How to Spot a Vintage Omega

An icon amongst watchmakers, Omega represents the best of Swiss timepieces. The first Omega watches appeared in 1848 under the previous company name of La Generale Watch Co., and the precision instruments quickly became a famed choice for aristocrats and connoisseurs across the continent.

Omega was the first watch used in outer space and even landed on the moon. James Bond wears an Omega in the famous series of Bond movies. Real-life celebrities and leaders that have sported Omega watches include George Clooney, John F Kennedy and Prince William among countless others.

A Glorious History

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Omega Black 18K Rose Gold and Stainless Steel Speedmaster Men’s Wristwatch

It is not just about the exquisite designs when it comes to charting Omega’s contributions to the world of premium watch-making. The Bienne based company has introduced many innovations. The first Omega wrist watches were introduced in 1900 and taken for army personnel. The main collections of Omega are Constellation, Seamaster, Speedmaster, Deville and Geneve. Omega women’s watches are also available in most of these collections. Omega ushered in the first tourbillon wristwatch calibre in the world in 1947.

Omega-watch-seamaster
Omega Red Stainless Steel Seamaster Professional Women’s Wristwatch

The Seamaster line was introduced in 1948, featuring popular clunky designs which drew inspiration from the RAF WW2 watches. Radium dots and the Seamaster engraving on the back are the hallmarks of this elegant Omega timepiece. The Aqua Terra models are also a quintessential display of  Omega design. Another iconic piece from this collection is the Seamaster Ploprof.

omega-watch-constellation
Omega Mother of Pearl 18K Yellow Gold and Stainless Steel Diamond Constellation Women’s Wristwatch

1952 saw the Constellation collection hit timepiece boutiques in fashion capitals across the world. The Caliber 352 is one of the most treasured vintage pieces from this era of Omega watches. Rose gold and steel form the base for a diamond studded silver dial in this perfect example of a Constellation. The Speedmaster by Omega was made famous by being the official watch for NASA missions. This collection is recognised by its luminous hands, water-resistant case, black dial and tachymeter. Omega’s best-selling collection is the Deville which features more modern and genre-bending design elements, including rectangular models, all this while maintaining the timeless sophistication that the company built its reputation on. The Deville collection was developed in Geneva, as opposed to the regular headquarters in Bienne.

The Technicalities around Vintage

Omega Beige Gold Vintage De Ville Women's Wristwatch
Omega Beige Gold Vintage De Ville Women’s Wristwatch

Vintage Omega watches are much sought after and represent the different peaks of timepiece engineering over the last two centuries. Technically speaking, any watch that is over 20 years old can be considered a vintage piece. These include both pre-owned watches and new ones. When looking for vintage timepieces, some of the attractive aspects include the legacy of a model, whether it has been worn by someone famous or is part of a limited edition or much-celebrated collection. The calibre is also another important indicator of a vintage watch’s worth. Omega is known as a pioneer in watch engineering and their vintage timepieces are associated with many famous and industry changing calibres.

Spot the Details

Omega Silver 18K Rose Gold Diamond & Stainless Steel Constellation Co-Axial Men's Wristwatch
Omega Silver 18K Rose Gold Diamond & Stainless Steel Constellation Co-Axial Men’s Wristwatch

An Omega watch is an emblem of impeccable and detailed workmanship, and if you are looking for a vintage piece, it is the tiny details that will help you ascertain if an Omega is the real deal. Omega watches sport the clearest of typographies, no matter how small the letters and engravings. Use a magnifying glass to ensure that there are no blurry or fuzzy finishes. Oxidation is another devaluing factor in vintage watches. Mark down the number of stones or pearls of that model and cross-check with the vintage piece in case there are missing ones.

What is your Type?

Vintage Omega watches come in different styles and before purchasing one you need to determine the purpose for the watch, whether you need it for the outdoors or as a finishing touch to your suit and tie wardrobe. Vintage Omega includes time-only dress watches and chronographs to the Seamaster range of dive special watches.

Research your Omega Watches

Omega has had many models featured in its collections over the years and you need to do your research to learn more about the vintage pieces. There are many minute details for each collection, such as the broad arrow hand of the Seamaster series. Online forums dedicated to Omega are a great place to get more information about models. When you have earmarked a special Omega watch as a worthy purchase (they certainly all are!) it is time to look up the history of the piece and where it falls in its particular collection. Omega’s collections are themed around certain calibres, and design elements and models of a collection will share certain common features. Tick these boxes one by one as you investigate the vintage watch that you are interested in.

The timepiece will also have certain unique features, maybe a mother of pearl Constellation piece for the ladies or the celebration of Michael Schumacher’s sixth grand Prix championship under the Speedmaster collection.

Look for Original Components

Omega Mother of Pearl Stainless Steel Ladymatic Women's Wristwatch
Omega Mother of Pearl Stainless Steel Ladymatic Women’s Wristwatch

It is important to check on the components of a vintage watch, to ensure that the components have not been replaced or refurbished, which dramatically brings down the value of the timepiece. When looking for Omega men’s watches, check the dials to validate that they have not been replaced. Other critical components include the crowns, the bezel and the strap components. The movement of the watch is also one of the core areas that need to be checked when you are looking to invest in a vintage piece.

Omega speaks of an eternal style and unparalleled sophistication. The highest standards of precision engineering and innovations go into each serialised Omega watch along with the best finishing. From rose gold to steel, silver dials to encrusted precious stones, there is a kingdom of choices for the discerning vintage watch collector to enjoy. Follow our step by step guide, do your research while making your buying decision and you won’t wind up with a fake vintage watch!

Swati Talwar

Global Content and India Office Head

Seasoned lover of the written word. Travel junkie and Hogwarts alumni. Currently composing notes for the upcoming fashion week. You can also call me Licorne Magique (don't ask me why!).

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