The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.

The 2016 39.5mm OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean



Last week we wrote our review of the 2016 OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 43.5mm. This post discusses the new smaller size 39.5mm model on bracelet in both the black and blue dial references.

8800 Calibre

In the first half of last week's post, we discussed each of the major movement differences between the 2500 (2004), 8500 (2011) and the new 8900 calibre. The 39.5mm Planet Ocean features the 8800 calibre which is similar to the 8900 though with a few key differences.

The first difference is in the mainspring approach. The 8800 calibre features a single barrel as opposed to the dual barrel system of the 8900. At 55 hours, the power reserve falls short of the 60-hour power reserve in the 8900 calibre, though it is still considerably longer than the 48 hours of the prior generation 2500 caliber. In addition to providing a longer power reserve, one of the big selling points of the dual barrel system is how their integration enables a more consistent energy release rate at various levels of charge. Whatever the single barrel system of the 8800 is giving up in terms of rate variance, it is worth noting that it still passes the METAS test which includes testing at both full charge and at 33% charge.

The sapphire caseback giving view to the 8800 movement of the 39.5mm Planet Ocean.

The other big difference between the 8800 and 8900 calibre is that the 8800 calibre doesn't feature what OMEGA calls the "time zone function". This feature enables "quick hour" setting, which allows changing time zones without hacking the watch. It also permits moving the date wheel in both directions, though without a quick date capability, it requires scrolling through a full 24 hours to change the date. In contrast, the 8800 calibre, like the 2500 calibre, features more traditional crown functionality. Its "second" crown position changes the date, and the crown operation can only advance the date forward.

Another difference between the 39.5mm and 43.5mm models is thickness. OMEGA lists the 39.5mm at 14.16mm, which is close to the 14.2mm of the original 42mm Planet Ocean (2201.50.00). The 2016 43.5mm version is much thicker at 16.04mm. For comparison, the 8500 calibre Planet Oceans were 15.7 mm thick for the 42mm and 16.5mm for the 45mm version.

While it is certainly true that some women will enjoy this watch, the 39.5mm model is also resonating with male Planet Ocean fans who felt that the 8500 calibre options at 42mm and 45mm were too large for their wrists. On my seven inch wrist, I find the 39.5mm version looks really balanced.

Aside from the movement, most of the modern features in the 43.5mm version are present in the 39.5mm. There is not a 39.5mm titanium option, or an option with the orange vulcanized rubber insert, but all of the other case, dial, and bracelet design choices we wrote about last week apply. The numbers and indices on the bezel feature Liquidmetal® instead of chromium nitride, the dials are ceramic (ZrO2), the center links that abut the case are shorter, the clasp features the extendable foldover rack-and-pusher mechanism, and there is an "alveol" screw-in caseback.

Below are side-by-side photos of the 42mm 8500 calibre Planet Ocean, 42mm 2500 calibre Planet Ocean, and 41mm 300m Seamaster. How do you like the new 39.5mm Planet Ocean?

From left to right, the new 8800 calibre 39.5mm Planet Ocean, the 42mm 8500 calibre Planet Ocean (introduced in 2011), and a 2500 calibre Planet Ocean (introduced in 2004).

The upper portion of the glossy ceramic dial on the new 39,.5mm 8800 calibre Planet Ocean.

The inner ring of the new ceramic bezel is segmented for minute indices.

The center links that abut the case are shorter than the prior generation allowing a sharper transition away from the case. This should allow a better fit for smaller wrist sizes.

The hands, applied indices, and chamfered date aperture of new 39.5mm Planet Ocean.

The 39.5mm features the same style adjustable clasp as the 43.5mm model. That clasp is shown here at its tightest setting.

The 39.5mm features the same style adjustable clasp as the 43.5mm model. That clasp is shown here at its loosest setting.

The signed screw-down crown and case side of new 39.5mm 8800 calibre Planet Ocean.

As would be expected the dial aperture is a little smaller on the new 39.5mm Planet Ocean (left) than the 42mm 8500 calibre Planet Ocean (right).

The 2016 Planet Ocean 39.5mm (left) is 14.16mm thick compared to the 15.7mm thick 42mm 8500 calibre Planet Ocean.

The new 39.5mm 8800 calibre Planet Ocean next to the popular 2201.50.00 2500 calibre 42mm Planet Ocean which was introduced in 2004.

A look at the thickness of the 2016 39.5mm Planet Ocean mode (left)l, and the 42mm Planet Ocean 2201.50.00 with a 2500 calibre movement (right).

A side by side shot of the new blue 39.5mm Planet Ocean (left) and the 41 mm Seamaster Diver 300 M.

The new Planet Ocean 39.5mm (left) is around 1mm thicker than the 13mm thick 2500 calibre Seamaster Diver 300 M 41mm (right).

Wrist shot of the 2016 39.5.5mm 8800 calibre Planet Ocean on Burlingame Avenue.

Another wrist shot of the new 39.5mm 8800 calibre Planet Ocean on Burlingame Avenue.

The blue ceramic dial of the 39.5mm Planet Ocean is similar to the blue used in the titanium 8500 calibre Planet Ocean models.

The hour hand and applied indexes are coated with white Super-LumiNova that emits a blue light, while the minute hand and bezel pip glow green. Shown here is the 43.5mm model.

The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.