The Enduring History of Omega Watches

When you ask about iconic timepieces, few brands have left an indelible mark on the watchmaking industry as Omega. For more than 170 years, Omega has established a firm presence not only in the world of watchmaking but also in the hearts of watch buyers and enthusiasts, showcasing a rich tapestry of significant achievements. The watches represent the brand’s incredible workmanship that lasts a lifetime and beyond, leaving a legacy of innovation and accuracy. But not many are aware of how it all started.

omega watch history

THE HUMBLE BEGINNING

  • 1848: In La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, a young watchmaker named Louis Brandt established a small workshop at the age of 23. The young lad was driven by a dream to create the finest pocket watches. But little did he know that he was laying the foundations for a massive watchmaking empire, ‘OMEGA’.
  • 1879: Louis Brandt passed down the torch to his sons Louis-Paul and Cesar. Inspired by their father’s vision, they invited greater creative freedom and changed the industry forever.
  • 1880: Operating under the name Louis Brandt & Fils, the company expanded and relocated from its humble beginnings in La Chaux-de-Fonds to a more spacious facility in Biel/Bienne.
  • 1885: 5 years after the move, the Brandt brothers introduced their first series-produced Calibre named ‘the Labrador’ that provided the base for future innovations such as the 19-ligne Calibre.
  • 1892: Ecstatic by their first achievement, the brothers went on to curate the world’s first minute-repeating watch which was a stunning smaller version of the existing pocket watch featuring highly complex calibre.
  • 1894: OMEGA was born! The Brandt brothers took an enormous leap in watchmaking by releasing a new calibre – 19-ligne Calibre, produced by a combination of time-setting and winding. The brothers crowned the new accomplishment as ‘OMEGA’. This remarkable invention streamlined production and directed the brand towards international fame. Finally, at the beginning of the 20th century, Omega lamented itself at the forefront of watchmaking.

ACHIEVEMENTS THROUGH THE HISTORY

By now, Omega had grown from a small timekeeping business to an established global watchmaker expanding its reach to not just people but associating itself with various significant events that went on to etch Maison’s name in history.

The official timekeeper of the Olympic games

In 1932, Omega became the Official Timekeeper of the Olympics. The Olympic Games presented the brand with the opportunity to showcase its exceptional watchmaking skills to the world. The partnership continues to date. At that time, the Omega watches testified to an accuracy of 1/10th of a second which has been reduced to 1/1000th of a second today. Such a level of accuracy ensured every winner was undisputed. Over the years, the brand has witnessed generations of phenomenal athletes achieving success.

Journey to the Moon

Not just confined to the Earth, Omega’s expertise went all above to reach the Moon. In 1962, the Speedmaster by Omega was the first watch worn in space but the real defining moment came in 1969 when Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon with his reliable partner, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch tied to his wrist. This iconic moonwalk not just solidified the Speedmaster’s status in the watch realm but became a symbol of Omega’s excellence. Furthermore, NASA outlined the Speedmaster as the official chronograph for American space missions, adding more prestige to it.

Accompanied The Deepest Dive in History

The Five Deeps Expedition was the world’s first expedition by man to the deepest point of the ocean and the adventurer to have reached the point is Victor Vescova. To support Victor’s great victory, Omega produced the watch, Seamaster Planet Ocean, taking the dive watch technology to a new level altogether. The watch could withstand pressure over 36,000 feet setting a depth record for mechanical timepieces.

The Official Watch Of James Bond

James Bond, the legendary character who fascinated several generations all over the world with his iconic spy Sauve, was an Omega fan. Whether it was Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig, both the famous Bond characters donned Omegas from the Seamaster Planet Ocean to the dynamic Seamaster Diver 300M. This further amplified the brand’s reputation worldwide and made the watch the official ‘Bond’ watch. In fact, in 2020, Omega released a Special Edition Seamaster Diver 300M ‘007’ in titanium as the James Bond watch.

INNOVATIONS BY OMEGA THAT TRANSFORMED WATCHMAKING

Throughout history, Omega has introduced several pivotal technologies that stood out in terms of performance, design and innovation, making the brand a pioneer in watchmaking.

1. 1st Mass-Produced Calibre

In 1894, the Brandt brothers came up with the breakthrough ‘Omega’ Calibre which was the world’s first mass-produced watch movement. This revolutionary invention slashed costs while ensuring a precise movement, solidifying Omega’s name around the globe forever.

2. New Levels Of Magnetic Resistance

Omega revealed its proprietary METAS- Master Chronometer Certification to the world in 2013, setting a new benchmark for watches in terms of precision and magnetic resistance. To achieve the Master Chronometer title, each Omega timepiece must pass eight tests to verify its performance in up to 15,000 Gauss magnetic fields and during other extremities. Omega did set a new level for measuring the resilience of mechanical watches.

3. Innovative Co-Axial Escapement

Another notable achievement by Omega was creating the revolutionary Co-Axial Escapement mechanism. Replacing the traditional Swiss lever escapement, the new mechanism helped to regulate the flow of energy from the mainspring to the rest of the movement, further eliminating friction. The co-axial escapement increased stability, accuracy and durability in the watches, reducing the need for servicing.

LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST..

Omega’s history is filled with some of the most monumental moments in watchmaking and the brand’s association with so many pioneers and icons is a testament to its superior identity and enduring prestige in the watch realm. Each of Omega’s models has its own significance and appeal, which is what makes ‘OMEGA’ the brand it is today.

Also Read: 5 of the Most Significant Factors That Make Omega Watches So Expensive

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