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Pre-Owned Omega Constellation. The beauty of precision.

Long before Omega made its name exploring the chilly depths of the ocean with the Seamaster, and decades before the legendary Speedmaster moonwatch was born, the company set out to conquer time itself by building supremely accurate movements. 

In 1931, at the Geneva Observatory trials, Omega broke the record for chronometry precision in all six categories and in doing so made a clean sweep at the competition. To celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment, the company adopted the slogan “Omega, Exact Time For Life”. 

But arguably their greatest achievement was in democratising this new level of consistency and accuracy. 

Omega CONSTELLATION 18K YELLOW GOLD 2853

In 1948 Omega commemorated the 100th anniversary of their Biel watch factory with the beautiful Centenary watch. The Centenary was Omega’s first automatic chronometer-grade watch and such was its success that the decision was made to design a new series of movements, and a collection, that could be mass-produced. 

That collection was named Constellation, and it first appeared in 1952. 

Omega CONSTELLATION STAINLESS STEEL 123.10.24.60.02.00

The Stars Align

 

The Constellation was designed to be Omega’s flagship model and a true test of their engineering and watchmaking prowess. 

The first of the Constellation models were equipped with the caliber 354, which is known as a “bumper automatic”. As opposed to the modern automatic winding rotor, which makes a full 360° rotation, the “bumpers” in these early movements only travel a short direction before being hitting a spring that reverses their movement. 

In 1955, Omega introduced the 500 series of movements, with a switch to the full rotor system used in modern watchmaking.

The 500 series calibers are widely considered to be some of the finest movements Omega has ever manufactured. The technical achievements of Omega in the production of these movements cannot be understated: in a time when modern precision-engineering equipment was unavailable, Omega was able to mass-produce an accurate and durable caliber that was still refined and well-finished.  

Indeed, between 1958 and 1969, Omega became the largest manufacturer of COSC-certified chronometers in the world.

The Constellation Design Code

Omega CONSTELLATION MOTHER OF PEARL DIAMOND 18K YELLOW GOLD 11647900

The Constellation has seen a number of dial variations come and go.  The most famous is the “pie-pan” so named because of the geometric, 12-sided raised dial framed by polished arrow-head hour markers. The pie pan remains the most highly sought-after variant and has recently been re-introduced in the Globemaster series. 

On the caseback, the Constellation plaque is proudly displayed on all models (save some crazy models from the 1970s). The cupola of the Geneva Observatory, where Omega achieved two first places again at the Geneva Observatory trials in 1951, looks up toward a constellation of eight stars which represent Omega’s total of eight chronometry world records.

Omega Takes Manhattan

 

The Constellation name is still a part of Omega’s catalogue and the models offered today under the Constellation name are a continuation of the “Manhattan” design family, released in 1982 and updated in 1993.

Omega CONSTELLATION STAINLESS STEEL & YELLOW GOLD 123.20.35.60.02.002

Originally, the four claw-like “griffes” on both sides of the bezel served to ensure water resistance by fixing the sapphire crystal in place. The claws, though no longer necessary from a technical standpoint, are still maintained to establish design continuity. The ‘Manhattan’ Constellation can be found in various models, including a day-date model and models with leather straps instead of the integrated bracelets.

Now, as back in the 1950s, Omega is dedicated to the pursuit of perfection and to timekeeping accuracy. Constellation is the range where, arguably, they do it most beautifully.

Shop the range of pre-owned Omega Constellation watches at Xupes here.