Seamaster Ultra Deep 6000M Summer Blue: Omega style in the depths5 September 2023
When we look at the Omega Ultra Deep 6000M, we think about how the industrial processes of haute horlogerie resemble those of the automotive industry. In both, innovative solutions are tested in extreme conditions and, once the tests have been passed, they are made available to the general public.
This is what happens, for example, with dive watches tested at great depths, whose technical innovations are used in the timepieces that many of us wear by the pool or for a quiet weekend at the beach. The same happened with the Omega Ultra Deep 6000M, recently presented by the brand with the Summer Blue dial, protagonist of the exclusive Watch Insanity shooting.
In the case of the super professional Omega, this is true if we consider that the Bienne brand created what is probably the first diving watch in history. Almost 100 years ago.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE GREAT DEPTHS AND WATERPROOFNESS
The search for ever greater depth is a race that began when the first water-resistant watches were developed. And Omega was there, at the beginning. With the 1932 Marine. This primordial dive watch was quite unusual, born long before waterproofing became a goal and dive watches became mainstream.
It was an experimental timepiece with a rectangular case, indeed, with a double case: an internal one that slipped under the external one and closed with a cork seal. Tested in Lake Geneva down to 73 meters, it was later discovered that it could also go down to 135.
In the 1950s, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms and Rolex’s Submariner, with a more conventional design, paved the way for dive watches as we know them today, but always tested at relatively shallow depths. In 1960 Rolex, with the Deep Sea Special No. 47 docked to the Trieste bathyscaphe, opened the way to great depths and went down to 10,916 meters in the Mariana Trench.
Actually, in the late 1990s the German brand Sinn made the EZM Hydro, which used a case filled with pure silicone oil. This not only provided optimum visibility from any angle when underwater, but could also withstand unlimited pressure as oil is an incompressible fluid. The latest version of the watch, the quartz EZM 2B, was accredited with a resistance to -12,000 meters, although Sinn did not participate in any real depth tests with a specific dive.
OMEGA ULTRA DEEP 6000M: A BIT OF HISTORY
Rolex’s record seemed unbeatable, considering that the oceans’ deepest point, in the eastern basin of the Mariana Trench, drops by only a few meters compared to the western basin where the Trieste stopped. Instead, Omega thought about getting there, precisely with the prototype of the Ultra Deep and with a man who is the embodiment of adventure: the former pilot and former US Navy officer Victor Vescovo.
His relationship with Omega began when he decided to purchase a Seamaster Planet Ocean chronograph to commemorate his deep-sea adventure. After his first descent to the Puerto Rico Trench, the brand got in touch with him to support him in his most extreme challenge: the dive to the lowest point of the Mariana Trench, at 10,928 meters below sea. Accompanied by a Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional.
As Vescovo piloted his Limiting Factor submersible to the deepest point on Earth, the three watches attached to the hull (two on robotic arms and one on an independent remote-controlled lander) didn’t miss a beat. The Seamaster attached to the lander spent two days at the bottom of the Trench; when it was recovered, after about 54 hours, the watch continued to run, keeping time almost perfectly.
In 2022 Omega brought the solutions tested during that extreme adventure, dated 2019, into a current collection, creating the Seamaster Ultra Deep. Nine watches, one with a titanium case and eight with an O-MEGASTEEL steel case. Particularly interesting was the first one, whose case was in forged titanium, the same material used in the Concept Ultra Deep and in Vescovo’s submarine.
It was also equipped with the special integrated “Manta lugs” thanks to a streamlined construction, with the case modeled on that of the Concept. This reduced the risk of collapse caused by reaching the stress limit of the materials. The use of those lugs forced Omega to match the watch with a NATO strap since it was not possible to mount a bracelet.
THE SUMMER BLUE COLLECTION
Today the brand has included the Omega Ultra Deep 6000M within the new Seamaster collection, with the dials characterized by a particular shade which it has called Summer Blue. A tribute to summer and the sea, the real challenge ground of the collection. A tribute to the Seamaster collection, born in 1948. A line-up of seven watches that bring technical underwater solutions and refined aesthetics together.
Common to all watches is the blue shade, which is more or less intense to indicate the level of water resistance of each Seamaster. Our Ultra Deep has the darkest shade, the one that recalls the darkness of the abyss in which it was tested. Let’s take a closer look at it.
CASE AND BRACELET OF THE OMEGA ULTRA DEEP 6000M
And let’s start with the case, in O-MEGASTEEL like that of the references in the 2022 collection, waterproof up to 600 bar. This particular alloy has been designed to achieve three goals: to be harder (300 Vickers against the 150 of the classic 316L steel), to have a higher resistance to deformation (560 MPa against the 200 MPa of 316L), to have a whiter look than standard stainless steel used in the watch industry.
Working with a steel with these characteristics, which is harder and more resistant, means that a great deal of effort is required to cut, shape and polish it. This makes more remarkable the satin-finishing and polishing work that Omega has done on the lugs and case sides, as well as on the links of the three-row bracelet, also in O-MEGASTEEL, with folding clasp and diving extension.
As expected from this kind of professional watch, the size of the case is generous: 45.5mm in diameter by 18.1mm thick and an important lug-to-lug, 51.9mm. A size partially “softened” by the short lugs, which make the watch well wearable all in all. However, you feel it on your wrist not only for the thickness but also for the weight, around 250 grams.
THE MOVEMENT AND THE CASE BACK
The case protects one of Omega’s most beautiful and reliable calibers, the Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8912, which powers other watches in the Seamaster collection including the Seamaster 300 and the PloProf. It is developed on the Caliber 8500 base. First introduced in 2007 on the De Ville Hour Vision, it had two barrels delivering 60 hours of power reserve.
The Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8912, chronometer-certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) to the highest industry standards, is equipped with the Co-Axial escapement. It has hour, minute and second indications and, like the 8500, a power reserve of 60 hours when fully winded.
Furthermore, it is resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. In addition to the coaxial escapement, it is equipped with a free-sprung balance wheel, without a racket, a silicon hairspring and two barrels mounted in series. Finished with a guilloché Côtes-de-Genève motif which is not visible as the case back is closed, it is a commemorative case back on the entire Summer Blue line, linked to the history of the Seamaster.
In the 1950s, Omega wanted to create a symbol that represented the entire collection, bearing its marine vocation, refined style and spirit of resistance. The designer Jean-Pierre Borle found inspiration for the design in Venice, Italy, seeing the sculptures representing the hippocampus of Neptune that decorated the sides of the gondolas.
That’s why each watch in the Summer Blue collection bears the Seamaster logo on the case back, depicting Poseidon with trident and two seahorses. A design where the original 1956 Omega logo joins the current one.
OMEGA ULTRA DEEP 6000M: A DIAL TO DISCOVER
We left the most interesting part of the Ultra Deep 6000M for the end. It is the dial, which is protected by a domed, protruding, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides. As we wrote above, Omega’s idea in launching the Summer Blue collection was to decline the dial of each watch in an increasingly darker blue, depending on the water resistance of the timepiece. The more waterproof it is, the deeper the color.
On the Ultra Deep 6000M, however, there is more. The dial has a particular rough textured workmanship with a lacquered finish which is nothing more than the perfect representation of the seabed of the Challenger Deep: the deepest point of all the oceans, located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench. The 10,928 meters below reached by Vescovo and the Omega watch.
As the brand recalls, the design of the seabed – which on the dial is a darker shade of blue from the center to the edge – was made possible by the mapping carried out by the “The Five Deeps” team using almost one million sonar points. Not bad.
But what makes the difference is the surprise revealed by the dial. When illuminated with UV light, stylized drawings of the western, central and eastern basins of the Mariana Trench appear in the center, in its lower half; above the latter, the inscription OMEGA WAS HERE!
Speaking of lighting, the effect of the luminescent material on the hour markers and hands is very nice: blue on the hours markers and on the tip of the central seconds, green on the minutes ones. The same green is echoed by the dot at 12 on the unidirectional rotating ceramic bezel.
Finally, the price, in line with the technical contents of the watch and with the special nature of the Summer Blue collection: 14,200 euros. Beyond the marketing, aesthetics and storytelling that go into a timepiece like this, Omega Ultra Deep 6000M Summer Blue is a beautiful and well-made watch. Because it makes the results of years of experimentation and research available to everyone (or at least to those willing to pay for it), with solutions that can be used in everyday life. After all, isn’t this the ultimate goal of progress?
By Davide Passoni