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The OMEGA Brand Story

From humble beginnings in 1848, OMEGA has become one of the world's most prestigious Swiss-made brands. Join us as we explore the OMEGA brand story.

10 February 2021 EDITOR - ERNEST JONES

From a humble établissage workshop, set up by 23-year-old Louis Brandt in 1848, emerged one of the world’s most iconic and prestigious Swiss watch brands, the mighty OMEGA. Beautifully designed, impeccably crafted and showcasing the perfect combination of classic style and innovative functionality, it’s little wonder that OMEGA watches are so highly respected and sought-after worldwide.

Here we’ll take a look at OMEGA watches history, the best OMEGA watch collections and answer some key questions like ‘where are OMEGA watches made?’ and ‘how to check OMEGA watch serial numbers’.

OMEGA watches history - the early years

With the passing of Louis Brandt in 1879, his two sons, who were both passionate watchmakers, took over the family business, Louis Brandt & Fils. With a determination to succeed, the Brandt brothers set their sights on originating and manufacturing their own parts, which wasn’t widely done at the time. Innovation quickly followed and, alongside other leading horologists, they manufactured the world’s first minute repeating wristwatch.

Then, in 1894 their design of a revolutionary calibre set new standards for watchmaking. The calibre was given the name ‘OMEGA 19-Ligne’. The huge success of watches bearing the OMEGA name encouraged the Brandt brothers to re-name the company ‘The OMEGA Watch Co’, which was officially founded in 1903. At this time, OMEGA was producing more than 200,000 watches annually and was one of the largest and most successful Swiss watch companies in the world.

Where are OMEGA watches made?

Although Louis Brandt’s original workshop was located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the company relocated to a bigger workshop in Bienne in 1880. And although it needed a much larger manufacturing space just five years later, all OMEGA watches, and all of their parts, are still expertly engineered and built in Switzerland. This goes far beyond the industry’s required standard to classify a watch as Swiss-made.

How OMEGA watches are made

OMEGA has been committed to pursuing technical excellence and industry-leading innovation throughout its history, which is reflected in the design, precision and quality of the calibres and movements that the company has produced. After setting six new records for its chronograph at the Geneva Observatory tests in 1931, the slogan “Exact time for life” was launched, although arguably it was as much a statement of fact as a marketing phrase. A true testament to their quality, OMEGA almost achieved timekeeping perfection more than 80 years ago, when an OMEGA calibre registered a score of 97.8 points out of 100 at the Kew Observatory, a score that remains unbeaten to this day.

Far from resting on its laurels, OMEGA still strives to push the design and engineering boundaries to produce some of the world’s most outstanding timepieces. Today, OMEGA watches are engineered using state-of-the-art technology and only the finest materials, before being hand-finished with meticulous attention to detail and the highest level of craftsmanship. Incredibly precise, reliable, and durable, OMEGA watches are a masterpiece.

OMEGA brand heritage

Even by the early 1900s, the company had an impressive list of partnerships, from becoming the official timekeeper for both US and British military forces, to forging a long and rich association with the Olympic movement, which started in 1932 when it became the official timekeeper at the Los Angeles Games. OMEGA has since introduced many innovative designs, from touchpads in swimming pools to pressure-sensitive false start detectors.

In 1965, NASA approved the OMEGA Speedmaster for use by astronauts on space exploration missions. And in 1969, OMEGA proudly became the first watch to be worn on the surface of the moon, a feat repeated on each of the five subsequent lunar landings. As a result, the Speedmaster is also known by its nickname ‘the Moonwatch’.

OMEGA Brand Ambassadors

OMEGA watches have adorned many famous patrons' wrists over the years, including the likes of Prince William, who was gifted a Seamaster by Diana Princess of Wales, Presidents J.F. Kennedy and Joe Biden and Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Ryan Reynolds. Current OMEGA brand ambassadors include Eddie Redmayne, George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, as well as astronaut Buzz Aldrin and model Cindy Crawford.

How to identify original OMEGA watches

As an official retailer, purchasing an OMEGA watch from Ernest Jones brings all the peace of mind you could need, but when buying pre-owned OMEGA watches, there are some things you might want to bear in mind. Firstly, dealing with a reputable dealer should reduce the risk of being sold a fake, and they’ll likely be able to provide proof of authentication. OMEGA watches are so expensive because they use the very best materials and are manufactured to exceptionally high standards. So carefully look at the quality of the finish, paying particular attention to dials and hands, which should be perfectly aligned. With a little online research, you can establish exactly the original hands shape and style for any watch. The paint and lacquer should also still show signs of quality.

When it comes to how to check OMEGA watch serial numbers, there are several options available to you. Each OMEGA watch comes with a certificate which will clearly show the serial or watch number. If you don’t have access to this, you’ll usually find the number on the watch’s case-back, where you’ll also find the OMEGA reference number that can provide further information. However, on some older timepieces, you might need to open the case to find the serial number, which is often stamped on the watch movement itself.

OMEGA watch collections

With such a stunning range of OMEGA timepieces available at Ernest Jones, here we’ll take a closer look at the different iconic collections of classic ladies OMEGA watches and men’s OMEGA watches to help you narrow down your options.

OMEGA Seamaster

Launched in 1948, to mark the brand’s centenary, the OMEGA Seamaster has always been an incredibly robust watch that can boast remarkable water resistance - which is hardly surprising as it was based on timepieces designed to be used by the military in World War II. Today's collection of Seamaster models includes the remarkable Aqua Terra, Diver 300 and Planet Ocean 600, as well as some timeless heritage models in a stunning range of both ladies and men's designs.

Shop OMEGA Seamaster

OMEGA Speedmaster

The first watch worn on the moon, this true sporting chronograph made its debut in 1957 and has been a much-loved collection ever since. There are several models in the OMEGA Speedmaster collection to choose from, including Moonwatch Professional, Dark Side of the Moon and Heritage models – all of which are famed for their record-breaking precision and undeniable good looks.

Shop OMEGA Speedmaster

OMEGA Constellation

The richly decorated face that featured eight 'stars' gave rise to the Constellation name, a collection first launched in 1952. The ‘stars’ represented the eight precision records set by OMEGA at the Kew and Geneva Observatories in the mid 20th century. The Constellation collection comprises automatic chronometers that are a wonderful example of precision and luxury.

Shop OMEGA Constellation

OMEGA De Ville

Originally part of the Seamaster range, De Ville became a collection in its own right in 1967. The design is more streamlined and has a more sophisticated appearance than some of OMEGA’s sportier timepieces, making it ideal for everyday wear and special occasions. The elegance and classic design of the OMEGA De Ville collection has found equal favour with ladies and men. Today’s collection of De Ville models includes the exquisite Ladymatic, Tresor and Hour Vision.

Shop OMEGA De Ville

How much does an OMEGA watch cost?

OMEGA is considered a leader in the world of luxury Swiss watches, and that is reflected in their price. However, the quality, craftsmanship and obvious aesthetic appeal of OMEGA watches will undoubtedly bring years of enjoyment, making them very emotive and treasured items and many feel that justifies the price tag. The cost of an OMEGA watch varies greatly, with models at Ernest Jones starting from around £2,200 and reaching over £40,000.

At Ernest Jones, we believe in making your experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, so if you’d prefer not to cover the whole cost upfront, we offer an Interest-Free Credit option with manageable monthly payments. Speak to a member of our team or see our Interest-Free Credit FAQs for more information.

Looking after your OMEGA

Despite the robust testing of all OMEGA watches, it is recommended that the water resistance is tested annually, and a service is undertaken every 5-8 years. Ernest Jones is an official OMEGA watch service centre, and our service is offered with a 12-month guarantee. Simply book an appointment at your local Ernest Jones to discuss watch maintenance and servicing.

Choosing the right OMEGA watch for you

From their innovative functions to their sleek designs, OMEGA watches are undeniably exceptional. Browse the full collection of OMEGA watches online today or book an in-store or virtual appointment with one of our dedicated experts who’ll be happy to show you the range, answer any questions and help you narrow down your options. Or, if you want to do a little more research, you’ll find our OMEGA Watch Buying Guide is full of helpful tips and support.