Posted by Nick L. on March 30, 2020
Why am I reviewing a watch that is not a new release, and actually was replaced years ago with a newer model? Because I thought that reviewing the most special watch in my collection would be a good first article for WatchCharts.
Cutting to the chase, the reason why it is so special is that my wife (before she was my wife), bought this watch for me as a wedding gift. I wore it during our wedding and had it on when our son was born. So despite the fact that I’ve bought and sold countless watches, this is the one watch that will always stay with me.
I even bought black Orient Ray watches for all of my groomsmen so that we could have a similar style during the wedding (sorry guys, but four more Planet Oceans were not in the budget).
What kicked off my obsession with watches, was actually my wife (accidentally of course). I had always had a background interest in watches, but didn’t really know what made a good one. I knew that TAGs were nice, and Rolexes were really nice, but that was about it. When she dropped a hint about buying me a watch, were I to ever propose, it got the engineer in me doing ALL the research. It also made ring shopping a little less daunting if I could work my way into a jewelry store by starting at the watch case.
So how did we settle on the Planet Ocean Chronograph? I knew that I wanted a timeless style and something with a special movement. The “PO” with its 2500 movement had the timeless style, and the co-axial escapement beating away inside gave the movement some serious credit (thanks George Daniels).
Now I just had to struggle through the decision of the reference number, as Omega offered so many variations. I tried on the 42, and 45.5mm versions in various colors countless times. I did not even consider the chronograph due to the MSRP being nearly double that of the three-hander. I had bought many watches online used, but I did not want to suggest to my fiancé that she take such a risk on such an expense. My mind told me that I am a classy guy, and I should want the 42mm size. But every time that I tried one on next to a 45mm, the 42mm felt too small. Luckily I did not have to make that decision…
Around this time, we were walking past a local jewelry store. She knew that I loved to browse, so we went in. They had a beautiful orange bezel Planet Ocean Chronograph on display. I asked the owner about it, and surprisingly, the price was less than the AD wanted for the non-chronograph. I thought that the orange looked really great, but I wanted something that I could wear in all situations. Believe it or not, he said that he also had a black one, but it wasn’t in the shop at the time. Long story short, she went in a few weeks later and purchased the black one for me!
The watch came with its original bracelet, as well as a rubber tang strap. I then purchased a rubber with white stitching deployant, and an Omega seatbelt mesh. Lately, I’ve also been wearing it on a few colors of elastic and woven straps from StrapHabit.com (full disclosure, I also run the site).
Now, on to the review!
Let’s get one thing out of the way: this watch is not small. That being said, the sloped bezel, angled lugs, and case shape mean that the watch does wear smaller than its dimensions suggest (see later in the review). The standard “hold the camera and point it towards your arm” wrist shot makes any watch look bigger than it actually is. It’s on the big end of watches that I would wear, but I don’t think that it attracts attention, or stands out, especially on one of the straps. It is quite heavy, but I like a heavy watch.
The bracelet is fantastic, but I find that the watch wears best on one of the fitted rubber straps, or an elastic strap. This reduces the overall weight and helps the watch to hug the wrist better.
For reference, I have ~7.25in (18.4cm) wrists.
This watch contains the Omega cal 3313. I have read that Omega starts with a Frédéric Piguet 1285 and adds the co-axial escapement. This is not your typical off-the-shelf ETA movement, nor does it have a chronograph module added. It has a free-sprung balance wheel, and chronograph with a vertical clutch and column-wheel mechanism. It has 37 jewels, is COSC certified, and has a 55-hour power reserve. In other words, all the bells and whistles. Seriously guys, this is a real-deal movement, and probably one of the best that you can get for the price that these watches command on the second-hand market.
One thing to note is that the movement is uni-directional winding. You can often hear rotor spin if you make a quick wrist motion. The hand-winding also feels quite smooth. Due to the column wheel and vertical clutch, the chronograph operation is superb. The pushers have a very crisp feeling, and the seconds hand starts without the typical stutter of other movements like a 7750.
The Planet Ocean Chronograph is 45.5mm wide and 17.5mm thick. It has the typical Omega lyre lugs that are polished on top, and brushed on the sides. The caseback is a work of art. I would love to be able to see the movement, but this caseback is more fitting for a dive watch. Plus, without the exhibition back, Omega is able to install an antimagnetic iron disc to further protect the movement from magnetic disturbance. The watch is water-resistant to 600m, which is pretty impressive, especially for a chronograph. The case also has dual lug holes for fitting various types of straps and bracelets. The lug width is 22mm.
One of my favorite features of this watch is the black rings around the pushers. Despite their appearance, they do not screw-down, making the chronograph much more convenient to use (I dislike screw-down pushers). Supposedly they can be used underwater without leaking, but this is not something that I plan to try. The helium release valve is also easy to screw/unscrew. I’m sure that I’ll never use this feature, but it is nice to know that if it is accidentally left unscrewed, it is still 50m water-resistant.
The crystal has a significant dome, yet at almost any angle, there is no distortion, making the watch very easy to read. In many conditions, it looks like it is not there at all. I have read that some versions of the Planet Ocean had a blue anti-reflective coating on the crystal. Mine does not have this. I’m not sure if it uses a different type of coating, or if the previous owner removed the coating from mine. Note that my case has also been refinished.
The bezel has almost no play. It is the perfect amount of stiffness so that it will not turn by accident, but the scalloped sides make it easy to grip. I do not dive, but I imagine that it would be perfect with diving gloves on. The newer ceramic bezels do look sharp, but the aluminum bezel matches the character of this watch better. I also really like the font chosen.
I LOVE how Omega uses the vintage Seamaster font and layout of the numbered indices on the Planet Ocean range with the open 6 and 9. Or perhaps I should say “used” since it was phased out with the 9300 generation Planet Ocean Chronograph. The chronograph also has smaller ticks in between the minute markers, which are not present on the 3-hand version, allowing for fine timing with the 8 beats per second movement.
One thing that is not typically shown in photos, but is immediately noticed on the wrist is the different levels of the dial. The subdials are recessed, and the applied metal Omega logo and metal rings around the indices make this watch look great, and really catch the light. This makes the chronograph version stand out. The date window also has a really nice second level, rather than being a straight cut square. The date is also set at an angle, which I have heard some people complain about. Personally, I think it integrates well into the dial. I prefer this to the 2500/8500 which is missing the number 3, making the dial look unbalanced.
Despite being a chronograph, it is quite easy to read the time. The polished rings around the subdials are slim enough to make them stand out without interfering with reading the time (I’m talking to you, Rolex Daytona). The dial does not have a chapter ring, allowing the hands to stretch all the way to the edge. It is a big pet peeve of mine if a watch has hands that are too short.
Another benefit of the chronograph is that it has less text on the dial compared to the 3 hand version.
The Omega broad arrow hands are big and beautiful. I love the polished, blade-like finish, these are some of the best hands I have seen on a watch. As I mentioned, I love that the minute hand extends all the way to the edge of the dial. The only strange thing about this watch is that the seconds hand does not have an orange tip as most Planet Oceans do. I’m not sure mine faded, or if it is a different variant. The second hand also has a diamond-shaped counterbalance.
This watch has a thick application of the amazing superluminova lume typical of any quality dive watch. A great touch is that all of the chronograph hands also have a small amount of lume on them.
The bracelet on this watch is extremely nice. Even if you are not a bracelet person, I recommend buying your watch with one if possible. It’s much more expensive to get one later, rather than buying a rubber or leather strap after the fact. It should also last the life of the watch, unlike other materials.
The clasp has a nice push-button release. I actually prefer that it does not have a safety clasp, as I’ve never had a watch with push-button release pop open by accident. It gives a cleaner look and is quicker to take on and off. It has a nice brushed finish, with polished sides. It has a very smooth to the touch. It also features a dive extension. When I received the watch, it was popping open whenever I removed the watch, but I had my watchmaker easily tighten it up for me. Also, it does not have micro-adjustments, so I had to order a half-link for it to fit properly. It has push pins to change links, rather than screws.
The one complaint about the bracelet is that it, together with the watch, is quite heavy, and it leads to the watch moving around on the wrist slightly. The best way to go is to have multiple options!
“Tang” dive strap
The diving style rubber strap is very thick and comfortable. It makes the watch wear a lot smaller than the bracelet, and gives a much more casual look. It also allows the wearer to keep the watch quite tight to the wrist if desired. It has a nice V pattern molded into it to make it look more interesting, and Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean text hidden on the underside. The buckle is also quite substantial and has an Omega logo on it. It has two signed keepers which stay in place quite well, one of which has little tabs to hold it in place. The strap also fits up against the case, eliminating any unsightly gaps.
Note: I believe that this strap is designed for the 2500, which has a thinner case. It does not fill in the bottom part of the lugs, but this does not affect the comfort one bit!
Rubber deployant strap.
This is my favorite combo on this watch. It is the most comfortable, and is almost universal, as it works with everything from casual, to semi-formal attire. The clasp feels very secure, with push-button releases. My favorite thing about it is that it actually traps the loose end of the strap underneath. This has the benefit of keeping the metal clasp from digging into your wrist, as well as keeping the strap tip from flopping around. It has a tasteful Omega logo stamped on the outside.
The back of the strap has an interesting wave pattern. It’s rubber, but feels like almost matte finished leather. This strap also has curved ends to fit up against the case. I think that the white stitching really sets off the watch, and goes well with the white numerals on the dial.
My one complaint is that for the price, the sides of the straps have started to wear prematurely. I like it so much that I’ve bought a backup new in packaging, in case they go out of production before I need a replacement!
Seatbelt Mesh Bracelet
What else can I say? Super comfortable, looks great, and adds a bit of flash and style to the watch. I highly recommend!
Overall, this is a beautiful watch. So far, it has offered me many years of faithful service. As I write this, I realize that I should probably send it in for a well-deserved service (my son might thank me for that in the future)!
Do you have a watch that is special to you? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
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