The Skyfall is the third and final Planet Ocean Limited Edition to be released so far. Featuring the Calibre 8507 and a new ceramic bezel, this is the most desirable of all Bond Planet Oceans and is a modern classic currently appreciating in value and demand.
The Final Planet Ocean Of The Daniel Craig Era
The Skyfall Planet Ocean Limited Edition represents the third, and final Planet Ocean to date released in the Omega Bond watch family. It also represents a departure from the previous two, being a 42 mm regular size rather than the 45.5 mm XL found in the Casino Royale and Qantum Of Solace Editions.
Finishing and performance wise the Skyfall is a step above as well, being powered by a variant of the highly featured Calibre 8500 movement and featuring both a ceramic bezel for the first time in a Bond watch, along with an improved level of finishing.
Bond branding on the front of the watch is limited to the 007 logo replacing the 7 o'clock marker, while significant effort has gone into making the watch special and setting it apart from a regular Planet Ocean model. The dial in particular immediately grabs attention, described by Omega as a "structured dial", it consists of a precisely engraved pattern intended to evoke the grill of a classic English sports car of the 1960's. Exactly which 1960's English sports car isn't specified but anyone who has watched Skyfall would be able to make a reasonable guess.
Like the two previous Bond Planet Oceans, the Skyfall Limited Edition was made in 5,007 units, smaller than many other Bond releases and sufficiently few that it sold out without much help in the years following the film's release. This relatively scarcity, combined with the Skyfall Limited Edition's position as the best Bond Planet Ocean made to date put it in a rather interesting position. From being discounted in the year following release through grey market dealers, these watches have now almost doubled in value over the last decade and show no sign of slowing down. This performance has easily eclipsed the prior two Planet Oceans and made the Skyfall LE one of the most sought after modern classic Omega watches still within a reasonable price range.
Case & Bracelet 184.108.40.206.01.004
The Skyfall Limited Edition Planet Ocean is based on the standard Calibre 8500 42 mm size Planet Ocean case design. There was never an XL version of this limited edition available, but this size works for the vast majority of men and even some women with larger wrists. Interestingly, the direct predecessor to this watch, the Bond Quantum Of Solace Limited Edition Planet Ocean Cal 2500 was only available in the 45.5 mm XL size, so which of these two you prefer may be determined by diameter.
These 42 mm diameter watches feature 20 mm lugs and have a thickness of 15.7 mm which is up only slightly from the 15 mm of the Quantum Of Solace Limited Edition before it. The additional thickness despite a reduction in diameter comes from the increased thickness of the Calibre 8500 movement over the previous Calibre 2500, as well as the addition of a display-back over a solid steel case-back.
The Planet Ocean case carries the traditional twisted lugs first seen on the Seamaster 300 diver models of the 1960s, in an asymmetrical case with integral crown guards derived from the Speedmaster Pro Moonwatch case rather than the Seamaster Pro 300M. It's easy to miss this small element that differentiates the Planet Ocean from the Bond Seamaster case but the Seamaster Pro 300M really does have crown-guards that sit proud of the case on their own while the Planet Ocean is effectively a Moonwatch case without pushers.
The helium escape valve is retained in the Calibre 8500 generation Planet Ocean design, although with an improved and easier to grip shape to it over previous iterations. Similarly, the large, Speedmaster-style crown is also re-designed for better ease of use with a coarsely knurled finish which can be gripped well with wet of gloved hands.
The highlight of the case re-design for this generation is the new ceramic bezel, which is beautifully finished in a matte black that looks almost grey under most lighting conditions. These bezels have been around for more than a decade now and have proven to be exceptionally durable and resistant to scratches, cracks, and chips. Compared to the fragile painted aluminium bezel inserts of earlier Planet Oceans this alone justifies the price premium over its predecessor.
The case-back used on the Skyfall Planet Ocean Limited Edition marks the first use of a sapphire display-back on a Bond Limited Edition, showing off the customised Calibre 8507 movement within. This display-back features the standard keying found on Planet Oceans and features the words "LIMITED EDITION" as well as the LE number out of 5007 units engraved on the outer rim. Depth rating remains at 600 meters despite the sapphire display-back, identical to all other Planet Ocean models.
The Skyfall Limited Edition comes with the second generation of Planet Ocean bracelet, which looks identical to the original but replaces the pin and bushing system with a new screw and bushing system to make for much easier adjustment. Fine adjustment is still achieved using half-links with no micro-adjust being available within the clasp. The updated clasp is not as long as the previous version and has simplified text engraved on it, with only "Omega" followed by the 007 gun logo appearing against a matte finish.
As with all Planet Ocean bracelets, the matte finish and simple design makes for a very comfortable, durable and easily maintainable bracelet which is well loved by owners. As the bracelet is entirely brushed, any swirls or scratches can be easily resolved without the need of taking it to a watchmaker. Even a well-worn example with significant wear still looks respectable given the rugged tool-watch nature of the Planet Ocean.
While the bracelet is the only option for the Ref 220.127.116.11.01.004, the watch uses standard 20 mm lugs and is compatible with a broad range of leather, rubber, and NATO straps from both Omega and third-party vendors.
The designation Calibre 8507 is a rather interesting one in that it was used twice, for two separate Bond watches, with two very differently designed rotors. Both models are aesthetically altered variants of the venerable Calibre 8500 movement, but the differences are actually technical as well.
The Calibre 8507 version used in the Skyfall Planet Ocean uses a fairly standard Calibre 8500 rotor, but with "SKYFALL" printed on the rotor, and the "007" gun logo printed below it. The second version of the Calibre 8507 is a gun-barrel themed rotor which makes up an entire 360-degree circle and is found on the Ref 18.104.22.168.03.004 Skyfall Aqua Terra. The version used in the Skyfall Planet Ocean is designated Calibre 8507B, and is otherwise identical to the Calibre 8500. The version in the Aqua Terra is the Calibre 8507G, containing parts from the 15,000 Gauss Anti-Magnetic "Bumble-Bee" Aqua Terra's Calibre 8508 movement, making it also anti-magnetic.
The Cal 8500 which the Cal 8507B is based on features a 3-level Co-Axial escapement, leaving it immune to the problems associated with early Calibre 2500 movements. It beats at 25,200 vph, is chronometer certified, and features hacking along with a jumping hour hand for date setting and travel convenience. The bi-direction automatic winding system powers two barrels for a total of 60 hours power reserve.
The aesthetic design of the movement is far more impressive than prior Omega models, with Cotes de Geneve en Arabesque in a radial, turbine-blade like finishing setting it apart from other watches. Also interesting and somewhat unusual was the Si14 silicon balance wheel, identifiable in matte black against the bright rhodium finishing.
While all movements have some teething issues when new, including the Calibre 8500, the movement has been a solid performer over time, with early issues resolved at time of service. By the time the Calibre 8507B was released, those early issues were resolved and there should be no issues with the Skyfall Planet Ocean. These movements can be handled by any qualified watchmaker with access to an Omega parts account and should perform exceptionally well if correctly maintained.
One point of conjecture that comes up often on the internet is whether the Calibre 8500 is truly "in-house" in the strictest sense of the word or not. This is due to the fact that while the Calibre 8500 and 9300, along with their descendants were designed exclusively for Omegas, manufacturing was taking place on dedicated production lines at ETA facilities. Really it doesn't matter in the slightest, ETA is a Swatch Group company as is Omega, and ETA possess greater manufacturing expertise than anyone in the Swiss watch industry. Just as Omega leans on expertise from Comadur SA for high tech ceramics and composites, it makes sense to make use of the best talent available in the group, and this leads to a better product.
Dial & Variants
There is only one variant available for the Skyfall Planet Ocean, the Ref 22.214.171.124.01.004 on bracelet in the 42 mm size.
This watch came along at an interesting time for Omega, when a particular focus was being put into improving finishing and materials quality across the product line. It's interesting to look at all three Bond Planet Oceans, the Casino Royale, the Quantum Of Solace and the Skyfall, in that each watch is better than the one before it, with the Skyfall being the final and best iteration.
As mentioned above, this watch is based on the Calibre 8500 Planet Ocean platform, and features a beautifully made ceramic bezel for the first time in a Bond Planet Ocean. While this is a significant practical improvement, the dial itself is the star of the show.
The dial features quite an interesting and complex texture, where on the surface there is the "structured" effect, intended to resemble an old English sports car grill, but there's more detail beyond that. The flat surfaces between the grooves feature a subtle vertically brushed texture, catching the light in interesting ways and giving even more depth to this very special dial. The grooves themselves vary in depth by direction with horizontal grooves cut deeper than vertical ones. Further, these grooves are truncated tightly around the dial text both above and below, and around the applied numbers on the dial, which would not have been easy to manufacture.
It is a dial that compels you to take a second and third look, to grab a loupe and look even deeper, and the way it captures and scatters the light is quite remarkable compared to any other Planet Ocean model. It's an idea that sounds so simple on the surface, but has been executed so well as to genuinely delight, and I found myself mesmerised by the design when first holding it in hand many years ago.
The key Bond branding on the dial is of course the 007 gun logo, in applied rhodium-plated white gold replacing the 7 o'clock hour marker. While I would prefer a more subtle approach, it is very well executed and fits quite well with the design of the dial. All other hour markers are luminous applied white gold markers while the 6, 9 & 12 markers and Omega logo are similarly rhodium-plated white gold.
The hands are rhodium-plated white gold once again, in Omega's traditional broad-arrow pattern which works very well on the Planet Ocean. Luminous material is generous, glowing in a shade of light blue with the exception of the minutes hand and bezel pearl, which are both in a contrasting green color for legibility.
The date window is relatively small and un-magnified, yet still easy to read in black with contrasting white text. Dial text appears both at the top and bottom of the dial in white and red, with an outer minutes track painted around the edge of the dial.
There is a lot going on in this watch, from the complex textured dial, to the Bond branding, to the dial text and ample applied furniture, yet the watch does not feel cluttered or overwhelmed. The quality of materials used and size of the dial probably helps avoid this, and maintains a high standard of legibility and aesthetic balance despite everything that is going on.
While there is only one reference for the Skyfall Planet Ocean Limited Edition, it will often be cross shopped against the other two Planet Ocean Bond Limited Editions, the Casino Royale Ref 2907.50.91, and the Quantum Of Solace Ref 126.96.36.199.01.001.
The Skyfall carries a significant price premium due to having the best overall finishing quality, the new ceramic bezel and the Calibre 8500 movement. For most people though, the major deciding factor will likely be size as the Skyfall is the only 42 mm variant, while the prior two are 45.5 mm XL size watches.
With a total production of 5,007 units, there are not as many of these Planet Oceans as some of the earlier Seamaster Pro Bond models, but there will always be at least a dozen or more available on Chrono24, eBay and forums. The prices these watches initially were being sold for as low as $4,000 USD in around 2013, but have now nearly doubled in value for used examples and more than doubled for unworn examples. This tends to indicate that the watch has well and truly finished depreciating and can be expected to maintain or slightly increase in value with time from this point onward. While buying as an investment is never something I recommend, the Skyfall Planet Ocean is as safe a modern Omega as you are likely to find value wise.
In terms of condition, this watch benefits greatly from the ceramic bezel and updated platform. These watches are exceptionally durable, even more so than their predecessor as the fragile and expensive to replace painted aluminium bezel is now gone. Having said that, any damage to the ceramic bezel or sapphire crystal is indicative of quite severe abuse and should absolutely be avoided. Being a simple design with a fully matte bracelet, scratches and swirls are of little concern with only dents and dings or ham-fisted polishing being worth looking out for. The water resistance of these watches is exceptionally high so water intrusion or internal corrosion is extremely unlikely unless seals have failed or deformed. All of these watches are now due for service, but they can easily be handled by an Omega certified independent watchmaker despite being a "special" movement with the modifications of the Calibre 8507 being purely aesthetic.
Following the introduction of the 4th generation Seamaster Pro 300M Diver, Bond moved away from the Planet Ocean, leaving the Skyfall Limited Edition as the final, and arguably best Planet Ocean Bond watch to date. While there may be another at some point in the future, it is unlikely to do any harm to the Skyfall, as it will undoubtably come in at a much higher price point and without limited numbers in keeping with Omega's new direction for special releases. The Skyfall is an exceptionally detailed, well finished and attractive watch design, at a price point which is still reasonable as of September 2023 and is unlikely to be a watch you could ever lose money on. While James Bond will return, it is doubtful that he will do so wearing a watch quite like this any time soon.
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