Omega Swiss Luxury Watches Full Guide-Review
During the last few decades Omega caught the imagination of people across the planet as one of the leading, innovative, technologically advanced, and successful watchmaking companies. The penetration of this brand into the foreground of science on the one hand – astronauts continue wearing Speedmaster Chronographs to this very day – and entertainment on the other – James Bond being Omega's most famous fictional customer bespeaks the influence and significance this name attained in contemporary culture.
Omega's involvement in such a wide array of spheres of human activity reveals a totality of approach where absolutely nothing is left to chance. This uncompromising attitude (as one would expect from an instrument supplier that cooperates with NASA), especially when combined with flexibility and freshness of design, gives Omega an advantage only few competitors succeeded in matching. Rolex, arguably the most popular Swiss watch brand today, is constantly being warned by afficionados to be prepared to clear that cherished place at the top.
We mentioned Bond (James Bond), but the group of ambassadors Omega hosts under its roof includes more actual celebrities than fictional ones: actors George Clooney and Zhang Ziyi, athletes Michael Phelps and Michelle Wie, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Eugine A. Cernan, and others.
Eventually, these ambassadors and collaborations weave into a coherent narrative that conveys in words, images, and ideas all the hardware and the engineering know-how the company offers in its watches. And, importantly, the faces never overshadow the products, and each new owner becomes, in a way, a new ambassador for the brand.
Omega watches surprise, at least at the first glance, by their seemingly straightforward design. Rare models display the extravagance some might expect to see after hearing the variety and poliphony of praise and appreciation for this brand: this is exactly where the Swiss watchmaker defies expectations. In lieu of dramatic changes that became almost a standard for new companies looking to make their mark (Corum, Alain Silberstein and Frank Muller come to mind) in this old industry, Omega take a subtle and sophisticated approach.
While relying on design basics that serve nearly all contemporary watchmakers, they introduce, with each collection and model, a minor yet notable change. These changes accrue to form a somewhat elusive, yet unmistakebly influential, imperative character – and, both this process and its results effectively embody the idea of “class.”
Indeed, the whole notion of change and
improvement becomes a fundamental and ubiquitous theme. Taking into
account that Omega is still primarily a traditional company, it
stands out as particularly important, as change readily appeals to
the younger generation.
Omega's unique contribution to the world of automatic movements remains the Co-Axial escapement. An in-house addition, it renders equipped calibers more durable and reliable than regular ones by the virtue of (almost completely) removing the need to lubricate the escapement.
Besides that, the company is surprisingly liberal in employing quartz movements, often incorporating them in classic, business, dressy and fashion items under such collections as Constellation and De Ville; automatic calibers propel the bulk of Speedmaster and Seamaster watches. Complications include chronograph, GMT indicator, and day-date. Special case and movement enhancements/upgrades include a chronometer, a chronoscope and, among others, water resistance up to 300 meters.
Materials routinely used comprise stainless steel, gold in various colors, silver (for the dials), leather, and others. Additioanlly, Omega joins Vacheron Constantin in using palladium for some of its jewelry/dress creations. Mother-of-pearl, diamonds, and gemstones complete the inventory list of the jewelry department.
Constellation collection constitutes one of Omega's dress and fashion divisions, the other being De Ville. While the latter gravitates generally toward more complicated and classically built designs, the former present a robust modern look, occasionally injected with exotic touches, be it in the direction of overall architecture, the use of color, or gemstones.
Constellation Ladies is by far the most extensive women's line in Omega's assortment. Models include quartz, automatic, and chronometer movements, encased in steel or gold cases; jewelry versions feature diamonds across the dials and bracelets. The square Quadra makes a direct reference to Jaeger LeCoultre Squadro watches.
Constellation Gents' demonstrate (when compared to feminine variations) a more restrained, business oriented appearance. Single tone chronometers, steel or golden, tend further towards a certain minimalist severity, which can be viewed as a mark of inner force, or even aggression.
De Ville watches embody more traditional design ideas, especially in men's pieces. A master collection, it contains such subdivisions as Hour Vision, Prestige, and X2, all of which possess distinct characteristics both in appearance and movement.
De Ville Ladies watches exhibit eclectic horological traits: clear fashion awareness on the one hand, but a readiness to include complications on the other. Though relatively small (about five titles currently in production), this line offers among Omega's most expressive feminine creations.
De Ville Men's borrows the eclectic touch from women's department, and marries it with classic watch configuration; harmony and confidence emerge as dominant features, even in the busiest chronographs. Wide use of leather straps also indicates a preference for the traditional.
Omega Seamaster watches give a worthy retort to such high-end lines as Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Ulysse Nardin Marine Divers, and Jaeger Lecoultre Master Compressor. While Ladies' timepieces mostly focus on jewelry embellishment, Gents' Seamaster collection provides an endless source of diving and marine instruments: the arch of variations and complications is truly exhaustive.
Most items contain a chronometer movement, as befits a true marine watch, and several professional oriented diving utilities – helium escape valve, extra water resistance, rubber straps, unidirectional rotating bezel, and more.
Speedmaster watches – probably the most famous chronographs in the world – repeat the Seamaster gender framework, allowing women's selection to stick to jewelry, and making men's pieces a yet another inexhaustible source of professional time measuring instruments. Speedmasters were and still are used by NASA astronauts, receiving an immediate, contextual, and very powerful advertisement.
Subdivisions include Professional, Legend, Broad Arrow, and several others categorized according to a specific complication (day, day-date, chrono). Though rare two-tone versions exist, most keep the pro stainless steel architecture.
Omega Specialities men's and ladies' collections comprise a mix of special occasion and jewelry watches that almost always deviate from the overall solid and harmonious designs of the other divisions. In a way, these pieces are the “bad boys” of the company, representing its historical, cultural, and fashion aspirations. Some of the offerings include a pocket clock, a tourbillon watch, Olympic theme decorated timers, and more.
A separate and important Omega category (over a thousand listing dily on eBay) that comprises creations from across the board, and is of special interest to collectors. Constellations from the sixties, various rare and discontinued jewelry items, as well as earlier Seamasters and Speedmasters span the company's history and will give brand enthusiasts a fascinating historical overlook.