A history of many ups and downs
After its promising and solid start, Omega created a stir with special watches for pilots, sports, marines, racing and divers. Cooperating with TISSOT, Omega initiated the founding of the SSIH-Group. During the post-war decades the brand amazingly took off. In a period of reorientation it became a symbol for technical precision and perfection. In the early 1970’s many Swiss watch manufacturers were suffering due to the weakness of the US-dollar. Omega was able to recover and rose like a phoenix from the ashes with the Co-Axial escapement invented by the watch maker George Daniels. So Omega was brought back to its top position. At that time there had not been any innovations of watch escapements for 250 years. Hence it is clear that this construction hit the market like a bomb. The improvement was the considerable reduction of frictional resistance in comparison to the traditional lever escapement. Consequently, from then on the watches were practically maintenance-free.
Entering the 3rd millenium
However, one had to wait for the innovative escapement until 1999, when the Omega calibre 2500 takes up the innovation. By 2005, Omega succeeded in developing its own movement and implementing the calibre 8500/8501 in the automatic Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronometer (e.g. reference 4220.127.116.11.02.001). At this moment the smart management team of Omega had already hired brand ambassadors who were glamorous Hollywood actors which helped to address a target group that is younger than the steady customers. Beyond the turn of the millennium the watch manufacturer was growing again. In 1999 the officialSwiss Chronometer Testing Instituteauthorized around 140,000 chronometers; in 2012 they counted an immense amount of 510,000. We are talking about an annual increase of 3-5% until today. This success was also influenced by the acquisition of Omega by the Moet-Hennessy-Louis-Vuitton-Group.
Time is running out for Omega model series
Everybody knows the white rabbit of “Alice in Wonderland” who takes out his pocket by anxiously muttering: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" We tend to organize each hour of a day which would be impossible without a modern timepiece. Living in a world without any time orientation? Hard to imagine. We do not know which watch was preferred by the rabbit but it surely could have been an Omega luxury watch, because the cute fellow obviously appreciates precise timekeeping to be on time. The most essential model series Constellation, De Ville, Seamaster and Speedmaster are highly demanded on the internet. Each of them represents a strong character and an individual personality that matches to their discerning fans.
The Omega De Ville Hour Vision in Omega’s own red gold alloy made of copper, palladium and gold enchants with a rhodium-plated hour track, complemented by faceted golden hour numerals which create incredibly fascinating light reflections (e.g. reference 418.104.22.168.13.001). The Constellation Grand Luxe had been the flagship model for many years. Still today it is highly demanded and passionately collected. The watch is a real beauty and a timeless classic that radiates the spirit of a bygone era. In 1971 the prominent marine explorer Jacques Cousteau made the Omega Seamaster PloProf become a legend when he was wearing this watch while diving to a depth of 600m (e.g. reference 22.214.171.124.01.001). Among other luxury watches this sports watch is outstanding due its case size and the screwed-in crown. The model Seamaster Professional 300M is seen on Sean Connery’s wrist in the movie “Golden Eye”. Ever since, this watch has been the epitome of an iconic watch. Its main characteristic – its helium release valve at 10 o’clock, the screw-in crown, the maritime wave pattern on the blue dial and the also blue bezel – have never lost their charm.
Flying to the moon and back
The Omega watch that did not make headlines due to its luxury appearance but rather because of its sensational history is without any doubts the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. (e.g. reference 3126.96.36.199.01.005). Being an unofficial employee at NASA, the watch was present at 4 space flights to the moon. Together with Neil Armstrong on 21 June 1969, this watch model entered the grey sand in a valley of the moon landscapes. In advance the chronometer had to prove its functionality by undergoing the hardest tests. It had to be guaranteed that the watch could handle zero gravity, magnetic fields, extreme vibrations, unimaginable velocities and severe temperature fluctuations. Perfected timepieces ensure the security of astronauts because their journey through the universe is not supposed to be a one-way trip. The company ETA used to customize Omega movements but since 2007 Omega has been developing and producing its own manufacture movement. In this context, keeping up with the competitor ROLEX played a role but naturally also the ambition to achieve a brilliant technical performance. The end result was a self-winding chronograph movement and a new automatic calibre, which did not only created buzz with the Co-Axial escapement but also with a swinging balance wheel.