When you think of Omega today, you likely think of either their moonwatch (the Speedmaster) line, or their diver (the Seamaster) line. Back in the 70s, though, they had a rather intriguing design come into that diver category, and it’s one that (until a recent reintroduction) didn’t exist in the lineup. That watch is the nearly mythical PloProf.
First off, let’s explain that name: PloProf. It’s actually a concatenation of two words, Plongeur Professionnel, which translates to Professional Diver. And that’s where this watch originated. In 1967, Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises (COMEX), which was a pioneer in deep sea diving and engineering, put out a call to have a watch created that could withstand dives of 600m. While Rolex went with a HEV, Omega created the rather beefy PloProf.
This watch saw a number of intriguing design elements. First off, the crystal, which was flush-mounted, was made of hardened mineral crystal, rather than acrylic which was more common at the time. This, ultimately, meant a thinner crystal, which allows that flush fit. Next, take a look at that massive crown. Or, actually, what appears to be a crown. The knurled knob is actually what’s used to ratchet the crown down in place. The actual crown is square, to keep it from moving when tucked into the crown guard, ensuring a good seal.
Finally, there’s the element that nearly everyone notices and wonders about – that red trigger on the right-hand side. That actually ties into the bezel. We’re very used to a ratcheting, uni-directional bezel that keeps timings from being extended accidentally. With the PloProf, Omega introduced an even safer design for the deep sea diver. Unless you depressed that red plunger, the bezel wouldn’t move at all.
This is one very unique watch, and the original is very hard to come by. If you’re intrigued by the design, Omega did reintroduce the model with a 1200m WR rating (seen here); you may also want to check out the LM7 from Ocean7 (here; we’ll have a review of this model soon). And, if you just want to read more about the original and some of the famous divers who wore it, head on over to the Prodigal Guide.
All images courtesy of Prodigal Guide