A Brief History
Omega SA is a big watch company based in Biel, Switzerland. Omega is currently part of the Swatch Group. Omega’s predecessor was founded in 1848 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by 23-year-old Louis Brandt. After his death, his two sons Louis-Paul and César Brandt established one of the largest watch companies in Switzerland. Both were died in 1903 and left the company in the hands of four young people. The oldest, Paul-Emile Brandt, was barely 24, but eventually became the great architect and builder of Omega. His influence would be felt in the next fifty years. Omega is still one of the world’s most recognizable watch brands today.
As with other luxury watchmakers, Omega has a staggering number of models in various collections, which are updated regularly. Finding a specific Omega watch can be a difficult task due to sheer volume, but don’t worry, I’ll try to help you out. I have an affinity for Omega watches since my father gave me a 1971 Omega Seamaster Cosmic. When it was time for me to get my own, a Seamaster was a natural choice.
Omega designs watch for men and for women in 5 collections:
- De Ville
If you’re shopping for an Omega watch, you’ll generally find the first four collections available online. As for the fifth, Specialties are exactly that… specialties (like Beijing 2008), so they’re quite rare. I would suggest learning about them on the Omega website before deciding to make a purchase. Buying an Omega watch is a great deal, so you want to do your research and take your time unless you know EXACTLY what you’re looking for.
Omega watches are identified by their Reference number, which is unique to each particular model for that given iteration, typically in an ####.##.00 format. For example, two Speedmaster Professional watches may have different reference numbers based on the model year and the case, dial, and bracelet colours. An auction site like eBay is a great place to find authentic Omega watches at good prices. However, once you’ve identified a particular watch you may be interested in, I highly recommend copying the Reference number and visiting the Omega website search page to get a positive identification on the auctioned watch.
Omega Watches With No Name
A practice that was discontinued some 20 years ago was to on occasion omit the model series name on the face of the watch and simply used the Omega company name. When Omega designed a watch for a particular audience, then it would add the model series to the face. The Omega Railmaster was one such example when it was launched in 1957, but the name has now stuck. Even today, some Omega De Ville watches omit the De Ville name to keep the faceless cluttered and more elegant.
A final note about no-name Omega watches is that from the 1960s to the early 1980s, Omega mass-produced bare movements for other manufacturers to build Omega cases. This means that a number of watches from that period were being sold with the Omega company name but with dials and cases that were not Omega. The company ceased this practice because it felt it diluted the Omega brand. Keep this in mind when you find older Omega watches.