The new Omega Seamaster Ultra Deep – a technical discourse

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Omega released a series of watches yesterday in their Omega Watch Days show. We attended the conference online, and here is our top pick from the watches released – the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep. A very special watch, challenging the depths of the oceans where no watch has gone to before.

The new Omega Seamaster Ultra Deep – a technical discourse

Press Release information and technical commentary in italics.

We had a technical discussion on the new watch with Omega, and bring you the highlights and our commentary on this new, very interesting dive watch. A dive watch to rule all dive watches?

The new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in O-MEGASTEEL with bracelet.

Technical Commentary

Quest for the deepest dive watches is a race which began even as the first water resistant watches were developed. And Omega was there in the beginning. Probably the first diving watch was an unusual timepiece – known as the Omega Marine in 1932. This was way before water resistance became a thing, and dive watches became a mainstream watch. It was an experimental watch by Omega with a rectangular case…well, actually a double case, with an inner case which slipped under the outer, and sealed with a cork gasket. It was tested in Lake Geneva and was proofed to 73m, but later it was discovered that it could be rated to an even deeper 135m.

Omega Marine, circa 1932. Photo: Omega Museum.

Then came the race for dive watches which is more familiar, circa 1950s. Among the key players were Blancpain with their Fifty Fathoms, Rolex with their Submariner, and Omega with the Seamaster trio of watches in 1957. These watches were perhaps more conventional in their design. At least with modern sensibilities. They had round cases, thick glass and a rotating bezel. Architectural elements which became the blueprint for the future dive watches.

Rolex started the war of the deep in 1960. They with strapped a special watch to the outside of the Bathyscaphe Trieste, and voyaged to 10,916m (35,814ft) ±5. This was well documented, and we presented a primer on Rolex dive watches Part 1 and Part 2 here. They repeated the feat with another watch, also specifically designed for the task in 2012, and four years later, Rolex released a commercialized a version known as the Deepsea Sea Dweller Ref. 116660. (DSSD) which is rated to a more shallow depth of 3,900m.

Rolex Deep Sea Special No. 47 on the wrist. As can be seen, the watch case sits very high, and with the high dome glass it is very thick. The watch measures a humongous 57mm x 40mm x 39mm. But keep in mind that Rolex did not design it to be worn on the wrist, but to be strapped to the outside of the Trietse.

However, at the sidelines, a small German watchmaking company has been tackling the problem of ultra deep dive watches and the need to withstand ultra high pressures differently. In the late 1990s, Sinn introduced the EZM Hydro, which used a case is filled with pure silicone oil. This not only provided optimal visibility at any angle when submerged, a very useful feature, but it also could withstand an unlimited pressure as the oil is an incompressible liquid. In theory, this watch can be used in any depth, but in typical Sinn understated fashion, the EZM Hydro was simply marked “Water Proof”. Does not really sound very impressive, but the latest version, using the exact same silicone oil technology in a watch called the UX (EZM 2B) was rated at 12,000m diving depth (= 1,200 bar, 39,370ft), certified by DNV. However, we note that Sinn has not participated in any real test of the depth rating with a dive to these depths, unlike Rolex and Omega. Also, the UX and EZM2 both have quartz movements as the hands need sufficient torque to operate under the high viscosity silicon oil.

SINN UX model under water: with oil filling on the left and without it on the right (for comparative purposes).

Omega rose to occasion in 2019, when it created a Concept Ultra Deep which was used by diver Victor Vescovo on a mission to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean and was able to test the watch to a depth of 10,935m (35,876 ft), the deepest any human or watch has ever gone. Two Concept Ultra Deep watches were attached to the submersible’s robotic arm, while another was strapped to a data-gathering unit known as a Lander. All three watches proved their worth and completed the 12-hour dive without a problem and surfaced completely unscathed. Omega reckons that they can rate this watch to 15,000m, deeper than any point on Earth.

The Ultra Deep Concept Watch. While not a practical watch for commercial use, the watch only measures 28mm thick. In comparison, the Rolex Deep Sea Special no.47 (above) is more than 10mm thicker, with its huge crystal. In fact, this watch actually looks like a normal dive watch!

In yesterday’s new release, Omega introduced the commercial versions of the Ultra Deep. These commercially available watches are rated to 6,000m and meet ISO 6425 specifications for diving watches. We think the 6,000m rating is an important factor, as their competitor Rolex’s commercially available Deep Sea Sea Dweller is rated to 3,900m. Omega handily beats Rolex. We do note that the watch is designed for and is suitable for saturation diving applications. Omega tells us that the ISO 6425 saturation testing for helium egress is done to 40 bars (400m) for 14 days. This is more than sufficient for practical purposes, but technically not at the full depth rating. The watch also has 4 patents which are pending, mainly on the techniques to make the watch more water resistant – the assembly of the case back, the crown assembly as well as the crystal assembly. As so much care and engineering is taken to ensure the crystal, case back and crown are strong enough to withstand the pressures, no helium escape valve is incorporated. The hero version, in our books is the one in titanium. It is made of forged titanium, which is the same material used in the Concept Ultra Deep as well as on the Vescovo submarine. It also bears the special “Manta Lugs” which is integrated in a streamlined construction with the case modeled after the Concept. The use of these lugs mean that the watch can only be offered in a NATO strap, and bracelet options are not possible.

Our “hero” version – the Planet Ocean Ultra Deep in titanium.

Also, the new Ultra Deep is not one off special watch, but an entirely new collection. In addition to the Titanium version, Omega has also announced a version in a new steel, which they call O-MEGASTEEL. This version is available in a total of 8 variants with options for colour of dial and bezel as well as the choice of a steel bracelet or a rubber strap. The case construction is more conventional, with regular lugs and the steel models can accommodate a steel bracelet or a rubber strap.

The use of a new O-MEGASTEEL is also a significant noteworthy technical detail. Omega decided to use a new steel, working with a steel foundry foundry (Omega has its own gold foundry. But for steel, they work with a supplier, as the volumes required to produce steel need a huge foundry, much larger than one for gold.) O-MEGASTEEL was designed to meet three goals – the new steel must be harder (300 Vickers vs 150 V for 316L steel), have a higher yield strength (560 MPa vs 200 MPa for 316L) and is visually whiter in hue to standard stainless steel used in the watch industry (316L Stainless Steel). The harder and stronger steel means that it takes considerably more effort to cut, shape, and polish the steel.

Ultra Deep in O-MEGASTEEL case and bracelet.

As a sidetrack, we note that Omega had introduced the PLOngeur PROFessionnel (Professional Diver) 1970, a watch capable of being used for saturation diving requirements, and rated to 600m of water resistance. In 1971, Rolex also made a dive watch for the saturation dive market, but the Sea Dweller Ref. 1655 had a higher depth rating of 1,200m. This watch had a helium escape valve to prevent the rapidly escaping helium gas a quick way to be released during decompression without blowing the crystal. The helium had diffused across the steel during the days or weeks it has spent in the saturated diving application where the environment of a helium–oxygen mixture is required to prevent nitrogen narcosis. We covered this historical landmark in our hands-on review of the Sea-Dweller, Ref. 126600. What is interesting is that Omega’s 1970 PloProf was not equipped with a gas escape valve, but the Omega had no helium issues. The brand’s solution was to make the watch air-tight. The watch utilized a monoblock case construction and a crystal which is bonded to it which is strong enough to withstand the pressures. We do note that the current version of the PloProf is equipped with a helium escape valve. The reason is because the new PloProf has a sapphire glass display back which is not constructed as robust as the front crystal, and the depth rating is improved to 1,200m. As noted, the new Ultra Deep is not require a helium escape valve, and during the technical discussion, we asked why this was so. The reply was interesting. It is only from the 2019 project and the construction of the new Ultra Deep, with its 4 patents pending, that Omega is able rate the watch for saturation diving without a helium escape watch. Begging the question, of course, that the next generation of the PloProf will be sans escape valve. A suggestion which was met with a response that this may well be the case.

The Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200.

We look forward to seeing and handling the watches in person and photographing them. We will also continue to bring you the other novelties released during the Omega Watch Days.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep

The retail prices for the new Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep are as follows:

  • Seamaster Ultra Deep in Titanium : 215.92.46.21.01.001 RRP CHF 11,400 / RSP SGD$18,050
  • Ultra Deep Steel on Steel : 215.30.46.21.03.001/ 215.30.46.21.06.001 RRP CHF 10,700 / RSP SGD$16,950
  • Ultra Deep Steel on Rubber: 215.32.46.21.03.001/ 215.32.46.21.04.001 RRP CHF 10,400 / RSP SGD$16,450

Swiss CHF prices are before taxes, and SGD prices are inclusive of 7% GST. Available soon in stores.

A powerful continuation of OMEGA’s diving legacy

In 2019, the very first Ultra Deep watches made history when they reached the deepest place on Planet Earth. In 2022, the technology that made the dive possible has been transformed into a game-changing 6,000 m collection available to the public. 45.5 mm models with high-performance materials and patent-pending designs, that represent the very pinnacle of OMEGA’s dive watch legacy.

90 Years Under Water

A true pioneer in the maritime field, OMEGA’s ocean story began with the “OMEGA Marine” in 1932 – the world’s first divers’ watch available to civilian divers. Characterised by its clever double case design, the superb water-resistance of that timepiece became sought-after by ambitious explorers and paved the way for OMEGA’s diving future.

With the release of the very first Seamaster in 1948, OMEGA’s passion for the sea was reignited, leading to the launch of the Seamaster 300 in 1957 – OMEGA’s first professional divers’ watch. Many legendary OMEGA dive watches have followed since then, including the distinctive Seamaster 600M “Ploprof” and the Seamaster 1000 for major explorations, as well as the popular Seamaster Diver 300M – worn by Commander James Bond since 1995.

The Original Ultra Deep

As a consolidation of OMEGA’s impressive ocean experience, the original Ultra Deep arrived in 2019. To survive the toughest conditions, the forward-thinking watch included indestructible features, such as a case completely machined out of forged grade 5 titanium, robust “Manta lugs” that provided an innovative way of securing the watch, and a sapphire face with a conical loadbearing design inspired by a submersible’s viewport.

The Concept Ultra Deep. Note the Manta Ray lugs, and the thickness of the crystal and case.

In April of that year, three Ultra Deep watches joined explorer Victor Vescovo on a mission to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Originally recorded as 10,925 m (35,843 ft), the depth was later updated to 10,935 m (35,876 ft) and is the deepest any human or watch has ever dived. Two of the Ultra Deep watches were attached to the submersible’s robotic arm, while another was strapped to a data-gathering unit known as a Lander. Thanks to their ingenious build and design, all three watches completed the 12-hour dive without a problem and surfaced completely unscathed.

The New Watch in Titanium

Taking the next step in state-of-the-art ocean design, 2022 sees the release of seven new models in the Ultra Deep collection. Water-resistant to 6,000 m (20,000 ft), the 45.5 mm range is led by a bold version crafted in sand-blasted and forged grade 5 titanium.

To achieve its unique personality, the watch features a brushed ceramic bezel with a Liquidmetal™ diving scale, along with the distinctive “Manta Lugs” and streamlined asymmetrical case that are reminiscent of the original Ultra Deep model. They support a striped NATO strap, in cyan and black, made from polyamide yarn, sourced from 100% recycled fishing nets. Fixed to the wrist with a loop and buckle in grade 5 Titanium.

Beneath the protuberant and domed sapphire crystal, the dial has been produced in black ceramised titanium with cyan numerals and a blued gradient on the central seconds hand.

Turning the watch over reveals a grade 5 titanium caseback featuring a black laser-engraved Sonar emblem, with the iconic OMEGA Seahorse at its centre. The words “Diver’s watch 6000 m for saturation diving” are included to reaffirm the watch’s adventurous credentials.

The New Watches in O-MEGASTEEL

Six models in the Ultra Deep collection have been built in brand new O-MEGASTEEL. This high-performance stainless steel alloy once again proves OMEGA’s leadership in the production of advanced materials, with qualities that surpass the normal standard. O-MEGASTEEL is notable for its superior strength, whiter colour and incomparable shine. It also offers exceptional resistance to corrosion for a longer-lasting appearance.

Mounted on each O-MEGASTEEL symmetrical case is a ceramic bezel with diving scale, as well as a protuberant and domed sapphire crystal, which is neatly bevelled and designed for maximum strength under pressure. A new crown guard is also integrated to the watch’s case, assuring protection when deep under water.

Lens Position: 1973

The choices include white or gradient-effect dials, which transition from grey-to-black or blue-to-black, and include a glossy finish as well as 18K white gold hands and indexes. Each piece includes a grade 5 titanium caseback with the same laser-engraved Sonar emblem and wording as the full titanium model.

Each design is completed by either a rubber strap or an O-MEGASTEEL bracelet. The rubber straps feature a technical diving suit structure on the upper surface, along with an O-MEGASTEEL buckle. For the metal bracelets, OMEGA’s patented extendable foldover rack-and-pusher has been included, with a complementary length adjustment and an extra diver extension – perfect for use around a thick wetsuit.

Depth Tested and Certified

Driven by the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912, all watches in this collection are Master Chronometer certified at Switzerland’s highest standard of precision, performance and magnetic-resistance. What’s more, OMEGA’s Ultra Deep was ocean-tested at a depth of 6,269 m (20,567 ft) in the Mariana Trench in 2021.

The markings “For Saturation Diving” are included to meet the ISO 6425 standard for saturation divers’ watches which is certified by Switzerland’s independent testing body METAS – a premiere in the watch industry!

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Specifications

Ti / O-MEGASTEEL

MOVEMENT

The Caliber 8912 was also used in the Seamaster PloProf 1200, and is shown here from its display caseback.

OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912

Watch officially certified by METAS

Self-winding in both directions

Jewels: 39

Frequency: 25,200 A/h (3.5 Hz)

Power reserve: 60 hours

  • Exclusive features with:
  • Magnetic resistance: 15,000 gauss
  • Time zone function
  • Silicon “Si14” balance spring
  • OMEGA free sprung-balance
  • Co-Axial Escapement, 3 levels
  • 2 barrels mounted in series
  • NIVACHOC

Special luxury finish:
Rhodium-plated rotor and bridges
Geneva waves in arabesque
Blackened screws, barrels and balance wheel

DISPLAY

Central hour-minute-seconds hands

MATERIAL

Case: Grade 5 titanium – [ZrO2] ceramic bezel ring / O-MEGASTEEL – grade 5 titanium medallion – [ZrO2] ceramic bezel ring

Strap: Grade 5 titanium – polyamide NATO Strap, O-MEGASTEEL bracelet or rubber strap

Buckle: Grade 5 titanium / O-MEGASTEEL

CASE

Diameter: 45.50 mm; Height: 18.12 mm; Lug-to-lug: 56.00 mm

Water resistant: up to 600 bars (6000 m / 20000 ft). Four patents pending on the technical design

Casebody: sandblasted forged grade 5 titanium / polished-brushed-sandblasted O-MEGASTEEL

Bezel: sandblasted forged grade 5 titanium uni-directional rotating – dot at 12H with Super-LumiNova (green emission); brushed black ceramic [ZrO2] with Liquidmetal ™ diving scale / polished black ceramic, orange ceramic or blue ceramic [ZrO2] with Liquidmetal ™ diving scale; polished-brushed-sandblasted O-MEGASTEEL; uni-directional rotating – dot at 12H with Super-LumiNova (green emission)

Crown: sandblasted grade 5 titanium screw-in with “Ω” / polished-sandblasted O-MEGASTEEL screw-in with “Ω”

Front EFG sapphire crystal: domed, protuberant and scratch-resistant with anti-reflective treatment on both sides

Caseback: sandblasted grade 5 titanium, wave-edged, screw-in caseback with oriented sandblasted grade 5 titanium medallion laser engraved with “PLANET OCEAN”, “SEAMASTER”, “PROFESSIONAL”, “Ω”, “CO-AXIAL”, “MASTER CHRONOMETER” and “DIVER’S WATCH 6000 m FOR SATURATION DIVING” / polished-brushed-sandblasted O-MEGASTEEL, wave-edged, screw-in caseback with oriented brushed grade 5 titanium medallion laser engraved with “PLANET OCEAN”, “SEAMASTER”, “PROFESSIONAL”, “Ω”, “CO-AXIAL”, “MASTER CHRONOMETER”, and “DIVER’S WATCH 6000 m FOR SATURATION DIVING”

DIAL

Colour: black ceramised grade 5 titanium / Finish: transparent lacquer in a blue-black gradient / grey-black gradient / white

Applied elements:

  • Hour-markers: brushed indexes, filled with white Super-LumiNova (blue emission)
  • Brushed Arabic numerals, varnished on top in cyan

Transferred markings:

  • “Ω” logo, “OMEGA”, “PROFESSIONAL”, “6000 m / 20000 ft”, minute track and “SWISS MADE” transferred in white
  • “Seamaster” and “ULTRA DEEP” transferred in cyan

Dial engraved with [Ti] (under centre hole) / absent for O-MEGASTEEL versions

HANDS

Brushed hands with white Super-LumiNova

  • Blue emission: hour & seconds hands (in line with indexes)
  • Green emission: minute hand (in line with the dot on bezel)
  • Seconds hand with white to cyan gradient

BRACELET

Black NATO strap with cyan stripe, made from polyamide yarn, sourced from 100% recycled fishing nets.
Fixed with a sandblasted buckle and strap keepers. / Polished-brushed OMEGA patented screw-and-pin bracelet; OMEGA’s patented extendable foldover rack-and-pusher with extra diver extension

Fitting: 22 mm between lugs, 22 mm on buckle / 22 mm between lugs, 18 mm on clasp

SPECIFICATIONS

International 5-year warranty

Delivered with a Master Chronometer certification card, ensuring that the watch has passed the tests certified by METAS

Bracelet, where applicable: complementary length adjustment: total 33.30 mm

  • release clasp, press on “push” and slide inner clasp
  • adjustable to 6 positions over 9.70 mm
  • extra diver extension: 2 x 11.80 mm

Conforms to the requirements of the ISO 6425:2018 standard for saturation divers’ watches

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7 Comments

  1. Pingback: new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White – - Luxewatchreview.com

  2. ARB Cuentatiempos on

    Disculpe usted amigo mi error. Soy muy distraido y acabo de caer en cuenta sobre la advertencia verde que dice “Anuncio”. Por supuesto que este no es el tipo de reseña ni el lugar para hablar de Seiko, Blancpain o Sinn. Por tanto tratando de enmendar un poco mi entuerto, diré lo que a mi entender es la gran virtud de este excelente reloj de Omega y algo en lo que está por delante de los otros relojes que mencioné : Es muy bonito, se que los gustos son subjetivos pero aún así me arriesgaré a decir que muchos concordarán en que este Omega tiene mejores proporciones que su contraparte Rolex. Ambos son instrumentos, de indudable belleza. Los relojes tienen que ser dignos de ser admirados, y este lo es pero muy bien. Una hazaña técnica extraordinaria, llena de soluciones ingeniosas. En comparación, un Breitling Seawolf mide 45 mm y todavía tiene la mitad de resistencia al agua. Estos Ultradeep están sobrediseñados en un paquete que es estéticamente hermoso, en un tamaño usable. También es bueno ver que el botón de la válvula de escape de helio ha desaparecido. Si esto es técnicamente bastante difícil de conseguir para un modelo de poca profundidad como los Zillas de Citizen imagine que esfuerzo ha sido necesario para conseguirlo en un 6000 metros.

  3. ARB Cuentatiempos on

    El medidor de profundidad del Blancpain X Fathoms por ahora es el único con sensibilidad en las dos escalas separadas de 15 y 80 metros.

  4. ARB Cuentatiempos on

    Gracias por contestar.

    Me refería al H2O KALMAR 2 OCEANICTIME.

    Aqui cito a el sitio oficial:

    TESTED to DESTRUCTION The 10 MILES watch was independently pressure tested and officially certified in a specialist German research facility, the only facility of its type in Germany capable of pressure testing up to 4’000 bar, the equivalent of 40’000m.
    It was tested with two different crystal set-ups, firstly with an 8.25mm crystal that finally succumbed to 2’530 bar of pressure, the equivalent of 25’300m of water-resistance.
    H2O Watch’s engineers were not expecting the crystal to perform so well, so had prepared a second watch fitted with a thicker, 10.50mm crystal which surpassed the 8.25mm crystal only by 32 bar. It was finally destroyed at 2’562 bar, the equivalent of 25’620m of water-resistance.
    As a testament to this outstanding level of pressure-resistance, all 10 MILES watches bare a discreet ‘’25300M CERTIFIED’’ engraved hallmark between their lugs.

    Fin de la cita.

    Estoy de acuerdo que Seiko y Blancpain no pueden competir con Omega, Rolex y Sinn en parametros de estanqueidad.
    Sii lo hacen con amplio margen los Kallmar. Solo les falta bajar al abismo de las Marianas para hacer valer su mayor capacidad estanca. Por ahora la prueba es a nivel de laboratorio. Y en calibre reconozco que no se acercan a Rolex y Omega.
    De los Sinn no hablo, son mis preferidos en muchos sentidos.

    • Thank you for the reference to the H2O Kalmar 2 Oceanictime. Excellent point, of course. We were not aware of this watch till now. Good to know. But as you said, unlike Rolex and Omega, it is also field tested in the ocean.

  5. ARB Cuentatiempos on

    Gran reseña.
    Indudablemente un peso pesado.
    Aunque se queda corto en cada uno de los retos:
    En estanqueidad soportada, el Kallmar H2O se muere de risa con sus 2500 bar de presión positiva probado en cámara hiper presurizada.
    En precisión – exactitud, los Seikos Spring-Drive Marine Master nadan con ventaja.
    En calibre con recursos de buceo, nadie gana al Blancpain X Fathoms.
    Y en posibilidades como forma de invertir para asegurar o ganar dinero, desgraciadamente Rolex es Rolex.
    Aun asi, me alegra que Omega siga empujando hacia abajo. Hacia el oscuro abismo. Ha hecho una inmersión de calidad con este “sin valvula”.
    Debido a su talante en cotas, creo que hasta los fanáticos del acero preferirán la liviana versión titánica con su bella morfología manta.

    • Thanks for your comments. We do agree that Seiko and Grand Seiko have superb diving watches. But none with depth ratings close enough to challenge Omega, Rolex or Sinn.

      The Kallman H2O is rated to only 3,000m.

      And the Blancpain X Fathoms is an interesting design with its depth gauge, is rated only to 300m. While we are on depth gauges, IWC was the first on that scene with their Deep One in 1999. But its depth rating is 100m, good only for skin diving applications.

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