Ranchero - is there a cooler name? Hell - is there a cooler watch?
One of the least understood models in the vintage Omega lineup, the Ranchero is also one of the rarest and most commonly faked or 'Frankensteined'. Featuring a thin steel case with manual winding movement and a sporty dial with large luminous plots, they make for the perfect combination of dress and tool elements.
This particular black dialed Ranchero was produced in February 1959, and was originally delivered to the US Army European Exchange System, indicating its first owner was most likely an American Serviceman deployed in Europe. Its dial has developed an absolutely rich patina with matching 'broad arrow' handset, more commonly seen in early Speedmasters.
This may very well be the nicest black-dialed Ranchero we've ever gotten our hands on - you don't want to miss out on this one!
When launched in 1958, the Ranchero was meant to be Omega’s successor to the Railmaster and Seamaster. Unlike those two watches—tough, purpose-driven, designed for specific professions or pastimes—the Ranchero was meant to do it all, really. Though they featured the same waterproof case design and robust hand-wound movement as its sportier brethren, the Ranchero’s slimmer profile meant that it could—like Ford’s Ranchero—do double duty for both work and play.
The thin profile of the crystal, coupled with the slim case, makes the dial really stand out, an effect that Omega used in many of its dress watches at the time. And the dial of the Ranchero owes much to the Railmaster, with its large luminescent hour markers and hands.
With all that the Ranchero had going for it, it should have been a success. By rights it should have sold as well as its automotive counterpart, which sold so well (over 508,000 units, in fact) that its success prompted Ford’s competitor, Chevrolet, to create a coupe utility of its own—the (in)famous El Camino! However, the Omega Ranchero did not prove to be the runaway hit that the Seamaster was, and Omega discontinued production by 1960.
Today, these limited production beauties are a rarity on the market, with clean examples rarely changing hands publicly. As the oddball in the lineup, they are finally getting the affection they deserve amongst vintage watch enthusiasts!
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