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    

Omega Seamaster 600 1964 Men's Vintage Rose Gold Pltd Orig Dial 601 Adjstd 2 PosVintage Omega Seamaster Automatic Date Cal 565 Black Military Dial Glows 1960s Gents Stainless Steel Omega Seamaster Professional Automatic Wristwatch MensH1415 Omega Speedmaster Professional Sapphire Crystal Back Moon Watch 3572.50Omega Vintage Stainless Constellation Pie Pan Dial Chronometer Watch, 2852-7scOmega Seamaster Calendar Ck 2627 Sc Honney Comb Dial 18k Rose Gold 1950Vintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan Dial 18k Rose Gold Broad Arrow Index 1958Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch Caliber 861 145.022 VintageVintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan 14k Solid Gold Arrow Markers No ReserveOmega Speedmaster Professional Moon Phase WatchH1416 Authentic Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Date Mark40 Blck 3513.53Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Co Axial Automatic Mens Watch 2200.50.00Omega Seamaster Watch Mens Large Size Quartz Sapphire 300m 2264.50 Men'sOmega Speedmaster 3513.50 Mens Watch Sapphire Auto Watch Mens Men's Silver BlackBeautiful Retre Rare Elegant 1965 Square Thin Omega 620 Mens Vintage Dress WatchH1400 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Triple Calendar Mark 40 Day DateRare Collector Vintage Mens 1960's Omega Seamaster Automatic #a794Omega 3 Registers Vintage Wrist Chronograph - Great Timepiece For Collectors!!!Omega Vintage Stainless Steel Caliber 550 Automatic Watch, 14774 Sc-62Omega Speedmaster Re-issued Watch Mens Manual Broad Arrow 3594.50 Men's Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Coaxial Seamaster Watch Mens Large Size Quartz Sapphire 300m 2541.80 Men'sOmega 1971 Seamaster 200m Divers Shom On Mesh Bracelet Complete Nos MovementMens Amazing 1933 Omega Factory Vintage Half - Skeleton Watch Quality EngravedH1399 Omega Seamaster Professional 300m Solid White Gold Bezel Full Size MensOmega Seamaster James Bond Black Dial Chrono Automatic Date Men’s WatchOmega Seamaster Men's Auto Wind Exlt. Solid Ss Case Dial Is Minty Cira. 1964Stunning Omega Constellation Automatic Men,s Watch In Excellant ConditionVintage Omega Speedmaster 1968 145022-68 St Cal861 Pre-moonServiced~solid 14k Gold~1957 Omega Seamaster Automatic Deville Cal. Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer 300m-2252.50Mens Military Style 1912 Omega Switzerland Vintage Regulateur Watch CollectableOmega Planet Ocean 600 M Co-axial Chronograph 45.5 Mm Ref Speedmaster Professional "moon" Watch - 3573.50Vintage Omega Seamaster 40 Micron Gold Plated Automatic Men,s WatchOmega Dynamic Chronograph 1138 Automatic - Steel Racing Chrono 5240.50 Swiss Vintage Omega Seamaster De Ville Ll6287, 14k Gold Filled Auto Winding Mens WatchRare Collector Vintage Mens 1970 Omega Seamaster Automatic #a783Men's Style Omega Switzerland Vintage Regulateur Oversize Wristwatch, No ReserveVintage Mint Omega Constellation Pie Pan 18k Rose Gold Date In Near Nos 1961Omega Speedmaster Moon Watch Mens Manual Men's 3570.50Mens Beautiful 1912 Omega Switzerland Vintage Gold Skeleton Watch EngravedMens Brilliant! 1937 Omega Switzerland Vintage White Crystal Watch GoldVintage Omega Constellation Piepan 14381 Ss Automatic Chronometer Men’s Watch Omega Constellation Calendar Chronometer Steel Automatic Gold Medallion C.561Vintage Tissot Mans Watch.g.w.o. (part Of Omega.)s/s Case Blue Bt Omega Speedmaster Professional "moon" Watch - 3572.50Ltd Ed Schumacher Automatic Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Mens Watch Box PapersOmega Speedmaster Automatic Marui Limited #3539.31 (panda Dial)Omega "seamaster De Ville" Men Wrist Watch - Gold Filled Case - Original Dial!!!H1207 Omega Speedmaster Automatic Chronograph Most Sold Omega Model In The WorldOmega Mens Seamaster Date Automatic Chronometer Blue Dial 2501.81-no ReserveOmega Tuning Fork Electronic WatchOmega Speedmaster Professional 1957 Re-edition 3594.50Vintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan 18k Solid Yellow Gold Cal 564 No ReserveOmega Men's Gold Stainless Steel Seamaster Professional Chronograph Wrist WatchVery Rare Excellent Omega Seamaster 600 Manual Blue Dial Men's Swiss WristwatchOmega Seamaster Chronograph Jedi Deep Blue 176.007 Automatic 1040 Vintage 1972 Mens Zodiac 1920's Omega Switzerland Vintage Regulateur Watch CharmingStainless Steel C&b Mens Omega Seamaster Automatic Chronometer Dive Wrist Watch