How To Update Your Wardrobe With An OMEGA Dress Watch
Originally published by Logan Baker on HODINKEE, September 15th 2020
What makes a modern dress watch, anyway?
The definition of a dress watch has evolved quite a bit in recent years. Historically, a men’s dress watch was meant to be slim and refined, typically cased in a precious metal, and only worn on special occasions. However, as office-wear and menswear have gradually become more casual, defining just what is and isn’t a dress watch has become more complicated. It turns out that the “rules” of dress watches, much like those in fashion, are constantly being revised and rewritten.
There are many dyed-in-the-wool collectors who believe dress watches should feature the time only, with many choosing to forego the seconds hand entirely. On the other hand, there are plenty of enthusiasts who welcome the presence of a date aperture or a moon-phase display on their dressier watches, and might even be open to the idea of a dress chronograph. Although the conventional rules determining what a dress watch can and cannot be might lean toward the conservative, there’s a reason they’ve remained front-of-mind for watch enthusiasts for so long. It boils down to traditional social decorum, as classical etiquette states that one should not be concerned about time to the exact second, or the date, when attending a formal event. (For more on this debate, click here.)
For many contemporary watch lovers, however, a dress watch today is no longer reserved for black-tie dinners, evening galas, and other tuxedo-clad affairs. If that description sounds like you, then we think you’ll enjoy the group of six OMEGA dress watches that we’ve gathered below. Each watch is smart, stylish, and versatile, perfectly suited for wherever the fall months take you – and beyond. You’ll find five steel models from the OMEGA Constellation and De Ville families, plus a two-tone Speedmaster that makes a statement with a touch of green and gold.
OMEGA De Ville Prestige
We’ve previously described the De Ville Prestige line as home to some of OMEGA’s most underrated contemporary timepieces. This sub-collection of smart-casual dress watches offers a huge amount of diversity in dial designs, all combined with highly wearable case profiles for both men and women. The styling is simple, as you’d expect out of a dress watch, echoing the appearance of mid-century OMEGA De Ville watches from when the line was a part of the greater Seamaster range.
Not only do these watches look great on the wrist, but they also all share an excellent Swiss movement that is of particular significance for OMEGA. It’s the caliber 2500, which is based on ETA’s self-winding standby, the 2892. The caliber 2500 was the first-ever series-produced movement to feature George Daniels’ Co-Axial escapement, after the patent was acquired by OMEGA in 1999. This movement was physical proof that the Co-Axial escapement could be commercially and industrially produced, and it has since served as the basis for nearly all of OMEGA’s technical advancements over the past 20 years.
OMEGA was able to increase the power reserve of the caliber 2500 to 48 hours of running autonomy, from just 42 hours in the ETA 2892. In the De Ville Prestige line, OMEGA also has the caliber 2500 certified as a chronometer by COSC. While the caliber 2500 was once found consistently across all of OMEGA’s various collections, the De Ville Prestige is now one of the few families where the movement is still available. We don’t know what the future holds for the caliber 2500, but this rock-solid workhorse movement should be noteworthy to anyone interested in how modern watchmaking has evolved in recent history – you simply cannot tell the story of OMEGA today without considering the caliber 2500.
Aesthetically, the De Ville Prestige watches are some of the most understated you’ll find at OMEGA; neither the movement, the dial, nor the case design are flashy. We’re adding four De Ville Prestige variants to the HODINKEE Shop today, and they all share an identical steel case that measures in at slight dimensions of 39.5mm by 10.5mm, a perfect fit underneath most shirt cuffs. The polished steel case has a fully rounded profile with a smooth caseband and a stepped bezel. Each De Ville Prestige has lugs that are short and curved downward, and casebacks that are closed and flat, ensuring perfect proportions and a tight wrist presence.
The four watches, however, differ in dial executions, with options in sunburst silver or black, opaline white, and brushed grey. All include a small date window at three o’clock and a range of applied hour markers, a mix between Roman numerals and either batons or cabochons. Dauphine hands indicate the time neatly and precisely, and catch the light to ensure excellent visibility despite the presence of zero Super-LumiNova on the dial, hour markers, or hands.
For OMEGA, the De Ville Prestige is both a conventional dress-watch offering as well as an entry-point into the company’s vast catalog of timepieces. These are watches with timeless designs that won’t go out of style, making them an excellent daily-wear option for today, tomorrow, and the future.
If you’re looking for an accessibly priced dress watch from one of the best-known Swiss brands, it’s hard to go wrong with an OMEGA De Ville Prestige. Pricing for the OMEGA De Ville Prestige collection starts at $3,750, and you can see them for yourself right here.
OMEGA Constellation Globemaster Annual Calendar
The Globemaster made a big splash in 2015 when it debuted as OMEGA’s first-ever METAS-certified watch (for more on the Globemaster, click here), a chronometer certification that has since encompassed a majority of OMEGA’s new releases. A year after it was released, in 2016, OMEGA grew the Globemaster line with a more complicated offering, by debuting a variant equipped with an annual calendar complication.
While the reveal of a new annual calendar was an initial surprise, it ended up being a perfect fit for the Globemaster’s mid-century aesthetic, which starts with the historic pie-pan dial (a design found on countless mid-century OMEGA dress watches). Named after its shared resemblance with an inverted pie pan, this dial features 12 individual facets that slope down between each hour marker from the watch’s central area. The 12 facets carry over directly into the execution of the Globemaster Annual Calendar, as each facet has been labeled in a radial script font with one month of the year: 12 facets, 12 months, one watch.
Although watches with calendar complications have a lengthy history in Swiss watchmaking, the annual calendar is a more recent invention, first appearing in the 1990s. Unlike a perpetual calendar, an annual calendar requires a single date adjustment once per year, at the end of February. On the Globemaster Annual Calendar, the date indication is located at six o’clock in a stepped aperture, while a fourth, central pointer hand indicates the passing months.
The Globemaster Annual Calendar’s semi-autonomous nature comes courtesy of the OMEGA caliber 8922, which incorporates a program wheel with 12 teeth, each of a varying length that judge the number of days in each individual month. Caliber 8922 offers a 55-hour power reserve and is, of course, a METAS-certified Master Chronometer. The date and month indication can both be quick-set. Simply turn the crown in the second position clockwise to adjust the date, and counterclockwise for the month.
The movement is visible through a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback and features an impressive amount of decoration, with a special medallion set in the center of the crystal. This medallion displays an observatory in relief, surrounded by a fine-grained sky marked with eight stars that represent the eight requirements of the METAS certification, as well as the eight chronometric records OMEGA set in the 20th century.
The OMEGA Globemaster Annual Calendar retains the quasi-cushion case shape found on the 2016 Globemaster, but OMEGA has upsized the design from 39mm to 41mm to accommodate the new calendar complication. Otherwise, the Globemaster shares a lot in common with its predecessor, including a tungsten carbide fluted bezel, another aesthetic reference to vintage designs in the Constellation family. Tungsten carbide is an extremely hard-wearing metal, considered to be twice as strong as steel, which means there is no need to worry about scratching or damaging the sharp, fluted bezel design on a daily basis.
A single example of the Globemaster Annual Calendar with an opaline white dial is landing in the HODINKEE Shop today. Its four hands and 12 applied, faceted hour markers have all been heat-treated to reach a bright blue hue – which contrasts nicely with the white dial – before being filled with Super-LumiNova. The OMEGA Globemaster Annual Calendar is priced at $8,600, a significant value compared to most other annual calendar watches on the market. It’s paired with a light brown leather strap with a twin-trigger deployant clasp and is available right here.
OMEGA Speedmaster Moonphase Grey Dial With Green Bezel In Two Tone
There’s no debate that the Speedmaster has an unrivaled legacy as a tool watch, executing its job of tracking elapsed time with precision and reliability, from the racetrack to the Moon. But in 2016, OMEGA updated the Speedmaster with a new generation that incorporated a number of contemporary elements that made the iconic chronograph significantly more precious. Those attributes included a METAS-certified movement, a hyper-detailed moon-phase display, and the use of premium materials like ceramic. The result was a new type of Moonwatch, one that was more accurate and eye-catching than ever before.
Of the models that debuted in the Speedmaster Moonphase line four years ago, there’s a single watch that stands out in particular for its unique combination of colors and materials. In this watch, a sunburst grey dial is complemented by a dark-green bezel made of Ceragold, a proprietary OMEGA alloy that combines ceramic and yellow gold. You can see in the above image how yellow gold frames the dark green bezel and fills the numerals on its tachymeter scale. The crown and pushers are also made of yellow gold, as are the hands and hour markers on the dial. The use of green, grey, and gold makes this Speedmaster unlike any we’ve seen before, which is why we knew we had to share it with you today.
Other than the colors and materials at use, this Speedmaster Moonphase is similar to the better-known, and equally attractive, blue-dial variant. That includes the dial orientation, with its photorealistic moon-phase at six o’clock (complete with a reproduction of Buzz Aldrin’s footprint near the Sea of Tranquillity where the Apollo 11 Eagle lander touched down) that only needs to be adjusted once every 10 years, a stacked hour and minute register at three o’clock, and a combined date and running seconds display at nine o’clock.
Inside the Speedmaster Moonphase is the caliber 9904, which was the first Speedmaster movement to receive the METAS certification, signaling the start of a new movement series at OMEGA, indicated by the 99xx designation. The caliber 9904 features automatic winding with a 60-hour power reserve that runs through a pair of barrels mounted in series. It also contains such premium attributes as a column wheel, a vertical clutch, a silicon balance spring, and a free-sprung balance wheel. This Speedmaster Moonphase is paired with a grey alligator leather strap, is priced at $14,300, and is available right here.
Pick Out A New Dress Watch In The HODINKEE Shop
What makes a dress watch exciting today is a personal decision, based on your aesthetic preferences and how you interact with your watches on a daily basis. Unlike other popular timepiece categories, like field watches or dive watches that offer specialized functionality, a dress watch has to be both democratic and versatile. You might own a dive watch and never go diving; you might own a pilots’ watch and never go flying; but if you own a quality dress watch, more likely than not you’ll find plenty of opportunities to wear it for its intended purpose.
There’s a clear-cut elegance that comes with the traditional form factor of a time-only two-hander in gold – and we don’t expect those to go away anytime soon – but we think there’s plenty of room for dress watches to adapt and grow with the times, as well. Whether that comes in the shape of a bold, green-and-gold Speedmaster, or the clean case profile of the De Ville Prestige collection, that’s entirely up to you.