In 1848, Louis Brandt, the descendant of a watch making family and a resident of the Swiss clock-making center of La Chaux-de-Fonds, started assembling pocket watches out of parts from local clockmakers. By 1889, Louis Brandt & Fils, the precursor to Omega, was the largest watch manufacturer in Switzerland, producing more than 100,000 watches annually.

The first Omega wristwatch — in fact, it was one of the first industrially made wristwatches in the world — appeared in 1900. It had a silver double-hinged case, fixed attachments for a bracelet-strap, a guilloché back, enamel dial, Arabic hour numerals, and pear-shaped hands. This was followed in 1902 with a men’s wristwatch for watch maker Edwin J. Vokes of Bath and the Kirby Beard department store in Paris. A women’s version of the watch appeared in 1910.

During World War I, Omega made wristwatches for British Royal Flying Corps and communications troops in the U.S. Army. These military wristwatches had a white enamel dial, Arabic numerals, radium skeleton hands, and either a chrome-plated metal or silver case. Some versions featured a tempered-steel grid over the watch face to protect it from shocks.

Omega created a shock of its own in 1925 when it introduced its Ladies’ Jewelry Watch at the Paris Decorative Arts Exhibition. This fashion-forward timepiece had a rectangular platinum case, which, along with the bracelet, was set with a large sapphire and 82 diamonds.

The 1940s were a very busy time for Omega. In addition to making watches for the military during World War II, Omega introduced its Chronomètre in 1942. This handsome, highly accurate wristwatch had a silvered dial, Arabic numerals, and black wire hands. Best of all, its stainless-steel case was water-resistant.

After the war, in 1947, Omega produced its first calendar watch — now wearers could get the time, date, day, month, and moon phase at a glance. And in 1948, the Seamaster (based on designs created for the RAF) arrived in both chronometer and standard versions.

1952 brought the first Omega Constellation. The "connie," as vintage Constellations are known to collectors, was self-winding, had gold hour markers, and was water-resistant to 3...

The watch that would permanently cement Omega’s reputation for accuracy and reliability arrived in 1956. It was a chronograph watch called the Speedmaster. Within a decade, NASA had selected it for all of the space agency’s manned missions, but only after it withstood a battery of severe tests, including performing at zero gravity, in proximity to magnetic fields, and at temperatures ranging from -18 to +93 degrees Celsius.

The crew of Gemini 3 was the first to wear Speedmaster Professionals, as they were now known. But the watch gained its greatest acclaim on July 21, 1969 when it was strapped to the wrist of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon — according to his watch, the time was 02:56 GMT. Thereafter, the Speedmaster Professional was called the Moon Watch.

Omega produced a commemorative Speedmaster Professional to acknowledge this accomplishment but it did not rest on its laurels. In 1970, the Speedmaster helped rescue the Apollo 13 mission from a potential disaster — explosions had destroyed the spacecraft’s timing instruments, so astronauts and ground control alike relied on Omega wristwatches. And during the historic Apollo-Soyuz space rendezvous, Speedmaster Professionals were also worn in 1975 by American astronaut Tom Stafford and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.

Key terms for Antique and Vintage Omega Wristwatches:

Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals (like a stopwatch).

Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.

Guilloché: An engraving technique that uses mechanical means to create precise, intricate, and repetitive patterns and designs.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Steve Waddington’s vintage Omega watch site, featuring in-depth pages on models like Omega’s Pilot Line, Chrono… [read review or visit site]

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

H1297 Omega Seamaster Professional Diver Automatic Date Mens Black 300m 2254.50Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Automatic Skeleton Men's Watch W/ Ceramic BezelVintage Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Steel Matt Black Dial Runs WellH1362 Omega Seamaster Professional Gmt Diver 300m Automatic Date 2534.50 2 TzoneH1303 Omega Speedmaster Professional Sapphire Crystal Back Moon Watch 3572.501967 Omega Speedmaster Pre-moon 145.012 Cal. 321 Applied Logo 10391970s Omega Moon Watch 861 Speedmaster Chronograph Early145.022 Collectors ItemOmega Speedmaster Professional "moon" Watch - 3592.50Omega Seamaster Professional James Bond Ss Quartz Men's Watch1965 Omega Speedmaster Pre-moon Straight Lug Pre-professional 105.003Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 2503.50.00 Automatic Co-axial Steel Men's Watch H1326 Omega Seamaster Professional Diver Automatic Date Mens Black 300m 2254.50H1296 Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch The First Watch Worn On The MoonH1319 Omega Speedmaster Schumacher Year 2000 World Championship Model No. 1689Omega Speedmaster Pro Automatic Chronograph Broad Arrow 18k Red Gold Blue DialVtg Oversized 1968 Omega Seamaster Chronostop Ss Mens Watch Cal 865 Ref:145.008Omega Speedmaster Ss/18k White Gold Amazing Automatic Chronograph Men's WatchVintage Men's Omega Constellation Watch & Box Automatic Chronometer Pie Pan DialOmega Automatic Chronometer Constellation Cal.561 24j 34mm Watch C.1963 Mad MenOmega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Nasa Certified 42mm Cal. 1861 - 3570.50H1229 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Most Sold Omega Model In The WorldOmega Speedmaster Professional Mark Iii Automatic Vintage Chronograph WatchH1302 Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch The First Watch Worn On The MoonVintage Omega Constellation Arrow Markers Gold & Steel Cal 505 No ReserveOmega Seamaster Professional Chronometer Automatic 300m Black Titanium 2231.50Omega Seamaster Pro Planet Ocean 9300 Liquidmetal Titanium Chronograph Xl 45.5mmOmega Seamaster Pro Planet Ocean Automatic Black Bezel Orange Dial 42mm 2209.50Vintage Omega Seamaster Diver 120m S.steel Ref.166.073 Automatic Cal.565Mens Omega Seamaster Titanium Chronograph Limited Edition Americas CupOmega Seamaster Professional Xl Planet Ocean 45.5 Orange 8500 Automatic ChronoH1267 Omega Speedmaster Professional Sapphire Crystal Back Apollo Xi Hard FindH1308 Omega Seamaster Blue Professional Diver 300m Date Full Size Men's 2541.80Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 2208.50 45.5mm Orange Orange 600m Cal 2500 CoscH1249 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Most Sold Omega Model In The WorldOmega Speedmaster Professional Pre Moon Vintage 69H1335 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Triple Calendar Mark 40 Day DateH1240 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Most Sold Omega Model In The WorldOmega Seamaster Planet Ocean Gmt Good Planet Blue Orange Ceramic Bezel Cal 8605Omega Constellation Cal.564 Beads Of Rice Original Bracelet 1965/661963 Vintage Omega Constellation Men's Wristwatch - Large Size - Excellent Cond.Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer 300m Auto Date Large-size 2254.50 WatchOmega Constellation Pie Pan Dial Swiss Made Automatic Date Vintage Mens WatchVintage Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Watch - Uhr - Montre - Orologio - RelojOmega Seamaster Watch Mens Mid Size Sapphire Blue 300m 2561.80 Diver DiveVintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Mark Ii Chronograph Mens Watch 1970H1283 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Triple Calendar Mark 40 Day DateH1342 Omega Seamaster Professional Automatic Diver 300m Full Size Electric BlueOmega Seamaster Professional Ss Automatic Midsize Quartz Watch W/ Wavy Blue DialVintage Omega Men`s Seamaster Cal 565 Automatic Black Dial Watch Swiss Made Vintage Omega Seamaster Chrono 176.007 Cal 1040 1970'sOmega 14k Gold Amazing 1.90ct Pave Diamond Cluster Mechanical Men's WatchVintage Swiss Made Omega Mens Watch 1950s Black Dial 17 Jewels MovtOmega Seamaster Professional Mens Watch A Gents Omega Speedmaster Triple Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch For SparesOmega Seamaster Pro Planet Ocean 9300 Auto Chronograph Orange Bezel Xl 45.5mmInvestment Mens Vintage Ss Omega Auto Day Date W/watch Omega Strap Mint Dial IwoSuper Mens Omega Seamaster St/steel Case Mint Black + Hair Dial 1956 Vintage 420H1251 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Most Sold Omega Model In The WorldVintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan Deluxe 18k Solid Yellow Gold Case & Dial NrMens Sensational 1926 Omega Factory Vintage Fabulous Watch Half - Skeleton