Omega is currently one of the most popular luxury watch brands on the market. Even those who are unfamiliar with the timepiece market are likely to be familiar with the Omega brand.
This is due to Omega’s excellent marketing strategy and impeccable timepiece design. You’ve probably heard of Omega if you’ve seen movies starring the dashing fictional superspy James Bond. Since the 1990s, Omega has been the official timepiece of the billion-dollar film franchise. Moving on to whether Omega is a luxury watch brand?
Yes, Omega watches are luxury watches, they are not only well-made, comes with a great (well appreciated movements), made by watch experts, comes at a hefty price, and often retains value (but this can vary depending on the model of the watch.
What Makes Omega Watches So Expensive?
Omega watches are expensive because they are Swiss-made and of high quality. Omega is another excellent brand with a long history and reputation.
Omega also spends a lot of money on advertising and celebrity endorsements to make the case that they are worth their exorbitant price tag.
If you invest in an Omega, you will most likely be left with a relationship that will last a lifetime, as the watches are also well-known for their durability.
Are Omega Watches Reliable?
The Omega watch, designed to enforce rules, can be seen as a fixture on a few well-off men’s bedside tables or dressers.
You’ll find them safely concealed in its extravagance velvet box, ensuring that this exceptionally dainty watch will be completely free of scratches and residue when not smoothly lashed to its proprietor’s wrist.
Omega produced a portion of its most important watches and watches around this time.
It is widely accepted that these are vintage Omega watches that are still extremely sought after and popular to this day. During WWII, Omega established a strong reputation for creating pilot and military watches for military personnel.
They are well-known for their superior craftsmanship and impeccable scrupulousness.
Extra popular watches created around this time included the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph, Omega Seamaster, and Waterproof Sports Watch, all of which are still well known today.
The Origins of Omega Watches
La Generale Watch Co., the forerunner of Omega, was founded in 1848 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland by Louis Brandt, who assembled key-wound precision pocket watches from parts supplied by local craftsmen. He sold watches from Italy to Scandinavia via England, his primary market.
His two sons, Louis-Paul and César, created a revolutionary in-house manufacturing and total production control system in 1894, allowing component parts to be interchangeable. Watches made using these techniques were marketed by La Generale Watch Co. under the Omega brand.
The Omega brand’s success by 1903 prompted the La Generale Watch Co to spin off the Omega brand as its own company, and the Omega Watch Co was officially founded in 1903.
Both Louis-Paul and César Brandt died in 1903, leaving one of Switzerland’s largest watch companies — with 240,000 watches produced annually and 800 employees — in the hands of four young people, the oldest of whom, Paul-Emile Brandt, was only 24.
Omega’s great architect and builder was Brandt. Over the next half-century, his impact would be felt. The economic difficulties caused by the First World War compelled him to work actively from 1925 toward the union of Omega and Tissot, followed by their merger in 1930 into the group SSIH, Geneva.
The SSIH Group continued to grow and multiply under Brandt’s leadership and Joseph Reiser’s leadership beginning in 1955, absorbing or creating some fifty companies, including Lanco and Lemania, manufacturers of the most famous Omega chronograph movements.
By the 1970s, SSIH had risen to become Switzerland’s leading manufacturer of finished watches, as well as the world’s third. Until now, the Omega brand had outsold Rolex, its main Swiss rival in the luxury watch segment, despite the fact that Rolex watches were more expensive.
Around this time, the competition for the title of “King of Swiss Watch Brands” was viewed as Rolex versus Omega. Omega watches were more revolutionary and professional in nature, whereas Rolex watches were more ‘evolutionary’ and well-known for their mechanical pieces and brand.
While Omega and Rolex dominated in the pre-quartz era, this changed during the quartz crisis in the 1970s. That is when Japanese watchmakers such as Seiko and Citizen rose to dominance as a result of their quartz movement pioneering.
In response, Rolex remained focused on its expensive mechanical chronometers, where its expertise lay (though it did experiment with quartz), while Omega attempted to compete with the Japanese in the quartz watch market with Swiss-made quartz movements.
Omega Watches: New Developments
Weakened by the severe monetary crisis and recession that lasted from 1975 to 1980, SSIH was bailed out by banks in 1981. During this time, Seiko expressed interest in acquiring Omega, but the talks fell through.
The other Swiss watchmaking behemoth, Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG (ASUAG – supplier of a wide range of Swiss movements and watch assemblies), was in financial trouble.
It was the primary manufacturer of Ébauche (unfinished movements) and the owner of several other Swiss watch brands, including Longines, Rado, Certina, Hamilton Watch Company, and Mido, through their sub-holding company General Watch Co (GWC).
The R&D departments of ASUAG and SSIH merged production operations at the ETA complex in Granges after drastic financial restructuring. In 1983, the two companies merged completely, forming ASUAG-SSIH, a holding company.
This holding company was taken over two years later by a group of private investors led by Nicolas Hayek.
This new group, renamed SMH, Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie, went on to become one of the world’s top watch producers over the next decade. It was renamed the Swatch Group in 1998, and it now manufactures Omega as well as other brands such as Blancpain, Swatch, and Breguet.
Omega’s brand experienced a resurgence with advertising that focused on product placement strategies, such as in the James Bond 007 films; the character had previously worn a Rolex Submariner but switched to the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M with GoldenEye (1995) and has stayed with the latter ever since until swapping it for the Omega Planet Ocean and Aqua Terra).
Omega also adopted many elements of Rolex’s business model (for example, premium pricing, tighter controls on dealer pricing, increased advertising, and so on), which was successful in increasing Omega’s market share and name recognition, allowing it to become a more direct competitor to Rolex.
That’s about it for this blog, if you have any further clock/watches-related questions, feel free to use the comment section below. And if you want to read an interesting article on why clocks don’t appear in dreams, we have a great article on just that so do give it a click if you are interested “Why don’t clocks appear in dreams? Clocks and dreams!“. Here is also a link about the history of clocks if you want to give that a look “History of timekeeping devices“