More about Omega Watches
Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and symbolizing accomplishment and perfection both of which are qualities that have been inherent in every Omega watch since the company's founding by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 1848. Louis Brandt would assemble key-wound precision pocket watches from parts supplied by local craftsmen, he then sold his watches from Italy to Scandinavia by way of England, his chief market. After Louis Brandt's passing in 1879, his two son's took control of the company. Later that year, the brothers moved their operation to Bienne, Switzerland, which was offering tax breaks to any watch maker willing to move there. The first watches which the newly relocated and established company produced debuted in 1882, followed by Décimal in 1884 and Labrador in 1885. The combination of these brands, covering different market sectors, allowed the company to expand and by 1889 it was the largest manufacturer of finished watches in Switzerland, producing a staggering 100,000 watches per year while employing 600 people. This unparalleled success of the watch company led to the firm becoming a center of research and development which featured many groundbreaking designs, including the first minute repeating wrist watch in 1892, the first full calendar watches with “big date” in 1893 and a new Carillion repetition system in 1894. One of the most influential designs was an improved winding and hand setting mechanism in 1894 used in the newly created OMEGA calibre watch movement. The unprecedented ease of repair and accuracy associated with this movement in watches, due to the high level of precision during the manufacture, led to global success for the watch brand and as a result the company officially changed its name to Omega Watch Co. in 1903. At the turn of the century, Omega began to produced wrist watches on a commercial scale, marking itself as the first watch company to do so. This precision of manufacture also had other positive effects for the watches produced by the Omega Watch Co. including, most notably, its dominance at the world's observatories. Omega watches set and broke the records in watch making competition time and time again and to this day still hold many of the records for the most accurate mechanical watches ever tested. It was this reputation for accuracy that led to the decision made by the International Olympic Committee to appoint OMEGA as the official timekeeper of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympiad; it was the first time in Olympic history that one brand had been given the responsibility to time all events and Omega remains the official time keeper of the Olympic games to this day. This avant-garde approach to watch making combined with excellent accuracy, easy repairability and trendsetting aesthetics is likely the reason that Omega prospered in its watch production in the first half of the 20th century despite the geopolitical and economic turmoil which marked these decades. During war years, Omega signed contracts with many of the world military's to provide watches for campaigns and during peace time with pioneers as well as explorers due to the brand's technical reputation. Watches developed during the years of the great wars not only provided financial stability for the company, it also allowed Omega to further its knowledge in develop watches such as the Marine as well as extremely accurate watches for aviators and timers for a broad range of applications, from sports and industry to military use.
The Seamaster watch was launched in 1948 to coincide with the brand's 100th anniversary. The Omega Seamaster line is the oldest in the current collection. Loosely based on the waterproof wristwatches made for the British military at the end of World War II, the Seamaster was first intended as a robust yet elegant watch for active individuals who wanted a watch for “town, sea and country." Watches from this Seamaster collection can reach maximum ocean depths of 62.5 metres, recorded in 1955, by diver Gordon McLean. The first Seamaster watches were equipped with self-winding movements in both standard and chronometer versions, the latter Seamaster version being universally renown for their robustness, accuracy and reliability. 1957 saw the introduction of the “Professional” range of Seamaster watches with the launch of the Seamaster 300. The Seamaster 300 would also go on to be the watch of choice of military divers around the world. The great depths the Seamaster watches were able to attain came from an O-ring rubber gasket of the watches that safely releases pressure building up inside the case of the Seamaster watches.
Omega launched the Constellation watch family in 1952 defined by the combination of sumptuous yet elegantly refined case and dial with ultra-precise movements. The progenitor of the Constellation line is the appropriately named “Century”, a limited edition self-winding chronometer wrist watch launched in 1948 to celebrate the firm’s 100th anniversary. This watch, not intended for series production by Omega, was greeted with such enthusiasm that the decision was made to create a watch with all the same qualities on an industrial scale and this would go on to become the Constellation watch series. The first ladies Constellation was launched in 1967, and the 1970s saw the introduction of quartz technology to the Omega Constellation watch.
The "Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph" was produced in 1957 as a high precision waterproof watch that was easy to read, reliable and easy to use. The hand wound chronograph watch would go on to be included in all subsequent manned NASA missions. This watch from Omega went on to become the first watch worn on the moon by Buzz Aldrin. In 2007, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, the Omega company unveiled the commemorative Speedmaster Professional Chronograph Moonwatch. The watch had the distinctive features of the first hand-winding Omega Speedmaster introduced in 1957.
This ability to combine high art with technical excellence is no doubt the reason that Omega earned the name “The Swiss Watch” and was the number one Swiss watch brand for the better part of a century.