• 1Omega or Brandt?
Omega could have been called Brandt if the founder of the Maison had chosen to give him his own name. It was in 1848, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, that Louis Brandt began to create watches, at the age of only 23 years old. His two sons, Louis-Paul and César, who succeeded him in 1879, settled in Bienne to develop the business, in particular through mechanization of the manufacturing stages. At the end of the 1880s, their manufacture occupied first place in Swiss watchmaking.
2• First a movement
In 1894, when they launched a brand new caliber called “Omega 19 lines”, Louis-Paul and César Brandt never imagined how successful he would be and change the course of their lives. Because in front of the reception which was reserved for him, the two sons of the founder of the company decided to give the name of this star movement to their manufacture. Thus Omega was officially born on March 10, 1894.
3 • A flagship of the Swatch Group
In 1930, Omega joined the Swiss Society for the Watch Industry (SSIH). In 1983, the company this time joined the Swiss Microelectronics and Watchmaking Company (SMH), an entity that has now become the Swatch Group, which has made Omega one of its most powerful and successful brands. . In 172 years of existence, Omega has marked its path with iconic collections: Olympic (1932), Seamaster (1948), Constellation (1952), Ladymatic (1955), Speedmaster (1957), De Ville (1967). The last few years have been marked in particular by the launch of the Co-Axial concept (2007), the establishment of the Master Chronometer certification (2015) and the construction of a new factory in Biel (2017).
4• A champion of chronometry
From the end of the XIXe century, real jousts of precision opposed watchmaking manufacturers eager to prove the quality of their calibers. Omega participated in these contests, first with pocket models, then with wristwatches from 1915. In 1936, during a competition disputed in England, its movement 47.7 was essential with an exceptional result of 97.8 points out of 100. In 1974, thanks to a step difference of less than one second per month, the Omega Constellation Megaquartz 2400 received the honorary title of 'marine chronometer'. Omega claims the number 1 spot in the number of victories obtained in precision competitions and prizes awarded by Observatories.
5 • Partner of the Olympic Games
In 1932 Omega became the official timekeeper for the Olympic games that year in Los Angeles. 30 chronographs providing results recorded to the tenth of a second were used for all the tests. In 1948, in London, Omega innovated by using photoelectric cells automatically triggering timing operations. At the 1952 Helsinki Games, Omega instruments displayed hundredths of a second. In 1992, during the Albertville Winter Olympics, the Omega Scan-O-Vision system provided digital measurements to the thousandth of a second. This summer, from July 24 to August 9, the brand will once again fulfill its timing mission as part of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
6 • And the Speedmaster became the Moonwatch
On July 21, 1969, the American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked for the first time on the Moon wearing an Omega watch on his wrist. The Speedmaster chronograph, which appeared in 1957, was however originally designed for racing drivers. But NASA subjected him to a whole series of tests and selected him in 1965 to take part in space missions. The Speedmaster (a brand new version of which has just been presented, powered by a caliber 321 identical to the original movement in 1957) thus earned its nickname Moonwatch.
7 • The “Co-Axial” revolution
In 2007, through the release of the Omega 8500/8501 caliber, Nicolas G. Hayek, president of the Swatch Group, carried out a process of industrialization of an innovative technology called “Co-Axial Escapement”. This exclusive concept has the advantage of considerably reducing friction in a crucial sector of a watch movement, resulting in an improvement in the precision and reliability of the watch.
8 • Non-magnetism and METAS certification
Only watches capable of withstanding high magnetic fields and of maintaining their precision under these conditions, receive a label awarded by the Swiss organization METAS (Federal Institute of Metrology). This certification going beyond the requirements set by the COSC is indicated on the dial of Omega watches by the words “Master Chronometer”. The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra model, for example, withstands magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
9 • The abyss watch
On April 28, 2019, the American explorer Victor Vescovo broke the world depth record (-10,928 m) by landing his baptized submarine Limiting Factor at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. An Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional watch, attached to the outside of the submersible, became at the same time the deepest watch in the history of watchmaking.
10 • At the time of James Bond
Since 1995 and the film GoldenEye James Bond wears an Omega watch on the screen. The initial Seamaster Professional had two very special gadgets: a laser beam and a remote-controlled detonator. In Quantum of Solace (2008) and Sky Fall (2012), this time it was an Omega Planet Ocean 600M which fitted 007. Then an Aqua Terra in Spectrum (2015). Next April, in Dying can wait, actor Daniel Craig will sport a 42 mm diameter Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Edition 007 in titanium, powered by an automatic Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8806 movement. Its consumer version will be available from next February.