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”)

Old-Omegas.com

Old-Omegas.com

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    

Vintage Legendary Omega Speedmaster 321 Circa 1966 Ref.105 012-66 Working Well Vintage 18k Gold Omega Constellation Chronometer Mans Watch No ReserveOmega Speedmaster Professional Pre 321 Chronograph Ref. 145012_67spVintage Omega Seamaster Date Cal. 565 Automatic Black Military Dial 1969 WatchOmega Seamaster Aqua Terra Chronometer WristwatchH1424 Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch The First Watch Worn On The MoonOmega Seamaster Titanium 300m Gentlemans Watch  Omega Vintage Steel Sea Master Automatic Date......circa 1960sOmega 1940s Authentic British Military Wwii Watch 30t2 Cal Mod Serviced Minty NrH1419 Omega Seamaster Professional Diver Automatic Date Mens Black 300m 2254.50Vintage Omega Men`s Seamaster Cal 562 Automatic Black Dial Watch Swiss Made Omega Speedmaster Gemini Dial - 864 Chronometer - Broad Arrow Hands - Nos CustomVintage S/s Omega Geneve Mans Watch Unusual Band No ReserveVintage 1953 Omega Fat Arrow Military WatchOmega Speedmaster Triple Date Calendar Ref:3521.80 Blue DialRare Big Military Omega Swiss Wristwatch In Steel Case Aviator Pilots WwiiVintage Omega Seamaster 600 Caliber 601 Manual Winder Steel Watch Black 1964 Mens Military Style 1912 Omega Switzerland Vintage Regulateur Watch CollectableMens Skeleton 1910 Omega Switzerland Vintage Handsome Watch Floral EngravingVintage Omega Pie Pan Constellation Chronometer 14k Gold Top Ss Back Mens WatchOmega Seamaster De Ville Automatic Date Black Dial Stainless Steel WatchVintage Omega Seamaster Automatic Date Watch Cal 562 Black Dial Glows 1962 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 2201.50 Automatic Men's Watch Black Face & BezelVintage Omega C1956 14k Solid Yellow Gold Men's Wrist Watch With Box No ReserveOmega Speedmaster Chronograph Moon Watch Ref 145.0022 No ReserveBeautiful !cal.1155 Ref.175.0043 Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Automatic DateGorgeous Omega Seamaster Automatic Cal 1012, 20 Microns Gold Plate, Signed CrownOmega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph 232.32.46.51.01.003 Ceramic BezelH1589 Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch The First Watch Worn On The Moon1966 Omega Automatic Seamaster Deville 563 17 Jewel 14k Gold Filled WatchOmega Planet Ocean 45.5mm Ceramic Liquid Metal Titanuim 9300 232.90.46.51.03.001Lovely S/s 1970 Omega Constellation Chronometer Wristwatch Ref 168.016 Cal.751 !Vintage Omega Seamaster Rg Chronometer 18k Solid Gold 2520 Cal 352 Guilloche Omega 1973 Seamaster 200m Divers Shom With Black Date & Nos Movement !! 166.0177 Rare Vintage 18k Gold Omega Seamaster Automatic Pie Pan Mans Watch No ReserveOmega Planet Ocean Chronograph 45.5mm Orange Co-axial 2218.50.00 Automatic WatchOmega Seamaster Watch Mid Size Quartz Sapphire 300m 2561.80 Dive Diver BlueBeautiful 18k Solid Gold Vintage Omega Moonphase Triple Date Cosmic MensRare Vintage Mens Omega Chronostop ( 145.008 ) Inner Rotating Divers BezelOmega Seamaster Aqua Terra Watch Gmt Chronograph 44 Mm Case Grey Leather S SteelOmega Vintage 18k Constellation Automatic Date....circa 1950sVintage Omega Constellation Movement Adapted On Seamaster Case (marriage)Omega Military Style Conversion Wristwatch C1925, .... Omega Aviator Watch ....Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional 345.0022 Steel Wristwatch 1861Omega Speedmaster Professional "moon" Watch - 3572.50Omega Speedmaster Schumacher Limited 2000 Chronograph WatchOmega Constellation 2853 Pie Pan De Luxe All Solid 18k Gold Automatic Mens WatchOmega Speedmaster Profesional Mark Ii WatchVintage Rare 1967 Gentlemans Omega Solid 9 Ct Gold Mechanical Strap W/wStunning Vintage Omega Seamaster Gents Watch + Original BoxRare Big Military Omega Swiss Wristwatch Aviator Pilots WwiiVintage Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Moon Watch 145.022 Stainless Steel 1969Omega Railmaster Co-axial Chronometer Watch With Aqua Terra Co-axial Escapement Omega Seamaster Professional WristwatchOmega Vintage Lady 18k Gold Automatic Constellation Date....circa 1960sRare Omega Constellation Chronometer Pie-pan 18k Gold Top Auto Mens Watch 1955's Omega Ref 2816sc Textured Dial 18k Solid Yellow Gold Automatic Mens WatchVintage 1955 Omega Seamaster Bumper Automatic Rare Mens Omega SuverGents Omega Automatic 18k Solid Gold & Steel Ref.366.0885 Cal.1110