Introducing the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional, the Record-Breaking Omega at the Bottom of the Ocean

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Omega has announced that in an expedition that took place earlier this year, a very special watch with a very long name has taken over the record for the deepest-diving dive watch of all time. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional (phew) was purpose-built for an actually-quite-exciting scientific expedition dubbed “The Five Deeps,” which aims to put a man at the deepest point of all five of the earth’s oceans. When Victor Vescovo piloted his submersible, the Limiting Factor, to a depth of 10,928 meters at Challenger Deep, the deepest section of the Mariana Trench, with three Ultra Deeps strapped to the outside of the vehicle, he beat a longstanding record held by Rolex, and did so in a way that completely rethinks what it takes to bring a mechanical watch to such extreme depths.

The Ultra Deep’s astonishing case is made of forged titanium that is literally taken from the hull of the Limiting Factor. It makes sense that the watch should be made from the same material as the vessel taking the journey to the bottom of the ocean. Amazingly, the watch is only 28mm thick, which at first blush seems like a lot, and it is by virtually any standard a massive and chunky timepiece. Consider, however, that the previous record holder, the Rolex Deep Sea Special, was about 10mm thicker than the Omega thanks to a bulbous protruding crystal, and you begin to see how manageable the newer watch is in comparison.

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Perhaps the greatest innovation present in the Ultra Deep is in the way that the crystal is attached to the watch’s case. Rather than adhering to traditional watchmaking techniques, Omega took inspiration from the way viewports are built into submersibles — like the Limiting Factor itself — using a conical design to spread the stress distribution over a larger surface area. This is what allows the crystal to resemble what we’d see on a “normal” watch — it’s not an exaggerated bubble built to withstand pressure at the expense of readability. Further, Omega was able to leverage their Liquidmetal technology in the sapphire-to-case assembly through the use of hot form bonding, a process with its own patent pending. This eliminates the need for traditional polymer seals, while reducing the overall thickness of the glass.

Once you get through all the science and the state-of-the-art manufacturing, you’re left with a watch that is truly impressive in what it can do, and also, frankly, what it looks like. The end result here isn’t something absurd that barely resembles a watch. The Ultra Deep looks like a Planet Ocean. The Omega design DNA is everywhere. From the top down, for example, you don’t even realize the watch uses fully integrated lugs — Omega has cleverly disguised them to resemble the traditional twisted lugs we’re so comfortable with on Speedmasters and Seamasters.

The Ultra Deep is rated to a depth of 15,000 meters. That’s 49,000 feet, and a good deal deeper than the absolute deepest point on any of earth’s oceans. It makes one wonder how Omega could top itself (or, even more interesting, perhaps, how Rolex could top Omega). Clearly, however, we are running out of physical space on our planet to send these little mechanical devices.

Inside, the watch has been Master Chronometer certified by METAS not before, but after its deep-sea dive. At the end of 10 days of rigorous testing, the Omega Cal. 8912 passed with flying colors.

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Now, while super cool, this watch won’t be hitting your AD’s shelves. The Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional is a concept watch, and one that’s debuting some impressive tech that Omega hopes to incorporate in their future professional watches. In other words, you can expect to see some high-tech divers down the line from Omega. Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional via Omega

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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