The Omega Seamaster “ploprof” was launched in 1970 and was the most expensive watch in Omega’s range at this time. It was twice the price of a Rolex submariner costing 690CHF with isofrane strap and 720CHF on Milanese bracelet. Nicknamed the “ploprof” (PLOngeur PROFessionnel), it took 4 years to develop in conjunction with Comex and famous diver Jacques Cousteau.
Rated at 600m, it had a high grade stainless steel monobloc case, unique locking screw down crown and red button, which when depressed, would allow the bezel to rotate.
Officially rated at 600m, test showed that the watch could go much deeper. In fact it went as far as 1370m, at which point, the crystal started to deform.The watch though, still carried on working, even though the hands started to catch on the deformed crystal.It was subjected to constant, arduous testing and was the first watch produced specifically for the professional diver. In many ways the watch precipitated the development of the Rolex Seadweller and their long standing relationship with Comex. At the time, Comex felt that a helium expulsion valve would be a necessary addition to watches used by their divers.The fact that the Ploprof didn’t have one, drove them into the arms of Rolex. Later research has shown that even though the ploprof didn’t have a Helium expulsion valve, the case was so watertight it didn’t actually need one.
Made from 1970 to 1979 it is rumoured that the development costs of the Omega “ploprof” outweighed revenues from sales. Nevertheless, it set the bar for all future professional divers watches and remains an icon. Famously worn by Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli, over his shirt cuffs the watch exudes 70’s cool. Agnelli would often wear his Ploprof when jumping out of his helicopter, into the sea, off the French Riviera then swim ashore for a business meeting.
Designed like no other, the ploprof is the ultimate expression of a divers watch, securing it a special place in horological history.