Top 16 Dive Watches In 2016: An Opinion – Part 4 Omega Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronograph 45.5mm + Breitling Superocean Chronograph M2000 + Oris Aquis Depth Gauge Chronograph 48mm
Previously, in part 3 of this series I reviewed: the Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver [w7100056], Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date [116610LN], and IWC Aquatimer Automatic Chronograph 44mm [iw376801].
9 – Omega Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronograph 45.5mm [126.96.36.199.01.002] RRP: £5,010 – £20,950
Omegas offering for a tough diving watch with a chronograph function comes in the form of this Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronograph. In order to appeal to a large number of audiences the watch is available in a few different colour options, strap types, and even includes a couple of variants set with a ring of 42 diamonds, constructed from titanium, or an 18kt rose gold case option – which weighs in at just over £20K (at the current RRP).
What is so unusual on this Omega dive watch is the fact that the chronograph complication pusher buttons don’t screw down and can be used safely down at a depth of 600m (or 2000 feet). Whilst most chronometer watches that are water resistant down to depths require their push buttons to be screwed down and not used, with most serious diving watches being cool used down to 300m – being ok to use the chronograph function down to 600m is a staggering attainment.
On the right of the dial is where both the minute and second hands for the chronograph complication are sharing the same sub-dial. The hour hand using an orange aluminium arm, and the minute hand is constructed out of polished steel – both of which employing the use of luminescent fill.
Located at the bottom of the dial, a shy inconspicuous date window sits at the 6 o’clock position with white text applied over a black background. At the 9 o’clock position is the Omega Planet Ocean 600m’s continuous seconds sub-dial.
Small this watch is not, at 45.5mm wide and 19.2mm thick it’s even more massive than the already dimensionally elephantine Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea’s  44mm by 17.7mm case size.
Any grand plans to become a deep diving, commercial, mixed gas, saturation, diver then rest assured that the manual helium escape valve on the outside of the casing by the 10 o’clock won’t impede you on your dark murky aquatic exploits, letting any trapped helium molecules out of the casing whilst decompressing.
The liquid metal bezel is only available on the more expensive titanium models with blue dials and bezels. The reason why liquid metal is used for markings on ceramic bezels is its incredible strength, being three times harder than steel and it can be bonded to the ceramic smoothly. Its bezel is of the unidirectional variety, only turning in one direction, and built for the purpose of diving.
Omega has put into the Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronograph 45.5mm their calibre 9300 movement; a proper in-house movement that combines two mainspring barrels to provide a generous power reserve of 60 hours. It beats at 28,800 v/h and contains 54 Jewels. The reverse of the movement can be viewed through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back; with, the bridge, the rotor and main plate being rhodium plated and machine decorated with Geneva waves in arabesque. The 9300 Omega movement has not been COSC certified but has instead been METAS tested in-house at Omega, hopefully adding, even more, value to the watch than just COSC testing (it is, after all, a more stringent standard to pass at).
The Swiss government controlled METAS Federal Office Of Metrology agency will be working with Omega to test each movement (that omega makes in-house) as they don’t have their own facility (like COSC do). METAS will be certifying and be confirming the results of the movements, and testing the monitoring equipment used by Omega. Omega appears to be moving away from COSC for their own movements to separate their watches from everybody else’s – They are by no means the first brand that has started to certify their own watches accuracy with two notable examples being Rolex with their superlative chronometer testing of each watch after casing and the Patek Philippe Seal.
The variation that an METAS certified movement must be within is also a lot more stringent than COSC (which is based on the international ISO 3159 standard) being within 0 and +5 seconds per day, a step up from the -4 to +6 second tolerance that a COSC movement needs to be within in order to be certified a chronometer. METAS also test the power reserve and the water resistance of each watch: but, the thing that METAS tests that other testing bodies seem to be lacking are a movement’s resistance to magnetic fields.
The 9300 Omega movement is very resistant to high strength magnetic fields because of its ‘Si 14′ silicon balance spring. Wheres the Rolex Milgauss has a magnetic tolerance to 1,000 gausses (as you may have gathered from the name milli-gauss) the Omega 9300 movement levels this up further and is resistant to magnetism up to 15,000 Gauss.
Often overlooked, a mechanical watch’s vulnerability to magnetic fields is a serious problem faced by owners of these luxury watches. If a watch is treated properly, not dropped, serviced when required, and is not subjected to water pressures higher than it should be taken into, the reason why most watches stop keeping good time is because the movement has been subjected to overly powerful magnetic fields. It’s not unheard of for a watch to lose accuracy just by being kept sat on an Ipad (and its magnetically attaching cover) overnight while not wearing it.
Each of these movements is tested with a monstrous 1.5-ton magnet, at the Omega testing facility, to check the imperviousness of each movement to magnetic fields in order to subject each movement to over the 15,000 gausses required.
The chronograph function on the Omega Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial is also of the column-wheel variety – considered by most watch connoisseurs to be superior to cam-actuated chronograph mechanisms, and column-wheel chronographs are also found on more expensive luxurious watches.
[Read about Column-Wheel Vs Cam Actuated Chronographs Here]
The bracelet’s clasp thankfully includes a micro-adjustment system and a divers extension. And fortunately Omega has instead opted for screw in pins; far better than the push-pins used in the less expensive Seamasters that so infuriates everyone who has the misfortune of having to take a link or two out of one.
Lume-wise, hour markers and hands are all imbued with this bright blue lume – with the exception of the minute hand and central bezel marker (having green lume). Each of the bright white markings provides good legibility against the watches black or blue dial (these watches being constructed out of titanium).
With the Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronograph 45.5mm, Omega has demonstrated that they can compete with the other high-end divers watches out there like the; Submariner, Calibre de Cartier Diver, and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe – all of which are available in gold. A tell that perhaps the buyer’s of these watches are not, in reality, going deep sea diving with their watch strapped onto their wrists. That we will leave to the Deepsea, ProPlof 1200m, and Oris Depth Gauge Chronograph – watches each appearing to be designed for real divers.
All the Omega Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Chronograph 45.5mm watches available to buy from our [Shop Here] at a discounted price.
10 – Breitling Superocean Chronograph M2000 [a73310a8/bb74-1lts] RRP:£3,600-£4,515
This Breitling Superocean Chronograph M2000 is an exceptional diver watch in that the chronograph function is still operatable all the way down to 2000m deep under water. That would be like having Portugal’s tallest mountain (Serra da Estrela) made from water crashing down on the Superocean Chronograph and not a drop of water being let inside of the watch’s casing. It’s certainly good to know that if on your aquatic adventures the watch were to, unfortunately, fall off your wrist – that any sea life under the world record 610 metres ADS dive (or 332 metres world record SCUBA dive) would be able to admire the fully functional chronograph watch – intact and working perfectly.
To accomplish this astonishing feat, Breitling has used their patented magnetic push-button system, on the Breitling Superocean Chronograph, that results in a case without holes for the chronograph buttons to operate through – thus eliminating two vulnerability’s that could compromise the internals of the watch while deep underwater. Instead of conventional push buttons that require access to the movement inside the watch’s water resistant casing – magnetic push pieces are manipulated by the user, that push their magnetic field through the solid casing of the watch, resulting in a far more durable tool watch.
In addition to the fancy magnetic pusher buttons, the solid case back is screwed in and a thick 4mm glare-proof cambered sapphire crystal protects the dial. Its screw down crown is double-gasketed for additional protection from water while deep underwater.
At only 46mm wide this Breitling Superocean Chronograph is by no means the biggest divers watch but is certainly one of the thickest at a monstrous 19.10mm. Available in only stainless steel (and a limited numbered edition in Blacksteel of only 2,500 pieces) this chronograph watch is one of the more practical and utilitarian watches on this list and perhaps more suited to life actually under water than some of the other contenders on this list.
This Breitling Superocean Chronograph M2000 watch makes use of a helium escape valve, unidirectional diving bezel, and luminescent markings on the hands and hour marking on its Volcano black dial.
As a quartz watch (and a rather expensive one at that) this watch would suit somebody who desires a highly accurate horological time keeping device that is low maintenance. Not requiring constant winding or servicing; but, only a change of its 394 type battery every 2 or 3 years. Breitling has used their calibre 73 SuperQuartz movement for this watch – that is as you would expect COSC certified.
Intriguingly, the 73 SuperQuartz movement is a rather sophisticated movement for a quartz: its movement is thermo-compensated and is supposedly 10 times more accurate than a standard quartz movement. It enables quick timezone changing for frequent flyers and a chronograph capable of recording a time to within a tenth of a second – up to a durations of 12 hours. It is available to buy on a variety of straps and differing sub-dial register colours.
Variations: Sub-Dial Register colours: Green, Blue, Black, Red
Strap type: Superocean leather strap (with colourd edges), Diver Pro rubber strap, Ocean Racer rubber strap (with circular cut outs), or the stainless steel Professional III bracelet.
Limmited eddition: M200 Blacksteel limited and numberd edition of only 250 pieces [Found Here].
All variations of the Breitling Superocean Chronograph M2000 can be found from our [Shop Here] at a discounted price.
11 – Oris Aquis Depth Gauge Chronograph 48mm [01 774 7708 4154-Set RS] RRP: £3,400
Oris’s most capable dive watch on offer is the very unique Aquis Depth Gauge Chronograph: a watch that not only includes a chronograph complication, but also a rare mechanical depth gauge that uses the increasing pressure underwater to compress trapped air to indicate the depth.
Water-resistant to 500m, with the depth gauge reading to 100m, this watch is not one of those watches which are just a normal watch with some beefed up water seals – it has been designed singularly to be a dive watch and nothing else.
As water enters the channel opening by the 12 o’clock it compresses a trapped bubble of air and turns the channel a dark grey – where the water and air bubble intersect is the depth reading. The yellow graduations mark the depth in meters from zero down to 100m.
Oris’s Aquis Depth Gauge Chronograph is available on a black rubber strap that is easily adjusted in length, with a thoughtful stopper at the end to keep the strap attached to the clasp when making big sizing adjustments. Built into the clasp is a ‘Sliding Sledge’ mechanism to allow for small adjustments to be made quickly without taking the watch off.
In the supplied pelican like waterproof box is also an additional stainless steel bracelet with a diving extension, professional strap changing tools, spare lugs, and a device for cleaning inside the sapphire crystal channel.
At 48mm wide this really is a very large weighty watch. Expectantly the case back is of the solid variety (with a meters to feet conversion table up to 100m engraved into it).
Covered in white coloured Superluminova BG W9 the hands and indices have a good level of legibility. The subdials for the chronograph complication are the standard 12 hours spread over 2 registers. These sections of the dial are further distinguished from the rest of the dial with the use of a guilloche pattern on both the chronograph and running second sub-dials.
Inside an Oris Caliber 774 base SW500 powers the watch, beating at 28,800 v/h, containing 25 jewels and has an approximate power reserve of 48 hours
While not cheap the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge Chronograph certainly feels like you would be getting a lot for your money were you to buy one. It gives the wearer not just the promise of performance – but real performance.
There is also a 46mm non chronogrph version of the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge watch [Shop Here] at a discounted price.
Continue: Part 5 Tag Heuer + Longines + Oris (coming soon)!