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BASELNEWS: The return of a mythical diver - OMEGA Seamaster Ploprof 1200M

In 1970 OMEGA launched a watch which had been created to withstand the crushing pressures endured by divers working deep below the ocean’s surface. It was the Seamaster 600, the so-called “Ploprof” (the first letters of plongeurs professionnels – the French words meaning “professional divers”) and it was one of the most rugged, robust and seaworthy divers’ wristwatches ever manufactured.

The unmistakable Co-Axial Ploprof

Now OMEGA is introducing an updated version of the classic and instantly recognizable wristwatch. Equipped with a Co-Axial calibre 8500, the new Ploprof 1200M is, as its name suggests, water resistant to an astounding 1200 metres (4000 feet) and it artfully combines its ancestor’s legendary features with OMEGA’s state-of-the-industry Co-Axial technology.

The Ploprof’s case cannot be mistaken for that of any other watch: the screwed-in crown is located at 9 o’clock under a protective buffer. Its unique positioning allows freer wrist movement and prevents any inadvertent manipulation.

Designed for divers

The time and date adjustments are made by unscrewing the crown to release the protective buffer and then pulling the crown to the appropriate position. The Co-Axial calibre 8500 makes it possible to adjust the hour hand separately to accommodate different time zones or for the changes to daylight savings and back to standard time.  

At the 2 o’clock position is the Ploprof’s characteristic bezel-release security pusher with an orange anodised aluminium ring. Pressing the pusher allows the bezel to be rotated in either direction and then locked firmly in position, ensuring that it cannot be accidentally shifted during a dive. The Ploprof has an automatic helium escape valve located on the side of the case at the 4 o’clock position. This feature allows helium atoms to escape during decompression, and is particularly useful for professional divers operating from diving bells.

Two-piece oriented caseback

The casebody is made of brushed stainless steel and has polished bevels. The centre piece of the two-piece oriented caseback features a background of straight, parallel waves with a polished OMEGA logo, the word “Seamaster” and the famous Seahorse on a matt surface. The centre piece is sealed in place with an outer screw-in ring with black-chromed engraving of “1200m/4000ft”, “Ploprof”, and “OMEGA 8500 Co-Axial Escapement.”

The Seamaster Ploprof 1200M has a polished, lacquered black dial with an applied polished OMEGA name and logo. The word “Professional” has been transferred in white. The polished indexes are coated with white Super-LumiNova, as are the varnished hour and seconds hands. The oversized minute hand, which plays such an important role for divers, is crafted from orange aluminium and is coated with white Super-LumiNova. The Ploprof 1200M has a date window at the 4:30 position.

On your wrist; on your wetsuit

The Ploprof 1200M is available either with a brushed mesh "Sharkproof" bracelet or on a rubber strap in a choice of black or orange. The bracelet, with its double extension system, is fitted with OMEGA’s new diving safety clasp whose pinned links allow precise adjustments to 18 positions. It also features an extra divers’ extension to 26 mm so that the watch can be worn comfortably over a diving suit.
The watch is delivered in a special black zippered presentation case made of neoprene – the material used in divers’ wetsuits. 

Respecting the past, defining the future
The OMEGA Co-Axial Ploprof 1200M bears a strong resemblance to its famous ancestor and it carries on the traditions of robust reliability and water resistance which have always defined OMEGA’s divers’ watches. But there are also some remarkable improvements: for example, the watch is driven by the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8500 with a free sprung balance. This movement, launched in 2007, was created from inception by OMEGA and is one of the key elements in the revolution in mechanical watchmaking which has been taking place at the company since 1999.

With the launch of the Seamaster Ploprof 1200M, OMEGA has re-introduced a mythical diving watch, combining the look which made it a legend with cutting-edge watchmaking features. It is sure to be one of the most welcomed and talked-about releases of 2009.

Powering the Ploprof - The OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8500

In 1890 OMEGA produced the first-ever industrialized movement. 117 years later, the company took a step which was every bit as dramatic when it launched its revolutionary Co-Axial calibre 8500, the movement at the heart of the new Ploprof.

The calibre, featuring the OMEGA Co-Axial Escapement, heralded OMEGA as a leading presence in the elite field of mechanical watchmaking. Its 202 components were created in-house, from inception, using third millennium technology to ensure optimum performance.

Introduced on an industrial scale by OMEGA in 1999, the Co-Axial Escapement had been invented by master watchmaker Dr. George Daniels. It is the watch’s escapement which provides the regular transmission of energy to the mechanism. Together with the free sprung balance, the Co-Axial Escapement offers optimal stability to the watch’s running rate over long periods and enhances the performance of the timepiece. In addition, due to the reduced sliding friction, the need for oil in this tiny component is nearly eliminated.

The automatic mechanism is driven by a highly efficient bi-directional rotor. The energy is then transmitted through two barrels providing the watch with an impressive power reserve of 60 hours. Adjusting the Ploprof when traveling through time-zones is simple as the hour hand can be moved separately from the minutes and seconds hands. The new Ploprofs, with their Co-Axial 8500 calibres, are COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified chronometers.