OMEGA is easily one of the most well-known names in the world of luxury watches. With many of its models being regarded as “must-own” and “must-have” in the collections of any and all watch enthusiasts, the brand has enjoyed riding a wave of popularity ever since it was founded over 100 years ago.
Founded by Louis Brandt in 1848 in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds – a mecca for watchmakers – as La Generale Watch Co. it wasn’t until 1903 that the name OMEGA became incorporated. It was a few years earlier in 1848 that Louis’s sons came up with an entirely new in-house manufacturing and production control system, that meant individual parts of watches could be changed with ease. Watches with this functionality were marketed under the OMEGA brand (under ownership of La Generale Watch Co.), and their success led Louis to break OMEGA off into a completely separate company.
During the 1970s OMEGA found itself caught in what was essentially a head-to-head battle with Rolex to see who could be crowned “King of the Swiss Watch brands”, although both companies had their respective unique selling points. We’ll leave you to argue which company you think has since come out on top.
The Swiss watch brand has been the official timekeeper for many industries in its life too, including the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917, the U.S. Army in 1918 and it even lays claim to being the first watch manufacturer to land on the moon. The Olympic Games entrusts its timekeeping duties to OMEGA as well, and none other than British secret agent James Bond has worn OMEGA watches in films since 1995 – which proved to be a major win for the company, providing a much-needed resurgence in business.
It’s quite the resume for the esteemed brand, which only makes selecting the creme de la creme of OMEGA timepieces that much harder. We’re always up for the challenge here at DMARGE, however, and believe we’ve nailed it when it comes to selecting the nine OMEGA watches you should be considering next time you make a watch purchase.
Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
Reference Number: 188.8.131.52.01.001
Case Material: Titanium
Price: AU$14,025 Titanium Mesh Bracelet/AU$12,375 NATO Strap
We’ve already mentioned OMEGA’s association with James Bond. Ever since 1995’s Goldeneye, the MI6 agent has worn an OMEGA Seamaster. The Seamaster has been the flagship series of watches to come from OMEGA since 1948 and has been made available in various guises over the years, with everything from the movement to the material to the water-resistance being changed.
Previously, his watch of choice was a Rolex Submariner (we imagine OMEGA’s marketing team were particularly smug after this win). It stands to reason, then, that OMEGA should produce a 007 Edition of the famous timepiece, and boy is it a looker.
Designer in collaboration with blond Bond himself Daniel Craig, this latest 007 Edition released towards the end of 2019, will feature in the forthcoming ‘No Time To Die’ – which is also expected to be Daniel Craig’s last appearance. Chief among the updates to this watch is a brown hue which Craig says gives it a “unique edge” and an aluminium dial for a tough-as-nails build that is also lightweight.
Available with either a case-matching titanium mesh bracelet or a two-tone brown NATO strap, it’s the ultimate watch for the James Bond lover.
Seamaster Ploprof 1200M
Reference Number: 184.108.40.206.01.001
Case Material: Steel
Size: 55 x 48mm
The Seamaster is, as its name suggests, a divers watch. Most Seamaster watches you’re going to come across will be water-resistant to 300M, but for those who love to go deeper, but still need a capable wrist companion, the Ploprof 1200M is just the ticket.
Short for “Plongeur Professional” – French for ‘diver’ – the Ploprof was originally released in the 1970s and proved to be an instant hit. Not only did its one-piece case design make it water-resistant to incredible depths (the original could go to 600M), but it was able to withstand pressures for long periods of time.
There’s no denying it looks a little unusual, but the design – which we happen to adore – gave it its functional capabilities. OMEGA chose to reissue the Proplof 1200M in 2009, much to the delight of its fans. Retaining virtually identical looks and proportions (except for the new version being 1mm wider and 3mm taller) this new iteration doubles the water-resistance rating of its predecessor, meaning you can, as the name implies, dive down to 1200M and have it continue to function.
The fat orange hand is still present and correct, but OMEGA has now given the pusher the orange treatment too, and it’s this you need to depress before being able to rotate the bezel in either direction. While we don’t expect many owners to take it down to its advertised depths, it’s certainly a looker and one that will turn heads in the ocean.
Speedmaster Moonwatch “Dark Side Of The Moon”
Reference Number: 3220.127.116.11.01.003
Case Material: Black Ceramic
Second to the Seamaster in the list of famous OMEGA watch collections is the Speedmaster. Introduced – and subsequently been in production since – 1957, the Speedmaster has been made available in a few variations.
The Speedmaster Professional, known best as the “Moonwatch”, is the flagbearer of the series. It’s the watch that made it to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, hence its colloquial nomenclature. Today, the Speedmaster Professional is still qualified for NASA spaceflight and is the only model qualified to for extravehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk in laymen’s terms.
Given the name Speedmaster, you may wonder why it has a long association with space, and it’s a fair point. The collection was in fact originally destined to be a chronograph for use its sport and racing disciplines, and as such, featured a tachymeter bezel.
This particular model, dubbed “Dark Side of the Moon” is unique with its black zirconium oxide ceramic case and matching dial, giving it a stealthy look that is simply to die for. The tachymeter remains, this time finished in a matt chromium nitride and the words “Dark Side of the Moon” are engraved on the caseback, circling the open-window to the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 9300.
Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M
Reference Number: 18.104.22.168.01.002
Case Material: Steel
The Seamaster Aqua Terra collection launched in 2003 with a decidedly more elegant design that the umbrella collection they were introduced under. They’re certainly more aligned with dress watch design at least, and a defining feature within the series is the use of patterned or graduated dials.
The main Aqua Terra range comprises models with various coloured dials, strap materials and colours, and all employ a 41mm dial. One piece that stands out, however, is the 15,000 Gauss edition, which is truly one of a kind.
That’s because this Aqua Terra is fitted with OMEGA’s Co-Axial calibre 8508, which is resistant to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 Gauss. In case you’re not entirely sure exactly what that means, it makes this Aqua Terra capable of defying all magnetic fields on earth. Some achievement we think you’ll agree.
Magnetism is a watch’s worst nightmare, as forces can interfere with the intricate movements, causing them to eventually become inaccurate over time. Most watchmakers will fit their timepieces with anti-magnetic casings to fend off the unwanted forces, but for this Aqua Terra, OMEGA made the movement from non-ferrous materials instead.
The result is a movement that is still COSC-certified even after being subjected to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 Gauss. While that may be the headline feature, this Aqua Terra has many other handsome qualities, including a black dial with contrasting yellow detailing, moving it more towards a sportier look than the dress style of other models in the series.
Reference Number: 22.214.171.124.01.001
Case Material: Sedna gold
Take any high-end watch manufacturer and we’d bet our lunch money they’ll have gold and/or rose gold models in their lineup. OMEGA is no different, and we think this Sedna gold Seamaster 300 is quite possibly the best-looking gold watch the Swiss manufacturer produces.
Sedna gold is an alloy unique to OMEGA that combines gold, copper and palladium, resulting in an 18K rose gold that is simply stunning. The exact hue OMEGA has achieved is made possible by the percentage of copper included in its DNA, the palladium is included to help ensure it retains that hue for as long as possible.
The same Sedna gold has been applied to the hands and matching bracelet too. This particular Seamaster rocks a 41mm case, which many could consider being the sweet spot of sizing and it certainly lends itself to being suited to both casual and formal occasions – we imagine its price tag will cause you to wear it more for the latter.
Of course, it’s an adept diver too, and as its name implies is capable of being submerged up to 300 metres.
Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M “Deep Black”
Reference Number: 126.96.36.199.01.001
Case Material: Black Ceramic
The Planet Ocean has been a mainstay within the Seamaster collection since 2005 and takes the diving capabilities of its overruling father and puts them on steroids. To that end, this is a far more capable diver’s watch, being able to go down to depths of up to 600M. Other features include a helium release valve and chronometer certification.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest dive watches of all time, the Planet Ocean series is deserved of receiving its share of variations, such as this “Deep Black” model. Benefitting from the same black ceramic material used for the “Dark Side of the Moon” Speedmaster, this Planet Ocean explores the dark side of the ocean instead.
The all-black colouring is said to represent the ocean at 300 metres while the 18K white-gold hands provide a stark contrast and improved legibility. This model also gets an additional GMT function, because you may need to know what time it is in New York when surveying the ocean floor.
It’s not common to find completely blacked out dive watches, which makes this Planet Ocean all the more desirable.
Reference Number: 188.8.131.52.03.001
Case Material: Steel
And now for something, completely different. The Railmaster was released in 1957 alongside the Speedmaster and Seamaster, but was sort of the outcast of the pack because it was aimed at the more unglamorous world of electrical engineering and science. But what it lacked in glamour is made up for in function, as the Railmaster was far more adept at resisting magnetic fields – and was essentially the company’s answer to the Rolex Milgauss and IWC Ingenieur.
It was, up until 2017, its own collection (although has been in and out of production since its introduction) but at Baselworld that year OMEGA launched an updated version within the Seamaster collection. It’s where it remains, and while you can easily get your hands on that handsome model (part of the Trilogy Set) for something a little out of the ordinary is this double denim model.
Unconventional and perhaps more fashion-focused than OMEGA has been known for, this Railmaster, sorry, Seamaster Railmaster, maintains all the hallmarks of the series, just jazzed up a little. The dial exhibits a “blue jeans” design to complement the denim NATO strap (which could prove tricky to pair with some outfits) but it’s certainly a watch to provide some individual style.
In true Railmaster fashion, it retains the anti-magnetic properties that made the collection famous and is powered by the company’s 8806 calibre, which is Master Chronometer certified.
Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”
Reference Number: 3184.108.40.206.01.005
Case Material: Steel
Yes, we know we’ve already featured a Speedmaster Moonwatch on this list, but that all-black version may not be to everyone’s taste. Besides, that model needed to be based on an original, which happens to be this one. And it is, quite simply, an icon.
Introduced in 1957 and enjoying being in production ever since, the Speedmaster Professional has been through a fair number of variations in its 63-year life. This 42mm Moonwatch is easily the most iconic however, rocking steel case and bracelet with black dial and hesalite crystal. Three sub-dials displaying small seconds, 30-minutes and 12-hours are all present and correct, along with a central chronograph hand.
The movement inside the very latest Speedmaster has been through a couple of variations but is ultimately the same calibre as the one that made it to the Moon. The current version is the cal. 1861, introduced in 1996. This is based on the 861 but received the extra ‘1’ when it became rhodium plated.
Both are direct descendants of the cal. 321, with all being based on Lemania movements.
While all the watches in this list are worth investing in, if you only choose one, it really should be this Speedmaster.
Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M
Reference Number: 220.127.116.11.01.001
Case Material: Steel
The Planet Ocean 600M is another repeat entry, but like the previous Speedmaster, this version is far more simple in its approach to design, giving it far greater appeal. We also think, at 43.5mm, it’s the absolute perfect size for the majority of watch wearers.
That means that while it is obviously designed to be worn by divers (and is seen by many as one of the greatest dive watches of all time) – not only because of its 600-metre water-resistance but its helium escape valve – it has found an audience in the casual watch enthusiast too.
The Planet Ocean’s predecessor, the Seamaster Professional, got its 15-minutes of fame in 1995’s Goldeneye, the Planet Ocean was put under the limelight in 2006’s Casino Royale, continuing the long association with James Bond.
This model also comes with a GMT function and a date window at 3 o’clock, effectively making it the ultimate tool watch.
OMEGA Watches FAQ