Is the Omega Constellation a good watch?
The Omega Constellation is so easily wearable. It’s one of those vintage watches almost every collector seeks at some point in their perpetual search for another piece to add to their collection. First appearing in 1952, the Constellation was designed to be Omega’s bellwether watch.
Are Omega constellations made out of gold?
A few months ago, we (Bert Buijsrogge and I) visited a collector of rare and vintage Omega Constellation and Longines Conquest watches and decided to do a photo shoot on both collections. All of the vintage Omega Constellation models you will see in this article are made out of gold and have this Milanese gold woven bracelets.
What kind of dials were used on Omega constellations?
There were many different dials available for the Omega Constellation in the 1950s and 1960s. The pie-pan dials (see photo below) were commonly used in the vintage Omega Constellation watches. The use of the gold diamond-shaped hour markers is less common and only seen on the earlier models.
What happened to Omega constellations?
There are some beautiful ‘iconic’ models in there such as the rectangular Constellation Marine Stardust with a dial made of aventurine quartz. But in general, you could say that they don’t breathe the same class as those earlier models. You actually could say that the Omega Constellation collection lost a bit of direction in those years.
What makes the Omega Constellation stand out?
One of the things that make the Constellation stand out – in my opinion – from the other Omega families of that time, is that the dials on these Constellation models were richly decorated. The use of gold dials, gold hour markers, onyx hour markers, gold hands and gold applied logos and wording is something that wasn’t seen on any of their other collections to this extent. Some of the gold dials had a satin-brushed finish, others had a sun-guilloché pattern or a cross-hatched dial. There were many different dials available for the Omega Constellation in the 1950s and 1960s.
How small is an Omega Constellation?
One of them is that it is a small watch for today’s standards. With a diameter of approx. 34mm it is quite small. In retrospect, it was quite smart of Rolex to create their Oyster Perpetual Day-Date (ref.1803) in 36mm, as that was considered normal for a long time while 34mm is considered small for 10-15 years now. Since I mentioned the Rolex Day-Date anyway, it is interesting to know that a full gold vintage Omega Constellation with gold bracelet was a bit more expensive in those days than the Rolex Day-Date 1803. Although the Omega Constellation Grand Luxe on a gold Reinhor bracelet fetches more than the average gold Day-Date on President bracelet, most gold Constellations are still cheaper to get than a gold Day-Date.
What is the Constellation watch?
The Omega Constellation watch was once the flagship in the Omega collection. This particular family within their collection dates back to 1952 and according to Omega’s Journey Through Time publication (2007) it was because their limited produced Centenary collection was so high in demand by customers. This 1948 Omega Centenary commemorated the 100th birthday of the Omega company and was their first automatic chronometer watch. It wasn’t made in series production but the demand for them was so high, that Omega decided to create a new family of automatic chronometer watches in 1952: The Constellation.
What is the dial on an Omega Constellation watch?
The pie-pan dials (see photo below) were commonly used in the vintage Omega Constellation watches. The use of the gold diamond-shaped hour markers is less common and only seen on the earlier models. In the 1960s Omega added the use of the Onyx stick markers on some of the Constellation models. Better said, these are gold hour markers with an Onyx inlay.
What makes a constellation attractive?
Another thing that makes the Constellation attractive to a lot of collectors are those nice fancy lugs. Those early Omega Constellations have rounded lugs and were later a bit more restyled to the 1960s. A bit more rectangular, sharp edges but still very elegant (2nd photo below).
When did Omega start making chronometer watches?
It wasn’t made in series production but the demand for them was so high, that Omega decided to create a new family of automatic chronometer watches in 1952: The Constellation. The first Omega Constellation models had bumper movements and distinctive diamond shaped hour markers.
Can you have an Omega Constellation on a gold bracelet?
If you want to have an Omega Constellation on a gold bracelet, like pictured in this article, the price might even double. However, always keep in mind that it is all about condition! Although Omega is able to service a lot of their vintage watches, having a calibre 354 (bumper), 50x, 55x or 56x serviced will cost you.
How Much is a Omega Constellation 1960?
On average, an omega constellation 1960 at 1stDibs sells for $3,850, while they’re typically $1,100 on the low end and $33,000 for the highest priced versions of this item.
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What was the first watch to make a lunar landing?
It’s a celebrated part of Omega lore that the brand’s Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was the first watch to make a lunar landing. But the universal love for vintage Omega watches isn’t confined to astronomers, and there’s more to the company’s heritage than the story of the Moonwatch.
Where is the Omega Constellation bracelet?
Omega White Gold Constellation Bracelet Wristwatch, circa 1960s. By Omega. Located in Miami Beach, FL. This is an extremely rare Omega Constellation in 18k white gold from the 1960s. Typically this model comes in steel, yellow gold or rose gold, and it is extremely difficult to find o…
When did Omega become an official supplier?
In 1917, the British Royal Flying Corps designated Omega as an official supplier, and during World War II it became the principal watch supplier for the British forces and their allies. These commissions further strengthened Omega’s commitment to ensuring its products’ reliability under extreme conditions. In 1948, it launched the versatile Seamaster. Developed as a dive watch, the Seamaster proved its durability at high altitudes and freezing temperatures, as well.
When did James Bond use Omega watches?
Thanks in part to its rugged reputation and Omega’s links to the British military, it became James Bond’s watch of choice in 1995, appearing in GoldenEye and every succeeding Bond movie; it is set to return in 2021’s No Time to Die. Nevertheless, the most famous Omega by far is the Speedmaster, introduced in 1957. The first chronograph to display its tachymeter scale on the bezel instead of the dial for easier readability, it was quickly adopted by engineers and scientists.
What watches were made in the 1950s?
1950s – 1960s. The vast majority of the Omega Constellation watches from the early 1950s and 1960s followed the same design language and featured the now-iconic pie-pan dials, diamond-shaped hour markers, and a 10-sided winding crown.
How many stars are in the Omega Constellation case?
Regardless of the specific Constellation model, you will find that there is a picture of the Geneva Observatory engraved on the back of its case, sitting under a sky with an arrangement of eight stars. Each star represents the awards won by Omega in the world chronometer competition.
What is the difference between Omega Constellation and stainless steel?
Today, collectors love these watches that feature steel and gold for the classic aesthetic that they offer, while stainless steel and solid gold models provide a slightly more modern take on this instantly-recognizable design.
How long has Omega Constellation been in production?
Given that the Omega Constellation has been in production for nearly 70 years, older examples are plentiful on the secondary market. However, an incredibly wide range of diversity exists within this collection, and there are a few more key things to keep in mind when shopping for one to add to your collection.
What is a constellation dial?
The most iconic vintage Constellation dials are the pie-pan ones from the 1950s and 1960s. These dials are characterized by their raised central area that slopes downward at the chapter ring, making it look like an upside-down pie pan. Many collectors either love or hate pie-pan dials, as they typically offer an inherently vintage overall aesthetic.
When was the Omega Constellation made?
To understand the Omega Constellation and its value on the market, you have to know its history. First released back in 1952 , the Constellation was the brand’s first mass-produced chronometer wristwatch. Coming on the heels of Omega’s incredibly popular centenary timepiece from 1948 (the brand’s very first automatic chronometer watch), the Constellation was Omega’s effort to feed this new precision-focused market and quickly became the brand’s flagship timepiece.
When did Omega get rid of the pie pan dial?
After the 1960s, Omega got rid of these pie-pan dials and replaced them with traditional flat dials that came in a slew of their own variations over the years. For many collectors that favor vintage Constellation watches, a pie-pan dial is an absolutely essential feature.
What is the Omega Constellation?
The Omega Constellation is so easily wearable. It’s one of those vintage watches almost every collector seeks at some point in their perpetual search for another piece to add to their collection. First appearing in 1952, the Constellation was designed to be Omega’s bellwether watch. This was the brand’s first mass-produced chronometer grade wristwatch and the brainchild of designer René Bannwart (who later founded Corum.) The Constellation was originally called the ‘Globemaster’ in the USA, though it was dropped in 1956 as Douglas Aircraft, manufacturers of the huge transport planes of the same name, held the trademark on the name. (As an aside, last year Omega brought that historic Globemaster name back, in a watch that channels the spirit of the original.) And while the Constellation has a long and broad history, today I’m going to focus on its golden age, which ran from 1952 to the 1970s.
What chronometer is used for the constellation?
The first of the chronometer grade movements for the Constellation were the calibre 354. These were bumper automatic winding movements, which meant they wound via a rotor that ‘bumped’ back and forth between two springs. The bumps can feel a little jarring, but don’t be alarmed, that’s the way the movement operates.
What is the Geneva Observatory logo?
This denotes chronometer grade status of the movement, which means it’s been subjected to a series of performance tests including various temperatures and positions, and remained accurate to between +6 and -4 seconds per day. When evaluating a Constellation, dealers and collectors rate the level of wear or over-polishing by looking closely at the stars in the Constellation logo. In the best examples, all the stars appear clearly, and haven’t been worn down over time.
What is the most popular bracelet in the constellation?
Two varieties stand out as most popular in the vintage range of Constellation bracelets. The ‘beads of rice’ bracelet is the first, closely followed by the brick link style. In solid gold, you will also find the Milanese woven. Personally, I prefer a leather band with an authentic Omega buckle to complete the look – if you can find one.
Why do my hands have patina?
Often hands will take on their own patina due to moisture and breakdown of the plating, with spotting most visible when viewed at an angle. And, sure, it’s great to have pristine hands that reflect the light like a mirror, but you can’t always get that – so having an original set of hands that matches the age of the dial is always an asset. Be sure to check that the second hand extends to the edge of the seconds register. Any more or less suggests it may not be original, and certainly warrants a more thorough inspection.
What is the most sought after gold?
Platinum cases are rare as hen’s teeth, while the stainless steel grasshopper lug version is among the most sought after – and an excellent choice for anyone wishing to start their collection.
What Omega movement was used in the Constellation collection?
Throughout the 50s Omega incrementally improved the movements used within the Constellation collection. The bumper winding mechanism was replaced with Omega’s first bi-directional rotor automatic movement in 1954 with the calibre 470. This was followed shortly afterwards by the calibre 501 in 1955, which upped the jewel count to 19 and swapped the earlier monometallic balance with a two-arm beryllium alloy balance, a harder and more robust material with improved resistance to magnetism and changes in temperature. Calibre 504 introduced the first date complication (non-quickset) to the collection in 1956, while the subsequent calibre 505 upped the jewel count yet again to 24 to reduce click wear in the winding system.
How accurate is Omega 551?
Akin to how the Omega calibres 551 and 561 in the mid-60s achieved average daily accuracy ratings of -0/+5 seconds per day and “especially good results” on their chronometer certificates, the present-day Master Chronometers are also certified to a level twice as precise as a standard chronometer. The modern calibre 8900 offers advantages in anti-magnetism and the technical interest of a Daniels’ co-axial escapement, but I feel like the Globemaster and the “famous 100K” Constellations are close cousins of each other, irrespective of their 60-year age gap.
What is the Constellation family?
For vintage collectors, the Constellation family offers the finest watchmaking Omega had to offer from their “golden era” of the 1950s and 1960s. For neo-vintage enthusiasts, the “Manhattan” Constellations of the 1980s included chronometer certified quartz movements for trouble-free timekeeping precision, coupled with charming art-deco vibes and modest case proportions. For modern watch lovers, the current production Constellation and the Globemaster channel the history and story of Omega perhaps better than any reference barring the Moonwatch, drawing on design elements from distinct eras of the past, while benefiting from the latest cutting edge Master Chronometer movements of the present.
What is a 354 Constellation?
The calibre 354 was not new when the Constellation was launched in 52, having been in service for almost a decade by that point. The design for a uni-directional winding mass that “bumps” off against springs on the inside of the case had itself existed for more than 25 years, being patented in the mid-20s by English watchmaker John Harwood. The calibre 354 featured 17 jewels, with a monometallic balance and flat balance spring, a swan neck regulator and an incabloc anti-shock system. A fine movement by the standards of the time, but limited by an aging winding system that took a considerable amount of wrist movement to wind the mainspring fully. Parts to maintain these movements are now very scarce, so collectors looking to buy an early 354 Constellation would be wise to invest in an additional 354 movement for spare parts.
How accurate is Omega chronometer?
I like to think of this as the first “Master Chronometer” Omega produced, accurate to -0/+5 seconds per day just like their modern counterparts, over half a century earlier.
How many chronometers were made in the Centenary?
By all accounts they didn’t expect the Centenary to be much of a commercial hit, producing it in a limited run of 6,000 units made exclusively in solid gold and presented in a luxe sterling silver box along with an individual chronometer certificate. The public reaction surprised Omega, with collectors proving keen on the combination of precision and practicality that an automatic chronometer wristwatch offered. The success of the Centenary led to the launch of a new series-produced collection of chronometers to capitalise on this emerging market, and in 1952 the Constellation was born.
What is double eagle?
In 2003 the Constellation Double Eagle was launched at the European Masters golf tournament, in which a “double eagle” (better known as an albatross, for non-Americans) is a score of three-under-par on a single hole. The rebranded collection featured the new Omega calibre 2500, a heavily modified version of an ETA 2892-A2 that included the George Daniels co-axial escapement. Quartz versions were also available, equipped with a temperature-compensated quartz calibre 1680 with a perpetual calendar. Both of these calibres were problematic in their own ways.