Vintage Omega Watches

At AVW the range and quality of vintage Omega watches has long impressed us; while often priced lower than a Rolex they share the same history of quality watchmaking and are on the rise in today’s market for collectable timepieces. In the spring of 2007 Geneva auctioneers Antiquorum held the first ever Omega-only auction that confirmed the demand and worldwide interest for vintage Omega watches, with prices far exceeding expectation, a trend that has largely continued today.

Up until the 1970s both Omega and Rolex were the top brands of watchmakers competing to become the “King of Swiss Watch brands”. Omega, the older of the two, dates back to 1834 when founded by Louis Brandt who ran his business as a workshop to assemble pocket watches for distribution in Europe. However, the use of the name Omega didn’t come into being until 1894 when Brandt’s two sons gave it to a movement calibre for a pendant-wound pocket watch. So successful was this brand that by 1903 all their watches were produced under the name Omega (Omega being the last letter of the Greek alphabet, symbolising accomplishment and perfection).

In 1957 Omega launched the Speedmaster, to much critical acclaim, as a sports and racing watch; its name arising from the novel tachymeter scale bezel. And in late 1965 NASA, following three years of arduous testing with a selection of chronographs made by the top brands of the day, chose Omega’s Speedmaster (the only model to have passed all their tests!) as its official chronometer. Four years later, in 1969, the Omega Speedmaster held the grand title of being the first official watch worn on the moon. Worn by Buzz Aldrin as Neil Armstrong had left his 105.012 Speedmaster inside the lunar module to be used as a precision timekeeping instrument as the lunar module’s own electronic timer had malfunctioned. The Speedmaster is still sported by many astronauts on shuttle missions today.

Omega were also famously selected as the Official timekeeper at some 21 Olympic Games, starting in the 1932 Summer Olympics. In 1952 they were awarded the Olympic Cross of Merit for their outstanding contribution to sport.

But it was not only in space and on land that Omega watches were successful, they also had great success in manufacturing underwater watches. The Omega Seamaster, a chronometer and quartz watch, was launched in 1948 with later versions famously being worn by James Bond in many of the Bond movies. Popular among celebrities the Seamaster has a certain glamour. Originally developed as a stylish watch for active individuals who wanted something for “town, sea and country”, it also became the choice of many well-known divers and underwater experts such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Having successfully given the Seamaster a rubber O-ring gasket – optimising on the rubber gasket abilities in submarines used during the Second World War – to effectively keep water infiltration (at great depths and varying temperatures) at bay.

The great attention to detail in Omega vintage watches is never more apparent than in their 1969 Flightmaster model. With seven colour-coded hands, three crowns, two push buttons and a blue GMT hand, designed to look like a jet airliner, to allow pilots to keep track of a second time zone and a dial to show whether it is AM or PM this watch was packed with specialisms.

Adaptable and stylish with slick technical functionality Omega vintage watches were made to last and are a popular choice for today’s discerning vintage watch wearers.