Buying Guide to Popular Vintage Omega Constellation Watches
Popular Vintage Omega Constellation Watches
Omega introduced the Constellation collection in 1952 as a family of automatic chronometer-certified wristwatches. Every Constellation watch since has been furnished with a special emblem on the back depicting an astronomical observatory under eight stars. The eight stars represent two chronometer world records and six first-place awards Omega racked up between 1933 and 1952—and the Constellation takes its name from these stars.
From the onset, the Omega Constellation represented the very best in Swiss watchmaking precision and accuracy and this was the first time a brand offered a watch collection comprised entirely of chronometers. Aside from the topnotch mechanical movements inside the watches, the Constellations were also exquisitely designed timepieces. As a result, vintage Omega Constellation watches are a favorite among watch collectors, often affectionately referred to as “Connies.” Here are some popular vintage Omega Constellation watches in today’s market.
Signature Design Traits of Vintage Omega Constellation Watches
By most collectors’ standards, the golden age of vintage Constellation watches run from 1952 to the mid-1970s. While the Constellation collection offered a varied assortment of metals, dials, bracelets, and lug options during this era, there are a few design details that tie them all together. Vintage Connies with round cases produced in the 1950s and early 1960s all came equipped with a 10-sided winding crown—a defining characteristic of the earliest examples.
By the mid-1960s, round fluted winding crowns were introduced. All vintage Constellation watches have the iconic observatory and stars emblem on the caseback—hand engraved on the precious metal versions and as a medallion on the steel and two-tone versions. On the dial is the Constellation name with a star right under it. However, it’s important to note that in the US, the Constellation watch was first marketed as the “Globemaster” (without the Constellation name on the dial but still with the star) but Omega had to abandon that name due to copyright issues.
Finally, before the introduction of the quartz Constellation in 1970, all vintage Constellations ran on automatic chronometer-rated movements; first with “bumper” calibers with an oscillating weight that wound in one direction followed by ones with full 360-degree turning rotors.
Vintage Omega Constellation “Pie Pan” Models
Particularly popular vintage Omega Constellation watches are those furnished with the so-called “Pie Pan” dials, characterized by a sloping and faceted surface reminiscent of an upside-down pie pan.
Constellation "Pie Pan" from the early 1950s:
Omega created this distinct dial style very early on in the Constellation’s history. The last vintage Constellation to feature the pie-pan is a special-edition one made in 1974 exclusively for the Japanese market.
Omega "Pie Pan" for the Japanese market, mid 1970s.
Early Pie Pan dials included gold arrowhead hour markers and by the 1960s, Omega introduced stick hour markers with onyx inlays.
Vintage Omega Constellation “Grande Luxe” and “Deluxe” Models
In order to attract a wide customer base, Omega organized the Constellation line to include the even higher-end Constellation Grand Luxe and Constellation Deluxe to sit alongside standard models. The Constellation was available in steel or gold while the Constellation Deluxe was fashioned in gold with applied gold indexes on the dial. The Constellation Grand Luxe was the pinnacle of luxury, only available in gold or platinum with a matching precious metal dial and a matching “Brick Link” bracelet. The Constellation Grand Luxe watches were sold in solid silver presentation boxes. There are also the superb vintage Constellation Deluxe/Grand Luxe models with cloisonné enamel dials (produced by the renowned Stern Freres dial making company) depicting the famed observatory against a starry night sky. These were made in very small numbers for the Middle East in the 1950s.
Vintage Omega Constellation “C Shape” Modelsh
The so-called “C Shape” or “C Case” Omega Constellation watches made their debut in 1964 as the third design generation of the collection. Designed by none other than Gerald Genta (the legendary watch designer who would later be responsible for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, Cartier Pasha, and other iconic watches), the C-Shape name refers to the case and lugs resembling two mirror images of the letter C, resulting in a curvier and more modern style for the Constellation.Some came with knurled bezels while others with smooth bezels. Omega furnished many of the C-Case Constellation watches with metal bracelets matching the case material rather than the more traditional leather straps. There are vintage C-Shape Constellation watches with date windows and some with day/date indicators. Omega eventually discontinued the C-Case Connie in 1978.
Today’s Omega Constellation watches do not resemble the early models as they are based on the Constellation Manhattan designed in the 1980s. For fans of fine vintage watches, the Omega Constellation watches of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s are some of the greatest examples of mid-19th century Swiss-made watches.
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