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 Pre-moon Ref 145.012-67 No ReserveSwiss Women's Omega De Ville Manual Winding Cal.625 Blue Dial Analog WatchAuthentic Swiss Women's Omega Seamaster Automatic Date Blue Dial Analog WatchOmega Speedmaster Professional 1969 / Cal 861 / 145.022 With Bezel Turning BlueVintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph Watch145-022 Cal.861Vintage Omega Seamaster G/plated Quartz Cal' 1430 6 Jewel GwoOmega "moonwatch" Speedmaster Professional 3570.50.00 No ReserveVintage Omega Gents Speedmaster Tropical Dial 105003 1965 Watch Omega Flightmaster Second Gen 145.026 - Rare Chocolate Subdial - For AuctionOmega Heavy Vintage 18k 3.51ct Vs Diamond Sapphire Ribbon Flip Top Ladies WatchSuperb Gents Vintage Omega Seamaster Cosmic Wristwatch C.1970Omega Seamaster Automatic Cross Hair Dial Cal 501Vintage Omega Gents Speedmaster 2998-3 Wristwatch Original Omega Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean Cal 8500 Automatic ChronoVintage Omega Speedmaster 321 Ref 2998 6 Military Fap (peruvian Air Force) NMens 1949 Omega Bumper Automatic Ref 2597 Stainless Steel 351 Cal 28.10 Ra WatchPreowned Omega Seamaster Professional James Bond 300m Automatic (2531.80.00)Massive Omega Seamaster Chronometer Co Axial Planet Ocean Mens WatchOriginal Omega Deville Chronoscope Gmt 44mm Co-axial Ref. 422. Omega Speedmaster Mark 4.5 Chronograph Automatic Ref 176.0012 No ReserveVintage Mens Omega Date Day Stainless Steel Automatic Dress Wrist Watch1970's Vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Cal. 861 Steel Chrono Moon WatchMen's Omega Seamaster Automatic 354 1954 Vintage Super Blue Dial St/steel CaseGents Omega Seamaster Profrssional Chronometer Gmt Co-axial AutomaticOmega Speedmaster Profesionals Cal 321Mint Mens Vintage Ss Omega Seamaster Cosmic Cal565 Auto Date Orig Sunburst DialRare Mens Omega SuverOversized Vintage Ca. 1945 Omega Stainless-steel Men's Wristwatch, Cal. 30t2 Sc1968 Vintage Omega Seamaster Speedmaster Bracelet 1039 516 End Pieces Good Vintage Dealers Lot Of 5 Omega Wrist Watches Spares & RepairsMens Gold 1920's Omega Switzerland Vintage Skeleton Watch Floral Engraved1978 Omega Constellation With Boxes And Papers1969 Omega Seamaster De Ville Automatic Wrist Watch Cal 671 In Working Order Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Mens Automatic Chronometer Watch 2908.50.52Rare Omega Seamaster 120m 'baby Ploprof' Date Automatic Men's WatchOmega Seamaster Professional Chronometer 300m 2252.50, Needs Work.Authentic Swiss Men's Omega Seamaster Automatic Day&date Black Dial Analog WatchVintage Omega Square Ref 3950-1 Automatic Bumper Cal 342 Steel No ReserveVintage Omega Constellation 2852 14k Rose Gold Bezel Cap Ss Back Mens Watch NrVintage Omega 561 Constellation Chronometer Pie Pan 14k Gold & Steel AutomaticVtg 1961 Omega Seamaster Ss Mens Watch Caliber 268 Ref: 14713-61 Second At Six Original Omega Constellation Automatic 27mm Diamond Ref Men's Omega Ranchero Ss Cal 267, 17j Ref 2990, NiceAuthentic Swiss Men's Omega De Ville Quartz Blue Dial Analog Watch Dress StylesVintage Omega Seamaster Watch Spares Or RepairOmega Speedmaster Day/date Mark 4.5 All Steel Automatic Mens Watch, 176.0012 Omega Mens Speedmaster Chrono Mechanical Stainless Steel Moonwatch WristwatchOmega Constellation Chronometer Date Steel Automatic Mens Watch, Caliber 561Omega Automatic Seamaster Date 14kygf Case Original Untouched Dial C. 1969.Omega 2500 Seamaster Co Axial Aqua Terra 27j Automatic Date Mens Wrist WatchOmega Speedmaster Profesionals Cal 321Vintage Omega Railmaster €Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Automatic Watch Ref:3510.50Vintage 1970's Men's Omega Seamaster Deville Gold Filled Automatic Watch RunsOmega Seamaster Deville Elegant Ss Automatic Men's WatchOmega Speedmaster Watch Apollo 11 45th Anniversary 311. Rose GoldLot Of 1960s Vintage Omega Speedmaster Watch Band And Parts No13 1039 7912 Gf1939 Vintage Omega Cal 26.5t3 Military/indian Civil Service WatchBeautiful Vintage Omega Constellation 18kt Gold W/ Buckle Circa 1962 Must See!Vintage Omega Speedmaster Mark V Chronograph Automatic Ref 376.0806 No Reserve