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    

Omega Seamaster Professional Men's James Bond Diver Professional C1998 Watch Ju5Omega Vintage Mens Wrist Watch Mechanical Wind Regulateur 1914 Men's WristwatchOmega Vintage Mens Wrist Watches Sterling Silver Art Deco Men's Wristwatch SwissOmega Seamaster Omegamatic Quartz Auto Swiss Made Luxury Sports Watch 1997 Ju3Omega 1967 Caliber 565 Automatic Seamaster Cosmic Dial Hands & Movement PartsOmega Vintage Mens Wrist Watch 1933 Hand Winding Men's Wristwatch Military StyleRare Swiss Antique Omega Wristwatch In Steel Case With Enamel Dial Vintage Omega Constellation S Steel 24j Automatic Men's Watch 2852-9sc Cal.505Superb Gents Vintage Omega Geneve Chronometer Quartz Wristwatch - Spares/repairsOmega Caliber 1250 Eta Esa 9162 Constellation Chronometer F300 Hz Vintage PartsOmega Vintage Mens Wrist Watch Stainless Steel Skeleton Swiss Men's WristwatchOmega Vintage Mens Wrist Watch Yellow Gold Half Skeleton Men's Wristwatch SwissOmega Seamaster 1337 Accuset Swiss Made Men's Quartz 1980s Dress Watch Ap75Omega Seamaster Omegamatic Quartz Auto Swiss Made Luxury Sports Watch 1997 Ju2Men's Vintage Mechanical Wrist Watch Omega Gold Skeleton Manual Mens WristwatchVintage Omega Stopwatch, 70's, Cal. 9201a, Rare!Omega Speedmaster 145.022 69st- Rare Cal 321 Moonwatch !!Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Mens Watch Item No. Speedmaster Chronograph 1965 Ref 105012 105.012-65 321 CaliberOmega Speedmaster Broad Arrow Olympic Co-axial Coaxial Watch 321. Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m # Titanium Blue DialVintage Omega Speedmaster "man On The Moon" Wristwatch Ref.145012-67Omega 600m Seamaster Planet Ocean Titanium Liquidmetal Watch Speedmaster Co-axial Men's Watch 44.25mm 311. Seamaster Aqua Terra Nzl-32 Regatta Chronograph Watch 2513.30 Serviced!Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150 M Master Co-axial 41.5 Mm Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch 100% Genuine Cal. 861 Tritium Vintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan 18k Solid Gold Automatc Cal.561 Ref.168005Rare Vintage 1937 Tiffany's & Co. Watch - 18k - Omega Mariner MovementOmega Speedmaster Automatic Stainless Steel Chronograph Triple-date Gmt WatchAuthentic Omega Seamster Planet Ocean 600m Professional Divers Watch For MenOmega Constellation Calendar 2943sc Automatic Vintage Watch 18kt Gold, Cal. 504Vintage Omega 14k Solid Gold Watch With Diamond Bezel - Hand Winding.Omega Speedmaster Mark Ii Co-axial Chronograph 327. Wrist...Vintage 1967 Omega Seamaster Deville Cal 321 Ref 145.005Omega De Ville Co-axial Chronograph 42 Mm Watch Ref. 431. Vintage 1960s Omega Speedmaster Pro 321 Dot Over 90 (don) BezelOmega Speedmaster Professional Ref. 145.022 - 1980sOriginal Omega Seamaster Baby Ploprof 160.0250 Automatik Stahl Aus 1970 PerfektOmega Speedmaster Automatic Chronometer Triple Calendar Day Date Ref:3220.50Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-axial 8500 38.5mm Automatic Chronometer In BoxOmega De Ville Co-axial Automatic Chronometer Watch In 18k Gold ! Runs Great !Omega Seamaster Professional Large Oyster Bracelet Omega Speedmaster Automatic #3510.50Omega Titanium Seamaster Professional Chronometer Automatic 41mm 2232.80 300mOmega Seamaster Professional300 2225.80 Automatic Chronograph Cz4798Vintage Omega Speedmaster Mark V Tv Screen Chronograph Automatic Ref 176.001418k Vtg Omega Constellations 24j Automatic 18593519 Watch Runs #4367Omega Speedmaster Automatic Reduced Ref: 3510.50 Serial 57027864Omega Seamaster 300m Automatic Chronograph 18k Gold & Titan Titanium Mens WatchOmega Speedmaster Chronograph Automatic 1152 Steel Black DialOmega Speedmaster Triple Day Date Automatic Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch Omega Speed Master Date 3211.30 Chronograph Guarantee 100% Authentic Cz48131960 Omega Constellation 14k Soid Gold 14381 82 Original Dial Cal 551 ServiedOmega Speedmaster Automatic 3510.50 Serviced, Refreshed LumeVintage Omega Speedmaster Mark Iii Chronograph Automatic Ref 176.002Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-axial Chronometer Stainless Steel Automatic WatchAuthentic Omega Men's Seamaster Professional 300m - 41 MmOmega Speed Master 3539.50 Chronograph Automatic 100% Authentic Cf4879Omega Seamaster Professional300 2231.50 Automatic Titanium Guarantee Cf4886