omega

Omega is a Swiss luxury watchmaker based in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Britain’s Royal Flying Corps chose Omega watches in 1917 as its official timekeepers for its combat units, as did the American army in 1918. Omega watches were the choice of NASA and the first watch on the Moon in 1969. Omega has been the official timekeeping device of the Olympic Games since 1932. James Bond has worn it in films since 1995; other famous Omega wearers, past and present, include John F. Kennedy, Prince William, George Clooney, and Buzz Aldrin. Omega is owned by the Swatch Group.

The forerunner of Omega, La Generale Watch Co, was founded at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1848 by Louis Brandt, who assembled key-wound precision pocket watches from parts supplied by local craftsmen. He sold his watches from Italy to Scandinavia by way of England, his chief market. In 1894, his two sons Louis-Paul and César developed a revolutionary in-house manufacturing and total production control system that allowed component parts to be interchangeable. Watches developed with these techniques were marketed under the Omega brand of La Generale Watch Co. By 1903 the success of the Omega brand led to La Generale Watch Co to spin off the Omega brand as its own company, and the Omega Watch Co was officially founded in 1903.

Merger

Louis-Paul and César Brandt both died in 1903, leaving one of Switzerland’s largest watch companies — with 240,000 watches produced annually and employing 800 people — in the hands of four young people, the oldest of whom, Paul-Emile Brandt, was not yet 24.

Brandt was the great architect and builder of Omega. His influence would be felt over the next half-century. The economic difficulties brought on by the First World War would lead him to work actively from 1925 toward the union of Omega and Tissot, then to their merger in 1930 into the group SSIH, Geneva.

Under Brandt’s leadership and Joseph Reiser’s from 1955, the SSIH Group continued to grow and multiply, absorbing or creating some fifty companies, including Lanco and Lemania, manufacturer of the most famous Omega chronograph movements. By the 1970s, SSIH had become Switzerland’s number one producer of finished watches and number three in the world. Up to this time, the Omega brand outsold Rolex, its main Swiss rival in the luxury watch segment, although Rolex watches sold at a higher price point. Around this time it was viewed as Rolex versus Omega in the competition for the “King of Swiss Watch brands”. Omega watches tended to be more revolutionary and more professional focused, while Rolex watches were more ‘evolutionary’ and famous for their mechanical pieces and brand.

While Omega and Rolex had dominated in the pre-quartz era, this changed in the 1970s. That was when Japanese watch manufacturers such as Seiko and Citizen rose to dominance due to their pioneering of quartz movement. In response, Rolex continued concentrating on its expensive mechanical chronometers where its expertise lay (though it did have some experimentation in quartz), while Omega tried to compete with the Japanese in the quartz watch market with Swiss made quartz movements.

Notable owners

Omega sponsors a number of celebrities to wear and advertise their watches including.

Rory McIlroy Golfer
Buzz Aldrin Astronaut
Pierce Brosnan Actor and the fictional character James Bond.
Eugene Cernan Astronaut
Jacques Cousteau Oceanographer Omega Marine Chronometer
George Clooney Actor
Daniel Craig Actor and the fictional character James Bond.
Cindy Crawford Fashion Model
Jeremy Clarkson Television personality
James May Television personality
Richard Hammond Television personality
Chris Hadfield Astronaut
Tom Marshburn Astronaut
Sergio García Golfer
Nicole Kidman Actress
Greg Norman Golfer
Michael Phelps Swimming champion
Eric Tabarly Yachtsman Omega Marine Chronometer
Michelle Wie Golfer
Zhang Ziyi Actress
Davis Love III Golfer
David Duchovny The fictional character Fox Mulder.
In addition the following have been seen wearing Omega watches:

Prince William wore an Omega Seamaster 300M Quartz.
Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States of America, wore a blue Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Quartz.
John F. Kennedy
Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, wore an Omega for 31 years.
Mikhail Gorbachev, The former president of the Soviet Union wore a gold Omega Constellation “Manhattan”
Elvis Presley, American singer, actor, cultural icon, and one of the most popular musicians of the 20th-century wore a black-dialed Constellation Calendar
Jeremy Clarkson, English journalist, broadcaster and former presenter of motoring television show Top Gear wears a Seamaster Planet Ocean and a Seamaster Professional 300M.
Tom Hanks, American actor, producer, writer, and director wears an Omega Speedmaster Professional
Adam Savage, American special effects designer, co-host of The Discovery Channel television series MythBusters wears a Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph given to him by his wife
Alton Brown, television personality
Reinhold Messner, mountaineer, adventurer, and explorer wore an Omega Speedmaster Professional
Stone Cold Steve Austin, American film and television actor, producer, and retired professional wrestler wears an Omega Seamaster Professional Chronograph and is an avid watch collector/enthusiast
Gianni Agnelli, former head of FIAT and Italian industrialist wore an Omega Seamaster Ploprof
Jack Hanna, American zookeeper who is the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium wears an Omega Seamaster Professional

Watch models

Rare Seamaster chronometer in stainless steel case w/ rose gold markers, Ca. 1949

The Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M diving watch is currently Omega’s newest version of the Seamaster Series.

For men

Constellation
Omega Seamaster
includes the Planet Ocean, Ploprof, Aqua Terra, Bullhead, and Seamaster Bond Styles
Omega Speedmaster
includes the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon watch
De Ville
Dynamic (*Discontinued Circa 1997)
Specialities
includes their skeleton Seamaster and Central Tourbillon DeVille.
Geneve

For women

Constellation
Seamaster
Speedmaster
De Ville
Specialities
Ladymatic

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