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”)

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    

1966 Omega Speedmaster Pre-moon Watch Cal 321. 105-012Omega Seamaster 300 VintageVintage 1956 Omega Constellation Pie Pan Arrowhead Cal 505 2852 Watch Stunning!Omega SpeedmasterLarge Vintage Omega Military Watch. Raf 53 From 1953Omega Speedmaster Automatic Marui Limited #3510.21 (panda Dial)Omega Seamaster Professional 300m Chronograph Electric Blue 18k Gold & Titanium Gents Omega 1930s Art Deco Watch. Cal 26.5. With Original DialOmega Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean Watch Great Original Solid 9k Gold Vintage Gents Omega Watch. Dennison Case Cal 265Omega Speedmaster Professional "moon" Watch - 3573.50Gorgeous Circa 1920's Wwi Military Omega Trench Watch Original Porcelain DialOmega Seamaster Pro Smp 2220.80 Full Size Blue Bond Co-axial Automatic Serviced!Omega Seamaster Pro Co-axial Bond Black Wave 2500 Full 41mm 212.30.41.20.01.002Ω Omega Jumbo Xl Bumper Automatic Rare Copper Dial Cal 332 Vintage 1949 Working1966 Jumbo Omega Constellation Pie Pan Onyx Dial Cal 564 168010 WatchOmega Speedmaster Mk40 Am/pm Triple Calendar - 3520.53Vintage 1976 Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Moon 145.022 76 Manual Winding WatchOmega Seamaster Planet Ocean 42mm 2201.51 Co-axial 2500c Automatic Serviced!Omega Seamaster Men's 1950 Vintage Silver Dial Date @ 6 Auto 355 Parts/repairOmega Seamaster Professional James Bond High Fashion Ss 42mm Quartz Men's WatchBeautiful Rare Steel Omega Seamaster Automatic Date Cal.: Omega 562 From 1960!Omega Seamaster Cosmic 2000/blue Dial/automatic/date/cal.1012/mens Watch1962 18k Solid Gold Omega Automatic Chronometer Constellation Man's Watch!Vintage Classic Omega Seamaster Gold Plated Mens Manual Wind Watch Date 1963Omega Seamaster Professional 300m/1000 Ft Diver Quartz Watch Mid Size 2562.80Rare Vintage Omega Speedmaster 321 7077 Stretch Bracelet / Band Omega Speedmaster Professional "moon" Watch - 3572.50Omega Speedmaster Automatic #3510.50Mens Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Coaxial Chronograph Olympic Collection 150m 44mmVintage 1949 Omega Ref 2639 Cal 265 Possible Military Watch. No Reserve!!!Omega Speedmaster "day-date Japan 2002" Limited Edition - 3523.51Omega Speedmaster Automatic #3510.52-black/silver DialGents 1990's Pre-bond Omega Seamaster Professional 200m Date Vintage Men's 1970's Omega Seamaster Deville Automatic 14k G/f Watch RunsOmega Seamaster Professional 2254 Automatic Omega Speedmaster Chronograph WristwatchOmega Speedmaster 321 Vintage Chronographs 145-01267Mens Omega Seamaster Pro200 Date Function St.steel Quartz W/braceletVintage Omega Speedmaster 861 Mark Ii Chronograph Ref 145.014 No ReserveOmega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph Pre-moon Watch C.861Omega Seamaster Automatic Gmt 50th Anniversary Mens Watch With Rubber Band RareRare Vintage Omega 1957 Automatic Seamaster Calendar Cal. 503 With Original Box!Men's Swiss Omega Geneve Automatic W/date, Silver Dial, C.1970s. Very Good Cond.Rare Military Omega Seamaster Swiss Wristwatch In Steel Case Omega Seamaster Professional 200m Men´s Watch Quartz 1438 36mm CaseΩ Omega Seamaster 600 Cal 601 Vintage 1962 Mechanical Hand Wound Stainless SteelMen's Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional 42mm 311.30.42.30.01.005 W/ BoxVintage Ω Omega 18k Gold Manual Wind Watch Cal 266Mens Regulateur 1914 Omega Switzerland Vintage Collectable Watch Military StyleOmega Seamaster Deville Wrist Watch And BoxOmega Seamaster De Ville Automatic Date Black Dial Stainless Steel 1968 WatchMens Beautiful 1936 Omega Switzerland Vintage Skeleton Watch Floral EngravingVintage Omega Constellation Automatic Chronometer WatchOmegaVintage Omega Seamaster Automatic Day&date Men's Analog Dress Watch Swiss MadeOmega Constellation 18k Gold 1968 Cal 751 Day Date - Rare Solid Gold DialVintage Omega Constellation Automatic Men's Watch, Pie Pan Dial, Running Mens Omega Speedmaster Olympic Auto Chronograph White DialAuthentic Excellent Omega Seamaster Cosmic 18k Wrist Watch Ref: 166026