Planet Ocean 600M Co-axial Master Chronometer
Model number: 126.96.36.199.01.001
Case size: 43.5mm
Retail price: US$ 6,550
Product sheet: Omega Planet Ocean Product Sheet 21530442101001-en-us.pdf
Recommended reading: Planet Ocean: The Full Story Of Omega’s Iconic Modern Dive Watch - A Blog To Watch
This is a long-term owner review and will provide a detailed log of ownership. It will be updated with new information through time and hopefully will be an interesting journey of owning and enjoying a luxury watch. It will be different and much longer than a regular review that talks about the technical details and how it wears for a short amount of time. I had a lot of questions about buying an expensive Omega luxury watch and hopefully the information in this review will be helpful for others.
I have worn watches as a tool to tell time for a long time and became interested in watches and horology in general only about 3 years ago. It started out with a few inexpensive Seiko and Citizen watches and the iconic Seiko SKX009 was one of them. It was a good place to be as it started as an inexpensive hobby. The collecting slowly progressed to the range of $500 - $1000 which still seems to be the sweet spot for value versus price. The arrival of my first Swiss automatic watch (Certina DS Action Diver) was an exciting moment and many more from Hamilton, Eterna, Oris, Christopher Ward, Alpina, and Damasko followed.
When I started with my first watches, I thought I would never spend more than a few $100 on one. But that ended up with my most expensive watch to date which was an Oris Aquis for around $1300. What does this have to do with a review of an Omega Planet Ocean you may ask? It is just a short explanation of how I worked my way up into this watch obsession and not just went to a store, bought a luxury watch and that was it.
It took a while to find an expensive luxury watch that will last a long time, fits in in many places where I wear watches and I won't get bored with. I always liked Omega as a brand and the Seamaster has been my favorite. I first started looking at the Planet Ocean and then seriously considered the Aqua Terra. I visited an AD in Gibraltar while on vacation last year and looked at the Aqua Terra but just couldn't make the decision at that time.
There are a few ways to acquire a luxury or any kind of watch these days. This applies to the USA but I imagine this pretty much is the same in other countries all over the world.
Omega Boutique (OB)
Omega Authorized Dealer (AD)
Grey market dealer (Jomashop, Authentic Watches, Prestige Time and so on)
Pre-owned from dealer or private party
Buying from an Omega Boutique or Authorized Dealer is the safest way to buy and includes full manufacturer warranty. Resellers usually buy watches from ADs with full manufacturer warranty at a discount and sell them on to consumers. Watches from grey market dealers in the USA usually don't come with manufacturer warranty and they provide their own in-house warranty.
Grey market watches from well-known companies are authentic and can give you a significant discount from retail price. Pre-owned watches can come in all kinds of conditions and may or may not include manufacturer or aftermarket warranty.
I was close to order my Omega from Jomashop as I have had good experiences with them in the past. This doesn't mean everyone has a good buying experience and there is a difference of buying a watch that costs a few 100 or a few 1000 dollars/euros/pounds.
Omega Boutiques do not give discounts but may include some other products in the sale. Authorized Dealers often give discounts and it shouldn't be too difficult to get 10 - 20% off depending on the model. Discounts are usually only give in the store or by phone.
Purchase - 5 April 2019
I prefer to communicate through email or other type of messaging as it is much more efficient and it is nice to have a record of the conversation. But maybe that is why dealers rather don't do it this way as they may get in trouble with Omega. I came in touch with an AD that was recommended through a Seamaster group on Facebook group and the transaction was very easy and convenient.
The discount was attractive and the price came to just a few 100 dollars more than buying from grey market and same as from a trusted reseller on the Omega forum. And this of course included the full 5-year warranty from Omega. A Paypal invoice was emailed and the purchase was confirmed.
A word of warning.. casual communication through email and chat can be nice but you have to be very sure you are dealing with the right person and company. It is all too easy to get scammed these days so buyer beware. It is safest to go to the actual store of this dealer but this may not be practical. The closest AD is 200 miles away from me so that isn't very convenient.
Watch received - 6 April 2019
The dealer was kind enough to upgrade their regular UPS shipping to overnight with Saturday delivery without extra cost. The dealer is located in Pennsylvania and I closely monitored the progress through the UPS network. The UPS site has a new feature where you can track the progress of the actual UPS truck with your package and I admit was a bit of a virtual stalker and refreshed my screen many times. You probably understand when you are into watches and have a new watch on the way.
The store and people are a big part of the buying experience and the reason why a luxury watch costs much more than the average time piece you can buy at a regular department store. I wished I lived closer to Pennsylvania but it was just a bit too far from Northern Michigan. And buying out of state means the watch was not subject to PA or MI sales tax. Of course you should declare any out-of-state sales purchase where tax hasn't been charged on next year's tax return if required..
It is quite a different experience receiving a luxury watch delivered in a cardboard box by a dirty UPS truck than getting the full OB or AD experience. However, it was securely packaged and it made the journey without any problems.
Presentation box and included materials
The presentation box and other materials are top notch and of very nice quality. Most watch boxes end up in a closet never to be seen again but this one stays on my desk and is where the Planet Ocean rests at night when I am home. The light-colored wooden box with soft cream-colored interior is just a pleasure to feel and look at.
The inside cover hides a few small storage spaces where you can keep the hang tag and spare links. There is a soft cloth pouch which I suppose can be used for storing or transporting the watch but I wouldn't recommend that without using a watch pillow of some sort. This will prevent the bracelet from flopping around and avoid scratching of the case back.
The watch came with the 3 red cards that should come with a new Planet Ocean 8900 were in the regular Omega card holder.
Master Chronometer card
This will show the reference number of the watch model, the watch serial number and an access code you can enter on Omega's website to view the METAS test results. More about this later.
This will have the reference number and serial number of the watch. the back of the card shows the pictograms with features of the watch like water resistance rating, bezel material (ceramic), anti-magnetic rating, type of movement and so on.
It used to be the reference number and watch serial numbers were printed on the card and the dealer would stamp the card and fill in the purchase date. They can also have only the name of the dealer without the numbers printed and the dealer would fill these out by hand. This is information I have read online and as explained by the dealer I bought the watch from.
Serial numbers and dealer name blurred for privacy reasons.
Proof of Manufacturer Warranty
The warranty card for this watch wasn't filled out. I had the invoice when I submitted payment but that only listed the model number and not the serial number of the watch. The dealer said I could send the card back to them and they would fill it out for me. But I could do the same myself as well.
They also assured me they had a record of all the details and any warranty work would not be an issue at all. I am very cautious with these kind of things and asked if they could send me a receipt of proof of purchase with all the watch details including the serial number. I received the receipt with official dealer details, receipt number, watch details, purchase price and all my details a few days later and all was good in my world.
Information from the forums show that authorized dealers also register this information with Omega and it makes sense they keep record of watches that have factory warranty and sold by Omega Boutiques and ADs. But I rather have proof of this for my own records, can be used for insurance purposes and may add value when selling the watch again.
I would be very careful to buy a new or used watch that does not come with an official sales receipt. Just a blank warranty card with a printed name and no numbers does not have much value to me. Anything can easily be faked these days. I don't know if you can contact Omega with a serial number and find out the purchase date and warranty coverage.
Bracelet sizing - 12 April 2019
Patience and the right tools are important for bracelet resizing. Removing links from the Omega Planet Ocean bracelet is not difficult but it is easy to leave marks on the screws and bracelet when you're not careful or have a screwdriver that does not fit properly.
The links are held together by a solid bar that is held in place with 2 very small screws at each end. The width of the screw heads is 1.6 mm. I have a set of reasonable quality precision screw drivers including a 1.6 mm size but the blades of these were just a bit too thin for the screw heads and they moved around a bit when applying pressure.
I had another 1.4 mm from a different set but that was too thick to fit into the screw heads. I used some sand paper to sand down the tip until it fit comfortable into the heads. Push down on the screw driver while turning to make sure it doesn't slip out of the screw head. It didn't take much force to unscrew and there was no thread-locker applied to the screws.
You may need a push pin tool or small wire like a paper clip to push out the bar. Make sure the screws are tight but not too tight. Check the screws for the next few days to make sure they don't become loose. It may be a good idea to use a thread-locker to make sure they stay secure.
The bracelet itself is all brushed surfaces which is great for a tool watch like this. The clasp has a push button inside that allows extending the bracelet for about 1 cm. This is great for expanding wrists when you go from a cold and dry environment to hot and humid. This should be standard on any bracelet on a luxury watch.
The adjustment can be made without having to take off the watch from your wrist. Just open the clasp, push the button down with your thumb, slide and make the adjustment you want. Perfect.
There also is a divers extension for adding another 2.5 cm in case you want to wear the watch over a wet suit or jacket. The clasp is very smooth on the inside when folded up and there are no parts sticking out that may cause uncomfortable pressure points on your wrist.
How it looks, feels and wears - 25 April 2019
I have had the watch and worn it for a few weeks now. I was initially concerned about the size of the watch. It is marketed as 43.5 mm but found out that is a bit misleading.
The case measures 43.5 mm at its largest diameter without the crown. The diameter of the bezel is 42 mm so it looks and wears a lot smaller than the 43.5 mm suggests. The case is actually slightly asymmetrical and it comes out an extra 1.5 mm on the right side of the case to function as an integrated crown guard.
The shape of the case sides are angled a bit so it also doesn't have the presence of a large case. Combine this with the lug-to-lug size of a relatively short 49 mm and this watch really wears smaller than the 43.5 mm spec suggest. I have/had watches that are:
41 mm (Seiko SKX007)
42 mm (Glycine Combat Sub)
43 mm (Christopher Ward C60 Trident)
43,5 mm (Oris Aquis)
44 mm (Alpina Alpiner GMT)
This Planet Ocean 43.5 definitely wears like a 42 mm dive watch.
The height of 16 mm was a concern as well and taller than most dive watches. But after wearing it for a while, I don't notice the height anymore and other watches now feel a bit flat on the wrist.
The wrist presence is just right for me. It looks like a quality timepiece without being too loud or attracting the wrong attention. Many watch enthusiasts will know what it is from a distance but the general public won't notice and won't care. However, this may be a negative for some and may be better off with a luxury watch from the other Swiss brand with the crown.
The weight of the watch on the bracelet is 214 grammes / 7.5 oz with all links for about an 8" wrist. Each links is 2g. The watch head is probably about half the total weight and it wears nicely balanced on the wrist. You feel you're wearing a watch but often forget you do.
I wish the bracelet would have half links for the perfect fit. I want to use the full adjustment range for an expanding wrist and sometimes you just need that half link. I ordered a half link from the AD and will update this review when installed.
Perfect size for my 19 cm / 7.5 inch wrist.
I have owned several other 40 - 44 dive watches through the years and here are a few pictures comparing the size of the PO 8900 43.5 to others.
Christopher Ward C60 43mm - Planet Ocean 8900 - Seiko SKX009
Glycine Combat Sub 42mm - Planet Ocean 8900 - Seiko SBDC053 42.5mm
Performance and accuracy
The 8900 movement and master chronometer specifications are very impressive with a guaranteed accuracy of 0 to +5 seconds per day (spd). The certification an testing process by the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) is extensive and all the details about how a watch is tested can be found on the Omega website (link).
The Master Chronometer card has the serial number of the watch and an access code you can use on the Omega website to see the results of the tests by METAS: https://www.omegawatches.com/en-us/masterchronometer
Below are the results of this particular 8900 movement in the Planet Ocean. It is important to note the entire watch with the movement is tested as opposed to COSC testing where only the movement is analyzed.
I like my watches to run a bit fast and the METAS certification was an important part of purchase decision. So seeing the average precision of +1.2 seconds per day was perfect.
Test results in a controlled environment and real world performance are not always the same. It all depends on how often a watch is worn, activity of the wearer, temperature, storage position when not in use and so on. I timed my watch with an Watch Tracker app on my iPhone for about 17 days and was a bit disappointed to see the watch was actually running a bit slow at -0.7 seconds per day.
The good news is that it is still amazing accuracy and it is very consistent in how it runs. It gains about a second when it is stationary at night and looses a couple of seconds during the day.
There is a great discussion on the Omega forum where METAS test results, timing tolerances and real world accuracy and performance are discussed. Find those threads here: Timing tolerances - a guide to understand how they work METAS results versus real world performance
Half link added to the bracelet - 2 October 2019
The sliding mechanism in the clasp is a very handy feature when your wrist circumference changes because of heat/cold and humidity level. Watch companies seem to think the clasp has enough sliding range so half links in bracelets are not needed anymore. But that's definitely not true. You want to have the best fit when your wrist is at its smallest size so you have the maximum expansion range when it does start to swell. And that does mean half links are still needed.
Omega does not include any half links on the PO 8900 bracelet or provide as a part but they are available for the 8800 bracelet. I was able to order one from my AD and it arrived in a few weeks because it had to be ordered. The part number is 115ST1589 and price including shipping was US$ 50. It appears to be expensive for such a small part but it had to be stocked, ordered and shipped by Omega and the from the AD to me and it all adds up. Just consider the 'luxury watch' tax is included as well so not a big deal for the average Omega buyer.
I measured the new and existing links and the half link is not really half the size of a full link. The full link measures about 9mm and the half link is 6.5mm in length so a difference of 2.5mm. So the half link is more like a 2/3 link. I have other watch bracelets with 2 half links and they are also actually 2/3 links.
2 x full links = 18mm
1 x full link and 1 x 2/3 link = 15.5mm
2 x 2/3 links = 13mm
1 x full link = 9mm
So for the perfect fit, it is better to have 2 x 2/3 links than 1 x half link. Fortunately, the 1 x 2/3 link did make enough difference so I won't be getting a second 2/3 link.
While a couple of millimeters may not sound like much, it still made a noticeable difference for my wrist. With only full links, the bracelet was either too tight or too loose with the clasp sliding mechanism closed. And with the the 2.5mm difference, the watch went from flopping around on my wrist to just a bit loose and very comfortable.
The 8800 2/3 link has slightly different brushing and polished sides but the difference is so small that you won't even see if while the watch is on your wrist. The $50 sure was worth it to me and you may even find them less expensive somewhere else.
Do you have any questions, information to add, found any errors in this review or just want share some thoughts about this review or the watch? Please share your comments below! 👇