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Omega Constellation watches

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Omega Constellation Double Eagle 1514.51.00 Co-axial Chronometer Omega Constellation Double Eagle 1514.51.00 Co-axial Chronometer US 30 2013 $2,995

The Constellation: Omega's Star Since 1952

The Constellation was Omega's flagship series until the Speedmaster's spectacular trip to the Moon in 1969. These chronometers have been winning precision competitions for over 60 years and are distinguished by four claws on their bezel.

Highlights

  • First chronometer series from Omega
  • Innovative technology: Omega Co-Axial escapement, silicon balance spring
  • Large selection of vintage watches
  • Bezel with four claws since 1982
  • Characteristic five-pointed star on the dial

Omega's First Chronometer Series: The Constellation

Omega first introduced the Constellation in 1952 and still produces it to this day. Since then, the design has undergone many changes. It had developed from an elegant dress watch into a modern, sporty watch by the early 1980s. The most long-lasting change came in 1982, when Omega started producing the Constellation Manhattan. Four claws on the fixed bezel, two on each side at three and nine o'clock, were added and became the distinguishing feature of the Constellation collection. These claws are purely ornamental; jewelers usually use them to border gemstones. Another characteristic mark of this collection is the five-pointed star on the dial over six o'clock. It has been featured there since 1952 as a symbol of the watch's tested chronometer quality and prestige, as the Constellation is the first wristwatch chronometer Omega produced in a series.
The Omega Constellation received its name from the field of astronomy. The term "constellation" refers to a group of stars which form a particular shape in the sky. Over its 160-year history, Omega has participated in many observatory trials, the only manufacturer other than Patek Philippe to participate every year. Omega was setting precision records from the very beginning. The Constellation collection pays homage to these observatory trials. The star on the dial and the observatory cupola on the case back symbolize Omega's achievements.

Buying Advice for the Omega Constellation

The Omega Constellation is a very recognizable watch. Since the introduction of the Constellation Manhattan in 1982, the timepieces have featured four characteristic claws on the bezel. The case diameter ranges from 24 to 38 mm. Smaller models are well-suited for women's wrists and have diamond indices or diamonds on the bezel. There is the choice between a stainless steel, bicolor, or yellow or red gold version. Omega mainly pairs these watches with stainless steel or gold-link bracelets, although some models have leather straps. Pre-owned models with quartz calibers can be purchased for less than 1,000 euros. Well-maintained automatic versions start around 1,000 euros. Starting around 2,500, you can purchase a newer, unworn model. Gold versions with diamonds on the dial and bezel cost much more, around 50,000 euros.
If you're looking for a vintage Omega watch, then you'll find a fitting model in the Constellation collection. Pre-1982 models have a more classic look, making them better suited as dress watches to wear at the office. Well-maintained models from the 1960s or 70s can be purchased for around 600 euros. Gold models from around this time are between 3,000 and 10,000 euros, depending on their condition.

Top Omega Models

The Constellation's Design

The newer Constellation models are wristwatches with distinctive designs. Their most characteristic detail is the set of four claws on the fixed bezel, introduced in 1982 with the Constellation Manhattan. Just as iconic are the Roman numerals on the majority of the bezels. Due to the claws, III and IX are left out. There is the choice between a 38-mm, 35-mm, 31-mm, 27-mm, or 24-mm version. The smaller sizes were designed with women in mind. Omega offers these watches with automatic calibers as well as electronic quartz calibers. A special feature of the automatic calibers is the Co-Axial escapement, which is an alternative to the usual Swiss anchor escapement. It is much more efficient and its components last longer.
Omega offers the Constellation in yellow, white, or red gold, or stainless steel. Bicolor models are also available. Stainless steel, gold, and bicolor bracelets are more common, but some models feature leather straps. Real eye-catchers are models with a diamond-encrusted dial. Many of the women's watches use diamonds for indices and bezel decoration. The designers really let their creativity flow while designing the dials: silver, black, white, brown, champagne, and more - a color for nearly every preference is available. Mother-of-pearl dials give some models a unique look with their shimmering, almost magical effects.

Omega Globemaster: A Vintage-Inspired Timepiece

The current Globemaster models make up their own line within the Constellation collection. The watches in this vintage-inspired line pay homage to the first models from the 1950s with their "Pie Pan" dials. The 39-mm case with a ridged bezel was inspired by models from the 1960s. Together with the Swiss Federal Office of Meterology (METAS), Omega developed a new, practical testing process. The tests assess precision, waterproofness, the power reserve, and resistance to magnetic fields. The Globemaster is the first watch in the world to have passed all of these tests, and therefore the first to bear the title "Master Chronometer." The Globemaster's name comes from the models of the same name from the 1950s. The models were renamed "Globemaster" for the American market, as the name "Constellation" was already trademarked.

Omega Constellation: Beloved Amongst Collectors

If you're a lover of vintage watches, then the Constellation models from the 1950s and 60s could be of particular interest. Many of these watches are made of yellow gold and have a slender, gold Milanese strap. Leather straps were also available with these watches. These vintage models can be recognized by their so-called "Pie Pan" dials, named for their resemblance to a pie pan. The dials of the first Constellation watches were richly decorated with golden, diamond-shaped indices and tapered, golden hands, as well as the golden inscription and Constellation star. Rounded lugs were another characteristic mark up until the 1960s. Omega later redesigned them to be more rectangular while maintaining their elegance. The case backs of these watches feature a hand-engraved medallion of the Geneva observatory. Eight stars above the observatory symbolize the chronometer tests developed with METAS.

1950s Constellations

  • Gold, diamond-shaped indices
  • "Pie Pan" dial
  • Case Back Featuring the Geneva Observatory
Omega exclusively uses chronometer-certified movements in their Constellation watches. Caliber 551 (no date display) has proven itself to be particularly precise and reliable and has been powering Constellation models since 1959. It's 27.9 mm in diameter and 4.5 mm thick. The balance wheel vibrates at a frequency of 19,800 alternations per hour. A patented mechanism allows the rotor to bidirectionally wind the barrels. Variants powered by this caliber have developed into this Swiss manufacturer's most successful timepieces. With this caliber family, Omega broke numerous precision records in the wristwatch category in 1963.

Classic Models from Other Brands

The Constellation's Modern Caliber Technology

Omega's Constellation collection has always represented precision, and it remains so to this day. Innovative technology such as the Co-Axial escapement improves efficiency as well as precision and reduces friction between the movement's components. This makes lubrication unnecessary and the watch requires servicing less often. Two barrels in the calibers 8500 and 8501 ensure a power reserve of 60 hours. The 8501 features an 18-karat red gold rotor and balance bridge. The 8500 and 8501 power the 38-mm versions of this series. In the smaller 35-mm versions, Omega uses caliber 2500, the very first Omega movement to feature a Co-Axial escapement.
The timepieces are available as simple three-hand models with either with a date display at three o'clock or a day/date display and no other additional functions. In the day/date versions, the day is written out at the twelve o'clock position and the date is at six o'clock. These watches are powered by calibers 8602 and 8612, both with a Co-Axial escapement. Both the date and day display spring forward right on time at midnight. The calibers both have a 55-hour power reserve and feature a silicon balance spring. If you're interested in a comparable watch with a day/date display, take a look at Rolex's Day-Date. The Day-Date is available exclusively in gold or platinum.