At Baselworld this year it became known that Omega was releasing a new version of its Seamaster “PloProf”, a watch which has a cult following amongst hard core dive watch enthusiasts. With titanium case, ceramic bezel inserts, and an Omega Master Co-Axial caliber (visible through a sapphire-crystay display back!), it is safe to say that Omega continues to evolve and refine its original “omega replica watches” with features and aesthetics afforded by modern day watchmaking capabilities. Actually the new Seamaster Ploprof 1200M Co-Axial Master Chronometer is being offered in a variety of different color & strap/bracelet combinations, all with the core features I just mentioned. It’s an exciting refresh, and below I will briefly explore the history of the PloProf and then we’ll take a look at some of the new models.
The PloProf derives its name from the French term Plongeur Professionnel (Professional Diver), and was arguably the first watch designed and built specifically for the diving professional. Bearing reference no. 166.077, the original PloProf debuted in 1970 after years of development in conjunction with Comex and famous explorer Jacques Cousteau. Its distinctive design and heavy emphasis on function over form with features such as a bezel lock (the orange button on the side of the case), crown lock, monoblock case with 600 meter water resistance, and other features eventually made the watch a cult classic.
Omega remade the PloProf in 2009, modernizing it with both aesthetic changes and mechanical upgrades such as an Omega co-axial chronometer caliber 8500, multi-part case, water resistance rating increase to 1200 meters and more.
For 2016, Omega is offering four versions of the replica Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200M Co-Axial Master Chronometer, including black with a black bezel, blue with a blue and 18k Sedna gold bezel, white with a blue bezel, and one with a gray ceramic bezel. The new 2016 editions thus mark the second “remake” of the famous dive watch since its debut over 40 years ago. The changes are not insignificant starting with the move to a titanium case. At 55mm x 48mm and made of stainless steel, the PloProf has always been a big, bulky watch. Titanium will change this dramatically.
Another big move is the use of a sapphire display back. Virtually unheard of decades ago, modern day technology has enabled deep-rated divers to be produced with sapphire display backs. Though some purists might prefer a non-see-through caseback (the original PloProf had a textured caseback to help keep the replica watch from sliding around), the aesthetic enhancements afforded by a sapphire display without sacrificing depth rating seem well worth it. Particularly as in this case you get to see the Omega Master Co-Axial Caliber 8900 (See my earlier article: Omega Master Co-Axial Calibers Arrive, What Does It Mean? March 2014 for more background)
There are a handful of other changes as well. Just to point out a few: use of ceramic bezel inserts (look very sharp), the seconds hand is now orange-tipped, and the absence of a date window. The omission of a date window moves away from both the original PloProf and the 2009 remake. It is a welcome absence, in my view. Just scroll back and forth between the original 1970’s PloProf, the 2009 PloProf, and the 2016 PloProf seen here and you can see the design evolution of the watch.
Here is another of the new 2016 models, this one utilizing Sedna gold (an Omega-exclusive special gold alloy) and dark blue dial for a bit more luxurious look (perhaps this one will not be the favorite of PloProf purists):
Prices for the Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200M Co-Axial Master Chronometer replica watches were last reported at $126 for the black dial / black bezel (ref. O22790552101001 — not pictured) and white dial / blue bezel (ref. O22790552104001), and $138 for the gray Ti dial (ref. O22790552199001), and $180 for the blue dial / 18k Sedna gold ref. (O22760552103001).
Did You Know?
An extensive archive of information regarding the original Omega Seamaster PloProf can be found at http://www.ukomegareplica.co.uk