Omega watches have been part of many history-making events

OmegaOmega is an internationally acclaimed Swiss manufacturer of superior quality watches. It belongs to the well-known Swatch group. The company was founded by Louis Brandt in 1848 who operated from the La Chaux-de-Fonds region in Switzerland. Today, its headquarters are in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland. A number of famous people and celebrities have chosen Omega as their watch of preference. They include Prince William, George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Nicole Kidman, Zhang Ziyi, Michael Phelps, Joe Biden, Buzz Aldrin, and John F Kennedy.

When Brandt first began making watches at his factory, he named the brand after himself, i.e. Louis Brandt. When he died, his sons, Louis-Paul and César, relocated the factory to Biel-Bienne and continued making watches. They did so well that, after five years of production, they had already employed over 500 workers. At this time, the company was called Louis Brandt & Frères.

The brothers changed the name of the company to Omega in 1894. This was the name of their first watch. The word ‘Omega’ is the last letter in the Greek alphabet and its meaning is ‘perfection’, therefore they wanted the world to know of the high standard of their timepieces. By 1904, both brothers had died and their children took over the company’s reins. Over the ensuing years, Omega earned the reputation of being one of the world’s most prestigious watchmakers.

In the past few decades, its watches have been used by many famous film-makers, especially James Bond films. Pierce Brosnan who played Bond in ‘Golden Eye’ wore a Seamaster Quartz. In the subsequent Bond movies, he wore a Seamaster Professional Chronometer. The most recent James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, also wears Omega watches in his films.

Presently, Omega is the official time-keeper at the Olympic Games. The first was the Summer Olympics in 1932 in Los Angeles. Since 2006, Omega has been keeping time at the Winter Olympics. In 1996, the company sponsored the New Zealand team in the famous yachting contest called the America’s Cup. The team won that year in their yacht called ‘Seamaster NZL-32’. To celebrate this victory, Omega produced a watch by the same name.

In 1999, Omega made history with its Calibre 2500 watch. This was the first massed produced wrist watch to feature a co-axial escapement which was invented by George Daniels, a British watchmaker. At the time, the industry considered it to be even better than the ground-breaking horological mechanism. The major significance of the co-axial escapement was that it needed hardly any lubrication to function. The 2500 model was followed by the Calibre 8500 and 8501.

The Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was worn by astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, during the epic Apollo moon-landing mission in 1969. Although the watch has since been lost, Aldrin even mentions it in his book ‘Return to Earth’. To commemorate the 50th birthday of this model, Omega unveiled an exclusive ‘Moonwatch’ in 2007. This watch included some of the features of the original 1957 model, one of which was a hand-winding mechanism. A limited edition was produced and some 5,000 watches were sold.