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Omega Liquidmetal Planet Ocean Review

While in New York this past weekend, I dropped by the Omega boutique (55th & 5th Ave.) to check out the new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal watch.  Having first written about this watch on October 2, 2009. I was excited to finally get to see it “in the metal”.  Now I thought I would share a few of my observations with you.
First, let’s take a look at the Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal (reference and the regular Planet Ocean (reference 2201.5000) “side by side”.  Disregarding the slight color variance of each image (this is a function of using stock photos from Omega’s website and not distinct differences in the watches themselves), do you see any differences?  Study the images carefully and then read on!
So what did you observe?  Not much, right?  Truth be told the differences are minimal.  The only somewhat obvious difference is that the “Seamaster” notation (near the top of the dial) is in red font color on the new Liquidmetal version.
Though upon closer inspection, there is another subtle difference on the dial.  That is, the Liquidmetal version is marked “ZrO2″.  See the image below where I have highlighted this.  It is unfortunately hard to see from Omega’s stock photos, but up close and in person — really anytime when the time is not 10:10 (!!) — it is easy to observe.
“ZrO2″ is a reference to zirconium oxide, a key material in the special bezel which consists of black ceramic fused with Omega’s new Liquidmetal material.  Liquidmetal is special alloy consisting of five elements: zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel and beryllium.   Zirconium is an important constituent part both of the Liquidmetal alloy and of the ceramic material which is made of zirconium dioxide (Zr02).
Speaking of the bezel, you may have noticed it is hard see a difference between the two in the photos I share here.  In fact, the differences between the ceramic+Liquidmetal bezel and the regular PO bezel to the “up close and personal” observer are also minimally discernable.  To be honest, other than its lower likelihood of being scratched, I was not overly impressed with the Liquidmetal bezel as compared to the regular PO.  In fact, I observed that its color was not as “pure” of a black color as the 2201.5000.  It seemed to have a slight sheen to it.  Not that this is necessarily a bad quality, just different.
The caseback is also specially marked.  It has a special “Liquidmetal Technology” logo, the “Ceramic ZrO2″ reference,  as well as the limited edition numbering:
Here are a few additional observations that I made:
Case Size
The Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal watch is available exclusively in the 42mm case size.  The regular Planet Ocean’s are available in both 42mm and 45.5mm.  Too bad they did not make some of each size.
Like the comparable Planet Ocean (reference 2201.5000), the Liquidmetal has an Omega Caliber 2500 which is chronometer certified and utilizes Omega’s famous co-axial escapement.
The price of the Planet Ocean Liquidmetal is about $5,700.  This is almost $2,000 more than the comparable standard Planet Ocean (the 2201.5000 reference no.), a hefty premium.
Of course, the Planet Ocean Liquidmetal is a limited edition piece — only 1,948 will be made vs. how many millions of regular Planet Ocean’s are out there — so perhaps the premium is justified.
In summary…
I am asking myself this:  “Is the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal worth the extra cost?”  For me, I will have to say “no”.    First, I would prefer the watch in 45mm rather than 42mm.  Second, there is minimal distinction between a regular Planet Ocean, particularly a casual observer or watch enthusiast.  The subtle dial differences and the minimally different looking bezel just don’t give it enough “wow” factor for me to want it more than a regular Planet Ocean.  Sure, the caseback engravings are cool and a nice touch, but how many times do these features really get observed and appreciated.
While the 1,948 units of the Planet Ocean Liquidmetal will surely not have trouble finding homes, my hope is that Omega will figure out a way to expand the use of its ceramic and Liquidmetal technology that will bring the price down — and the value proposition up.  Only then will I give it another look and consider making a purchase.

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