Whether you’re new or experienced in the world of luxury watches, there is no doubt that you are familiar with the iconic brand OMEGA. A powerhouse in the world of fine watchmaking, this game-changing brand has been leading the way in innovation and style for nearly 150 years. Even today, so many pre-owned and used OMEGA watches retain their original value and status, which speaks volumes about the historical importance and prestige of this classic brand.
But while we are all familiar with the name, many of us are not well acquainted with why OMEGA is so famous in the world of luxury watches. If you’re interested in learning more about this coveted luxury watch brand and how it made its mark in history, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a brief history of OMEGA’s greatest moments since its first introduction to the world in 1848. Keep reading to learn more.
The First Years: The Founding of OMEGA
The history of the OMEGA brand can be traced back to 1848 when Swiss watchmaker Louis Brandt opened his first watchmaking shop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Within a few years of establishing this shop, Brandt began making a name for himself across Europe, known for his high-quality materials and the exceptional craftsmanship that went into each and every piece he created.
Following this success, the sons of Louis Brandt took over the watchmaking business in 1879. Together, Louis-Paul and César began to expand the reach of this humble yet renowned watchmaking house. They rebranded the company as Louis Brandt & Fils before moving the location of their shop to a more populated region in the town of Biel / Bienne. It is this new location that is the historic home of the OMEGA brand, at 96 Rue Jakob-Stämpfli.
The New OMEGA: The Innovations Begin
Just a few years following their move to Biel/Bienne, the brothers introduced their first series-produced calibre to the world, also known as ‘The Labrador,’ in 1885. A first of its kind to market, this calibre offered unmatched precision and exceptional timing results that would pave the way for many future iterations to come.
In 1892, a new innovation was brought to market, the first minute-repeating wristwatch. Unheard of before this point, this piece featured the innovative technology of highly-advanced pocket watches with a small and highly complex calibre that made it able to be worn on the wrist. This model laid the groundwork for many of the OMEGA timepieces to follow, including the beloved OMEGA Constellation watches.
A Giant is Born: OMEGA is Introduced to the World
In 1895, the OMEGA brand and the iconic logo that we know and adore today were first introduced to the world. It made a splash in the realm of luxury watchmaking by taking home the coveted Grand Prize at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris in recognition of its entire collection. In fact, the OMEGA pieces displayed at the exhibition were said to be exceptionally more advanced than any other timepiece that was presented.
Following this amazing recognition, OMEGA continued to stay top-of-mind within the world of luxury watches, becoming the official timekeeping device of a wide variety of sporting events throughout 1905. This movement into the world of sports has stayed with the brand into modern times, as this brand is still widely recognized as the gold standard for timekeeping and precision. In fact, OMEGA has since become the official timekeeper at the Olympics for nearly all of the games since 1932.
International Growth: OMEGA Reaches Around the World
With its increasing popularity among the elite in Europe, OMEGA soon became a hot-ticket item for men and women around the world. In 1909, this iconic brand was able to successfully expand its reach into every continent, allowing anyone to become a lifetime customer of the OMEGA brand.
This expansion not only involved establishing the ability to sell OMEGA watches anywhere in the world but also bringing with it the art of repair. With each expansion into a new continent, OMEGA also sent their highly-trained watchmaking experts to assist in specialized OMEGA watch repairs.
Moving Into the Future: The New OMEGA Watches
Following their international expansion, OMEGA soon turned back to what they did best: creating never-before-seen watchmaking innovations. One such example is the 1931 introduction of a prototype of the world’s first automatic movement, which set the groundwork for the automatic watches that we know and love today.
The next new innovation brought to the market was in 1932 with the introduction of the world’s first commercially available diver’s watch, the OMEGA Marine. Another amazing addition to the OMEGA archives was the OMEGA Medicus, also known as ‘the nurse’s watch,’ a timepiece that was created in 1937 and used in World War II to accurately measure pulses.
One of the most iconic OMEGA models was introduced to the world in 1948, the OMEGA Seamaster. A modern marvel, this timepiece was designed to withstand both skies and seas while retaining its high level of precision and accuracy. The next icon was brought to life in 1952, the OMEGA Constellation watch. Also known as ‘the Swiss watch,’ this timepiece pays homage to the stars as well as the iconic history of the OMEGA brand.
The next collection of iconic OMEGA watches came in 1957 with the introduction of the OMEGA Speedmaster, OMEGA Seamaster 300, and the OMEGA Railmaster. These three models further elevated the brand, bringing in a new era of innovation and technological advancements. In fact, the Speedmaster was eventually qualified by NASA for all manned space travel, reaching the stars in 1962 on the wrist of Wally Schirra. The final game-changing icon to be added to the OMEGA collections was the OMEGA De Ville in 1967. This piece captured the iconic OMEGA design style with a nod to the future, including modern innovations.
When considering iconic luxury watchmaking brands throughout history, there is none quite like OMEGA. Since its first introduction to the world in 1848, this luxury powerhouse has introduced an extensive collection of classic yet contemporary designs that have continually broken the mold and pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a fine watch, from the iconic OMEGA Speedmaster to the bold OMEGA De Ville. We can only imagine the amazing innovations that OMEGA has in store for us in the future.
Why Trust Gray & Sons
Pre-owned and used OMEGA watches are considered a wealth basket for the present and the future, but only if you are purchasing from a reputable source. At Gray & Sons, we began as a brick-and-mortar shop in 1980 before rapidly expanding digitally through our website, internet platforms, and world-class print and digital catalog. We have worked to build our stellar reputation in both the international and local industry in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beaches, Florida areas, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, Bal Harbour, Coral Gables, Aventura, Sunny Isles, and more. We take pride in our accomplishments, including being awarded an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and achieving good standing with the International Watch & Jewelry Guild. Our commitment to excellence has made us a world leader in dealing with used-certified pre-owned luxury watches and estate jewelry. If you’re looking for a trustworthy, reputable, and professional source for purchasing pre-owned jewelry, sourcing luxury watches, or servicing your treasured pieces, look no further than Gray & Sons.