[Also posted in the Dive Watch Forum.]
OK, it's time to dig in and review this one. I've had it almost two months and worn it virtually nonstop for a wide variety of activities in several environments so I feel qualified to lend my opinions. I'm going to refer to it as the PP1200 from here on, for brevity's sake.
First, here are the specs from Omega:
Steel on rubber strap
Caliber: Omega 8500
Self-winding movement with Co-Axial Escapement for greater precision stability and durability. Free sprung-balance, 2 barrels mounted in series, automatic winding in both directions to reduce winding time. Visible bridges and the oscillating mass are decorated with exclusive Geneva waves in arabesque.
Power Reserve: 60 hours
Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
CASE & DIAL
Stainless steel case
Down to: 1200 meters
55 x 48 mm
Now my impressions...
As you've probably heard, the PP1200 comes in a neoprene zipper case. Since packaging usually gets looked at once and then resigned to the back shelf in my office closet, I am not picky in this category. But I have to say I love the box.
The neoprene has the distinctive smell and texture of a new wetsuit, which conjures up a dive shop when you zip it open.
Speaking of zipping, Omega spared no expense with the zippers. Gear geek that I am, I noticed that the case zippers are Riri, a Swiss make, which are top quality rubber-coated zips that are easy to grip and pull.
Inside, you find the watch on a standard pillow and that's about it. Take it out, strap it on, zip shut the box, forget about it. Well, I do like to pull it out from time to time so I find that I store my extra straps inside.
Let's start here, since it's what needs to be sized and is the most immediate concern when you first buy the watch. I bought my PP1200 on the orange rubber strap, not being a mesh guy myself. Omega has always impressed me with its rubber straps but this one is the best I've worn, including the vaunted Sinn rubber everyone raves about. It is a very thick, very comfortable rubber strap. Uncut, it would, no kidding, fit about a 12-inch wrist. Omega provides nice indentations and numbered cutting marks on the inside of the strap for fitting. I let the dealer do it for me but then fine-tuned at home cos I wanted it a bit tighter. The rubber is so thick and sturdy that I never worry about the spring bars at the clasp or the case tearing through. The inside of the strap has horizontal ribs, which echo the patterned case back but also help make the strap more pliable. I sourced a second, black rubber Omega strap and prefer it to the orange, since it is more subdued and serious-looking. Both straps are identical, with the linear "corduroy" and words "OMEGA" and "PLOPROF" in raised lettering on opposing sides.
Truly a work of engineering genius, the big clasp is comfortable and balances the watch head nicely. It opens via two push buttons that squeeze two spring-loaded bows. Simple design that should hold up to a few thousand operations. It closes with an authoritative click and opens quietly and with no drama. Perhaps the highlight of the clasp though, is the ratcheting extension. Inside the clasp is a button marked "PUSH" which allows you to extend the clasp in small increments outwards an extra inch and a half (est.) to account for a wetsuit sleeve or the usual swelling and shrinking of the wrist. in addition to the ratcheting extension, there is also a fold-out dive extension which becomes operable once the ratcheting part is extended about half-way.
Wearing the watch in Sri Lanka for three weeks, I found the ratcheting mechanism invaluable, as my wrist was almost a half-inch bigger than it is back here in cold, dry Minnesota. The strap stayed comfortable and secure and could be fine-tuned infinitely. In the field, I found two problems with the ratcheting extension. First, due to the fine tolerances in the back of the clasp, it is prone to collecting sand and grit. After wearing the watch body surfing and diving, the ratchet became difficult to operate and had to be carefully and thoroughly flushed with fresh water. Secondly, the ratchet can not be extended while on the wrist. You must remove the watch to push the release button to pull out the extension. Closing it up can be done while wearing.
Case and crown
The case, though brutish, possesses subtly beautiful curves and polished beveled edges, which offset the brushed surfaces that predominate. The finish, in some angles of light, almost looks PVD'd or dark gray. At 52mm wide and 260 grams (half a pound) you'd think this would be an uncomfortable watch to wear. But after an initial day or two of getting used to it, I now find it quite comfortable and no more obtrusive than my old Sinn U1 or IWC Aquatimer. It's dimension lug to lug is only 48mm, so it works on a variety of wrist sizes. With shrouded lugs, there is zero overhang and wears smaller than some other big watches I've had.
The case back is truly special, with a central engraved and ridged disc that is held in perfect horizontal orientation by an outer compression ring. The ridges on the central disc echo the original Ploprof's case back while the engraved center has the familiar and loved Seamaster hippocampus. I have found that the ridges collect all sort of dirt and DNA over time and requires some elbow grease to clean.
The crown operates smoothly and you spin it like you would any crown. However, operating it moves the fitted guard in and out and it is keyed to fit perfectly into the corresponding slots on the case when shut. Winding is performed most easily by flipping the watch around and winding it like you would any watch (a nod to DMB for the tip here). Winding is predictably smooth and quiet and there is no danger of cross-threading at all. The extended crown guard does not dig into the wrist like an Autozilla crown will, for example. I wish there were more opportunities to use the crown on this watch because it is as much a pleasure as the bezel and pushbutton (see below).
The bezel is massive and easy to grip, both wet and dry, gloves or not. The watch can only be worn on the left wrist, if you want to be able to operate the push button bezel release, since you need your thumb, index and middle fingers to push and turn. Speaking of the push button, it is a joy to operate. It has a firm resistance to it and snaps back with a solid click. The anodized finish matches the minute hand and is a nice splash of color. No mushy feel here. I was worried that this would be a potential clog point for sand and grit but it fared well on my trip, both underwater and topside.
The bezel insert is sapphire with fully lumed numbers and markings. Looked at straight on, the bezel is deep black and gorgeous. From a slight angle, it is a bit too reflective and has a grayish appearance. Lume is spectacular and is as visible at 4am as it was at 8pm.
Dial and hands
Deep black dial with applied OMEGA logo and markers. The dial is highly legible with the trademark double marker at 12 and largewr hashes at 3, 6 and 9. The date window is at 4:30 and disappears into the dial unless you are looking for it. Date is white on a black background. I've heard some complain that the date is the wrong orientation but I don't take issue with it at all.
Hands are the much-copied Ploprof hands, with a massive sword-shaped minute hand in anodized orange trim. The orange trim matches the push button orange exactly. The second hand and minute hand are white trimmed and workmanlike. Lume on dial and hands is predictably spectacular.
A very impressive movement lurks inside the PP1200. It's Omega's in-house co-axial 8500 calibre. I am not a movement expert but the high points to me are the extreme accuracy, long power reserve (two mainspring barrels yield 60 hours) and ability to advance the hour hand independently to account for time zone changes without having to hack the minute and second hands. Leave it to Sri Lanka to be off of the rest of the world by 30 minutes (GMT +5:30) though so I had to hack anyway.
Timekeeping has actually improved since I got the watch. Out of the box, it ran about +5/day and I was disappointed. Now it is running at +1 or +2 consistently and I haven't had to touch it since I set it back to home time on January 16th.
The movement is allegedly decorated beautifully though I'm pretty sure I'll never see it.
Diving with it
Overkill, plain and simple. Dive watches had their day in the '60s and '70s and are now lovely backup timers to all but a few divers who have better math skills than me. Having said that, there is something about being able to take such a beautiful chunk of Swiss engineering 100 feet under the sea. The PP1200 is predictably legible and accurate underwater and the highly adjustable clasp is easy to crank down as a wetsuit sleeve compresses at depth. I must say though, that the locking bezel, while ingenious, is more trouble than it's worth. I was able to set the bezel easily but not as easily as a good secure Doxa or Marathon bezel. I guess there is peace of mind knowing that, when you glance at your wrist, the marked position is where you left it due to the lock. But the push button is largely a vestigial novelty.
I never once got a comment on a dive boat or on shore from people about it. I think that, despite it's unique appearance, the PP1200 flies under the radar and could be mistaken for a geeky dive computer to the casual observer, at least on the black rubber strap.
Living with it
As an everyday wear piece, it is surprisingly comfortable, as I noted above. But unless you're an iconoclastic dresser, I doubt it will see much time under a shirt sleeve in the office. Thankfully, I don't spend any time in an office setting.
I'm someone who likes to wear my watches for anything and everything. The PP1200 is on my wrist 90% of the time but I do find myself taking it off when I go running or swimming or skiing, in favor of its much lighter brother, the 2254 Seamaster Pro. The PP1200 feels too heavy and tall for aerobic pursuits or active sports, though come summer, I'm sure it will see its share of action.
I know, as a chronic flipper, my words ring hollow to many of you. But I can fairly confidently say, that this is the most special watch I have owned and will be with me for a very long time. It feels like a masterpiece.
That's the full report. Did I overlook anything? Any questions, let me know.
Over and out.