Brand History of OMEGA
OMEGA is not just one of the most prominent watch brands in the world. They’re also one of the most historically significant. OMEGA is widely known for being the first watch on the moon and the official watch of the space program. However, they were also the first official watch of the United States Army in 1918. They’ve served as the official timekeeper for over twenty Olympic Games. In addition, they have solidified their place in pop culture as the official watch of James Bond. For over 170 years, OMEGA has been a potent force in the watchmaking industry. Read more about the OMEGA company history, who buys OMEGA models, & unique OMEGA watches.
OMEGA’s Far-Reaching Past
Like many big brands, the OMEGA company history started with a small workshop and a single watchmaker, Louis Brandt. Beginning in 1848, he created bespoke pocket watches in Le Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. Little did Louis Brandt know that his sons would carry on his watchmaking tradition and build one of the most influential watch brands in history.
Transforming from Family Brand to Global Brand
After Louis Brandt passed away in 1879, his sons quickly saw the opportunity to expand the business. They relocated the workshop to Bienne and began making their own parts. Within five years, they developed their first mass-produced caliber called the Labrador. They continued their work on new movements over the next decade. Then in 1894, they launched the 19-line OMEGA caliber, which gave the company its name.
The next century brought about a new generation of family leadership and new milestones. In 1905, OMEGA began serving as the official timekeeper for various sporting events in Switzerland. This laid the foundation for the brand’s longstanding work with sports teams, players, and events. Eventually, it led to their partnership with the Olympic Games in 1932. That year, they became the first single timekeeper of the games at the summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. This work also gave OMEGA unprecedented global exposure.
The Growth of OMEGA Throughout the 20th Century
1948 marked a major moment in the OMEGA company history: their monumental 100th anniversary. With this milestone came the introduction of one of the coolest OMEGA watches: the Seamaster. The brand continued to prosper throughout the twentieth century. One of the most monumental achievements in the OMEGA company history came in the 1960s. In 1962, the Speedmaster became the first OMEGA in space on the wrist of astronaut Wally Schirra. This brought NASA’s attention to OMEGA, and soon after, the space program began a search for their official watch. OMEGA outperformed the other brands and secured the honor. Then, in 1969, they solidified their place in history. That year, they became the first watch on the moon with the Speedmaster Professional.
Over the next couple of decades, OMEGA, like the rest of the industry, faced the challenge of the Quartz Crisis. However, by the 1990s, they had secured another partnership that would mark another defining moment in the OMEGA company history. In 1995, they made their debut as the official watch of James Bond on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan in the film GoldenEye.
OMEGA closed out the twentieth century with a major technical innovation. In 1999, they launched the first movement to feature the legendary George Daniels Co-Axial Escapement caliber 2500. OMEGA was able to further refine the revolutionary design of the caliber 2500 with the free sprung balance. The result is one of the most important advancements in modern watchmaking history, with unmatched chronometric precision for a series production mechanical watch.
OMEGA in the new Millenium
Into the new millennium, OMEGA continued to build on the functionality of the co-axial movement and their work with the Olympic Games, NASA, and the Bond franchise. By 2007, they had unveiled the Co-Axial caliber 8500. This marked the first movement specifically designed around the Co-Axial Escapement. In addition, OMEGA expanded their work in the field of sports, becoming the official timekeeper of the PGA of America in 2011. In the future, OMEGA has their sights set on NASA’s proposed mission to Mars for 2030.
Five Unique OMEGA Watches
Over the years, OMEGA has created some incredible models. Some hold significance in our history and pop culture. Others are just unique representations of watchmaking excellence. Here, we have five of the coolest OMEGA watches worthy of a deeper look.
The Aqua Terra pays homage to OMEGA’s rich maritime tradition. This chronograph has a deep navy dial with three white subdials. OMEGA’s 3301B self-winding mechanical movement serves as this watch’s engine. It also has a 53-hour power reserve. The signature OMEGA hippocampus, or sea horse, adorns the back of this watch and on many of their dive watches. In mythology, the hippocampi pulled Triton’s chariot through the water, making it a fitting choice for this superior dive model.
Celebrating the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, this watch showcases the spirit of the Olympic Games. It features a black bezel with markers in the colors of the Olympic rings. In addition, the dial takes its inspiration from the iconic mosaic of the Copacabana’s sidewalk. This watch has a 48-hour power reserve and OMEGA’s caliber 2500 self-winding mechanical movement. It’s one of a limited-edition production of 2016 watches.
The Seamaster Planet Ocean is a serious dive watch. The Planet Ocean line features a helium-release valve and water resistance to 600 meters. This Olympic edition of the Planet Ocean has a black dial, bezel, and strap with black subdials and white markings. The nod to the Games is subtle, with the rings featured at the end of the chronograph seconds hand. This watch marries the heritage of the Planet Ocean with the world stage of sports.
The Speedmaster is one of the coolest OMEGA watches. It’s been a part of all six lunar missions, and this modern version gives a nod to the adventuring spirit of the originals. This model has a white dial with black subdials and a date window at the three-o’clock position. OMEGA’s caliber 1164 self-winding mechanical movement powers this timepiece, and it has a 44-hour power reserve. Though the design strays a bit from a traditional Speedy, it is a beautiful representation of the line.
This Speedmaster is a 60th anniversary tribute to one of the classic 1957 models. The original Broad Arrow model inspired this watch. The Broad Arrow was the first chronograph and Speedmaster to have a tachymeter scale on the bezel as opposed to the dial. This particular watch is one of a limited run of 3557 units. OMEGA’s caliber 1861 powers this Speedmaster, and it has a power reserve of nearly 48 hours.
Who Wears an OMEGA?
OMEGA is perfect if you’re interested in a brand with a long history of making models featuring a sturdy build and classic design. OMEGA has a varied line-up that appeals to a wide variety of personalities and lifestyles. Whether you’re active, casual, or more buttoned-up, there’s an OMEGA watch that will work for you.
If you’re looking for a watch with a high water-resistance, a good bet would be an OMEGA Seamaster. While the Aqua Terra is more of a dress watch than a diver, the Seamaster Professional satisfies more casual tastes. If you’re an avid diver, the Seamaster Planet Ocean features both a diver’s clasp and helium escape valve. If you’re not, it’s still a great sport watch with real wrist presence. Plus, if you’re a pop culture junkie, the Seamaster has made multiple appearances in the James Bond film franchise.
If you’re in the market for something a little more traditional, the OMEGA Constellation is a classic. The Constellation has a modern design that’s still fresh even after over 30 years. It comes in both men’s and women’s models, so it’s a great option for anyone.
The OMEGA Speedmaster is a watch with a storied past. The Speedmaster made history in 1969 when Buzz Aldrin wore his on the moon, making it the first watch to do so. Ever since, the Speedmaster has been NASA’s go-to watch and has proven itself time and time again. If you want an incredibly accurate and precise timepiece with serious street cred, go with the OMEGA Speedmaster.
OMEGA’s first introduced their line of De Ville watches in 1967, and since then, it’s seen a number of transformations. If you’re looking for a watch that looks luxurious, it will be the elegant De Ville.
Ultimately, there’s not a specific type of person you can label as an OMEGA wearer. Each of OMEGA’s models has their own appeal, which is what makes OMEGA such a universally successful brand. The company has only added to its reputation with its partnerships over the years. If a watch brand with a long and successful history and a penchant for producing stylish and reliable timepieces works for you, we’d say go for an OMEGA.