A History of… Omega

Omega watches are trusted by James Bond, NASA and the Olympic Games so to say that they’re reliable would be the understatement of the century-and-a-bit that they’ve been operating. Not only do they have impeccably accurate watches, Omega has a rich and interesting history and this article will be dedicated to just that. Continuing on from the previous parts in this series, the histories of Breitling and TAG Heuer, we now go back to 1848 to the founding of Omega’s forerunner La Generale Watch Co

At the early age of 23, Louis Brandt set up a watch company and travelled through Europe to personally bring them to the customers. When his sons were of watchmaking age, they joined his company and it was renamed to Louis Brandt & Fils. After their father’s death in 1879, the sons travelled to Biel where they set up a factory building and some modern manufacturing equipment.

Fast forward to 1894 when the brothers develop an award-winning new watch; a banker suggests they name it Omega (the last letter in the Greek alphabet) to mark it as the last stage of possible perfection. The watch was submitted to the observatory trials, a test that is only passed by the most accurate watches. After the brothers die in 1903, six of their descendents take over and rename the company to S.A. Louis Brandt & Frère, Omega Watch Co. The business and its outstanding production equipment meant that Omega marched ahead of other watch companies making wristwatches, sports watches, military watches and many more innovative watches.

Over the next century-or-so, Omega gained a reputation for producing incredibly accurate watches, becoming one of only two watch companies to participate in the observatory trials every year until it was made redundant by quartz technology. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was selected by NASA to be used be all astronauts and in 1969 it became the first watch to be worn on the moon, by Buzz Aldrin (Neil Armstrong left his in the lander).

The brand was also chosen by Britain’s Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and the American Army in 1918 because of how reliable they were compared to other watches of the time. The Olympic Games still have it to this day as the official timekeeping device, being used to record the times in races.

Although Mr Bond was originally a Rolex man, from 1995 all of his watches have been Omega models; including the Seamaster Professional that included detonator, laser cutter and grappling hook (the real life models don’t have these).  Omega even released a few limited edition 007 watches to commemorate its partnership and the 50 year anniversary of Bond.

 

So that’s it, a summary of the history of Omega, one of the most reliable and trusted watch brands in the world. If your Omega is in need of repair (either from damage from a top secret mission or otherwise), we at Martin’s of Glasgow will be able to make it good as new again. Not only are we able to repair watches, we also offer jewellery repairs too. For more information about what we can do, don’t hesitate in contacting us on 0141 946 6333 and a member of our friendly team will be more than happy to help you with your enquiries.