Thursday, May 1, 2008

Alpha Automatic Seamaster Planet Ocean Homage

My watch today is the final Alpha currently in my collection, but I'm bound to add more in the future. It is in the style of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. I do have a real Omega Planet Ocean, and I've had it for a couple of years, much longer than I've had this Alpha. This Alpha is not as nice as the Alpha Seamaster, so it's not really fair to compare it to the real thing. First off, I have the 45.5mm version and the Alpha replicates the 42mm version, but even keeping that in mind, the Alpha does feel flimsy compared to the real Planet Ocean. The case and bracelet quality is good, but they cheaped out on the clasp (the Alpha Seamaster had a much nicer clasp) and the case has a very plain back. One item that I think is a "flaw" on the Alpha is the white date wheel. All the Planet Oceans have black date wheels and they look much nicer behind the black dial, but I'm sure it's a standard Alpha wheel and it wouldn't be cost effective (cheap) to make a whole run of black ones for this single model. Also, the Alpha is rated for 3ATM water resistance, which puts it in the "splash proof" category, certainly not for prolonged water exposure, like, say, scuba diving, snorkeling or even in-pool lounging. So, I can see yourself scratching your head, "But Jason, if you already have the genuine article, why mess around with this cheap Chinese junk? And just how long is this post going to be? My attention span has its limits you know." Well, those are good questions. First off, because my Planet Ocean was so expensive, I really don't wear it that much. Unlike the rich people who have one, I would be absolutely sick if I damaged it not to mention considerably poorer if I had to send it into Omega for repair. Now, frankly, I don't think about it from that angle very often, but after wearing it for a week or two straight I start to feel like I'm tempting fate. And forget about taking it on vacation. To me, that's just asking for it to be stolen, lost or damaged. I certainly will have no such reservations with the Alpha. Second, while the Planet Ocean bracelet is very nice, some times we watch people like some variety so we change out bracelets for straps, in leather, rubber, canvas or nylon, or anything else that we think might enhance the look or put a new twist on a watch. Now, my understanding with the Planet Ocean is that changing from bracelet to strap and back is no walk in the park, due mainly to the tight tolerances and limited working space. There is a tool that makes reattachment of the bracelet easier, but it runs $100+ and I haven't yet bit that bullet. I did pick up the authentic Omega Planet Ocean 22mm rubber strap and buckle (which makes the watch look like this) for a couple hundred bucks, but haven't been brave enough to put it on yet. So, with that all out in the open, I'm sure you realize that not only is the Alpha probably easier to change the bracelet on, but I also don't care if I put a scratch or two on it in the process. I already have a leather strap with orange stitching that I'm dying to try out, and I'm sure there will be plenty of others. And if one suits the watch particularly well, maybe a similar strap will find its way onto the real Planet Ocean. As for your attention span, well, you can always just look at the pictures.


Nicolas said...

Hi Jason,

Thanks for this Alpha PO review
I have a question : is the Alpha case the same size than the original Omage PO case ?
I have read in Alpha's website that it is 40mm ??
I love the PO. So I plan to buy the Alpha to test it and if it is approved in my wrist, I'll switch to the real Omega.
Thanks for your reply.
Nicolas (Paris, France)

Jason said...

I believe it is very close in size to the 42mm Planet Ocean. If I remember I'll pull out the Alpha tonight and measure it for you.