Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Magnificent Seven Seas

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    The Magnificent Seven Seas



    If you’ve seen my other photo features, you’ll know that I’m a great big Rolex fanboy, particularly the Sub. But this photo piece is dedicated to another classic dive watch series – the Omega Seamaster. I’m no authority (on anything!) – but I’ve bought and sold a number of rep Seamasters, and the selection here are my keepers… for now.

    The Seamaster has been around since 1948 - the first Seamaster watches following the utility models produced for the British military during WWII. As with many Omega lines, there’s been a tremendous variety of Seamaster designs available. The range included (and still includes) dress as well as dive models.

    A common theme of the dive Omegas I’ve collected is that none of them is overtly associated with the 007 brand. Omega has exploited its Bond association to such an extent it’s a bit, well… silly, really. Slapping the name of a fictional character all over a watch is kinda lame. However, cartoon characters are fine. Snoopy is entirely acceptable. Closely followed by Mickey Mouse.

    Anyway… on to the watches!


    OMEGA 165.024 / 166.024 SEAMASTER 300

    In my humble opinion, this vintage Seamaster is the pinnacle of effortlessly cool looking Omega style. Function and aesthetics collide perfectly. At 42mm it was a big watch by the standards of the day, but the sinuously shaped, beautiful case is slim and feels perfectly balanced. There’s an excellent site dedicated to the model here, should you want to delve deeper into its design and history.

    A funny footnote to the history of the watch: Although called the 300, the watch was only certified to 200 metres. While some say that the name reflects the extensive testing done on the watch to assess its true capabilities, others have said that the name was picked because “300” is a cooler sounding number than “200” …

    I own two examples of the watch. One is a Franken, the other is a stock Cartel piece, recently reissued and available from your friendly local TD (at time of writing). There’s a gulf of difference between the two – most notably in the case shaping – and way more than the difference you’d find between, say, equivalent Sub reps. You’ll see what I mean in the comparison pics below.


    Franken Seamaster 300



    This was built by Alhig72 - a real aficionado of vintage Omega, and very talented watch builder too. It has:
    • Vietnam case/crown
    • Vietnam hour/minute hand
    • Gen seconds hand
    • Gen service dial (supplied by Cousins before Swatch group clamped down on selling parts)
    • Gen Omega 565 movement

    The watch has a “Naiad” style 6.8mm crown (although it lacks the original’s 3-pointed star inside the Omega logo). This doesn’t screw down – water pressure was intended to push the crown in to seal it against water ingress. Unfortunately, this led to the gen watch being prone to leaking at shallow depths!

    The gen service dial is identified by having a square-cornered white box around the date window – it doesn’t have the original dial’s rounded corners.
































    Cartel Seamaster 300



    This example was bought M2M, specifically to see how different the Franken/stock watches were. I was half-hoping the Cartel jobbo would fulfil my Seamaster 300 desires for not too much money, and allow me to sell the Franken… However, upon seeing them both it was clear why the VN case set is so worth the money. The case shape of the Cartel is way off – with nothing like the sculptural shaping of the gen’s. The bezel is also smaller because its outer edges are thinner than the Franken’s.

    That having been said, the Cartel is still a nice little watch and I’m happy to keep them both. At some point I may feel brave enough to attempt reshaping the Cartel case – after all, what’s the worst that could happen...?

    The Cartel watch is fashioned after a military issue no date and has the later style 6.4mm screw-down crown, introduced to fix leakage problems with the earlier Naiad design.






















    To demonstrate the difference in the shaping of these two representations of the same watch, I took a few pics of them stacked up. The startling differences in the case shaping becomes very clear…








    OMEGA SEAMASTER PLANET OCEAN 45.5mm

    The Planet Ocean debuted in 2005 and its design has strong cues back to the 300: the sinuous case design, the seconds hand and 12 6 9 dial all nods back to the original professional dive model.
    While these days there are 109 variations of 27 models (FFS!) of Planet Ocean to choose from, back in 2005 you could have just black or orange bezel, and 42mm or 45.5mm.

    I absolutely love both the look and the feel of these POs. They’re beautifully designed; big, and solid, but with a completely ergonomic shape that makes them really comfortable to wear. Like the transition from the original Sub to the Sub-C, these watches ooze “evolution, not revolution” – a phrase coined by Porsche, who apply this philosophy to the development of the 911.


    Omega Planet Ocean 1st gen “UPO”



    This is an older rep (circa 2016) that’s no longer available – made by Noob I believe. It’s a copy of a first gen PO, and the rep was known as the Ultimate Edition (hence UPO). It has a fake “antimagnetic iron” shielding plate over the movement, which is a nice (if ultimately pointless!) detail.
    • Gen crown (from Cousins)
    • Gen Swiss 2824-2 ETA (the movement that the Omega caliber 2500 in these watches was based on)

    When I got the watch, I discovered it had no movement tabs installed. Replacing those didn’t help with the tricky time-setting and winding though – the crown was slipping and often wouldn’t engage at all. The previous seller claimed it had just been serviced, but didn’t specify by what breed of watch-monkey. Anyway, I sold the watch with these stated faults, the new owner got it serviced properly and had a gen crown fitted, and then because I missed it so badly he kindly sold it back to me! Thanks RikRacy!




























    Omega Planet Ocean 2nd gen



    The second-generation PO is very similar to the first – but subtle detail changes were made to pretty much every part of the watch. It also got a little thicker than the first gen, to accommodate the new in-house 8500 caliber movement. The anti-magnetic qualities of this movement allowed Omega to dispense with the iron shielding and show it off under a display caseback.

    My example was another M2M buy, supplied with a gen bezel insert. It’s running on a 2836 – so the display caseback only goes to show off the fact it’s a rep!

    This version of the watch, with its bright orange bezel insert and numerals, is known as the “pumpkin”. I’ve never been able to work out why…




























    OMEGA 166.077 SEAMASTER “PLOPROF”

    One of the first dive watches to catch my attention when I started collecting was the Omega “Ploprof”. The name Ploprof is a shortening of the French term “Plongeur Professionnel” (Professional Diver). There’s an excellent in-depth guide to its history here.

    The Seamaster 600 (ref 166.077) launched in 1970. Omega, Rolex and Doxa were all involved in developing ways to protect deep dive watches from the effects of the helium build-up that occurs during saturation diving. Rolex/Doxa developed the helium escape valve, whereas Omega’s solution was to prevent helium getting into the watch at all; hence the Ploprof’s massive structure.
    The design also incorporates a big, anodised orange security locking button, to prevent accidental rotation of the bezel.

    The 600’s updated successor, the 1200, launched in 2009. To cope with the extra depth rating the 1200 had an automatic helium release valve under the bezel lock button housing. It had a sapphire crystal bezel insert, and Co-Axial 8500 movement.

    In 2015 the Ploppy 1200 was updated with the Co-Axial 8912 anti-magnetic movement and other detail changes including a display caseback, titanium case and ceramic bezel.

    The design of the Ploprof is completely bonkers – so I just had to get a rep of it. The 2009 model was repped, but has been out of production for several years; they’ve since become hen’s teeth grail watches on the forums and never last more than a couple of minutes before being snapped up! (This being the case, I’m surprised that the watch is no longer repped, particularly the latest version. I guess it really is a Marmite, niche model!)

    Through a combination of WTB posts and luck, I’ve ended up owning three.

    The rep version of the Ploprof spanned 3 versions. I don’t know what factory made it – it’s not something I’ve been able to find out. I’ve seen a reference to the watch being produced by “WE”. If anyone does know, perhaps they could add their knowledge to this thread.

    In use, the Ploprof is undeniably heavy to wear and feels a little clumsy due to its tall profile, although it is comfortable enough on the wrist. The left-handed, heavily guarded crown with its attached metal hood is a bit fiddly for time/date setting, and it always feels like one is on the verge of doing the movement a nasty mischief… I find it best to turn the watch so the crown is oriented on the right and make adjustments while looking at the dial upside-down (otherwise I accidentally rotate the crown the wrong way).

    I find the thick rubber strap pretty uncomfortable, and for me it wears way better on the mesh.

    It’s not a watch I wear that often – but I enjoy looking at it as much as wearing it.

    Omega Ploprof 1200 (Rep V.1)

    I haven’t owned a v1, so no pics – just info. The rep first appeared back in 2009 or thereabouts. It ran on a 2813. The bezel locking button was only cosmetic – the bezel rotated either way, without holding it down. The version 1 had a laminated crystal and issues with delaminating… if exposed to water (!). The dial featured an incorrect Omega logo with “happy feet” – small upturns on the ends of the Omega symbol’s feet. The caseback on the gen is in two parts, this was just one piece.


    Omega Ploprof 1200 (Rep v1.5)



    This version has a corrected Omega logo on the dial. I believe (as far as I can find, searching old threads) that this is the only significant difference between the v1 and v1.5.

    The v1.5 has a serial number stamped on the case: 82076507 - which differs from the v2’s (see below).

    I picked mine up as a result of a WTB post. A guy in Aus dropped me a PM and the deal was done. I stripped this one down to clean finger marks and dust off the dial and crystal, so it’s all tickety-boo.




















    Omega Ploprof 1200 (Rep v2)





    The v2 runs on an ETA 2834-2. The case has the serial number 82058507 stamped on the back.

    The v2 improved further on the rep by having improvements to the clasp (more gen-like), the strap (ditto), the crystal (no longer laminated, better AR), having a functional push-button bezel lock, better lume, and correct 2-piece caseback.

    Both of mine were picked up in M2M sales, which I was fortunate to pounce on the moment they came up.



























    I love the look of the white dial version – although on the supplied white rubber I think it looks a bit too “hairdresser’s watch” (hence the switch to orange, which transforms it into a piece of macho chick bait, and no mistake). Alas, the white hands are incorrect – they should be silver. But overall, the white version makes an eye-catching design even more so!


























    Finally, a group lume shot of the Ploppy Gang…




    And that’s it! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little celebration of some deepseafaring Omegas.

    I’ve mentioned throughout this piece that the watches featured were all acquired M2M through the rep fora. So I’d like to close by thanking the rep community, and of course RWG, RWI and RG, who have given me the opportunity to spend all my spare time and spare money in the pursuit of, and obsessing over, small clockwork things.
    FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build - Tudors! (COMING SOON!)

    #2
    Very nice read with some great pics - thanks !

    Comment


      #3
      Great review and photos, as usual - thank you! I'm a little surprised you don't have a more recent SMP with the "wavy" dial, I find those quite attractive.
      I have too many not enough watches.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by p0pperini View Post
        Omega Planet Ocean 1st gen “UPO”

        This is an older rep (circa 2016) that’s no longer available – made by Noob I believe. It’s a copy of a first gen PO, and the rep was known as the Ultimate Edition (hence UPO). It has a fake “antimagnetic iron” shielding plate over the movement, which is a nice (if ultimately pointless!) detail.
        • Gen crown (from Cousins)
        • Gen Swiss 2824-2 ETA (the movement that the Omega caliber 2500 in these watches was based on)

        When I got the watch, I discovered it had no movement tabs installed. Replacing those didn’t help with the tricky time-setting and winding though – the crown was slipping and often wouldn’t engage at all. The previous seller claimed it had just been serviced, but didn’t specify by what breed of watch-monkey. Anyway, I sold the watch with these stated faults, the new owner got it serviced properly and had a gen crown fitted, and then because I missed it so badly he kindly sold it back to me! Thanks RikRacy!
        Dear p0pperini

        Happy Holidays! Thank you for sharing your collection, great photos, and write up.

        Do you know if there is a watch similar to your watch above currently available?

        Solid caseback, 2824, CrPO bezel, bracelet with screws (in place of pins)

        Thank you !
        Last edited by museguy; 22-12-20, 01:07.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by DrHack View Post
          Great review and photos, as usual - thank you! I'm a little surprised you don't have a more recent SMP with the "wavy" dial, I find those quite attractive.
          I had one, but as soon as I saw it in the steel I realized it wasn’t for me and flipped it. The slightly tricksy look didn’t appeal to me and I really don’t like the “oversized nut” bezel - the whole watch looks over-designed.

          museguy - sorry, I’m not keeping up to speed on the current TD offerings.
          FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build - Tudors! (COMING SOON!)

          Comment


            #6
            Beautiful presentation again bro, you've still got it! Love the white Ploppy, it's a odd monster of a watch but I know I would take right to it. Bravo!

            Hey they should have called those the SeaMonster, haha.
            Last edited by KJ2020; 22-12-20, 08:59.
            We are all related in time since time is relative to us all.
            GMT Movements Explained
            BP Rolex 16710 GMT Full Review VS Gen
            Swap your CHS movement to ICHS - possible?
            The Fantasy Watch Thread
            Noob GMT's poor bezel design
            Ceramic insert paint mod

            Double Nine Gonzo!

            Comment


              #7
              Stunning & thanks for the redirect.
              I'll park some time later to properly digest everything above, but initially just wanted to say thank you and wow, some serious beasts there.
              "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time"

              "Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get"

              Nerds Assemble - Tissot Trip - Breitling Break - Pams Photo Parade

              Comment


                #8
                Great post and great pictures!

                Comment

                Working...
                X