Thursday, February 5, 2015

Head to Head: Omega Seamaster PloProf Reference Versus The Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller Reference M116660-0001

It is the clash of titans. This is how best to describe when this two giants from the houses of Omega and Rolex go head-to-head on a no-holds-barred comparative review. What is the prize? To be crowned as the better deep diver.

I have been collecting dive watches for a number of years. One of my collection philosophies is to collect the best dive watch a brand could design and make. To this end I have successful in collecting some fine examples of dive watches.

In this article, I wanted to do a head-to-head comparison between two famous dive watches from Switzerland. The Seamaster PloProf reference from Omega and Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Sea-Dweller reference M116660-0001 from Rolex.

I won’t dwell much on the materials used as well as movements running the watches. It is suffice to say that the requirement of a professional dive watch under the international accepted ISO 6425 standard are complied with in these two watches. Moreover, both watches have COSC certification as proof of their timing accuracy.

The Omega Seamaster PloProf is 55 mm wide by 48 mm tall. Coupled with a height of 18 mm, it weighs in at 260 grams. The lug length on the casing is 24 mm. Although it has rubber straps, the link is via a clasp system. The shape is unique. On the other hand, the Rolex Deepsea has a 44 mm case. Coupled with a case height of 17.7 mm, it weighs in at 212 grams. The lug length on the casing is 21 mm. The watch comes with a bracelet. The shape is relatively contemporary.

The dimensions of the Omega put it well ahead of the Rolex. Even looking at both of them side-by-side (see the previous photos), the Omega has substantially more wrist presence. Its unique shape further enhances its wow factor. The Rolex watch appears more sedated and normal.

How was the wearing experience for each of them?

The omega is a surprise. You would expect the size to make it score badly when it comes to wearing comfort but the shrouded lugs do wonders to the comfort level of this watch. It is able to bring closer the straps hence eliminating the lug-overhang problem prevalent in a lot of large watches. Nevertheless, you do need a minimum wrist circumference to be able to carry this watch with confidence. I reckon a wrist circumference of 7.25 inches is the minimum. Anything smaller and the watch will look comical on the wrist.

As for the Rolex, the wearing experience is all about being able to carry the weight. The watch is heavy. Nevertheless, the use of a bracelet helps distribute the weight evenly around a wrist. The width of the bracelet also plays a role. The Rolex’s lug width is 21 mm. To me, the Rolex appears slightly unbalanced. A 22 mm or 24 mm would have been better suited for the Deepsea.

It is important to note that the Omega and Rolex are professional watches hence cannot be used in all occasions. Contrary to popular believe or what the adverts try to portray, they cannot be used properly if you are wearing tuxedos or suits. The height of the watches is too high and can never slip pass the cuffs (if you decide to use a wider cuff, it can disappear in it but then you won’t look good – style wise).

One other major comparison that can be made is the quality of illumination. As professional dive watches, the quality of the illumination is very important. In this respect, Rolex wins. Round markers allow a lot of the illumination paint to be on unlike the straight markers on the Omega. Nevertheless, Omega scored a point for having illumination on all the markers on its bezel (the Rolex only has one illuminated marker on its bezel).

The overall winner when it comes to style is…...

After going through this review process, without doubt the watch that scored the most points is the Rolex Deepsea. It is just the right size to do the job. The contemporary design does not in any way present a disadvantage to the watch. In fact, Omega PloProf design which aims to be different has the effect of eliminating a huge number of potential buyers from choosing it. Let’s be realistic, the vast majority of people in the world are not that adventurous when it comes to paying huge sums of money for a watch that may invite a lot of questions and remarks. Most of them prefer the subtle approach to style. This is something the Rolex DSSD can give.

Despite the win by the Rolex Deepsea, there is a secret desire by a lot of people to own an Omega Ploprof. Say what you want, the Omega Ploprof shape does remind a lot of people objects they hold dear when they were young.

It reminded me of my old walkie-talkie when I was a boy.

Unfortunately, the need to conform to certain norms as adults diminishes their individuality. You only live once and to deny what you actually desire is unfair to yourself. Will the world be a better place if you conform or if you are happy? I definitely choose the latter.

That is why after getting my Rolex DSSD, I still went after the Omega Ploprof. I want to live free….


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