2019 is kind of a big year for OMEGA. The Swiss luxury watchmaker celebrates not one but two special jubilees this year. First and foremost, it’s the stellar 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 moon landing and the iconic Speedmaster’s first trip to the lunar surface; and for an astonishing other, it’s also the 125th anniversary of the OMEGA name.
With the launch of the De Ville Trésor 125th Anniversary Edition, we delve into the riveting story of the brand to uncover where and how OMEGA first got its world-renowned moniker, and why the new collection presents a past yet massively paramount movement for the watchmaker. Timepiece turtle doves: buckle up your seat belts – an incredible horological history class and inspired new watch awaits.
What’s in a name?
When OMEGA watches started out, they were not known as OMEGA watches. The brand as we know and love it today actually holds its roots in a small workshop in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. It was opened by a young watchmaker by the name of Louis Brandt, who had a passion for precision, developing the most accurate watches he could, and quickly gaining a reputation for it across Europe. After his death in 1879, his sons Louis-Paul and César took over, and 15 years later, introduced a groundbreaking new movement that would change the watchmaking world forever.
The year was 1894, and the new movement was called the 19-ligne caliber. It was a big moment for many reasons, as the caliber presented revolutionary production methods and set a new standard in watchmaking. It was extremely accurate, and perfected the combination of winding and time-setting via the stem and crown as is still widely used today. The 19-ligne caliber achievement was given the name ‘Omega’.
‘Omega’ is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and drawing on the worldwide success of the 19-ligne caliber at the time, crowns the movement as ‘the final word’ or ‘the ultimate’ in horological accomplishment. By 1903, the Brandt brothers changed the name of the entire company to OMEGA Watch co., at which point the business was the largest manufacturer of finished watches in all of Switzerland. This year, OMEGA celebrates the 125th anniversary of this name, and its legacy.
The De Ville Trésor 125th Anniversary Edition
A magnificent milestone marker, OMEGA has unveiled a special De Ville Trésor 125th Anniversary Edition timepiece. It’s a striking one from the get-go, featuring a vibrant red enamel dial inspired by the brand’s iconic signature colour, and matching beautifully with the burgundy leather strap. The colour combination is a first for OMEGA, but just the beginning in celebratory touches.
The party continues on the back of the 18k yellow gold 44mm case, where a special 18k yellow gold medallion displays a 125th anniversary commemoration filled with red enamel. The decorative engraving is known as ‘damaskeening’, and features the same swirling pattern used to embellish the unique 19-ligne movement. Yet the greatest innovation lies in the new model’s heart: an all-new OMEGA Master Chronometer Caliber 8929. It’s a tribute to the 19-ligne, but also the first manual-winding Master Chronometer movement created by the brand.
The De Ville Trésor 125th Anniversary Edition manifests a beautiful way to link OMEGA’s rich past to its present. From 1894 to 2019, here’s to a celebration of name, of innovative watchmaking, and of history in time.