this second line of Planet Oceans will become classics after some time. Especially this blue titanium Liquidmetal model.
Classic yet modern styling
Nice wrist presence
Lume is not as bright as Seiko’s Lumibrite Large watch, not for all wrists