In watch brands’ literal race to the bottom, the new champion is Omega, with an ultra deep-diving watch that accompanied explorer Victor Vescovo 10,928m underwater to the floor of the Mariana Trench in May 2019. Called the Ultra Deep Professional, this beast of a watch exists in Omega’s Seamaster Planet Ocean line, and it is as big and nasty as you might expect for equipment designed for such rigors. Even if you think you’ve got the wrists to pull off a 52mm-wide, 28mm-thick titanium dive watch, as of this writing, it’s not commercially available (nor is it ever likely to be).
The previous record for the deepest-diving watch was held by Rolex at 10,916m deep (around 6.79 miles deep), so Omega beat it by just 12m. The Mariana Trench is only part of Victor Vescovo’s “Five Deeps” project, which aims to go to “the deepest point in each of the five oceans.” As with Rolex and other such extreme experiments, the Omega watches (three of them, actually) went along for the ride, strapped to the vessel’s exterior.
While the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional looks surprisingly wearable for a deep-diving watch of this kind, viewed from the side, it is clearly not your average dive watch. To withstand the immense water pressure at these depths, Omega learned from the design of the Limiting Factor submersible to which the watches were to be strapped. The sapphire crystal over the dial is one of the places where water ingress is of greatest concern, so the brand used the stress-distributing conical design of the vessel’s viewports. The crystal was further bonded to the case using the brand’s patented Liquidmetal.
In addition to design elements, Omega borrowed actual material from the submersible, taking cutoffs from its titanium hull to make the watch cases. Just like average dive watches rated to far deeper than they will likely need with 300m of water-resistance, Omega built in a buffer and tested the Ultra Deep Professional to an insane 15,000m. Inside, the watches are powered by the same Master Chronometer movements found in Omega’s standard collections. While Omega dive watches in this exact form aren’t available to consumers, it would not be surprising to see a future Planet Ocean special edition watch in slightly more wearable and digestible dimensions.
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