A common question among new watch enthusiasts is, “which brand should I choose for my first luxury watch?”
Our go-to answer is usually Omega, especially if you are looking for a more affordable option. But what is it that makes Omega watches such an excellent choice?
In this article, we look at all the aspects that make Omega such a famous watch brand. We will also explore the brand’s different watch lineups to help you find the best Omega watches to suit your needs.
Omega Brand At a Glance
Omega’s significant advantage over other luxury watch brands is that it offers great value for money. Indeed, Omega watches are some of the most well-priced options in the entry-level luxury watch market, especially considering their specifications, which we will dive into in detail.
Omega has been the official timekeeper for several different sporting events, including the Olympic Games. This has aided the brand’s recognition significantly. Even so, the foundations of Omega’s rise to prominence lay in its long and eventful history.
In 1848, Louis Brandt founded Omega under the name La Generale Watch Co. Soon after, the company started its own production line of watches, using the name Omega on its products. By 1903, branding was so successful that the whole company was renamed as Omega Watch Co.
Omega also played an essential role in World War II, providing the British Ministry of Defense with thousands of watches for pilots, soldiers, and navigators.
By the middle of the 20th century, Omega was at the forefront of watch production. It even outsold its fierce rival, Rolex, and was generally considered one of the most important Swiss watch brands. This led the brand to win the space race and become the official watch provider of the Apollo missions.
The quartz crisis of the 1970s saw Omega, alongside many high-end luxury watch brands, face a steep decline in watch sales. However, the brand bounced back and became a part of what is now known as the Swatch Group. The Swatch Group includes several well-known Swiss brands, like Tissot and Hamilton, and is one of the biggest watchmakers in the world.
Omega Brand Review
It’s time to get technical with our Omega brand review, and an analysis of the different features that make this watch brand so worthwhile.
While Omega has some uniquely-designed watches, its main product lines have maintained a familiar design for the past few iterations.
Rather than coming up with novel styles, the brand prefers to issue new models with incremental design changes, much like its arch rival Rolex. Fans of all things new and innovative may find this disaapointing, but this is what makes Omega watches so iconic and recognizable.
Ask a random watch enthusiast to name an iconic chronograph or dive watch, and they’ll be sure to mention the Speedmaster or Seamaster, respectively. You can’t gain that kind of brand recognition without maintaining a well-known design for many generations. If you’re the kind of watch lover who aspires for recognition, you can’t go wrong.
Omega has always produced technically advanced watches. Its most significant achievement is integrating the co-axial escapement mechanism in its watches, starting with the caliber 2500 in 1999.
The co-axial escapement mechanism was developed by famous horologist George Daniels in an attempt to solve the problem of friction in mechanical watches. In particular, the co-axial escapement utilizes radial instead of sliding friction which eliminates the need for lubrication. This, in turn, makes a movement that requires less servicing, which significantly cuts down on serving costs.
The latest Omega movements have the Master Chronometer Certification, which, among other features, ensures the watches have a magnetic resistance of more than 15,000 Gauss. This makes them by far the most magnetic-resistant calibers in the market, so they are almost never at risk of malfunctioning due to becoming magnetized.
Omega’s reputation was at its peak during the middle of the 20th century. It was even considered by many as the “King of Swiss” watch brands. The brand’s status was such that RCA Records gifted Elvis Presley a special Omega watch by Tiffany & Co to mark the sale of 75-million records.
The watch was built using white gold and diamonds on the bezel. It was sold in an auction for a staggering 1.8 million dollars, making it the most expensive Omega watch ever sold.
Nowadays, the brand’s reputation has been slightly overshadowed by its competitors and its relatively lower prices. However, its involvement in the James Bond movies over the past three decades has ensured the brand’s prestige remains high. Not to mention that the brand still remains the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games.
Omega Watch Prices - Are They Worth It?
In general, Omega watches are well-priced. They represent the entry-level luxury watch market while also offering superior specifications and copious brand history and recognition.
Nonetheless, there are several excellent affordable luxury watch brands to choose from, so you’re not limited to Omega. Some might even argue that you should spend an extra few thousand dollars and go for a high-end luxury watch if you aspire to become a true connoisseur.
But all in all, we think that you can’t go wrong with buying an Omega. The brand has a few different styles you can choose from and it offers excellent value for your money.
Best Omega Watches
Feeling keen to give Omega a try? In our opinion, these are the best Omega watches for any aspiring watch lover to own.
1. Omega Speedmaster
The original purpose of the Speedmaster was to be a racing chronograph. This is evident by its tachymeter bezel. However, when Buzz Aldrin wore it during the Moon landing in 1969, the watch gained significant exposure and rose to prominence. Thus, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional became the first watch on the Moon.
The 1969 version was powered by a manually wound caliber 861 made by Lemania with a Hesalite crystal. More recent Speedmaster iterations maintain the iconic design but are equipped with Omega’s latest co-axial movements. There is also an option for a more durable sapphire crystal or the original Hesalite one if you value authenticity.
There are countless Speedmaster references made with stainless steel or precious metals, as well as special limited editions to commemorate certain events or achievements. These include Speedmasters for the watch’s 50th anniversary, the Silver Snoopy Award, and several editions made to celebrate Michael Schumacher’s Formula 1 championships.
2. Omega Constellation
The Constellation is one of the oldest lines of Omega watches. These models are some of Omega’s more dressy timepieces. They feature vintage-inspired designs and are usually the first equipped with Omega’s latest technologies and movements.
The Omega Constellation Globemaster is probably the most underappreciated among Omega watches. When it came out in 2015, it was the first to receive the Master Chronometer certification, now prevalent among Omega watches.
With such an indicative name, one would expect the watch to have some special features for globetrotters. While a GMT function (usually found in travelers’ timepieces) is not present, the watch has a quick set mechanism to set a new time zone without hassle.
Some of the collectors’ most sought-after vintage Omega watches are Constellation models that feature the so-called “pie-pan” design. The title comes from the shape of the dial, which resembles an upside-down pie pan.
Additionally, thanks to their unique designs, the simply-named “Constellation” timepieces are ideal for people who view watches as a fashion statement.
3. Omega Seamaster
The Seamaster lineup was initially designed to be dress watches with increased toughness and water resistance. Through involvement in the James Bond franchise, this watch has become a truly irresistible movie icon.
Since its first appearance in the James Bond film Goldeneye in 1995, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M has become one of the most prevalent dive watches. Each new iteration is equipped with Omega’s latest technical innovation and a familiar yet iconic design.
Also, the vintage Omega watches of the Seamaster line are some of the cheapest Omega watches you can find in the used market.
The Seamaster family also includes other designs such as the dressier Aqua Terra and the Planet Ocean, both of which have starred in the latest adventures of agent 007. There are even some peculiar designs like the Ploprof, a beefy diver’s watch with an astonishing 1200M of water resistance.
4. Omega De Ville
The De Ville line is where you will find Omega’s offerings in haute horology. These watches are made with high-end materials and feature the latest complications and technical innovations from Omega.
One of the most prominent models is the Omega De Ville Central Tourbillon. Omega was actually the first to manufacture a tourbillon caliber for wristwatches in 1947.
The De Ville Central Tourbillon is also equipped with the caliber 2640, the first tourbillon movement with the Master Chronometer certification. Its exquisite movement and precious materials make it the most expensive Omega watch currently sold.
From a Timekeeper To a Movie Icon, Omega Has Done It All
Overall, the Omega brand is an excellent option if you’re looking for a luxury watch that is stylish, well-built, and accurate. On top of that, you’re getting a timepiece with huge horological history and significance. Omega offers several types of watches with distinct designs to suit your style, fashion, and lifestyle.
Don’t forget to pair your new and shiny Omega watch with a high-quality watch roll, like the ones from Operandi Firenze. This way, you can ensure that your watch stays secure and well-protected when you aren’t wearing it.
So, delve into the world of Omega watches, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!