Omega is a luxury watchmaker founded by Louis Brandt and based in Bienne, Switzerland. History was made when Buzz Aldrin went to the moon with this wristwatch in July 1969, making it the first wristwatch brand to be worn on the moon. This was a historic moment for the Omega brand, making it part of the adventure of space exploration. The brand’s past, activities, watches, and watch production have made Omega one of the most significant brands worldwide.
The Swatch Group acquired the Omega brand in 1985; the latter continues making its mark with innovative materials like silicon. Omega watches stand out among others with their Co-Axial technology. The Omega watch brand is synonymous with precision, excellence, and innovation; it is the most actively involved brand in sports timekeeping.
How Did the Omega Brand Start?
The Omega brand story started in 1848 when Louis Brandt established an éstablissage for timepiece assembly in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The company developed a caliber in 1894 with interchangeable parts and which was later named the Omega 19 ligne. This creation was a revolution where production was concerned because it meant one could use a new labor organization to assemble it. The watch turned out perfectly, with excellent timekeeping and affordable pricing making it a reference.
The omega brand’s movements, including the mechanical, quartz, digital, and analog, won numerous prices for having a chronometric precision. Omega soon began producing about 100,000 watches annually by the early 1900s, making it one of its largest watch producers. The sport also became active in sports timing around this time.
In 1932, the Omega brand was officially appointed as the Los Angeles Olympic Games timekeeper. Timekeeping was a function Omega rarely performed until it got the appointment as the Games’ exclusive timekeeper in 2009. The brand signed James Bond as its special ambassador, forging a deliberately glamorous image.
Iconic Dates in the History of Omega
The Omega brand has metamorphosed strategically over the years, starting with its inception to its many victories. Below are key dates in Omega’s history, highlighting the milestones the brand has achieved:
- 1892 – Omega created its first minute-repeater timepiece;
- 1900 – Omega’s first set of industrially-manufactured wristwatches appeared during the Boer war;
- 1909 – The iconic timepiece manufacturer timed its first sporting event;
- 1932 – Omega served as the Olympic Games’ official timekeeper, which was the start of many more to come. The Omega brand has timed the foremost sporting events in the world since then;
- 1948 – the brand launched its first stream of Seamasters;
- 1952 – it launched its first self-winding wrist chronometers Omega Constellation;
- 1960 – The model behind Omega’s De Ville fashion watches, Seamaster De Ville, inspired the Seamaster;
- 1974 – One of the brand’s watches, and Omega Megaquartz 2400, received a unique award, an official marine chronometer certification;
- 1985 – Omega became part of the now Swatch Group, previously known as the SMH group;
- 1988 – Omega launched its Seamaster 200 Meters which descended to -4,000 meters under the Atlantic Ocean as a part of the Nautilus submarine’s mission;
- 1994 – Maurice Grim and Andre Beyner developed the first wristwatch featuring a central tourbillon to commemorate the Omega’s 100th anniversary;
- 1999 – The brand launched the Co-Axial escapement caliber 2500; it was designed by George Daniels, the English watchmaker, and requires almost no lubricant. The caliber was refined by introducing the brand’s free-sprung balance for premium accuracy and precision. With this caliber 2500, Omega signaled the greatest revolution in contemporary watchmaking history when it reached standards previously unimagined for series-produced mechanical timepieces.
- 2005 – The brand introduced the 3313 families of Co-Axial chronographs;
- 2007 – The brand released the Co-Axial caliber 8500 and, for the first time, built the entire movement around Co-Axial Escapement. The caliber had 202 parts, and every part was produced in-house specifically for it.
- 2008 – Omega launched the Co-Axial caliber 8520/8521 specifically created for smaller watches. It introduced the series as proof that the technology can function perfectly in watches in the new Aqua Terra Ladies’ Collection.
Is Omega a Good Watch Brand?
Omega watches are very reliable; they had to be, or they couldn’t have had that much success in space. NASA approved its Speedmaster for all extra-vehicular activity and space flight missions from the 1960s. Their reliability is even more certain now with the new introduction of the Master Chronometer, a unique horological pedigree from METAS. The chronometer is water-resistant, measures accuracy, and resistant to electromagnetism.
Omega is the only brand with the METAS certification; their timepieces are great and uniquely different. The brand manufactures unique models for different activities, including water sports, space exploration, subaquatic exploration, etc. Omega creates many different collections of sports and classic models built to be accurate, durable, and reliable. The precision of Omega watches is premium, thanks to the Master Chronometer designation.
Are Omega Watches Any Good?
Omega watches are among the most recognizable and popular Swiss timepieces worldwide. The watches are accurate, reliable, and durable, and their popularity extends beyond their origin of production. They are only behind Rolex watches from the international brand recognition level. The brand employs several proprietary technologies in its timepieces, like the Co-Axial escapement.
Omega has made several horological innovations and contributions to the science and art of watchmaking in the years of its existence. They also often collaborate with many international charities. The Omega brand consistently competes with Rolex and other brands like it; many consider it a high-end brand. While it isn’t at the level of the likes of Constantin and Vacheron, Omega holds a significant market share with its unique spot in the watch market.
Omega is one of the world’s most popular and appreciated Swiss watches. The brand is famous for being the creator of the first timepiece that went into space. Omega makes durable, quality, and reliable luxury watches for every watch enthusiast. Rolex is before it in rank, but only on the international level.
The Omega brand has recorded several outstanding breakthroughs over the years, including it being the Olympic Games’ official timekeeper. The Swiss watch brand‘s real-live ambassadors include Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford, George Clooney, and Thomas Stafford.