Bezels are probably more prone to accidental damage than any other part of a professional dive watch, and the Swiss watch industry has devoted a king’s ransom in research and development money to further the quest to make them more robust. The use of ceramics, hard metal innovation, and more recently Omega’s introduction of liquid metal technology are testament to the pursuit of the indestructible bezel.
With the introduction of liquid metal versions on some Seamaster Planet Ocean editions, Omega is a little further along to track to the ultimate bezel than its major competitors. Liquid metal set the standard for professional dive watches, and Omega’s new offering, Ceragold, may well set it for those who like to keep their head well above water. As with liquid metal bezels, Omega has pioneered a new method for forming the metal diving scale. It involves a complicated series of manufacturing steps, described here on the Omega website.
The Ceragold method has the potential (if the Omega design shop has its wits about it) to be applied to a range of innovative and exciting applications. Imagine a ceramic Omega dial with Ceragold markers and Omega logo, or elegant dial designs etched into ceramic and complimented with gold filling using the Ceragold method; consider the use of Ceragold as an elegant ornamentation technique on bezels other than dive watches; contemplate Ceragold and ceramic bracelet inserts and clasps, or case back medallions. The ceramic colour and applications of Ceragold are only limited by the imagination, and here’s hoping that we see some original and inventive applications of Ceragold at future Baselworlds.
The new Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold collection is designed but not meant for subaqueous environments. With prices ranging from 22,500 to 33,000 USD for these eighteen-carat gold beauties, you should not expect to see one on the wrist of a navy diver. Rather, they will find their homes in more elevated, rarefied milieus probably well above the twentieth floor.
Do not despair, however, because the professional dive features can be used in other, more creative ways. Rather than indicating elapsed diving time, the bezel of Ceragold 42 mm White Planet St. Moritz, for example, is an excellent device to check elapsed time of your high-level presentations, or to ensure your parking meter doesn’t run out. You can set a specific and acceptable duration for ducking into the executive toilet to smoke a joint, or check elapsed waiting time at your favourite restaurant. Same thing with the 45.50 mm eighteen-carat red gold Planet Ocean Chronograph powered by the calibre 9301 (Click here for a Watchtime review of the SS Cal 9300 PO). The helium escape valves may come in handy as metaphorical self-management tools if the pressure gets too much during power meetings or boardroom disagreements!
These luxury models are powered by Omega’s in-house calibre 8501 and 9301 movements, both of which have a matching eighteen-carat rotor that is visible through the exhibition case back. Undoubtedly they are beautiful pieces, the St Moritz conforming to the standards of a jewellery watch, and while their market will be limited, it’s nice to see them as examples of innovation in watch materials.