Omega watches have served on numerous NASA space missions, yet this futuristic connection was light years away when the brand was founded in 1848. Pioneering mass-produced watches, Omega went on to develop iconic timepieces such as the Speedmaster, eventually becoming official timekeeper of the Olympic games. Read moreView all
In 1848, at the tender age of 23, Louis Brandt founded Omega, assembling pocket watches from component parts in his workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. His company grew, and by the time of Brandt’s death in 1879, it had become very successful at mass-producing pocket watches. His two sons, Louis-Paul and Cesar, took over the brand and identified a need to manufacture components in-house, as slow deliveries of poor-quality parts were causing delays in production. The brand took mass-produced watches to a whole new level of precision and quality, and by 1885, the company was manufacturing the world's first mass-produced movement. The time-consuming process of making watches by hand, one at a time, was no more.
The process was steadily refined, including the introduction of automated manufacturing methods normally seen outside of the industry. Developing each movement with interchangeable pattern parts increased construction speed and reduced cost, without sacrificing quality. The development didn't stop there: in 1999, the company introduced the Co-Axial movement, an invention considered to be the biggest advancement since the introduction of the lever escapement.
The brand’s penchant for accuracy resulted in its repeated success in the chronometer trials of the 19th century, held at observatories across Germany and Switzerland. The Constellation watch dominated the trials, and set precision records at the Kew Observatory in England. The Constellation continues to uphold high standards of accuracy.
With Omega’s reputation firmly cemented, the demand for quality timing equipment grew. The company’s innovative ethos and attention to detail earned it the responsibility of timekeeper for the Gordon-Bennett Cup, the famous international ballooning race. In 1932, the brand became the first official Olympic timekeeper, responsible for supplying and operating the thirty watches needed to time all the events at the Los Angeles games, and is still the official Olympic timekeeper today.
But Omega watches didn’t just conquer the land. The 1932 Marine was the first in a line of water-resistant watches that led to the Seamaster in 1947. Ten years later, the brand made the Seamaster a professional dive watch, and continued the dressier style of the original as the De Ville. Eventually, the Planet Ocean and Aqua Terra lines were added to the Seamaster collection. The brand’s watches were also the first to be chosen by NASA to be flight-qualified for space missions, with the Speedmaster taking the title of first watch on the Moon.
With an ever-growing desire to innovate, the company has pioneered various ideas and technologies to broaden the usability of its watches. From motorcycle-mountable watches to watches with raised markers on the dial for use by the blind, Omega never settles for the ordinary. Patenting the first mobile photoelectric cell and developing touch pads for timing swimmers are fine examples of the brand’s pursuit of excellence. Even the familiar sight of an athlete's time superimposed onto the television screen is a development of technology that the brand introduced, aptly named, the ‘Omegascope’.
Throughout this quest to develop and innovate, Omega has always remained true to its heritage, producing elegant and high-quality luxury watches with efficient and precise manufacturing methods. Omega watches can be worn in the bitterest cold and down to the murkiest depths, and just as comfortably at a black-tie event. The famous horse shoe-shaped logo continues to represent quality, earned over the course of more than 160 years.
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