Omega Vintage Swiss Luxury Watches Review: Seamaster, Automatic, Gold, Steel
Omega vintage watches constitute a department that's similar in more than one way to the Specialties collection. First, like the latter, it includes timepieces that have a lasting collector's value; second, it consists of notably more odd items than your usual classic Speedmaster, Seamaster, Constellation, or DeVille (the four main lines currently in production).
Finally, many vintage watches can boast a patina of nostalgia and emotional value – a history that a new timer can only begin to accumulate.
One of the most enticing features of many vintage Omegas is the unique case shape and dial design. Today the brand steered towards a more conservative territory – probably a temporary shift, as companies at the top of the prestigious luxury watchmaking industry are expected to consistently introduce innovations – but these elongated, somewhat exotic creations reflect an era when designers were given more leeway.
Art Deco and Art and Crafts influences can clearly be traced in some of the bolder, pronouncedly expressive designs. Indeed, putting on such a watch, especially a pre-worn one, would require, and consequently project a strong, expressive personality.
During the early seventies Omega manufactured a Seamaster that's considerably different from the one made today. It's more of a casual than a professional marine watch, features a tonneau shape reminiscent of the porthole-shaped Patek Philippe Nautilus, and contains a self-winding automatic movement, chronograph in some cases.
Interestingly, the clean dial (baton hands, matching linear indexes) has more in common with the modern professional Speedmaster. Either way, this watch leaves an immediate impression of a sleek, independent, perhaps (in psychological terms) even a touch aloof piece.
Vintage Ladies DeVille, Constellation
These timers also pose an aesthetic interest, both for connoiseurs and neophytes. The unusual shapes (only in some models) not only reveal a penchant for modernist and Art Deco trends (and generally a tribute to vogues of the first half of the 20th century), they also present an important chapter in Omega evolvement as a fashion brand.
Specifically, vintage Constellation watches rely on an ellipse – effectively a slightly stretched circle – while Deville opt for a rectangle with curved corners, a frame very similar to Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. Many vintage Omegas, however, remain faithful to the classic round watch configuration.