Image Source: Wikipedia
If you’re familiar with the Greek alphabet, then you’re already aware that Omega represents perfection and success in the attainment of a task. If you’re familiar with luxury watches, then you can understand why that’s a fitting name for one of the most recognized timepieces in the world.
Omega was founded in 1848 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland by 23 year-old Louis Brandt, who assembled pocket watches from parts that were supplied by local craftsmen.In 1880, due to the greater supply of manpower, communications and energy, his sons, Louis-Paul and Cesar Brandt, relocated the company into a small factory in the city of Bienne /Biel. The brothers introduced their first series-produced calibers, Labrador and Gurzelen, in 1895. These watches achieved a precision of within 30 seconds a day. Four years later, Louis Brandt & Fils would become the largest producers of watches in Switzerland, and despite a production rate of 240,000 watches produced annually and employing 800 people, the watches remained exclusive.
Ever since those humble beginnings, Omega has produced not only popular timepieces, but perhaps the greatest functioning timepieces in the world. Over the years, some of the most important people in the world, and space, have worn an Omega timepiece.
Because of its success and dominance in the wristwatch department, it’s only fair that we salute this one-of-kind brand. Here are 10 things that you should know about Omega.
1. The name Omega first appeared in 1894 on the famous 19-calibre watches. The idea to rename the brand was that of Henry Rieckel, banker to the Brandt brothers.
2. In 1917, the British Royal Flying Corps opted to wear Omega watches as their official timekeepers for its combat units. The American Army followed suit in 1918.
3. The watch models that we are with familiar with were released during the following years; 1948 (Seamaster),1952 (Constellation), 1957 (Speedmaster), 1967 (DeVille) and 1968 (Dynamic)
4. Omega became the first company to be entrusted with the official timekeeping of all disciplines beginning at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1932. That partnership remains intact.
5. The inspiration for the first Omega Speedmaster was from the dial aesthetics featured on the dashboards of Italian cars. The watch employed the 27 CHRO C12 mechanical move-ment, also known as the Lémania 2310 or Omega 321. As for the name, “Speedmaster” came from the first ever tachymeter.
6. Walter Schirra, an American astronaut of Swiss origins, was the first person to take the Omega “Speedmaster” into space. He wore his personal watch into orbit on October 3, 1962. After several years of rigorous testing, NASA declared that the Omega Speedmaster was the only wristwatch that was suitable for space on March 1, 1965.
7. In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, however his Omega watch didn’t accompany him. During the journey, the clock inside the Lunar Module broke, and Armstrong hung his Omega Speedmaster Professional in the Lunar Model as a clock-replacement.
However, Buzz Aldrin did wear his Omega Speedmaster Professional onto the moon. So, it was his watch that became the first watch to be worn on the moon. Unfortunately, the watch was stolen a few months after the moon landing.
8. Omega became the watch of choice for 007 with 1995’s GoldenEye, where Pierce Brosnan wore a Omega Seamaster Quartz Professional. Ever since then, James Bond has worn an Omega timepiece, including the the Seamaster Planet Ocean and Seamaster Professional 300M worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.
In 2002, Omega celebrated the 40th Anniversary of James Bond with a commemorative edition timepiece. In honor of the character’s 50 years on film in 2013, Omega released the Seamaster James Bond 50th Anniversary Collector’s Piece.
9. Notable Omega owners include: John F. Kennedy, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Rory Mcllory, Elvis Presley, Mao Zedong, Prince William, Michael Phelps and explorer Reinhold Messner, who achieved the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.
10. According to the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, or COSC, there are consistent leaders in chronometers – which is when a timepiece is tested and certified to meet certain precision standards. These market leaders are: Rolex with 798,935 COSC-certified movements, followed by Omega with 526,046 certified movements, and Breitling with 156,773.
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