Blue ceramics - six times harder than steel!The Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue”
Determined to dive even deeper into the art of ceramic watchmaking, and inspired by the success of 2016’s Planet Ocean "Deep Black", OMEGA set out to create a combination GMT and divers' watch fashioned from a single block of blue ceramic. The resulting timepiece is known as the “Big Blue".
In the Planet Ocean colours of blue and orange, "Big Blue" signals the first time that the OMEGA has delivered a case made entirely from blue ceramic. As well as this, the watch sports a blue ceramic dial with an orange GMT track. Adding sparkle to the blue dial are hands and indexes in 18K white gold with a white Super-LumiNova coating.
The blue ceramic bezel features a diving scale with Liquidmetal® numerals. A blend of orange rubber and ceramic covers the first 15 minutes. Orange rubber injections have also been used to colour the OMEGA logo on the crown and helium escape valve symbol.
The reverse side of the "Big Blue" is equally impressive, with its alveol pattern screw-in caseback, which features a unique OMEGA innovation: a patented ceramic Naiad Lock that keeps the engraved wording pleasingly in position.
The blue rubber strap with orange stitching and orange edges is held to the wrist by a blue ceramic foldover clasp. The Planet Ocean “Big Blue” is water-resistant to 60 bar and is driven by the OMEGA Master Chronometer calibre 8906. To achieve Master Chronometer status, it has passed the 8 rigorous tests set by METAS (The Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology). OMEGA's confidence in the watch's quality is evident in the full 4-year warranty.
OMEGA’S CERAMIC EVOLUTION
Ceramic has been used in watchmaking since the mid-1980s and its introduction is largely thanks to the pioneering efforts of the Swatch Group.
Six times harder than steel, the material never scratches, discolours or fades, making it perfectly suited to the functional promises of even the most robust watches. For a brand like OMEGA, with its adventurous Speedmaster and Seamaster watches, the possibilities of ceramic were a revelation.
OMEGA first embraced ceramic around eight years ago in the form of a small triangle on a piece of jewellery in its Seamaster Planet Ocean collection. From this moment onwards, the material became an important part of the brand’s future creations.
Going much further than that first small triangle, OMEGA has now integrated ceramics into much more of its designs and the material can be found from bezels to dials and full casebodies. But this has taken more than inspiration. In fact, the brand has had to master a very rigorous production process.
For a ceramic Speedmaster today, the shape of the casebody is first pressed from a special zirconium-based powder. A sintering process then heats it to temperatures reaching 1400° C, making it hard and scratch-resistant. For such a tough material, it then takes diamond tools to add the defining edges and grooves while also being lubricated and cooled by high-pressure oil solutions. A three-hour plasma treatment in a 20,000° C furnace then paves the way for precision laser-engraving.
OMEGA’s Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon” was the first of the brand’s models to receive this full ceramic casebody. Others, such as the “White Side of the Moon” and “Grey Side of the Moon” have also followed.
But what must be stressed is that creating any new colour of ceramic demands an extra level of expertise and understanding. It is, in fact, a very complex science.
With the new Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Blue”, the colouring begins with pigmentation at the early powder stage. But it’s the careful steps which follow that are key to producing the final result.
As it has done throughout its history, OMEGA has dedicated itself to research and development so that’s its ceramic watchmaking design can advance yet again. Blue ceramic adds another exciting dimension to the brand’s collection and gives wearers a stunning example of style and innovation all in one.