From NASA to the Olympics to James Bond, Omega is undeniably a true legend in the watchmaking industry. It is also one of the best-known luxury watch brands that have been part of mankind’s most historical feats. Since 1848, it has been making luxury watches and has achieved the art of perfection since then.
Some of the remarkable models of Omega that have been part of these journeys are the Omega Speedmaster being the first watch to make it to the moon, and the Omega Seamaster as the longest-running product line to commemorate Omega’s 100th year. Together with other eminent collections, Omega watches have successfully built a definite legacy.
History of Omega Watches
Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet that stands for perfection and achievement of a goal. In 1848, the Omega watches story began at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the heart of the watchmaking industry. At the age of 23, Louis Brandt established Omega when he opened a Comptoir d’établissage, a sub-contracting sales office for watchmakers, where watch components were assembled into the finished products.
Because of the accomplishment of a greater number of employees, communications, and energy in 1880, Louis-Paul and Cesar Brandt moved into a small factory in the city of Bienne or Biel. In 1895, the production of Omega’s first series calibers brought to pocketwatches Labrador and Gurzelen an achievement of the accuracy of within 30 seconds per day.
In four years and a production rate of 240,000 watches annually, Louis Brandt and Fils became the dominating producers of watches in Switzerland. The outstanding Omega caliber became a notable performer in the market when it was produced in 1894. The main reason why it is salable is that it has easily replaceable parts and simple construction. Furthermore, the name Omega was suggested by the company’s banker, Henri Rieckel, which achieved overwhelming success. Hence, since 1903 the name was adopted as the only name of the watches produced by the company. However, in 1903, both of the Brandt brothers died. That leaves Omega’s fate under the hands of four people, including Emile Brandt, who was only at the age of 23 and is the oldest among the other three.
Fortunately, Omega gained popularity and achieved big success. Omega watches were chosen by the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and by the American army in 1918 to be their official timekeepers for their combat units in their respective years. Then in 1932, Omega became the first-ever trusted official timekeepers of all disciplines at the Los Angeles Games.
More so, one of the significant achievements of Omega was in 1936, when the English observatory of Kew-Teddington granted them the world record of accuracy. Additionally, they were also awarded an Olympic Cross for Merit for their exceptional services to the world of sport in 1952.
1948 Omega Seamaster
From setting foot in space to diving into the deepest oceans, Omega can indeed claim that it has been part of such legendary quests. The Seamaster, the longest-running product line of Omega, was introduced to commemorate its 100th anniversary. It is a post-war dive watch, which has its roots in the Omega Marine model of 1932. The Seamaster then became part of historical diving coups.
Some of the different Seamaster models are: Omega Seamaster 300, Seamaster 600, and Seamaster 100. First, the Seamaster 300, in 1963, was worn by Jacques Costeau and his team during the Precontinent II experiment to confirm that divers can live underwater for extended periods in the Red Sea. Then, the Seamaster 600 became part of the 1970 Janus II exploration that set a world-record dive of 253 meters in Ajaccio Gulf. Lastly, the Seamaster 1000 was attached to the Beaver Mark IV’s robotic arm as it dives to a depth of 1,000 meters.
Presently, the Seamaster is popularly known as the James Bond watch. It was first seen on Pierce Brosnan in 1995 when he starred in GoldenEye. This model is known as the Seamaster Professional 300. On the other hand, today’s 007 Daniel Craig alternates between the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M and the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M. This product line is associated with the 1971 Seamaster Ploprof design. And it initially has a water-resistant feature of up to 600 meters, which is now upgraded to 1,200 meters.
1952 Omega Constellation
Since 1952, the Omega Constellation had undergone various reformations but still sustained its classic looks and highly accurate movements. The models of this collection come in different finishes. For instance, the Constellation is available in gold and steel, whereas the Constellation Deluxe is only available in gold. And it is the Constellation Grand Luxe that presents a more refined look with its gold and platinum finish. The collection then progressed to the 1982 Constellation Manhattan, which possesses an iconic four griffes that appear to hold the watch bezel in place. In addition, this design comes in different variations like Constellation Manhattan’s quartz technology and its polished feels.
1967 Omega Speedmaster
Some may not know, but Omega is the first watch brand to make it to the moon on July 21, 1969. The Omega watch was worn by Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission when he stepped on the moon’s surface. The same model was also worn by Neil Armstrong, but he left it on the Lunar Module. That is because the Module’s electronic timing was defective. On the other hand, Aldrin’s watch was said to be stolen together with his other personal belongings when he returned. Luckily, Armstrong’s Speedmaster was saved from suffering the same fate. It is now being kept in Washington D.C. National Air and Space Museum.
For those who would consider owning a piece of history through this legendary timepiece, you would be pleased to know that there are no significant changes in the design of the Omega Speedmaster line since its debut in 1957. The present Speedmaster Professional Chronograph model, also known as Omega Moon Watch, is powered by a manual-winding movement. A most distinct difference would be the bracelet, which appears to be made of velcro for American astronauts. Furthermore, the present models feature a steel bracelet, a diameter of 42mm, and a water-resistant function of up to 50 meters. Thus, the Smithsonian space curator Dr. Jennifer Levasseur said, “Omega has always been the official watch of NASA. That is particularly true when it comes to spacewalking. No other watch has ever been flight-qualified by NASA.”
1967 Omega De Ville
Before the Omega De Ville was branched out as an independent line in 1967, it was initially part of the Seamaster family in the 1960s. Its finest and simple designs give it the air of timeless beauty. To produce an award-winning collection of watches, Omega combined this with modern elements. Hence, the De Ville was given the Grand Prix Triomphe de I’Excellence Européenne, and six Golden Roses during the Baden-Baden Design Awards in the 1970s. Although this collection achieved so much, it remains underrated among the Omega watches today.
On top of that, the current De Ville Prestige design proves that this line’s past recognitions are well deserved. This collection sustains the chic and fashionable aspects known to it. It preserves a handsomely balanced look and a date display on the 3 o’clock position.
Omega doesn’t just prove to be a great companion in historical quests but also as a trusted timepiece for all. Along with its sleek designs and dependable movement, Omega watches are perfect for any occasion. Thus, owning a piece of this historical watch is truly a great investment.