OMEGA has been a world leader in advanced watch design since 1848. Over the years, the brand has been widely celebrated for their durability and precision. OMEGA has served as the official timekeepers of the Olympic Games for nearly a century. They also created the official watch of the space program and first watch to land on the moon. Buying an OMEGA watch is an excellent way to invest in a piece of history. Discover exceptional used OMEGA watches for sale in our collection at Crown & Caliber.
In Le Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1848, OMEGA's founder Louis Brandt started a small workshop to sell pocket watches. Using the only money he had and parts from local craftsmen, he began creating bespoke pieces. Over the next several decades, Brandt maintained a modest business, selling his watches to customers from around the world. He passed away in 1879, and his sons resolved to take over the company.
The brothers immediately saw promise in their dad’s work for something more. They decided to expand the operation and begin making their own parts. Their work quickly paid off. Within a few years, they relocated the workshop to Bienne for a better opportunity to grow their workforce. In 1885, they launched their first mass-produced caliber, the Labrador, and in 1892, they created the first minute-repeating timepiece. Just two years later, the brothers introduced the 19-line OMEGA caliber. This helped to establish a reputation for their work in the watch industry. Eventually it would give the company its name.
A few short years later, tragedy struck the Brandt family. Within just six months of each other, the Brandt brothers passed away. This was a great loss for the company. However, they left behind a system that produced over 240,000 watches annually with an 800-man workforce. The fate of the business was now in the hands of four young men. The leader was Paul-Emile Brandt, who kept the family tradition going. With his work ethic and ingenuity, the company started to rise in the ranks to one of the best in the world. By 1905, OMEGA had begun serving as the official timekeeper at sporting events across Switzerland. For instance, in 1909, the brand served as the timekeeper for their first international event, a balloon race called the Gordon Bennett Cup. This partnership is particularly significant because it led to the distribution of OMEGA watches in six continents.
In 1932, OMEGA solidified one of its most important timekeeping partnerships. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, they entrusted the OMEGA brand as the single timekeeper for the summer events in Los Angeles, California. This partnership has continued to this day, as OMEGA has served as the official timekeeper for over twenty Olympics Games.
Just over a decade later, OMEGA released the first edition of one of its most iconic watches: the Seamaster. The first Seamaster debuted in 1948 in conjunction with the brand’s 100th Anniversary. To this day, this model is one of the most popular watches in the OMEGA family.
In 1962, OMEGA made history when astronaut Wally Schirra wore a Speedmaster on his Mercury Sigma 7 mission. It was the first OMEGA in space. This led to a significant endorsement from NASA in 1965, making the Speedmaster their official chronograph for space missions. Then, in 1969, the OMEGA Speedmaster made its first journey to the moon on the wrists of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. The Speedmaster continued to be a crucial tool for NASA, helping the astronauts of the Apollo 13 mission return home safely. Six months later, on October 5, 1970, NASA presented OMEGA with the prestigious Snoopy Award for their contribution to the mission. Today, the limited edition Speedmaster Snoopy Award watches are among a select few models that have appreciated in the pre-owned market.
By the mid-1970s, OMEGA was number three globally and number one in Switzerland, competing with Rolex. However, as the 1980s approached, OMEGA, like many other traditional watch brands, began to struggle. While the quartz market was booming, classic watch companies faced an uncertain future. But, by the 1990s, OMEGA had returned to its former glory. The brand became the official watch of James Bond, appearing on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan in each of the iconic films. They also tapped world-class swimmer Michael Phelps as an ambassador.
In the new millennium, OMEGA continues to grow their catalog. For instance, in 2003, they debuted a new subset of the iconic Seamaster collection: the Aqua Terra. The defining characteristic of the line is a distinctive teak dial inspired by the wooden decks of a yacht.
More recently in 2019, OMEGA celebrates the monumental 50th anniversary of the lunar landing and the Speedmaster’s history making trip to the moon. To commemorate the occasion, OMEGA released the Speedmaster ‘First OMEGA in Space Met Edition,” on sale exclusively at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The release coincides with the opening of an exhibition called Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography, sponsored by OMEGA.
Whether through sports, space, or pop culture, OMEGA has maintained its reputation as one of the best and most well-known watch brands in the world through its commitment to excellence for over 150 years. To buy an OMEGA is to wear a piece of history. An OMEGA watch represents style that has prevailed through generations of avid wearers.
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