Many of the watches we offer here at analog/shift represent moments in time, pages out of the index of timepiece history, and we get no greater thrill than revitalizing them and sharing their history with enthusiast and collectors. But every so often, we encounter watches that defy single moments, embodying instead an horological zeitgeist that rises above individual production years or executions.
The Constellation line was launched by Omega in 1952, after a limited production of a watch commemorating their centennial in 1948 that was aptly named the Century. While the Century was never intended for retail production, it received such wide acclaim for both its sumptuous case design and it's chronometer-level accuracy that Omega decided to launch a new line. Beginning with their self-winding movement, Omega built a watch that matched their ideal for what a modern (at the time) watch should be.
Omega adorned the newly-minted Constellation line with a likeness of the Cupola of the Geneva Observatory. This observatory was one of several in Europe that put watches through a rigorous testing process with accuracy standards much more stringent than those of the Control Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, or COSC. These tests, lasting between 30 and 50 days, were broken down into eight categories of overall accuracy. Watches that passed the rigorous scrutiny were dubbed Observatory Chronometers and were awarded a special Bulletin de Marche from the Observatory that tested it. The cupola is a reminder of the watch's superior engineering, the eight stars a nod to Omega's acing of every category of the observatory accuracy tests in 1931.
While the Constellation is an extraordinary timepiece built to the highest standards of watchmaking, it is also an incredibly beautiful watch - simple yet well-bodied, elegant yet robust. This particular piece is a delightful and rare steel variant, featuring a 35mm case and a stunning non-luminous linen or "silk guilloché" dial and date function a 3 o'clock. Hailing from the early 1960s, this Constellation is more than just a watch, it is the embodiment of a hundred years of Omega engineers striving for the stars - and reaching them.
For a closer look at the history of the Constellation line, have a look at the Omega Museum Online, HERE.
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