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 Speedmaster 321 Straight Lugs Ed White Tropical Brown Dial Ref 105.003-64Vintage Men's Omega Geneve Automatic Day&date Analog Stainless Steel Dress WatchVintage Omega Pilots Flightmaster 911 Chronograph Ref 145.036 Tropical Dial -nr-Omega Speedmaster Professional 3570.50.00 Moon WatchOmega Seamaster 300m Mid-size 2562.80 *free PostOmega Speedmaster Pre Moon 321 Watch 105.012 1965Vintage & Big Omega Hand Winding Black Dial !! 1960 Wristwatch!Omega 18k Solid Gold Pie-pan Constellation Cal 561 Automatic Watch .168 005.6Super Omega Seamaster De Ville Auto Original Silver Dial Men's 1966 Vintage 670Omega S/s Seamaster Special Automatic Date - Cal562. On B.o.r Bracelet.Omega Speedmaster Co-axial Chronograph Grey Side Of The Moon 311. Omega Speedmaster Mark Ii Racing Dial Chronograph 145.014 Caliber 86118k Gold Vintage Omega Seamaster Automatic 710 17j Self Wind Bumper Mens Vintage Omega Constellation 168.005 Pie Pan 14k Gold Top Ss Back Mens Watch NrVintage Late 1950s To Early 1960s Omega Seamaster 30 WatchOmega Seamaster 300m Pro 41mm Full Size Quartz Blue BondVintage Omega Seamaster Wristwatch Omega Seamaster De Ville Automatic 14k Black Dial Stainless Steel 1960 WatchRare Military Omega 30t2 Wrist Watch.Vintage Manual Wind Omega Speedmaster Wristwatch Cal 861 Mens Omega Deville Prestige Handwinding Chronograph Cal.861 Gold Steel Watch1951 Vintage Men's Omega Auto 14k Gold Flld Case Super Dial 342 Runs Well NiceVintage Omega Seamaster Gold & Steel Automatic Bumper Cal 351 No ReserveVintage Omega Seamaster Professional 200m 200 Men's Omega Seamaster Cal.601 Stainless Steel Handwind Mens WatchOmega 18kt Cosmic Triple Date Moonphase Watch Black Dial Square Cal 381 1950sVintage *** Omega Automatic Seamaster 1964, Stainless Steel, Cal 562Omega Geneve Chronometer F300 Hz Vintage Electronic Tuning Fork 1250 Gold WatchOmega Seamaster Planet Ocean Skyfall 007 Co-axial 42 Mm Watch Omega Seamaster Chronometer 18k Solid Gold Cal 564 Excellent No ReserveMens Omega Seamaster Date Func St.steel Automatic Black Dial Cal.565 // NrOmega Dynamic Automatic Cal. 1108 Eta MintStunning Ω Omega Men's Oversized Mechanical Wristwatch *serviced* No Reserved!!!Vintage Omega Constellation 18k Solid Gold Case & Dial Cal 551 Mint Condition NrVintage Omega Seamaste Manual Wind Swiss Made Mens1975 Omega Seamaster 23 Jewel, Swiss Automatic Watch (fully Serviced)Vintage Rare 1965 Gts Omega Automatic Gold Plated Wrist Watch In Original BoxRare Big Military Omega Swiss Wristwatch In Steel Case Aviator Pilots WwiiOmega Speedmaster Moon Watch 145.022-76 Omega Seamaster Automatic Quicket Ss Men Wrist Watch Rare Vintage Omega Seamaster De Ville Cal. 600 Manual Wind Men's Classic Watch AVintage Omega Geneva 1969 Manual Wind Watch Cal 601 Super Running Original ItemVintage Ww2 1944 Omega Cal 28.10 Bumper Automatic Case 2375 Military Style Dial Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer Watch ! 300m/1000ft! Wow ! No Reserve !Omega Seamaster 120 Chronometer Certified Automatic Diver's Watch 2501.21 RareOmega Seamaster ChronometerVintage Omega Pie-pan Constellation Automatic Chronometer Wristwatch - Cal. 564Gents Vintage Omega Constellation 1001 20 Jewels Stainless Steel Automatic WatchMen's Omega Seamaster Date Bracelet Automatic 1012 Vintage Wristwatch 166.0206Omega Seamaster Automatic Gold Filled With Date Mens Running Wristwatch11 Quality Watches For Parts Or Repair Zenith, Omega, Enicar, Zodiac, UniversalOmega Speedmaster 9300 Coaxial Moonwatch 311. Wrist Watch For MenOmega Speedmaster Chronograph Automatic Date Red & Black Men's WatchOriginal Vintage Omega Steel Flightmaster Braclet Ref 1162-172 Ends, Estate FindOmega Seamaster Shom 166.01771980's Omega Seamaster Twotone,green And Black Dial,daydate Automatic Mans WatchOmega Speedmaster Triple Calender Cal. 1152Omega Seamaster 354 Bumper Automatic 17 Jewel Vintage Men's Watch Omega Prototype 1970's Digital Electronic Red Glass Watch Case & Bracelet NosVintage Omega Automatic Wristwatch - Caliber 344 - Original Textured Dial !