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Omega Speedmaster

Omega

The first wristwatch on the moon
The Pilot Watch Magazine
Omega
09 April 2024

Outstanding and innovative luxury timepieces from Switzerland

Omega is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Biel, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1848 by watchmaker and entrepreneur Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Omega gained notoriety throughout its history, particularly as a watch supplier to NASA and as the official timekeeper at the Olympic Games. Today, Omega is a subsidiary of the well-known Swiss Swatch Group. The name Omega – last letter of the Greek alphabet – stands metaphorically for perfection and is intended to emphasize the exceptional quality of the timepieces.

Louis Brandt initially manufactured precision pocket watches, purchasing their individual components from local craftsmen. The high-quality timepieces are popular and are quickly sold throughout Europe. The big breakthrough came in 1894, when Brandt’s sons developed a revolutionary new caliber. The movement is designed in such a way that all parts can be both easily assembled and easily replaced. This in turn allows for a much more efficient organization of work and production, which is ultimately reflected in the outstanding accuracy and quality of the timepieces.

Omega’s heritage is based in particular on innovative watchmaking, but it is also inspired by our expeditions into space as well as our support of the world’s most beloved spy.

Omega

Omega’s path to the Swatch Group

Since the beginning of the last century, the Swiss watchmaker’s fortunes have been steered by Brandt’s descendants. Business is good and new developments continue to delight customers, including professional pilot’s watches, diving watches and sports watches. In 1925, against a backdrop of economic difficulties, a collaboration with the Swiss watchmaker Tissot is launched. Five years later, the two companies found the Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogèr, or SSIH Group, under whose umbrella many more more or less well-known brands will be added over the years – including Lanco and Lemania, makers of Omega’s most famous chronograph movements.

In the 70s of the last century, SSIH is one of the world’s leading luxury watch manufacturers, along with Rolex. Weakened by the so-called quartz crisis in the 1970s and 80s, when Japanese watchmakers such as Seiko and Citizen flood the market with inexpensive quartz watches, SSIH merges with Swiss watch giant Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG to form the ASUAG-SSIH holding company. Two years later, the holding company is acquired by a group of private investors and rises to become one of the largest watch manufacturers ever under the name Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie, or SMH. In 1998, SMH is renamed The Swatch Group, which today includes Omega as well as such well-known brands as Blancpain, Breguet and Swatch.

Outstanding and innovative timepieces at world-class level

Omega develops a whole range of outstanding and innovative watches over the decades. Among the Swiss company’s most important timepieces are the Constellation, Seamaster, Speedmaster and De Ville models.

Time and again, their fame is helped by promotional collaborations with world-famous stars of the film, show and sports scenes, including such celebrities as George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford and Michael Schumacher. But the Swiss luxury chronometers can also be found on the wrists of actors Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, as Omega has been the official sponsor of the James Bond films since 1995.

Omega has also been the official timekeeper of this international mega-event time and again since the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1952, Omega established electronic timekeeping in sports for the first time at the Summer Games in Helsinki – an unprecedented level of time accuracy in sports. To this day, the Omega name stands for high-precision timekeeping at world-class level.

The first watch on the moon

The name Omega is particularly associated with American space travel. Considered one of the world’s most famous watches ever, the Omega Speedmaster Professional. It is the winning watch of a rigorous selection process initiated by NASA for the Apollo program in the 1960s and 70s. The Omega Speedmaster Professional – to this day an official part of every astronaut’s kit – is thus used in various NASA projects – including the famous Apollo 11 mission: on July 21, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon – a moment that changed the world. After the landing of Apollo 11, the Speedmaster would become forever known as the Moonwatch. Incidentally, in March 2022, Omega, in collaboration with its sister company Swatch, released an affordable version of the iconic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch – The so-called MoonSwatch.

More from Omega

More information at omegawatches.com

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