Today, Omega is one of the big brands that practically everybody knows. They look back on 175 years of craftsmanship and unwavering dedication to creating the best possible timepieces. The brand has been to the Moon, timed top athletes, and adorned the wrist of the most famous double agent. Let’s take a look at the world of Omega.
- Omega’s History
- Significant Watch Collections From Omega
- Who wears Omega watches?
- Do Omega watches retain their value?
- Omega or Rolex?
A Glance At Omega’s History
Omega was founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Although Omega relocated to Bienne in 1880, their goal of creating high-precision timepieces never changed. In the following decades, Omega won prestigious awards for delivering the most accurate movements. From the 1920s until the 1970s, they won numerous prizes, cementing the Omega name as one of the leading Swiss watchmakers.
Omega have been the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932. In fact, they introduced the first Seamaster models at the London Olympic Games in 1948. These timepieces were modeled after watches the brand had supplied to the British military during World War II. Shortly thereafter, with the introduction of the Constellation line in 1952, Omega welcomed their flagship model.
In 1957, Omega added the Speedmaster, Seamaster 300, and Railmaster trio to their collection. These turned out to be incredibly important in shaping the brand’s future. Of the three, the Speedmaster became the most popular. When Buzz Aldrin set foot on the Moon on July 20th, 1969 wearing his Speedmaster, the “Moonwatch” was born. To this day, the Omega Speedmaster is one of the world’s most iconic watches, and part of our horological history.
Read more about the history of the Omega Speedmaster.
Omega entered into a partnership with the James Bond franchise in 1995, rendering the new Seamaster Diver 300M from 1993 007’s watch of choice. It was first seen on Pierce Brosnan’s wrist in GoldenEye. Since then, the double agent can be spotted wearing one or more Omega watches in each Bond flick. With their Co-Axial escapement in 1999, Omega introduced a new groundbreaking invention that changed the future of their in-house watchmaking. And in 2007, Omega again displayed their watchmaking excellence, developing and manufacturing their own movements with their Co-Axial escapements.
Significant Watch Collections From Omega
The current Omega collection consists of four main product lines, all having iconic names introduced over the course of the brand’s rich past.
The Omega Speedmaster was first introduced in 1957 as a racing chronograph. The Speedmaster became the Moonwatch after the first Moon landing in 1969; it is unquestionably the Omega icon. The current Speedmaster line holds the brand’s legendary series of famous chronographs in six different ranges.
Although the Moonwatch range is undoubtedly the most well known, there is plenty more to enjoy with the Speedmaster Heritage, Dark Side Of The Moon, Two Counters, Instruments, and Speedmaster 38. Speedmasters come as chronographs with two or three subdials, and with manual winding, automatic, or quartz movements. Additionally, you can buy a Speedmaster for both men and women in steel or gold versions, as well as a combination of both materials.
Next up is the Seamaster collection, the home of Omega’s diving watches. The first Seamaster models were introduced in 1948, and the line has developed extensively since. The most renowned is the Seamaster Diver 300M worn by James Bond. The Seamaster 300 is modeled after the original Seamaster 300 released as part of the 1957 trilogy. The Planet Ocean and Aqua Terra, unveiled in 2005 and 2002 respectively, complete the collection.
While the Seamaster, as a line of divers, is predominantly targeted at men, the Aqua Terra series features models for both men and women. In terms of materials, Seamasters come in stainless steel, gold, and a special bronze-gold alloy.
Find out everything you need to know about the Omega Seamaster collection in the article by my colleague Donato.
The third series is the Constellation, subcategorized into the Constellation and Globemaster ranges. The Constellation line was introduced in 1952, with the watches delivering top-of-the-line accuracy. The current Constellation collection holds a great variety of men’s and women’s models in designs that evolved from the Constellation Manhattan in 1982. Constellation models are available in stainless steel and different gold variations.
The Globemaster is a small collection of classy watches for men in stainless steel, gold, and platinum versions.
Omega De Ville
Lastly, the De Ville series offers a wide variety of more traditional, stylish timepieces. The De Ville name has been part of the Omega catalog since 1967, the year it became a collection in its own right, cutting ties with the Seamaster. The current De Ville collection has various models. The Ladymatic is marketed toward women, offering a variety of stainless steel and gold watches. The Tresor caters to both men and women, using quartz and mechanical movements housed in gold and stainless steel. The Prestige line offers men’s and women’s watches in stainless steel, gold, or a combination of the two. There is also the prestigious Tourbillon series, with a small selection of models featuring a central tourbillon in gold and platinum.
Read about three Omega watches that fly under the radar.
Which Omega does James Bond wear?
Omega signed a partnership with the James Bond franchise in 1995. Since then, the world’s most famous double agent has been wearing Omega watches in every 007 film. Pierce Brosnan could be seen wearing the blue Seamaster Professional Diver 300M in all of his appearances as Bond. He was first spotted with the quartz ref. 2541.80.00, while in all the other movies, he wore the mechanical ref. 2531.80.00, which came to be known as the “Bond watch.”
When Daniel Craig took over the role of James Bond, we saw 007 wearing a wider variety of Seamaster models. In Casino Royale, Craig alternated the blue Seamaster Professional Diver 300M with the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M. The latter returned in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, where Bond also donned the Seamaster Aqua Terra for the first time as a stylish accessory to his more formal attire. In Spectre, 007 wore the highly popular Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” Limited Edition, mixing it up once again with the Seamaster Aqua Terra. In the final Bond movie featuring Daniel Craig, Bond can be seen wearing the Seamaster Professional 300M Diver “No Time To Die” in titanium.
Who wears Omega watches?
- John F. Kennedy: The 35th president of the United States famously wore his unique Omega Ultra Thin ref. OT3980, a gift from his friend Grant Stockdale.
- Prince William: The Prince of Wales wears an Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M given to him by his mother, Princess Diana. It is the mid-size quartz model with the ref. 2561.80 and can be purchased for between $1,100 and $2,200 on Chrono24.
- Gianni Agnelli: The Italian industrialist and style icon was known to wear a variety of wristwatches over the cuff of his shirt. One of them was the Omega Seamaster PloProf 600 ref. 166.077. Prices range from $7,500 to $12,500.
- Ryan Reynolds: The Canadian actor has been sighted with a host of different Omega watches. Among them is an Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon. Another eye-catching piece is the Moonshine Gold Moonwatch with a green dial and bezel (ref. 310.60.42.50.10.001). This watch can be found for between $35,000 and $42,000 on Chrono24.
- Joe Biden: The 46th US president has multiple Omega watches in his collection. Biden has been seen wearing a blue Seamaster Professional Diver 300M, possibly the ref. 2531.80.00 from the 1990s. He also wears the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Biden owns a previous-generation Moonwatch, most likely the ref. 3570.50.00 which goes for $3,200 to $5,300 on Chrono24.
Other famous names wearing Omega watches include the brand’s ambassadors George Clooney, Zoë Kravitz, Cindy Crawford, Eddie Redmayne, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Garfield, and Daniel Craig.
Do Omega watches retain their value?
Along with their contemporary creations, Omega has also become a favorite among vintage watch collectors. But do Omega watches hold their value? The brand has modern timepieces that sell above their list price, and vintage classics that are known to increase in value. This makes Omega a great brand to check out if you’re interested in enjoying some of the best watches in the world, which might turn out to be a great investment. Having said that, be sure to do your homework and learn about the best possible pieces to invest in.
Some examples of sought-after modern models include the Speedmaster Calibre 321 “Ed White” and the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary. Vintage examples are the “pre-Moon” Speedmaster models, the Speedmaster limited-edition Snoopy models, the special Apollo mission models, the classic PloProf 600M, the Seamaster 200 “SHOM,” and the Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” Limited Edition. Because of their popularity, they often retain their value or have the potential to appreciate.
Omega vs. Rolex
Omega’s popularity has turned the brand into one of the most successful luxury watchmakers around. As such, they are Rolex’s biggest competitor. While Rolex is the largest luxury watch brand in the world, both brands produce watches in the same categories and price segments, and Omega can hold their own on several levels. There are, however, also differences between the two. The biggest being that Rolex has a far more concise collection; most Rolex models are only available in a limited number of colors. Omega, on the other hand, have a huge collection of watches that come in a wide variety of colors and configurations.
Additionally, while it’s hard to get your hands on almost any Rolex model at an authorized dealer, most Omega models are actually easy to come by. There’s only a small number of models that you might have to wait for, like the Speedmaster Calibre 321 and the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary. This means you can get your favorite Omega at its list price, instead of having to pay a premium through the secondary market. It’s yet another reason why Omega are one of the biggest and most popular brands, with a ton of history, some of the best stories behind their watches, and most of all, truly some of the best timepieces in the world.