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OMEGA's history dates back to 1848, and the company has been creating timepieces that are both functional and fashionable ever since. Many "firsts" were achieved as a result of unique technological developments and extreme precision; the first watch worn on the Moon, for example, was an OMEGA. This, among other things, is one of the reasons why OMEGA is considered one of the top watch brands today. We hope you've enjoyed learning about OMEGA's past, present, and future.
The Brand's Background
OMEGA is a well-known watch brand today, and for good reason: it's one of only a few watch brands that retain their worth, and it's been a leader in timekeeping technology over the years. Louis Brandt founded the company in 1848, and it was initially called as La Generale Watch Co. Brandt offered superb key-wound pocket watches that were famous for their precision throughout its early years.
As demand swelled, Brandt expanded his operations, and he developed interchangeable components and a breakthrough production control system with his sons, Cesar and Louis-Paul, allowing watchmakers to minimise production time and extend their offers.
When Louis Brandt died in 1879, his sons took over the company and maintained its innovative reputation. The world's first minute-repeating timepiece was introduced in 1892, thanks to a collaboration with Audemars-Piguet. This renowned timepiece is now on exhibit at the OMEGA Museum in Switzerland.
In 1903, Cesar and Louis-Paul Brandt died. Louis Brandt et Frere – OMEGA Watch & Co. was added to the brand's name to recognise their efforts to the company and to remember their father. The current corporate name, OMEGA SA, was not introduced until 1982, despite the fact that the new nomenclature was quite a mouthful.
OMEGA had yet another transformation in 1903. That year, the company was taken over by Paul-Emile Brandt, who, at the age of 23, was in command of what was then a big enterprise and one of Switzerland's largest watch manufacturers, with 800 employees and an annual production of 240,000 timepieces.
By 1905, OMEGA had established itself as the official timekeeper for athletic events both in Switzerland and overseas. In 1909, OMEGA served as the official timekeeper for the Gordon Bennett Cup, a 1,200-kilometer international balloon race. In the same year, OMEGA increased its distribution throughout all six continents, cementing its position as one of the world's leading luxury watch brands. By 1932, OMEGA watches were keeping time at the Olympic Games, a distinction that the company still holds.
OMEGA was chosen as the official watch of Britain's Royal Flying Corps combat forces more than a century ago - in 1917, to be exact. In 1918, the United States Army followed suit. The firm won first place at Neurenburg's observatory trials in 1919, marking the first of numerous victories.
During the first and second World Wars, OMEGA launched a number of shock-proof, water-resistant, and antimagnetic timepieces, and by 1940, the business had become the leading watch supplier to the British armed forces as well as other allied forces.
In 1947, OMEGA introduced the world's first tourbillon wristwatch calibre, and the OMEGA Seamaster was born in 1948. The Constellation was introduced in 1952, while the Ladymatic, which is both stylish and functional, was introduced in 1955.
The Railmaster, Speedmaster, and Seamaster 300 were all released in 1957, and they are all still popular today. In keeping with the business slogan "OMEGA – accurate time for life," OMEGA was the world's largest manufacturer of COSC chronometers between 1958 and 1969.
During the Mercury Sigma 7 mission in 1962, astronaut Wally Schirra wore his OMEGA Speedmaster into space. This was the first watch in space, and its accuracy and dependability undoubtedly influenced NASA's decision to choose OMEGA watches for future space missions. Because the Lunar Module's built-in electronic timer failed during the 1969 lunar landing, Neil Armstrong placed his 105.012 Speedmaster inside as a backup. Despite the fact that Armstrong was the first to step foot on the moon, Buzz Aldrin's "moonwatch" was the first to feel the lunar atmosphere.
OMEGA watches are trusted by explorers and adventurers of all kinds. Here are a few highlights: Jacques Mayol wore his OMEGA Seamaster on a record-breaking 101-meter freedive in 1981. Reinhold Messner was accompanied by his OMEGA Speedmaster on a three-month foot trek across Antarctica in 1989. Victor Vescovo wore his OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional during a world-record-breaking submersible dive to the Mariana Trench's bottom, 10,928 metres below sea level, in 2019.
Many unique features, milestones, and awards have contributed to OMEGA's ever-increasing appeal throughout the years. OMEGA has maintained a coveted position among Europe's best watch brands over the decades. Anyone who has the chance to visit OMEGA's Museum in Switzerland should take advantage of it, as it is packed with incredible objects that span the company's history from the inception to the present.
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