OMEGA - Watches of one of the world’s leading watchmakers are represented with four leading collections: Speedmaster, Seamaster, Constellation and De Ville. Each has its own luxury criteria and each follows its own set of ideas.
The Omega Seamaster’s journey started way back in 1932 when Omega patented a sliding case design to protect its watches from water, but the Seamaster line was officially launched in 1948. Since then, the Seamaster wore many different clothes but has always stayed true to its ideals: water-resistance at its best, whether the model is a dress watch or a robust dive watch.
Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300 m Co-Axial 42mm, photo credit
The Omega Seamaster is not only the oldest Omega collection but also its longest-running product line, whose popularity is all but faded. Like its younger relative, the Speedmaster, made famous by the space missions it was involved in, the Seamaster series also had its share of popularity. First, it replaced a giant brand on James Bond’s wrist in 1995 and since then it has been getting nice roles in the 007 movie franchise.
The Omega Seamaster (ref. OT 3971) was the first watch to make a diving record, in 1955, when diver Gordon McLean submerged to a depth of 62.5 meters in Australia.
Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions, photo credit
During its long history, Omega has produced plenty of reissues and watch variations based on the original model and the Seamaster 300m (ref. 378.0504). But their limited editions and super-profiled watches seem to be where the love of the collectors is laying.
To pay tribute to its originals, on the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster line and the 25th anniversary of the Seamaster Diver 300m, in 2018, Omega released a limited line of watches called Seamaster 1948 limited edition that features a zirconium dioxide bezel and watch face with laser engraved waves. Each model in the line is symbolically limited to 1,948 pieces.
2019 gave birth to the three new models named Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professionals that not only survived affixed to bathyscaphe on the way to Mariana Trench, a 10,928 meter below the sea level but also set a new world record as a watch deepest dive surpassing the old one for 12 meters.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial GMT 43mm, photo credit
Besides the original Omega Seamaster 300 and its reissues, the Seamaster collection includes the Aqua Terra series and limited editions such as James Bond, Planet Ocean 600m and Seamaster 1948, as well as a plethora of heritage models.
Famous models include Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Co-Axial 42mm, Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Diver 43.5mm, Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial 38mm, Seamaster Co-axial Chronometer GMT 43mm, etc. Discover more models here.
For decades, the Omega Speedmaster collection has tested the limits of physical endurance and witnessed the courage of the human spirit, including the Apollo 11 landing on the moon in 1969 and every lunar mission ever since. To this day, Omega Speedmaster stands for one of the most iconic chronographs on the globe.
Omega Speedmaster collection banner, photo credit
Speedmaster Chronograph was originally designed in 1957 for sport and racing and was often compared to a Porsche 911 of the watches. The first model was marked as CK2915 and was run by caliber 321, like every other Speedmaster until 1969, when caliber 861 is introduced, along with the “Moon watch” (The Apolo 11 mission watches have been powered by the “pre-moon” 321 calibers though).
In 1965, the Speedmaster was the only out of three contestant chronographs to survive the harsh tests needed for the space missions and keep his accuracy within 5 seconds per day. Gus Grissom and John Young wore the first officially qualified Speedmaster on Gemini 3. Later that year, Ed White wore a Speedmaster strapped to the outside of the sleeve of his G4C space suit on the first American spacewalk.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional, photo credit
The year 1966 brought the Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, based on the model CK2998, that accidentally accompanied the astronaut Wally Shirra to spaceflight in 1962. That model was often labeled as the first Omega in Space. The luck would also have Buzz Aldrin wearing another (labeled as the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph) when he set his foot on the surface of the Moon in 1969.
In 1969, President Nixon rejected to receive the first-ever all gold Speedmaster Professional Deluxe because it was, in his words, “too valuable”.
The Speedmaster Professional Chronograph is still one of a few watches qualified for spaceflight by NASA, and the only one qualified for extravehicular activity done by astronauts beyond the Kármán line (EVA).
Automatic Racing Speedmaster Michael Schumacher, photo credit
The Speedmaster collection includes automatic mechanical, analog and digital watches. Omega Speedmaster Automatic, also known as the Speedmaster Reduced is introduced in 1988, being a smaller (39mm vs 42mm case) and more affordable version of the Omega Speedmaster, but went out of production in 2009. Automatic Racing models have a slightly different case of 38mm, with Michael Schumacher being one of the brand's main representatives with his own dedicated line of models.
The most complicated watch ever is the limited edition Omega Speedmaster Perpetual Calendar (only 50 models ever produced), nicknamed the “king of complications”.
Nowadays, Speedmasters come in all styles and sizes, from accurate recreations of the historical models to solid-gold shiners and super-light technical wonders. The famous models include above mentioned Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph 39.7mm, Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph 42mm, Speedmaster Skywalker 45mm, Co-axial Master Chronometer Chronograph 44.25mm and many more. Discover more models here.
The story about the Constellation collection started with the Omega’s 100th birthday, for which a new watch model was introduced. It was Omega’s first automatic chronometer watch, made out of the series production. The demand for this model was so high in the following years that a new family of automatic chronometers had to be created and it was named: Constellation.
The Omega’s Constellation collection sports the watches on the dressier side of the story, without a specific mission in mind except, well, luxury. But this is not a collection without a story about excellence, as it features the famous Constellation Globemaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer, also known as the first Master Chronometer in the world.
Omega Constellation Collection Banner, photo credit
Introduced in 1952, the Constellation collection was made with trendsetting in mind. Nowadays, most of the watches in this collection still have a vintage reference to their look, similar to the fashion of the middle of the 20th century, only far more improved.
Omega Constellation Globemaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer, photo credit
In 1982, the collection got a revamp, and, since then, its models had claws holding the sapphire crystal. Even if this collection may not have as many models as the two previously mentioned, each of them is designed to perfection. Hence, we may consider the Constellation collection a classic luxury collection.
The Constellation collection, in fact, may be a synonym for luxury in the Omega world, for its luxurious dials and lugs, often made of gold. It’s no wonder it’s so loved among the celebrities, such as Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Ringo Star, Elvis Presley and others. The Constellation collection is also featured in many films such as on the wrists of George Clooney in Tomorrowland or Angelina Jolie in Salt.
Omega Constellation Baguette, the most expensive Omega watch, photo credit
The collection features the Globemaster and Constellation watch series, where the latter further divides into ladies and gentlemen’s models. Each model features the logo of Observatory of Geneva on its case back. One of the most famous models is Omega Constellation 18k Rose Gold Pie-Pan, released in 1958. Discover models here.
The most expensive Omega timepiece is the Constellation Baguette, worth around $700,000. Baguette is run by an Omega Calibre 8421 automatic movement with Co-Axial escapement and fixed with 459 Top Wesselton diamonds (146 on the dial only), smoothly packed into an 18k white gold case.
The youngest of Omega collections, De Ville was introduced in 1967 with the idea of giving a sophisticated alternative to the sports watches from the Seamaster and Speedmaster lines. Hence De Ville may be a synonym for elegance when it comes to Omega watches, especially minding the sleek design of its cases packed with powerful movements.
Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial 39.5mm, photo credit
Omega’s De Ville collection may seem like the only collection without the heroic story, but its story is more told through the extraordinary craftsmanship of its watches than in any other way. The collection features Ladymatic, Hour Vision, Trésor, Prestige and already mentioned Tourbillon series of watches, mostly chronometers with a quartz watch here and there. Discover models here.
In 2017 at the Geneva Watch Auction, Omega Tourbillon 30l (from 1947), the only of its kind, was sold at an auction for an astonishing CHF 1.428,800 (around $1.5 million), setting a new record for the most expensive Omega watch ever sold at an auction.
Written by M.H. , image sources as noted
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