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OMEGA: In this wide world of icons

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 6 February 2017

The battle of watch brands for a share of our wrists, our collections and our desire is real. The struggle is legitimate given the fact that behind the dream, there’s an economic reality and sales targets to hit. Fair enough. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish truth from baloney, and us as passionate consumers are constantly pulled in every which way by often contradictory information. But at times, fortunately, the information is legitimate and justified.

Omega Constellation

One of the easiest ways to put order in all of this is to forget about the brand for just a moment. Let us take time to understand the references evoked, decade after decade, and see the attributes of this name and its ability to create unique timepieces. Pieces that, away from the storytelling and marketing, continue to make us dream and move us, even if we don’t know exactly why…

We are going to take a good look at Omega references that, by their design, movements or their first steps on the moon allowed it to become a pure icon.

Omega Speedmaster: The one who has been to the moon

Obviously we don’t present the One who made history on the wrist of astronaut Buzz Aldrin in July 20th, 1969 anymore. This iconic sport chronograph will forever remain etched in our memory. The “Moonwatch” with its emblematic three subdials is the type of watch we’ll never get tired of. Despite multiple variations and transformations, the original remains for most the “must-have.” The collector’s Holy Grail? A “pre-moon,” the ST 105.012 of 1965 was the first to show the mention “Professional” after NASA tests.

A contrasting dial with impressive clarity, domed plexiglass, and a hand-wound mechanical movement. Add to this the famous tachymeter scale engraved on the bezel (the first of the kind at its release), and an incredible story of outer space. Bravo. We have before us a genuine icon!

For those who confess to an addiction to certain pre-moon Speedmasters, you’ve probably heard of the CK2998, worn by the American astronaut Walter Shirra on October 3rd, 1962. The only drawback? Its current popularity rating.

There’s a modern reproduction inspired from this piece, the Speedmaster “First Omega in Space.” At a slightly smaller diameter at 39.7mm, long Alpha hands, and a slimmer case, there’s an undeniable pre-moon feeling about it. We are smitten, truly.

Omega Seamaster: from 1948 to James Bond’s wrist in 2016

The historical success and the legitimacy of Omega watches doesn’t stop at the moon. They’ve also conquered the deep blue seas. With the Rolex Submariner and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the Omega Seamaster is one of those epic diver watches, existing at a time when its performance led to success or failure, life or death.

Like the Speedmaster chronograph, the Seamaster has evolved and its variations are numerous. The Seamaster Ploprof (“Professional Diver”) 600 and 1000 of the 1970’s used by the company COMEX, specialists in deep diving operations, the famous Planet Ocean line and the James Bond version in 2016: a name, a symbol, and unquestionable attributes reveal themselves when we take a closer look at these watches.

Omega Constellation : a case that makes the difference

Omega: In this wide world of icons

Would Omega be a sport watch brand then? Sturdy and built for adventure? No, because that would be too easy. The brand also has icons in the “3-hand dressy watches” category. A spearhead that’s easily recognizable? The Constellation and its irresistible Pie Pan dial… What elegance!

Released in 1952, this model with the Geneva Observatory engraved on its case back has been a reference for more than half a century in terms of chronometric precision. Extremely high degree of precision and anti-magnetism, paired with a simple and timeless design… and all the while unique in its kind. Sorry, there aren’t a ton of them around…

Icons for beginners: Omega Railmaster, “Calatrava” & Ranchero?

The models cited thus far are well-known, even to those who aren’t interested given the fact that these small objects are clearly rooted in today’s popular culture.

Vintage Omega Ranchero

For others, the Omega Railmaster, Ranchero and “Calatrava” ring a bell. Even if one of them was a disappointment on the market, we see it’s true value today.

Vintage Omega Ranchero style

I know that I’m copying the name Calatrava from our friends at Patek Philippe. I don’t intend to steal this identity, but admit that the name perfectly illustrates the 3-hand classic design, Baton markers and small second-hand at 6 o’clock… I hope the purists will forgive me.

Omega Calatrava 2505 - 1950

Our take?

There’s no doubt, we’re looking at a brand which has marked history and our mind for more than half a century, and for good reasons… I cite: excellence and production constancy, innovation and precision. Easily recognizable designs that have contributed to the great adventures of Man these past 120 years. No biggie.

 I’ll go as far to say that Omega has established itself as an icon of Design, beyond the watchmaking world. An example? The fonts created by the Swiss brand, genuine references when you think about it… Exquisite.