The Speedmaster may be synonymous with Omega in the minds of many enthusiasts, and with good reason – it has a heritage and history unlike any other best UK Omega replica watches and unlike any other watch, period. But for several decades, the flagship watch from Omega wasn’t the Speedmaster, which came out in 1957. It was the Omega Constellation, which preceded the Speedmaster by five years, and whose beauty and precision made it the Omega to get, if you were getting an Omega.
The story of the Constellation actually begins slightly earlier, in 1948. That year, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary – the company that was to become Omega, La Generale Watch Company, was founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt, and became Louis Brandt et Frère-Omega Watch & Co. in 1903. To mark the occasion, Omega produced a watch pragmatically named the Centenary. The Centenary (designed by René Banwart, who also designed the 1948 Seamaster and who would go on to found Corum) was made in limited numbers. According to Omega, 6,000 total were made – all solid gold – and the perfect fake watches was so successful that Omega decided to create a collection based on it. This was the Constellation, first introduced in 1952.
The Constellation got its name from the emblem on the caseback, which showed an observatory with eight stars above it. The eight stars symbolize two chronometer records, and six first-place awards that Omega earned between 1933 and 1952. The two chronometer records were especially significant – in 1933, at the Kew-Teddington Observatory, Swiss made Omega replica watches set world records for precision in every category, and repeated the achievement in 1936.
Omega’s first Constellations used bumper rotor automatic movements (calibers 351, 352, and 354) in which the rotor doesn’t rotate around a full circle – instead, it strikes bumper springs at either end of its arc, between which the rotor bounces back and forth. The bumper movements have a distinctive feel on the wrist – you can actually feel the rotor rebounding.
One of the most distinctive features of many earlier top Omega Constellation copy watches was the distinctive faceted convex dial. It’s called a “pie-pan dial” by enthusiasts – and it does indeed look a little bit like an upside-down pie pan. The pie-pan dials are some of the most beautiful dial designs in the history of watchmaking, with 12 facets (the original model from 1952 had beautiful faceted markers, as well).
Some of the most spectacular vintage Constellation models traveled under the names Constellation Deluxe, Constellation Grand Luxe, and Constellation II Deluxe Calendar. These replica watches wholesale site used the same movements and were adjusted to the same precision as non-Deluxe models, but one key distinguishing factor was often a gold bracelet – the Grand Luxe model, for instance, came with an Omega Reinhor “brick” bracelet and is as opulent a gold watch as you could possibly imagine – if you’re lucky enough to see one in good, crisp, original condition, it’ll knock your socks off.
Through the 1960s, the Omega Constellation models began to take on simpler dial designs, but also a wider variety of case shapes. Two of the most interesting, if less well-known, models from the period are the references 368.0847 and 168.045, both of which have integrated bracelets in the modern sense of the word – there are two inner links on either end of the bracelet which fit into slots in the case, making changing out the bracelet for anything non-OEM a non-starter. Ref. 368.0847 has a patent attached to it, by Pierre Moinat, from several years before the watch launched.
These references should probably be mentioned more often in the history of integrated bracelet Swiss movements fake watches – the Royal Oak, which came out in 1972, was perhaps more overtly a “luxury sports watch” with its sky-high (for steel) pricing and aggressive contours, but the idea of an integrated watch certainly precedes it. If the Constellation weren’t firmly established in people’s minds as a dress watch, it might be better remembered as an innovator in the integrated bracelet category.
The development of quartz watch technology is usually reduced to a simple single sentence: Seiko released the first commercially available quartz watch, the Astron, on Christmas Day in 1969. However, quartz clock technology had been around since 1927, and by 1969 Longines had already announced its new Ultra-Quartz movement (which, unfortunately, it was not able to produce in time to get into the record books) and the Swiss quartz Beta-21 movement was just months away from delivery. The first Beta 21 quartz watches were delivered in 1970 and replica watches for sale that used the movement included the Patek Philippe 3597, the Rolex Oysterquartz 5100, and the Piaget 14101 – and Omega, which used the movement in the Constellation Electroquartz.
The Beta 21 caliber was a strange bird, although it made sense given the engineering constraints of the time. The basic timing package was a quartz crystal with a frequency of 8192 Hz, and the hands were driven by a tuning fork motor similar to the system used in the original Accutron. The system worked well enough but it was very power-hungry and the Beta 21 soon gave way to more efficient movements.
Throughout the 1970s, Omega kept pace with developing quartz watch technology and there were some models that I’m sure René Banwart never imagined in his wildest dreams, including LED and LCD models. For today’s Omega enthusiast, though, the year 1982 is the one in which Omega began producing the Constellation as we know it today, with the distinctive griffes, or claws, at three o’clock and nine o’clock. The design was by Carol Didisheim, who started at Omega in 1980, and the 1:1 online super clone watches was built around the ultra-thin quartz caliber 1422. It had an integrated bracelet, as well as a dial with the Roman numerals applied to the underside of the crystal.
The claws are more or less considered decorative nowadays but they were, originally, a technical solution – the idea was to keep thickness down by eliminating the bezel. The claws were actually clamps, secured by screws that ran through the caseback, whose purpose was to compress the gasket under the crystal and make it possible for the ultra-thin case to be water-resistant. By 1995, the Constellation had begun to take on more and more the appearance it has today, with the Roman numerals on the bezel rather than the crystal.
Automatic calibers were re-introduced to the Constellation in 1984, and the first cheap Omega Constellation replica watches with a co-axial caliber (the caliber 2500) came out in 2003. And the first Master Chronometer Constellation – the Globemaster – was introduced in 2015.
The Constellation Collection today is as varied as you’d expect for a watch collection which has been evolving since 1952, and in keeping with the Constellation’s history as a platform for both design and precision, the vast majority of them are mechanical chronometers and Master Chronometers. There are 39mm Master Chronometer Globemasters (the only models in the collection that don’t have the modern version of the claws introduced with the Manhattan), as well as co-axial Master chronometer models in 41mm, 36mm, and 27mm cases, a Small Seconds Master Chronometer model in 34mm and 27mm, and quartz models in 36mm, 35mm, 28mm, and 27mm. There are also co-axial chronometer models which are not Master Chronometer fake watches shop, in 38mm, 35mm, and 27mm cases (including a 35mm Small Seconds model).
The sheer diversity of AAA replica Omega Constellation watches today includes just about every case material and combination of materials you can imagine. If I could wish for anything it would probably be a reboot of the classic pie-pan designs from the 1950s, but the modern collection represents the latest chapter in the history of one of the longest-lived and most important watch collections in the history of wristwatches – a classic take on mid-century elegance.