Omega SA, is one of the most premier watchmaking companies in the world today. And they have been at this level of luxury and professionalism since the 1800s, specifically 1848.
Famous supporters of the brand include John F. Kennedy, Prince William, Buzz Aldrin and more. It has been used as the official timekeeping piece by the British army and the Olympic games.
As you can see, this luxury watch brand has a storied and star-studded past, so let’s take a look at how Omega came to be what it is today and just what makes it so special.
In 1848, 23-year-old Louis Brandt founded Omega. Brandt put together the first Omega watch by combining parts from local Swiss craftsmen. He eventually began selling to countries like Italy and Scandinavia through England, his major consumer market.
In 1879 Brandt passed away and his two sons, Louis-Paul and César, who were unhappy with the manufacturing process moved everything in house to have complete control.
Throughout this period in their new factory Omega created the Labrador and Gurzelen, and their first marketing success, the Omega Calibre, in 1894.
In 1903, both Louis-Paul and Cesar passed away and the 800-employee company was left in the hands of the 23 year old Paul-Emile Brandt. Paul Emile really shaped Omega during the 20th century, eventually leading to the merger of Omega and Tissot in 1930.
From the 30s to the 70s Omega acquired about 50 companies including multiple watch movement companies. During the 70s it was very clear that Omega had become one of the best watch brands in the world. It’s only big competitor was Rolex, a brand who sold their watches at a higher price but wasn’t as popular as Omega.
During the 1970s, after Omega’s huge popularity surge, Japanese brands like Citizen and Seiko started to cause challenges for Omega because of their quartz movement. Omega tried to compete, but it didn’t work as well as they’d hoped. Eventually, Omega was acquired by the Swatch Group in 1998.
From there, Omega decided to go back to their roots and invest in technology. Over the years Omega redesigned their movement to what is now known as the co-axial escapement. This movement reduces the friction on the moving parts which increases the interval time in between watch services. This movement also uses a silicon hairspring which is resilient to magnetism and therefore allows the watch to keep great time.
Also with the 007 films, Omega has had a resurgence in popularity. They also adopted a new higher pricing model that also helped put them back on top.
The reason Omega is still one of the most popular watch brands today is first and foremost because of their quality, but celebrities wearing the brand help too. George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Tom Hanks, Prince William, Cindy Crawford and JFK have been spotted multiple times wearing Omega timepieces.
The most popular styles of watches worn by the stars are the Speedmaster Moonwatch which was the first watch to be worn on the moon by Buzz Aldrin and the Seamaster James Bond edition.
Omega is a Swiss brand that has endured difficult times and still is at the top of the watch industry. We welcome you to come see the collection in person – once you see one on your wrist, you’ll understand why the legacy continues today.