The Unusual Suspects: The Omega Planet Ocean 600M Stealth-Black 39.5mm Diver Radiates Understated Cool
The Planet Ocean series is a go-to choice if you want a cool alternative to the Rolex Submariner, and one you can actually pick up from an AD (remember that feeling?). This is perhaps the most important sports watch range from Omega, and as such, you would surely think this is a bonafide diver’s tool, right? Considering the image of its burly 43.5mm size in classic steel and blue, or black with a tempting pop of orange, I understand the sentiment. But, like many popular ranges, the Planet Ocean series has morphed into a veritable sub-brand with a full 28 references. You could go diving with white gold and diamonds, or take this understated 39.5mm Planet Ocean 600M in stealthy black ceramic.
As I annoyingly remind everyone, a serious diving enthusiast will use a diving computer. Boring, I know. A 600m depth rating in a mechanical watch is for everyday peace of mind. No, you’re no diver, and you might not even be much of an explorer, but the vibe is what gets to you. That feeling that the watch can almost protect you, a bulletproof buddy pushing you, inspiring your adventurous spirit. This vibe is perfectly encapsulated in a well-hidden and stealthy (well, that’s why it’s hidden, isn’t it?) ceramic version, the $10,200 ref. 22.214.171.124.01.001. Somehow blending a diver’s tough specs with a stealthy military vibe makes this stand out from the larger, more brash tools in the box.
Monochrome stealth in a rather perfect size
The Planet Ocean 600M series has the glacial progression of all great watches, just like the Speedmaster. And unlike crown-logoed dive watches in the same price range, there is a delightfully broad choice. A Planet Ocean in steel starts at a decent $6,200, traveling up through the well-known tiers of straps, bracelets, and metals, topping out at a solid $104,700. Mind you, that is a different world altogether, involving both white gold and a rainbow of precious stones. But my favorites are the size that tends to be forgotten, a rather perfect 39.5mm. I know, tool watches are supposed to be big and all that, but think about it. How many times have you seen a 43-44mm watch dangling outside a shirt cuff that refuses to envelop it? Any piece from Omega makes for a great one-watch (let’s say “starter”) collection, and the versatility ratio increases exponentially under 40mm.
But surely, steel is the safest bet?
Well, yes and no. If I didn’t have a bunch of brushed steel wristwear already, I would go for the solid choice of steel and blue. But, the black ceramic version has gotten to me. My original plan was actually to write a story on the superb wearability of the steel version, emphasizing the upsides of downsizing. But even with a $4,000 price difference, this stealthy watch has a lot going for it. Choosing any 39.5mm P.O. rather than the massive 43.5mm version makes it wrap so much better around my 17.5cm wrist. And while steel has that premium weightiness, which is all good, the ceramic case on a 19mm rubber strap is just sublime. And yes, it still houses the METAS-certified Master Chronometer caliber 8800, seen through the transparent case back.
A light embrace
The lightness on the wrist will only make you wear it more, and the scratch-resistance of a ceramic case makes it a darn good daily watch. The quiet, almost mission-secret look of this monochrome Planet Ocean gives the dial an even stronger presence. The surface itself is also ceramic, and white gold indices and arrow hands almost float in the darkness. White lume coupled with the bold P.O numerals on the bezel gives it legibility on par with a pilot’s watch, and therein lies another part of the charm. I know this is a diver’s watch, but there is something about the sleek design language that helps it cross over. Maybe that’s also why I feel it should be in the spotlight. I mean, who doesn’t want that feeling on their wrist, a sense of mission purpose like Bond or a Navy SEAL?
No color, but serious style
That pretty much sums it up for me, unfortunately. I might be able to save up for a starter Planet Ocean 600M at around $6,000, but this model just means a longer wait. But, as with most Omegas, just like the ceramic MoonSwatch this past weekend, you will get one (eventually). This black beauty does not entail a waiting list that stretches out further than the red carpet at the Oscars, and that’s all good. Accessible (maybe not budget-wise) and bulletproof, this ceramic diver’s watch is a cool tool, and I want one.
What about you? Are you still a fan of oversized tool watches, or did this open your eyes to a gem within the Omega catalog? Let us know in the comments below.
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