About a year and a half ago, I proposed to my girlfriend, who I’ll be marrying later this year. She knows that I love watches, and had told me that she would like to buy a nice one for me. In the past, she bought me a really nice Bulova, and a Fossil, but she wanted to get me something even nicer than that. I’ve owned a number of Hamiltons, Tissots, and a TAG Heuer F1 to name a few, but she wanted to get me something really special (what a great girl!).
I already had been reading everything that I could about watches. Now that I knew I had an opportunity coming up some time in the future, I started trying on watches whenever I had the opportunity. and then drop (what I thought were) subtle hints.. My tastes evolved as I learned more about watches. First I really loved the TAG Heuer Carrera Day-Date Chronograph. Unfortunately, I have more than a few friends with this watch, and it did not feel very unique to me to have the same watch as them. Then I started learning more about movements, and decided that I also wanted something more interesting. Around that time, the 1887 came out with its in-house movement. It’s a beautiful watch, but finally I wanted a watch that I could wear with any occasion. It is a bit too dressy for me, plus I found it a bit difficult to read with the straight polished hands, markers, and rings around the dials.
I also became a big Omega fan. I like how they are less common, and the name flies under the radar of non-watch lovers a bit more. I finally settled on the Speedmaster moonwatch as the watch I wanted. I showed on to my fiancé. She thought that it looked boring, but I really loved it. I also fell in love with the Speedmaster Alaska project, but I realized that due to cost and rarity, it would be unobtainable. The more that I thought about it, I realized that I was in love the history of the Speedmaster, not the watch itself. It’s 2012 and I wanted a timeless watch, but one that would represent the time that I obtained it, not years before I was born. Plus I wanted an automatic. Around that time, I saw the Speedmaster date “Panda.” OK, this is MY WATCH. I love the panda/Paul Newman style, the 7753 is slightly less common, and it looked really cool and more modern. That was until I tried on a Planet Ocean. The PO was just so much more interesting looking, and made the 40mm Speedy seem tiny on my wrist. Decision made. I would drop some hints, and then patiently wait until the day that we could go pick one out together.
**Disclaimer: No offense intended to any Speedmaster or TAG owners. I also love those watches, and would still love to own them some day. I’m just using these examples to tell my story.
Now I just had to struggle with the decision of color and size, since the PO offers so many options. I read many threads, but could not come to a conclusion. I did not even consider the chronograph due to the price. I’ve bought many watches online used, but I did not want to suggest to my fiancé that she take such a risk. 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, it felt small. Luckily I did not have to make that decision…
Two weeks ago, we were walking past a local jewelry store that always has nice watches. She knew that I love to look, so we went in. He had a beautiful orange Planet Ocean on display. I asked him about it, and surprisingly, the price was less than the AD wanted for the non-chronograph, and less than I had ever seen a chronograph sell for on ebay, but without the risk. He even said he will warranty it for 2 years. I told him it was a great watch, but I really wanted a black one. The orange looks really great, but I thought that I might get tired of it, and 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.
It came with a bonus black strap with orange stitching, but I ended up trading it to him for a rubber tang strap. Then I purchased a rubber with white stitching depolyant from a forum member.
The warranty card says that the watch was purchased from an AD in 2010. I contacted Omega with my serial number. They said that the watch has the 3313C movement, which has the three-level co-axial escapement, and that it was sold to the AD in 2008. The warranty card says “2011” on it, and it is filled out by the AD with matching serial #. I did notice in one of the movement shots that it says 3313B on it near the balance wheel. Based on on what Omega told me, and the sale date of the watch, I’m hoping that’s just the plate, and that I do have the “C” movement, but I don’t know how to tell otherwise. It does have the small 8 and pointy 4 on the date wheel, similar to the later versions of the 2500 with the three-level escapement. I know that a lot of forum members seem to hate this movement, but I think it is so cool to have a unique, non-ETA mechanical chronograph with the co-axial escapement, free-sprung balance wheel, and column-wheel. Hopefully I will not experience any misfortune with it, but I do have a 2 year warranty.
Now, on to the review!
I did not get the experience of unboxing my brand new watch, and the Omega box is pretty standard, so I’ll just show this photo of everything that it came with. The wallet with the various cards is interesting. I’m not sure what the extra spaces for, or why “Pictograms” is necessary. Otherwise, the box is nice, but nothing special for this expensive of a watch. The Omega logo on top is nice though.
This watch is not small, and I’m sure that it’s too big for the taste of many people out there. 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 thread). The standard “hold the camera and point it towards your arm” wrist shot makes any watch look bigger than it actually is. I tried to take some better shots that more accurately portray how the watch wears on different straps with different types of shirts. 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.
For reference, I have large hands, but only 7” wrists. I’m 6’3, ~215#.
As I said, this watch contains the Omega cal 3313 which I have read is based on a Piguet 1285 movement with the co-axial escapement added. It has a date function, free-sprung balance wheel, and chronograph with column-wheel mechanism. It has 37 jewels, is COSC certified, and has a 55 hour power reserve (which I have not tested because I can’t take it off my wrist). Also, it’s beautifully finished, as you can see in the photos. I have not yet performed a detailed accuracy check, but over ¾ of a day it gained about 1-2 seconds. I’ll give a more long term update after I wear it for longer.
One thing to note is that, similarly to the 7750, the movement is uni-directional winding. You can often hear rotor spin if you make a quick wrist motion. I’ve read that uni-directional winding movements can actually be more efficient than bi-directional. I don’t know why, and it does not make sense to me, but as long as it stays wound on my wrist, I don’t really care. It allowed me to spin the rotor fast enough to get some cool movement shots. The hand winding also feels quite smooth
I have not watched the date change, but based on what I saw when I set the time, I don’t believe that it is instant at midnight.
The chronograph pushers have a smoother, quicker feeling than my 7750 watch, but still have that nice mechanical feel. The chronograph minute hand jumps over the course of a second or so, but the hour hand does not jump.
I believe that my watch has been refinished, but it still has a beautiful polished/brushed finish that is just the right blend without being too flashy. The caseback is a work of art, and although I would love to be able to watch the movement in action, I really enjoy looking at the stamping. 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. The lug width is 22mm.
The pushers have a nice black ring which matches the bezel. Despite their appearance, they do not screw down, which makes the chronograph much more convenient to use. Supposedly they can be pushed underwater without leaking, but this is not something that I would try. The crown is a little tricky to screw down with the chrono pushers being next to it, but it’s not that difficult. 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 early versions of the Planet Ocean had a blue anti-reflective coating on the crystal. Mine does not seem to have this. I’m not sure if it uses a different type of coating, or if the previous owner removed the coating from mine. Regardless, it does sometimes reflect light, but the watch is always legible.
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 useful for this. It also has a lume pip. The newer ceramic bezels do look good, but I still think that the pure black of this aluminum design is quite nice. I also really like the font of the numbers.
I LOVE how Omega uses the retro font and layout of the numbered indicies on the Planet Ocean range. Or perhaps I should say “used” since this is being phased out with the new generation. The chronograph also has smaller ticks in between the minute markers, which are not present on the 3-hand version.
One thing that is not typically shown in photos, but is immediately noticed on the wrist is the different dimensions of the dial. The subdials are recessed, and the metal Omega logo and metal rings around the indicies make this watch look great, and really catch the light. This really makes the chronograph version stand out. The date window also has a really nice bevel, rather than being a straight cut square. It is set at an angle, which I have heard some people complain about. Personally, I think it looks nice, and I prefer this to the 2500/8500 which are missing the number 3, making the dial look unbalanced.
Despite being a chronograph, it is quite easy to read. The polished rings around the subdials are just enough to make them stand out without interfering. The dial does not have a chapter ring, allowing the hands to stretch all the way to the edge.
My one complaint, and this is more of a movement issue, is that the minutes register only goes to 30. If you are recording something that is longer than 30 minutes, it takes some consideration, and a closer glance at the hour register to see if, for example, 45 minutes, or 1 hour and 15 minutes have passed.
Big and beautiful. I love the polished, blade-like finish, these are some of the best hands I have seen on a watch. Also I love a watch that has a minute hand that extends all the way to the edge of the dial. The only strange thing about this watch is that the second hand does not have an orange tip. I’m not sure if it faded, or if it never came with it, but I have seen one other watch like this with a white tip online.
This watch has amazing lume. It is equal or better than any of the Seikos or Lum-Tecs that I’ve had, and other than my Marathon GSAR tritium, the longest lasting. I believe that it’s superluminova C1? Regardless, it glows very brightly, even with a small exposure to light. It leads to an off-white color during daylight, but it’s a small price to pay.
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, and I’ve read many posts where people regretted the decision.
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 watch maker 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.
“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 patter molded into it to make it look more interesting. The buckle is also quite substantial, and has an Omega logo on it. It has two keepers which seem to 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.
Rubber deployant strap.
I think this strap gives the watch a really classy look. 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 nearly feels like leather. It does have a bit of a matte finish though, so I’m debating if I can wear it with my tuxedo in the wedding, or if I should buy a black leather croc style strap. This strap also fits up against the case, eliminating any unsightly gaps. I think that the white stitching really sets off the watch, and goes well with this color combo.
Overall, this is a beautiful watch. I hope that it will offer me many years of faithful service, and that I can pass it on to a son or grandson some day. Since I received it, I haven’t had much interest in wearing any of my other watches. The diameter/thickness is a bit big, but I think that it is still manageable. I can’t wait to put it on every morning!