After receiving my Omega Planet Ocean as a gift from my then-future wife in 2012, I was so excited that I wrote a lengthy review of it on a watch forum. Apparently, it resonated with people because even years later I had people reaching out to tell me how much they enjoyed reading it. It even got me a position writing for the WatchCharts blog, as well as an appearance on a future episode of the Ritual Watch podcast. As a result, I reposted it as one of the first articles on the StrapHabit blog back in 2020. You can read that original review here.
As hard as it is for me to believe, this year marks my tenth wedding anniversary, which means it is also the tenth anniversary of me receiving the Planet Ocean. Because watches trends have changed quite a bit since then, and also because my experience with watches is vastly different, I thought that it would be interesting to revisit that watch in a 2022 context. The watch has also recently received a number of improvements that I'll touch on.
What's Happened Since Then
Since the original review was completed, the wedding took place and, of course, I wore the Planet Ocean that day. Another thing that I did (which was possibly the most fun for me) was to gift black Orient Ray watches to all of my groomsmen so that we could have a similar style during the wedding (sorry guys, but four more Planet Oceans were not in the budget).
Additionally, my wife gave me a great surprise at the wedding, which was an Omega Planet Ocean groom's cake!
I also wore it during the birth of our child in 2017...
...who also seems to enjoy wearing a watch.
I also bought an Omega Mesh Bracelet for it. That is much less significant than the previous events, but I think looks really good on it!
And of course it's also been used in countless StrapHabit product photos as its 22mm lugs and classic look make it a strap monster!
Restoring the Planet Ocean Chronograph
Considering the number of memories that I've made with the Planet Ocean, I thought it deserved some long overdue TLC. When I first owned it, it would consistently run within 1 second per day. Since then, it had slowly started to drift and was running quite slow. I had been procrastinating having it serviced, as I couldn't find anyone local who wanted to tackle its complicated 3313 co-axial chronograph movement. I was also apprehensive to ship it away to Omega to for an unknown amount of time (I had heard it could take 6 months).
Luckily, I had recently met an expert watchmaker Zach Smith through the local watch group. He is Omega-certified, and told me that Omega had trained him on the 3313 specifically! When I dropped off the watch, he even had a disassembled 3313 on hand and was able to show me some of the things that he would be doing to the watch (such as disassembling the replacement chronograph wheel in order to lubricate it and make it last longer), which made me feel good about my decision.
In my original review, I commented that the movement was labeled as a 3313B, but that Omega had told me in an email that it was the improved 3313C. Zach discovered that mine was not a C movement, but as luck would have it he had the parts on hand including the main plate and escape wheel to perform the retrofit (the old parts are shown below). I've never had any problems with mine, but it made me feel good to have Omega's latest and greatest designs in my watch, as the "B" version didn't have the best reputation. Zach also told me that the updated escapement is more efficient, which should make it more accurate throughout its power reserve.
I also mentioned in the original review that I thought my Planet Ocean had been refinished, but still looked beautiful. At the time I knew that having the original sharp edges was preferred, but I didn't fully understand how important that it was to watch collectors. The fact that the brushing didn't look quite right, and the edges were a bit rounded had always slightly bothered me. Thus I agreed with Zach to send the case to Zimmerman watch repair in PA while Zach tackled the movement.
While at Zimmerman, the case edges were laser welded to replace the material that had been removed through the previous polishing process, and the crown, HEV, and pushers were replaced. The water resistance was also confirmed.
My watch also previously had the bezel replaced with an OEM Omega bezel. It never quite lined up, which drove me nuts. The orange tip on its second hand had faded to an off-white color. Zach aligned the bezel and lubricated it to operate much more smoothly. He also repainted the tip of the second hand. See below for the before and after photos.
When I finally got it back, the results blew me away! I need to find another PO to compare it side-by-side, but my guess is that I won't be able to spot the difference. It looks factory-fresh! The finishing looks immaculate, and the edges are so sharp! Look at the before and after photos below to see for yourself.
The pushers operate more smoothly and crisply, and the bezel turns much more smoothly and crisply. Additionally, the crown is much easier to operate now, and the watch is back to running well within COSC specs. I'm also more comfortable wearing it in the water again, since the water resistance has been recently tested.
Not only was I excited to have my watch back, but it was great to have a number of minor issues that had been bothering me for the last 10 years finally resolved!
Wearing the Planet Ocean Chronograph
Since writing the original article, I've owned watches of all shapes and sizes. I'm not as picky as many other people are with regard to size, and I've developed the theory that if a watch is a little bigger visually than I'd prefer, but otherwise is a great watch, then I won't let that stop me from buying it. It just needs to be comfortable.
That being said, the Planet Ocean Chronograph is not a watch that hides its size. The original bracelet extends past the 52mm lug-to-lug distance, and also adds a lot to the weight. Since there is no micro-adjust, and just the option of a single half-link (or single dive extension), I have to wear it a bit loose, which exacerbates the size.
Similarly, it doesn't hide its thickness. Visually it doesn't look 18mm thick due to the highly domed crystal and the fact that the sides of the case and lyre lugs lead to a thinner case side, but it feels thick. This is likely due in part to the iron cage over the movement, the caseback sticks out fairly far from the back of the case. The result is that the lugs sit high, and it does the opposite of hugging the wrist like my nearly 45mm Seiko Prospex LX.
This does help to balance the watch's center of gravity, however. Since the strap mounts closer to the middle of the case, it does not have as much of a top-heavy feeling as the 15.4mm MM300 did. It feels very heavy but at 18mm thick it feels secure if you wear it on a rubber strap.
In a watch-collecting world that seems to be trending smaller, the Planet Ocean Chronograph definitely stands out. That being said, it is still thinner than its replacement in the Omega catalog, the 19mm thick 126.96.36.199.01.001.
If you're going to an OE look, the most comfortable strap for it is the fitted stitched rubber, which has almost a leather appearance. The sides go straight down the wrist, holding the watch securely, plus it has a fantastic taper from 22mm down to 18mm. I also love Omega's Deployant, which hides the tail end of the strap under the clasp. They are expensive, but my favorite factory option.
Appearance-wise, I also really like the Omega Seatbelt mesh. The clasp is much thinner than the newer mesh bracelets with the extendable clasp, and it matches the slightly vintage aesthetic better. I also still occasionally wear it on the dive strap shown in the original article.
When it comes to StrapHabit straps, I've been enjoying wearing the "PO" on an orange Ridge Rubber, and more recently one of our Hook and Loop straps in forest camo. I'm looking forward to trying my new-and-improved Planet Ocean on some of the newest StrapHabit straps soon!
The 3313 Movement
The 3313 movement was, and still is a serious piece of kit. It started life as the (then Swatch-owned) Frédéric Piguet cal. 1285, before being modified to house Omega's co-axial escapement. The 1285 was a distant relative of the FP cal. 1185 which was used by prestigious brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Breguet. Frédéric Piguet was also the movement maker for Blancpain before the Swatch group merged them together in 2010.
It packs all of the features that you'd want to see in a classic integrated chronograph. A column-wheel mechanism gives the pushers very crisp and distinct clicks. Stutter-free stopping and starting occur thanks to a vertical clutch. A free-spring balance ensures great accuracy (COSC-certified in this case). Said balance operates at 28,800 vph, unlike the non-chronograph movements which were slowed to the unconventional 25,200 rate (Zach tells me that Omega did this to keep a smoother sweep of the chronograph second hand). It uni-directionally winds to 52 hours of power reserve and 37 jewels finish out the relevant spec list. If that's not enough, it's protected by an iron cage, which should give it 1,000 gauss of magnetic resistance.
It got a bad reputation when it first came out for some reliability issues. Despite mine actually being the less desirable "B" series, it has been trouble-free over the last 10 years. When I first got it, it was already two years old, and still consistently kept time within 1 second per day.
It might not pack the latest silicon parts, or dual-mainspring barrels of Omega's latest movements, and the market trends now prefer fully in-house movements. Despite this being a Swatch group ébauche, it has such a prestigious lineage and strong spec list that I still consider it a very desirable movement 10 years later.
Compared to Modern Watches
This generation of Planet Ocean has aged extremely well. As with the movement, it doesn't have the latest features, but the metal bezel insert is a classic and looks more restrained than the ceramic and liquid metal insert on current POs. I also like the vintage font used on the dial, with the open 6 and 9. The subdials are better spaced out on the new version, but they eliminate those numerals. Closed 6 and 9 are used on the non-chronos, so it is lost on those too.
This watch had an MSRP of $7,200 when new. As of July 2022, WatchCharts.com puts the 2210.50.00's value at $3,913. That is more than my wife paid for it in 2012, so it has actually appreciated slightly. Considering what you get under the hood, it's a lot of watch for the money. Sure, it doesn't have the Omega in-house calibre 9300 of its replacement, but those watches are currently going for $5,333. So not only is the old-timer much less expensive, it's also thinner than the new watch, and more elegant-looking (in my humble, yet biased opinion).
If you're not comfortable wearing something the size of the chronograph, its 42mm 3-hand cousin, the 2201.50 has also aged quite well. These have actually been trending up in price, likely due to their good looks, and the fact that they are thinner than the new POs as well. Their movements are ETA-based, but again have the addition of the co-axial escapement.
Even without all of the memories attached to this watch, I'm still very happy that this is the watch my wife gave me as an engagement gift. Some of the Rolex models that were in the case next to it have tripled in value (my friend bought a Coke bezel Rolex from the same store for $3,500) while the Planet Ocean is merely worth a couple hundred dollars more than we paid for it, it doesn't matter. I don't plan to ever sell it, and I use much more boring devices as investments. Watches are a passion, and I'm much happier having something unique that I've thoroughly enjoyed owning.
Do you have a special watch that you've owned for many years? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
Name: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Chronograph 45.5mm
Reference Number: 2210.50.00
MSRP (2012): $7,200
Dimensions: 45.5mm diameter, 52mm lug-to-lug, 18mm thick
Lug Width: 22mm
Movement: Omega 3313 (Frédéric Piguet 1285 base)
Power Reserve: 52 hours
Water Resistance: 600m
Crystal: Domed sapphire with AR coating
Crown: Screw-down, plus screw-down HEV
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating, 120 click
Bracelet: Stainless steel with dive extension and half-link
Shop some other StrapHabit looks for the Omega Planet Ocean Chronograph: