This time Timemachine.fi introduces one of the most famous watch brands in the world. If you are real watch hobbyist or collector, you have often heard the name of Omega. Omega is one of the watch brand icons and definately one of the most desirable watches among watch collectors. Omega is the last letter of Greek alphabets and is the symbol in the all Omega watch dials.
THE HISTORY OF OMEGA
Omega watchbrand is established in the 14th of July 1848 by Louis Brandt, who was only 23-years old. Louis Brandt founded La Generale Watch Co, his sales office and factory at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. There he started to make key-wounded pocket watches of parts he acquired from local watchmakers. He sold his watches throughout Europe, mainly to Britain which was his main market.
On the July 1877 he and his son Louis-Paul established Louis Brandt & Fils. Two years later, Louis Brandt died in La Chaux-de-Fonds on the 5th of July 1879. In 1880 brothers Louis-Paul and Cesar Brandt moved into a small factory in the city of Biel, Switzerland, which was former textile industry city. In Biel brothers launched their first watch brands. These brands were Louis Brandt and Gurzelen in 1882, Décimal in 1884 and Labrador in 1885. Each brand was based in similar movements, but they had their own characteristic. 1889 company was the largest watch manufacturer and they employed 600 workers and produced 100000 units of watches annually. Watches achieved a precision of within 30 seconds a day in 1895.
The success led to the firm becoming a centre of research and development and around in 1900 production increased to units of 240000 watches produced annually and employing 800 people. The Brandt brothers, Louis-Paul and Cesar Brandt, both died in 1903 and same year the company officially changed its name to OMEGA Watch Co. The control of the company took over the four persons and the oldest, who was Paul-Emile Brandt was only 23-years old.
The company name Omega was officially changed in 1903, but the first watch to appear under this name was released in 1909 at the Gordon Bennett Cup, an international ballooning contest. Omega started to get popularity in sports events and The British Royal Flying Corps decided to choose Omega watches in 1917 as their official timekeepers for its combat units, as did the American army in 1918. It was the reputation for accuracy that led to the decision made by the International Olympic Committee to appoint Omega as the official timekeeper of the 1932 Los Angeles Games. It was the first time in Olympic history that one brand had been given the responsibility to time all events. Since 1932, Omega has been the official timekeeper at 26 Olympic Games.
Omega Speedmaster was created in 1957. NASA decided to use Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph wristwatch in 1965 as its official timekeeper. On 21st July 1969 astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon and he said famous slogan “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, he was wearing his Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph. This watch received a unique nickname: the Moon watch.
1991 Omega introduced exceptional co-axial escapement which has extended service life of 10 years.
OMEGA GENEVE CAL. 552
Omega Geneve model was created in 1953 and production was stopped in 1979. Obviously the model name of Geneve is based to the city in Switzerland. Geneve models were available in different movement and case variations. There were at least handwinding movements as 601, 611 and 613 with/without date function. Automatic watch models had for example 552, 563 ja 565 with/without date function depending on caliber. Case materials where stainless steel, gold plated or solid gold.
Omega caliber 552 is automatic movement with sweep second feature. Movement has 24 jewels, amplitude 19800 A/h and power reserve 50h. Diameter of movement is approx. 28mm and height is 4,5mm.
The following photos of the Omega Geneve is from private collection. Overall watch condition is decent if considering the age of the watch. It has slight patina in dial and frame, but it is pretty normal to vintage watch which has been used in daily life.
According to the serial number, this Omega Geneve is manufactured about 1968.