The Crepas Megamatic is an homage to one of the most extreme Omega Seamaster dive watches of the 20th century. Just how good is this Swiss made, Spanish designed saturation diver?
For a lot of us, homage watches to historical and often more valuable pieces are a moot point. On the one hand, they permit us to enjoy an original watch which we might not be able to afford or which we simply cannot find. On the other, they are by nature unoriginal, derivative and, debatably, a distraction from other available options. Today, I would like to show you a watch which perhaps sidesteps these issues by being an homage whilst still contributing to horology: the Crepas Megamatic – a Spanish-designed, Swiss-made dive watch which recreates one of my favourite dive watches of all time: a dive watch which, unfortunately, never reached fruition.
Before we get to the inspiration which may or may not have already occurred to you, what is the Crepas Megamatic? It is the product of Spanish brand Crepas – a brand name created from the acronym for Compañía Relojera Especializada Para Actividades Subacuáticas or ‘Specialised Watchmaker for Subaquatic Activities’. Their focus lies in the production of deep-sea dive watches with clear historical precedent whether inspired by past models or being directly modelled upon them. This has previously taken them down the route of, amongst other things, recreating the Omega Seamaster 1000.
In light of all the various dive watches produced in the past, the Megamatic seems quite the oddball. Produced entirely from brushed 316L stainless steel, it has a comparably flat, 13.55 mm thick case which sits extremely well on the wrist thanks to a short, 46.5mm lug-to-lug measurement. Still, it’s not exactly small being 44 mm at the bezel and 55 mm across that enormous, 10mm crown. So, why is this watch such an unusual shape? The reason is found in the inspiration for this timepiece and a true oddity of the diving world: the Omega Seamaster 1000 quartz. To understand this, it’s time for a bit of history.
The Omega Seamaster 1000 ‘Megaquartz’
After first testing their saturation dive watch solutions in 1968, Omega launched the Seamaster 600m ‘Ploprof’ and Seamaster 1000m ‘Le Grand’. Used by the Cousteau team and known for being entirely impenetrable to helium, these were some of the most accomplished and brilliantly manufactured dive watches ever made. However, powered by 1000-series Omega automatic movements, Omega was aware that these watches were not part of the revolution rapidly enveloping the Swiss watch industry: electricity.
Something we should remember is that, whilst the PloProf was a watch of the 1970s, it was designed in the 1960s. Consequently, it seems unsurprising that Omega were keen to update it if they were to add a new movement to keep up with other brands. In this regard, the case grew a familiarly large but now flatter design as well as the option of a screwed case back despite remaining a saturation diver. By contrast, the originals could only be opened from the front. The bezel also developed to be easier to grip whilst Omega tried two new dial variations.
The hands, however, were the greatest change and took the large ‘plongeur’ style hands to a new level with an arrow for an hour hand and an immense, orange minute hand. Unfortunately, the movements fitted were as big a failure as the new design was a triumph. First, Omega tried the F300 Hz tuning fork movement seen in other models of their range before using their ultra-high-end ‘Megaquartz’ movement accurate to 1 second per month. Problematically, neither could maintain the requisite accuracy in cold temperatures nor would they keep a charge for practically long periods of time. Consequently, Omega shelved the project and with it the Ploprof altogether. Only two examples, one of which was purely a display example, are confirmed to exist.
The Megamatic combines these two watches into a ‘final Ploprof’ which you can actually wear and use with details taken from each including the bezel and those humungous hands. Yet the question remains: aside from allowing one to enjoy an innovative design which would otherwise be lost to history, is the Crepas Megamatic actually any good?
The Details of the Crepas Megamatic
I’ve already spoken about the case, but I’d like to put the spotlight on the detailing which separates the Megamatic from its muse. The brushing, whilst simple, is neat and consistent whilst the facets on each side avoid any sharp edges. Around the back, as was seen on the Megaquartz version of the Seamaster, we see a screwed case back which is beautifully detailed but also grips the wrist due to the deep strakes. This is crucial for such a heavy watch and a functional rather than aesthetic carry-over from the original Ploprof. Speaking of ergonomics, it’s worth noting that, like the original Seamaster, you can choose which side to have the crown as well as whether you prefer the oversized hands or more common plongeur hands. The dial colour is also a matter of preference with historically-correct black or this dark blue item.
Something you will have noticed is the presence of a helium escape valve on the case side. This, of course, signals a clear divergence from Omega’s past endeavours in the field of airtight case design. Nevertheless, given such watches’ propensity for trapping humidity inside during saturation dives when the crown was used, it is probably for the best that the new watch to has a valve instead. In any case, the result is well finished and flush with the rest of the flank.
Inevitably, your eye will have been drawn to the enormous crown on the side of this watch. Curiously, this is one of the entirely Crepas-designed parts of the watch and features their rather charming propeller logo. In brushed and blasted steel, it also matches the case and delivers an unbeatable grip to wind and set the watch. Additionally, for a watch which is £800 new, the action is flawless as it screws in. This matches the bezel very well which offers 120 clicks and lines up precisely.
The bezel insert is ceramic, excellently finished and, as you will see further down, is fully luminous. My only complaint about the case is that, whilst Crepas present the crown placement as a matter of choice, unless you wear the watch on your right wrist, it simply wouldn’t be usable with the crown at 3 o’clock. Consequently, most buyers will have to accept the 9 o’clock placement although, if one can get past the unique looks of the Megamatic, the crown position is hardly an additional hurdle.
The Most Extreme of Dials
Under a 4 mm thick, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the timepiece has a stunningly effective dial with only enough printing to be legible. The markers are simply painted yet are impeccably neat whilst the printing appears glossy over the matte surface. With a similar sense of simplicity, the date window is outlined and, notably, the date wheel must be unique for either crown arrangement. Overall, it seems ironic that this watch is an homage intended to invoke nostalgia because, in truth, I can’t imagine a dial with fewer affectations. It is the essence of pure functionality.
Moreover, the homage aspect of this watch is a double-edged sword. Yes, it allows me to enjoy a watch I will never be able to buy but it also means that this rather accomplished design will, at last, be put to good use. You see, Crepas watches are used by saturation divers and so these watches are relied upon in a way which seems suitable for such tools. In this environment, the anti-slip case back, thick sapphire crystal, virtually scratch-proof ceramic bezel, enormous hands and helium escape valve begin to pay off. Finishing off the package is the C3 Super-LumiNova on the dial, hands and bezel which can actually hold a candle to the Seiko Marinemaster – thus joining an extremely small group of watches.
The Whole Package
Mechanically, this watch uses a simple but eminently serviceable ETA 2824-2 with a 38-hour power reserve and, in the case of this example, an accuracy close to chronometer standards. I do not believe that the movement is decorated although, for this price, I don’t see this as much of a concern. Another matter which I should address is the price and what you get for it. The package which I have here is the original Kickstarter set with both dials and handsets in addition to a Bonetto Cinturini rubber strap, stainless steel bracelet, ‘Marine Nationale’ elastic strap and the photographed shark mesh bracelet.
These can be found for about £1000 although they will likely increase in value once all sell out. If you want to buy one from Crepas, however, the price is about £800 including VAT simply with the steel link bracelet. I won’t go into too much detail here but, interestingly, this entirely solid steel bracelet uses the same kind of clasp as an Oris Aquis.
Where does the Crepas Megamatic sit amongst the dive watches you know? Well, the quality is on-par with the likes of Oris Divers Sixty-Five although, being such different watches, the comparison is a difficult one. The quality is definitely better than Certina or Mido and probably a touch better than Doxa’s more affordable models. With that being said, a Zodiac has better dial finishing but, then again, loses where the bezel construction is concerned. Ultimately, the quality strikes me as perfectly sound for the price although I can appreciate the benefits of buying from a more established brand in view of potentially more comprehensive customer service and widespread recognition.
So, what is the Crepas Megamatic and why did I want to present it on Watch Chronicler? The way I see it, this is a product which isn’t made for mainstream appeal. For many, calling the Megamatic ‘purposeful’ would be as far as compliments could carry yet I think that it demonstrates how the recreation of a past watch can be a constructive exercise rather than simply an exercise in mimicry. Perhaps something to consider is that the brands producing the best remakes on the market often aren’t related to those behind the creation of their vintage counterparts. What do you think: is the Crepas Megamatic a copy or is it a justified recreation?
Availability: 500 Pieces Priced at EUR 699 + VAT (Watch Only)
- Dimensions: 44 mm x 46.5 x 13.55 mm
- Material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Crystal: 4 mm Thick Sapphire Crystal with Internal Anti-Reflective Coating
- Features: Helium Release Valve / Screw-Down Crown / Ceramic Bezel / C3 SuperLumi-Nova on Hands, Dial & Bezel
- Water Resistance: 120 ATM / 1,200 m / 4,000 ft
- Movement: ETA 2824-2: Time & Date / 38 – Hour Power Reserve / Automatic & Manual Winding / Hacking / 25 Jewels / 4 Hz, 28,800 vph, 8 Ticks-per-Second