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The 4 Best Affordable Alternatives to the Omega Ploprof

Posted on May 21 2021

Omega Ploprof Homage Watches

Some watches are ugly for a reason.

Usually, that's because neither the company nor its customers have taste. It's why you'll have seen large, gold plated watches covered in fake diamonds.

But other watches aren't particularly attractive because they were built for functionality. They weren't designed to be pretty. They were designed to work.

Omega's Ploprof is one such watch.

It's instantly recognisable because it's so extreme. It's unlike any other watch you'll have seen - not because it's refined and tasteful.

It's instantly recognisable because it's a beast of a watch.

The Ploprof is a watch worn by deep sea divers. The guys who lay cables in the North Sea. Let's take a closer look at it.

What is the Omega Ploprof?


First released in 1970, the Ploprof is a professional dive watch. The name comes from the French 'plongeur professionnel' - translated as professional diver.

It was Omega's answer to the needs of commercial divers who were working for extended periods in very deep water. The original watch had 600M of water resistance, a one-piece case and a crown at 9 o'clock.

It's a brute of a watch.

It's also very distinctive. The case is angular, and for ergonomic reasons, the crown was repositioned to the opposite side of the watch. On the right-hand side is the button for the bezel lock.

Stylistically, it's far removed from the slim Skin Divers of the period. And its oversized awkward case is a sharp contrast to the era's elegant Super Compressor dive watches.



But the Ploprof has its fans.

Initially, this was the professional divers community. I'm particularly taken with the stories of these divers because of their link to the North Sea. I live within walking distance of the sea and have friends working on the oil rigs there.

The Omega Ploprof isn't like Rolex's Submariner or Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms. It hasn't caught the consumers attention as much as those iconic watches.

Instead of being a dive watch, it's a watch for divers.

Why Should I Get an Omega Ploprof Homage?


Even alongside the rest of Omega's range, the Ploprof is an expensive watch.

A new Ploprof will cost you at least £8000.

If you're like me, you're either unable or unwilling to spend this much on a watch. Particularly when the watch isn't versatile - you can't wear a watch like this with a suit.

Remember, this is a watch designed to fit on top of a wet suit. It wasn't designed to slip unnoticed under a shirt cuff.

It's not going to be a watch that you wear daily.

With this in mind, I've explored the market for affordable alternatives.

Unsurprisingly, there aren't many. Of those that were available, a few have also been discontinued.

You're left with four affordable watches that mimic the unique styling of the Omega Ploprof.

The 4 Best Omega Ploprof Homage Watches


San Martin Ploprof Homage Watch

San Martin is a Chinese brand that specialises in well-made homages to your favourite luxury watches. This watch is inspired by one of the Ploprof's most colourful variations.

The Ploprof is already bold and eyecatching. This model ramps that up with a bright orange bezel and strap.

This isn't a watch for the faint-hearted.

Without the crown, it's 48mm wide. And it doesn't just look the part. It has 300m water resistance. This is nowhere near the 1200M of the current Omega, but it's more than enough for a hobbyist.

Although San Martin watches are made in China, like most similar brands (Corgeut, Steeldive & Parnis) they often use branded Japanese movements.

However, in this case, they've kept the costs down with a Chinese movement.

This is an inexpensive way to get the Omega's styling.

San Martin SN077G

  • 48mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Delta Hydra Ploprof Watch

The Delta Hydra ticks all of the boxes I need.

It's a limited-edition Ploprof homage with a massive 2000m of water resistance. It also has a Japanese automatic movement and a price tag under $400.

It's available in two colour variations. I prefer this simple black model. It still has a few touches of colour, with orange on the plongeur style hands and red on the helium escape valve.

That's a point worth noting. This isn't a full homage. On the Omega, there is a bezel lock at 2 o'clock. Delta has opted to use this as the helium release.

It's academic for most of you. This watch won't be going that deep.

Everything else is as you'd expect. It has a large, thick case and a sapphire crystal.

Delta is a US microbrand ran by Bill Anagnos. The Hydra is named after his favourite Greek island. It's the obvious choice if you want to support a small American company.

Delta Hydra

  • 47mm Diameter
  • 19mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 2000M Water Resistance


Steeldive Ploprof Homage
Young Chinese brand Steeldive makes homages to your favourite dive watches.

Their take on the Omega is very close to the original. It has the locking bezel, 9 o'clock crown and the distinctive plongeur hands.

It's a high-quality watch. There is 1200M of water resistance, meaning that this can be taken deep. It also benefits from a mesh bracelet and comes equipped with a sapphire crystal.

Like most good automatics at this price point, it is powered by Seiko's NH35 movement.

Price is a factor when looking at the Steeldive. There is a lot of watch for the money here. Especially considering the water-resistance and reliable movement.

If budget is a top concern, start here.

Steeldive SD1969

  • 56mm Diameter (with crown)
  • 13.8mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1200M Water Resistance


Ocean7 Lm-7 Ploprof homage watch

The Ocean7 is a step-up from the previous three watches. A fact that is reflected in the price.

It's Swiss-made, has a Swiss automatic movement and has a case fashioned from titanium. Like the Omega original, this is a functional tool.

I'm a big fan of titanium. It's lighter than steel, resists corrosion and biocompatible. That feels like a good choice for a chunky watch that is designed to spend a lot of time in water.

Those two words - Swiss-made - reassure the buyer that this will be a well-made watch.

Of course, that means that this model is priced significantly higher than the others. But it has some unique features. For example, it comes with a changeable bezel.

That's handy for cleaning and lets you easily change the watches appearance.

Ocean7 is another American microbrand. If you want the highest spec Ploprof homage, then the LM-7 is your answer.

Ocean7 LM-7

  • 46mm Diameter
  • 17mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Titanium
  • Swiss Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 1250M Water Resistance


Conclusion


Not all watches are admired for their beauty.

Some watches have a more important job than that. As I outlined above, the Omega Ploprof was designed for divers working at extreme depths.

It wasn't designed to be pretty.

One consequence of this is that there aren't many watches that mimic its distinctive look.

But there are four watches that you should know about. They range from inexpensive Chinese models to a higher-priced Swiss-made watch. There should be something for everyone here.

Do you know of other affordable Omega Ploprof homage watches? If you do, let me know in the comments below.

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