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.

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    

Vintage Omega Speedmaster Chronograph 321 Straight Lugs Ref 105.003-65Boxed Omega 'speedmaster' Professional Mark Ii Gents Automatic Watch - V30 N21Omega Speedmaster Professinal Pre Moon 145.012 Chronograph Cal. 321 Year 1968Omega Speedmaster Automatic Reduced Chronograph Moonwatch Moon Watch 3510.50.00Rare 1965 Vintage Omega Speedmaster C.321 105.003-65 Pre Moon WatchOmega Speedmaster Moon Professional 145.022 Chronograph Cal. 861 Year 1971Omega Vintage Seamaster 600m Professional Jacques Cousteau 166.077 PloprofMen's 1965 Vintage Omega Seamaster De Ville Date Ststeel Orig Dial 611 Runs WellRare Vintage Omega Seamaster Chronometer Certified Gents WatchOmega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-axial 42 Mm Men's Watch/ UsedVintage Omega Speedmaster Don Bezel #2998#105.003#105.012#145.012#321#1960'sVintage Omega Speedmaster 105.012 65 Case And Case Back. Moon Watch1967 Omega Seamaster 300 Date Big Triangle Dial St166.024 Men Divers WatchVintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Mark Iii Chronograph,*176.002* Cal. 1040*Vintage Omega Geneve Yellow Dial Cal 1022 Automatic 366.0833 Men Watch Day/date Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Automatic Watch Ref:3510.50Rare Vintage Omega Seamaster 166.0209 Grey Dial Cal 1020 Automatic Men's Watch Stunning, C1970 Gents Omega Seamaster Automatic Cal 565, 24 Jewel, Fast Date!Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Watch 1968 145022-68st Pre Moon Raised Logo DialRare Vintage Omega Seamaster Cosmic 2000 Automatic Cal.1020 Diver's Men's WatchVintage Omega Seamaster Jedi Chronograph Automatic Cal.1040 S.steel Ref.176005Omega Constellation Chronometer Piepan Automatic Swiss Made 1960s Men's WatchVintage 1960s 1970s Omega Speedmaster Inner & Outer Watch Box & Booklet & WalletOmega 1 Owner Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Watch Stainless Steel 1039Omega Seamaster Automatic Chronograph 176.007 Cal 1040 Wrist Watch.Vintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan Steel Automatic Cal 561 Original DialOmega Constellation Automatic Chronometer Watch Pie Pan Cal 561 168.005 Ss RareOmega 7912 Vintage 1962 Speedmaster Seamaster 300 Transitional Bracelet 19mmOmega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch “apollo Xi” Ref 3592.50 Case Back GlasOmega Constellation Automatic Chronometer Wristwatch 1967, Cal 564, Original BoxOmega Speedmaster Pre Professional Bracelet 7912 Cal 321 1963 17 Cm1967 Omega Seamaster 300 Non-date Big Triangle Dial St165.024 Men DiversOmega Speedmaster Chronograph Automatc Ss Men WatchAuthentic S.s Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Diver 600m Co-axial 45 Mm 2900.51.82Vintage Omega Seamaster 366.0832 Blue Dial Cal 1012 Automatic 17 Jewels Men's WaVintage Omega Speedmaster 861 Mark Ii Chronograph Ref 145.014 Omega 1039 Vintage Speedmaster Seamaster 300 Bracelet 19mmOmega Seamaster Professional Chronometer 300m/ 1000 Ft Diver Watch 2254.50Vintage Omega Seamaster Black Cal 1020 Automatic 17 Jewels Men's Watch Day/dateRare Vintage Omega Geneve Dynamic Cal 752 1974's Racing Automatic Men's WatchMen's Early Omega Seamaster Automatic 342 Vintage 1950 Orig Dial Super St/steelVintage Omega Seamster Cal 611 Men's Classic Watch (great Condition) ServicedOmega Speedmaster Solid 18k Gold Chronograph, Boxes And Papers, Mint Condition! Vintage Omega Seamaster 300 Auto. Ref. 165.024. Cal.552 No ReserveVintage Omega Geneve 136.0098 All Steel Cal.613 Hand Winding Men's Watch 1970sNear Mint! Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 2502.50 Black Co-axial 2500 At Box/papersOmega Seamaster Devile 14k Gold Filled Beautiful 100% Original Dial!!!1968 Omega Geneve 17 Jewelled Wrist Watch Cal 630 In Working OrderRare Omega Speedmaster 321 Dial Reference 2998 Grey Metallic VintageVintage Omega Constellation 14k Gold And Ss Case 2tone Pie Pan Dial Auto Vintage Omega 265 Caliber 35.5 Mm Wrist Watch Nice CondVintage Omega Speedmaster 321 Pre Moon 1960's Watch Box 300. Excellent!Omega Geneve Ss Ref 166.04.1 Auto Date Cal 565 25 Jewels GentsOmega Seamaster 166.0251 Aka Baby Ploprof ,rare 70s Classic , Rare Silver DialVintage Omega Constellation Rare Dial Guilloche Pie Pan Steel Case Cal 501Nice Gents Vintage 9ct Gold Omega Wristwatch C.1959Genuine Omega Seamaster Diver 300 Quartz 280mm Ladies Wristwatch, Boxed - Va I03Vintage Omega Chronostop, 1960´s Cal.865, Ref;145.010 RareOmega Seamaster Automatic Watch Ω570 Stainless Steel Case - ServicedOmega Seamaster Professional 200m Diver Swiss Made Vintage Quartz Men's Watch