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With a rich history that dates all the way back to 1848, Omega is one of the oldest and most widely-respected luxury watch manufacturers in the entire world. The iconic Swiss timepiece company produces everything from elegant dress watches to technologically advanced sports chronographs, and Omega watches have been worn by everyone from actors in films to astronauts on the moon.
OMEGA wristwatches have developed a loyal following and for good reason. Their accuracy, functionality, and style have earned them the title of the official Olympic Games timekeeper, and they are worn and collected by some of the most influential people in the world. The brand appeals to a broad range of individuals with both men's and women's models available, and famous people who have worn these watches include John F. Kennedy, Prince William, and Buzz Aldrin.
From the depths of the ocean to outer space, from timing the Olympic Games to equipping fictional super spies, the brand has been a part of some of history's most memorable moments. The companies history stretches back to 1848 and over the course of 170 years, the Swiss watchmaker has produced a vast assortment of timepieces of which many have become luxury watch icons. Thanks to its popular watch models, Omega is now a globally renowned brand and is one of the top three Swiss luxury watch brands in the world by annual sales. Whether for men or women, sporty or dressy, simple or complicated, quartz, or mechanical, they manufacture watches for just about any type of watch enthusiast. Bob's Watches offers the best selection of new, used and pre-owned OMEGA watches with the best prices.
In 1848, a 23-year-old watchmaker named Louis Brandt opened his workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, laying the foundation of what would eventually become Omega. It was in 1894, within a new and larger facility in the city of Bienne, that the Brandt sons, Louis Paul and Cesar, produced a groundbreaking 19-ligne caliber that was accurate, simple to service, and combined time-setting and movement winding in one crown. The Brandt brothers named the revolutionary movement the "Omega" and the series-produced caliber was met with such success within the watch industry that the siblings decided to rename the company from "Louis Brandt & Fils" to "OMEGA."
Thanks to the companies technological advances in horology, the company received the grand prize at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900, and by 1903, they had earned its spot as the largest manufacturer of finished Swiss watches. During the early-1900s, The company continued its focus on making precise, reliable, and easy-to-repair movements and watches. And in 1931, the the chronometer set precision records in all six trials at the Geneva Observatory. Later that decade, the company set another two precision records, this time at Kew-Teddington. Since the company was renowned for its precise timekeeping instruments, Omega became the first watchmaker appointed to time the entire Olympic games (1932, Los Angeles)—a tradition that carries on today.
In 1932, they unveiled the Marine watch as a pioneering timepiece in the dive watch genre with a waterproof double case reinforced with cork and a clasp fitted with a diver's extension. The Marine was tested in Lake Geneva, where it successfully dove down 73 meters deep. In the 1940s, the brand was the largest supplier of watches for the British armed forces and its allies during World War II.
To celebrate the company's 100th anniversary and partly inspired by the rugged military watches it had made during WII, the brand introduced the now-famous Seamaster water-resistant watch in 1948. Just a few years later in 1952, another iconic watch made its debut—the Constellation. Named after the eight stars on its crest (representing the precision records set by Omega), the Constellation became their flagship dress watch.
1957 is perhaps the most important year in their history. That year saw the birth of the Professional line of watches, which included three now-legendary timepieces: the Speedmaster chronograph, the Seamaster 300 dive watch, and the Railmaster antimagnetic watch. A decade later, the De Ville moved away from the Seamaster lineup and branched off into its own collection of modern non-sport watches with top-tier movements.
By the 1980s, much of the Swiss watch industry had been decimated by the Quartz Crisis. Through a series of bank directives, acquisitions, mergers, and negotiations by the late Nicolas Hayek throughout the decade, Omega eventually became a part of the conglomerate we now know as the Swatch Group.
Although the company makes an immense range of watch models, the brand now divides its lineup into four main collections: Speedmaster, Seamaster, Constellation, and De Ville. These collections then branch off into specific models such as the Speedmaster Moonwatch, Speedmaster Racing, Seamaster Diver 300M, Seamaster Planet Ocean, Seamaster Aqua Terra, Constellation Globemaster, De Ville Ladymatic, and so on.
Below you'll find a general price guide for some popular watch models. Naturally, the price of precious metal watches are higher than stainless steel models in the retail market; however, steel watches typically retain more of their original value when re-sold on the secondary market. Some limited-edition models sell pre-owned for higher than MSRP in the secondary market, which explains why in some cases the used price on watches for sale is higher than the retail price.
|Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch||3126.96.36.199.01.005||$5,350|
|Speedmaster Professional "Speedy Tuesday Ultraman"||3188.8.131.52.01.001||$7,100|
|Speedmaster Professional "Dark Side of the Moon"||3184.108.40.206.01.003||$12,000|
|Speedmaster "First OMEGA In Space"||3220.127.116.11.02.001||$18,000|
|Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary||310.60.42.50.99.001||$34,600|
|Seamaster Diver 300M||18.104.22.168.01.001||$5,200|
|Seamaster Diver 300M||22.214.171.124.01.001||$9,700|
|Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph||126.96.36.199.01.001||$7,450|
|Aqua Terra 150M||188.8.131.52.01.001||$5,700|
|Aqua Terra 150M GMT||184.108.40.206.03.001||$7,900|
|Planet Ocean 600M||220.127.116.11.01.001||$6,550|
|Planet Ocean 600M GMT||18.104.22.168.01.001||$8,000|
|Planet Ocean 600M Chronograph||22.214.171.124.01.001||$8,450|
|PloProf 1200M||126.96.36.199.01.001||$12, 600|
|Globemaster Master Chronometer||188.8.131.52.02.001||$19,800|
|Globemaster Annual Calendar||184.108.40.206.06.001||$8,600|
|De Ville Hour Vision Annual Calendar||4220.127.116.11.02.001||$10,600|
Omega watches are much more affordable luxury Swiss timepieces with prices starting around $2,500 for entry-level models on the secondary market. The retail price for a Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph 42 MM, steel on steel 318.104.22.168.01.005 is currently $5,350.
When the Speedmaster chronograph made its debut in 1957, Omega positioned it as a watch for motorsports. The Speedmaster was the world's first chronograph to have the tachymeter scale engraved on the bezel rather than printed on the dial, making it easier to use with the chronograph's stopwatch function to measure average speed or distances during races. The very first Speedmaster was reference CK2915 with a 38mm steel case and manual-wound Caliber 321 movement. The first Speedy reference is easily recognizable due to its large triangular-tipped "broad arrow" center hands on the black dial. In 2018, a first-generation Speedmaster CK2915 sold for a record-breaking $275,508.
They replaced the CK2915 with the Speedmaster CK2998 in 1959, which included a black bezel insert with the tachymeter scale instead of the engraved steel bezel and Alpha-style hands rather than broad-arrow ones. Not only did this design set the blueprint of future Speedmaster chronographs, but the Speedmaster CK2998 became the first Speedmaster in space when astronaut Wally Schirra wore his during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962.
This was just the beginning of the Speedmaster's involvement with space exploration. In 1965, NASA qualified the Speedmaster for use during manned space missions, and in 1969, the Speedmaster journeyed to the moon with the Apollo 11 crew. While Neil Armstrong left his Speedmaster back on the Eagle Apollo Lunar Module as a backup since the onboard clock malfunctioned, Buzz Aldrin wore his Speedmaster Professional reference 105.012 when he took his first steps on the moon. Michael Collins, who was flying the command module around the moon whilst his crewmates were on the lunar surface, wore a Speedmaster Professional 145.012. Ever since Apollo 11, the Speedmaster became known as the "Moonwatch."
They continued to evolve the Speedmaster line over the following decades—not just the Moonwatch ones but also other Speedmaster chronographs with various sizes, designs, materials, and movements. The Speedmaster Racing carries on the original intention of the Speedy as a motorsports chronograph, the Speedmaster '57 are vintage-inspired pieces that take design cues from the first Speedy, and the Speedmaster 38 is mainly geared towards Omega's female clientele. However, the most popular Speedmaster models are still the ones that are most faithful to the early "Moonwatch" - characterized as Speedmaster Professional models with 42mm steel cases, black bezels, black dials, Hesalite crystals, and hand-wound mechanical movements.
Dating back to 1948, the Seamaster is the oldest collection still in production. The Seamaster lineup houses a varied assortment of timepieces from dive watches to elegant sports watches to vintage-inspired watches.
Omega's diving watch range is divided into three distinct collections: the Seamaster Diver 300M, the Planet Ocean 600M, and the PloProf 1200M, where each model clearly states the watch's water-resistance rating. Introduced in 1993 and made world-famous in 1995 as James Bond’s watch in Goldeneye, the Seamaster Diver 300M is now the brands most popular diver. The Seamaster Diver 300M is available in time/date, chronograph, or GMT versions, in addition to plenty of material and size options.
In 2005, Omega introduced the Planet Ocean 600M collection of beefier and more water-resistant dive watches. Loosely based on the 1957 Seamaster but thoroughly updated to modem standards, early Planet Ocean models were offered in 42mm or 45.5mm sizes with aluminum bezel inserts and helium escape valves (HEVs) for saturation diving. The following year, they filled out the collection with Planet Ocean Chronograph versions and in 2011 Planet Ocean GMT editions were added. Although the Seamaster Planet Ocean lineup is less than 15 years old, the company has frequently updated the models. Current production Planet Ocean watches now feature ceramic bezels and in-house movements. In true Omega form, a dizzying array of metals, sizes, colors, bracelets, and complications can be combined, making the Planet Ocean a tremendously varied collection.
Characterized by its distinctive silhouette, the modern-day PloProf 1200M (a name that combines the words "plongeur" and "professionnel" - French for "professional diver") is a direct descendant of the Seamaster 600 Ploprof and Seamaster 1000 Ploprof from the 1970s. Rather than fitting the watches with a helium escape valve, the company chose to build the original Ploprof cases in such a way that it wouldn't allow any helium to enter the watch in the first place. While the niche diver eventually disappeared from Omega's catalog, the design was revived in 2009 with the introduction of the Seamaster Ploprof 1200M—and then updated again in 2016. However, it's important to note that the massive 55 x 48 mm cases of the modern PloProfs are now fitted with HEVs.
Aside from divers, they also make elegant sports watches within the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M collection, first introduced in 2002. As its name implies, these are watches for both sea and land—designed for daily life but water-resistant to 150 meters to withstand more adventurous activities. The Aqua Terra is one of the brands most diverse sub-collections, available in a slew of sizes, materials, and functions. The simplest Aqua Terra watches for men are the time/date models, characterized by straightforward dial layouts, a "teak" stripe dial motif mimicking decks of luxury yachts, and clean round cases. Yet, the Aqua Terra collection also offers a bevy of more complicated models such as day/dates, chronographs, GMTs, annual calendars, and worldtimers.
Two popular vintage-inspired Seamaster models include the Seamaster 300 and the Railmaster. The Seamaster 300 watches are based upon the original 1957 Seamaster 300 model—complete with black timing bezels, broad arrow hands, black dials, and Arabic numerals at 3/6/9/12—but slightly larger and fitted with modern movements. Additionally, along with the regular production steel Seamaster 300 models, there are also precious metal versions and limited editions. Similarly, the modern Railmaster watches are also based upon the original Railmaster antimagnetic watch from 1957, fitted with similar dial layout designs but with larger cases and newer movements.
Since the very beginning, Omega has always focused on the performance of its calibers as illustrated by the number of precision records it has achieved. The brand makes their watches in Switzerland where they have always prided themselves in quality. Today, you can find watches with quartz movements, hand-wound movements, or automatic movements. Plus, similar to many other luxury watchmakers, the types of movements used by the company evolved from in-house to modified ébauches (Lemania and ETA) and now back to a focus on in-house movements.
In the 1930s, Omega, Tissot, and Lemania (a Swiss watch movement manufacturer) formed a joint venture called SSIH (Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère). Therefore, Lemania produced several movements for Omega but none as famous as the Caliber 321, which served to power early Speedmaster chronographs from the 1950s and 1960s. The manual-wound Caliber 321 lateral clutch chronograph movement is noted for its beautiful design but they eventually replaced it with the less costly and easier to produce Lemania-based Caliber 861 in 1969. However, in 2019, the brand announced the return of the Caliber 321.
In 1999, Omega introduced its first movement fitted with a Co-Axial escapement. Invented by George Daniels, the greatest benefit of the Co-Axial escapement is that it produces less friction than traditional lever escapements. Less friction means less lubrication is needed in the movement, which translates to improved reliability and longer intervals between servicing.
In 2015, they introduced the Master Chronometer Certification, which denotes that along with a COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) certification, a movement has also passed a series of eight tests set out by METAS (The Federal Institute of Metrology). Master Chronometer watches have a minimum water-resistance rating of 100 meters, a minimum power reserve rating of 60 hours, an accuracy rating of 0/+5 seconds per day, and are resistant to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss. The Master Chronometer Certification debuted on the Globemaster but they now offer it across many more of its watch collections.
Among all the partnerships, some of the most famous are its relationships with NASA, the Olympic Games, golf, swimming, sailing, ocean exploration/conservation, and cinema. As such, they count several famous personalities as brand ambassadors including (but certainly not limited to the following list of noteworthy individuals.George Clooney Nicole Kidman Cindy Crawford Eddie Redmayne Daniel Craig Kaia Gerber Rory McIlroy Sergio Garcia Michael Phelps Buzz Aldrin
Omega has also been the official watch of James Bond since 2005. In addition to watches appearing in the films, the company releases special edition James Bond Seamaster watches with every 007 movie release.
When it comes to accuracy, the Omega quartz watches are more accurate than mechanical alternatives. You won't have this option with Rolex since the brand no longer produces quartz watches anymore.
When searching for the perfect luxury watch it is difficult to beat the reputation that OMEGA watch has built. The brand has produced stunning vintage models and continues to manufacturer numerous examples of innovative modern timepieces. Bob's Watches carries a number of timepieces at some of the lowest prices on the market. OMEGA's advanced Swiss craftsmanship has earned them a place among the most prestigious brands.
Additional Swiss brands to consider: Tudor