Omega may be named after the last letter of the Greek alphabet, but the brand is often one of the first that watch collectors gravitate toward when building a collection. With over a century of designs and innovations to choose from, buyers are spoiled for choice when shopping for Omega watches. With that in mind, we decided to embark on a bit of a thought exercise today: If we had to build a collection made up exclusively of Omega watches, what would it look like?
Below is a sample of some of the pieces on offer; we chose five of our personal favorites to make up our dream Omega-only collection. So, have we included the famous Omega Speedmaster? But of course. Did we also throw in some weird and wacky pieces from the brand’s archives? You’ll have to read on and find out for yourself.
Omega Speedmaster Professional
We’ll start with the Omega Speedmaster Professional, because I’m afraid of the comments we’d receive if we didn’t! While it’s not the cheapest Omega, it’s certainly an icon. This model is still relatively affordable and any watch collection, let alone an Omega-specific collection, isn’t complete without one. We could write an entire article about collecting this single Omega model, but we’ll keep things simple for today.
Some purists and vintage enthusiasts may disagree, but a great option to go for here is the current Speedmaster Professional that was released in early 2021. The redesigned bracelet has been applauded for its comfort; it tapers from 20 mm at the lugs to 15 mm at the clasp for a more natural fit. The case is also a little slimmer than previous Speedmasters, which is always welcome for chronographs, and the stepped dial adds some depth and plays with the light in an appealing way. You also have the “dot over 90” on the bezel, for a historic touch. Plus, it’s got an upgraded movement with the caliber 3861 – a manually-winding, Master Chronometer-certified, co-axial movement that took four years to develop.
Buyers have the choice between a Hesalite crystal with a solid case back or a more modern sapphire crystal with a see-through case back for viewing the movement within. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. While I absolutely love display case backs, especially on chronographs, for the Speedmaster, I’d recommend keeping it classic and going with the Hesalite crystal. There’s a warmth to it that sapphire just can’t match; akin to listening to a vinyl record versus streaming a song on Spotify. The Hesalite keeps that historic feeling intact and balances out a lot of the modern upgrades.
The Speedmaster Professional is the first track on Omega’s greatest hits album, making it one of the smartest purchases you can make in this hobby. It’s also one of the easiest watches to sell, should it come to that.
Omega Caliber 30T2 Watches
For a true piece of history, you’ve got to go way back to the 1950s, 40s, and even 30s with the caliber 30T2.
Despite their age, these Omegas are a good way to get into vintage watches. The 30T2 movement is so elemental in its construction that as long as it’s well-maintained, it can basically last forever – just make sure to check the movement for signs of rust and water damage before you buy.
There’s a good amount of variety when it comes to dials and hands, including my personal favorite: the pontife hour hand. Many dials are refinished, but that’s quite common with watches that are 70 or 80 years old.
In terms of sizing, these are vintage watches, so the average case diameter is about 35 mm, but it’s important to remember a few things. First, it’s easier to get used to wearing a smaller watch than a larger one. Second, these watches tend to wear a little larger due to the dial’s expansiveness. Third, they have a very elegant look that was the norm for much of the 20th century, so only buy one if you want to look like an old Hollywood movie star.
It wouldn’t be an Omega collection without a Seamaster, now, would it? The brand’s signature diving watch debuted in 1948, coinciding with Omega’s 100th anniversary. It became more prominent with the arrival of the professional-grade Seamaster 300 in 1957, which was a much more robust and durable watch than its predecessor.
Early examples represent great value for vintage sport watches. They feature Bakelite bezels, beautifully aged tritium dials and hands, and they were the watches of choice for the Royal Navy and Jacques Cousteau. Key references include the 165.024 and 166.024, and key collectable features to look out for include the “big triangle” at 12 o’clock and the broad sword hour hand, which adds even more character to an already storied watch.
The OG Seamaster 300 is our choice for this spot in the collection, but if you need a functional, waterproof, non-antique version for everyday life, Omega has quite a few options for you. The Seamaster 300M is the most popular choice, but I’d recommend considering the world timer version instead. That way, you’re adding an additional complication to your Omega collection. If you’re a James Bond fan, Omega also has a strong lineup of 007-themed Seamasters if you want to shake things up. Or stir things up? No, shaken, not stirred.
Omega Speedmaster (But Make It Funky)
You thought we’d stop with just one Speedmaster? Nope. Since it was originally designed as a racing watch, we’re going to take a victory lap here. With so many limited edition Speedmasters on Chrono24, it’s tough – and even a little unfair – to only pick the mainstream Professional Moonwatch.
It’s a running joke that Omega has produced a seemingly unlimited number of limited edition Speedmasters. Outer space is infinite; as is the imagination of the Omega design team, it would seem. While some may consider this a bad product strategy, it does mean that there are a lot of options out there, ensuring you can find something respectable and unique.
You could use this opportunity to go for an automatic version or perhaps even a Moonwatch with a moon phase. There’s also the delightfully futuristic X-33 with a digital dial. If you’ve got the money, go for the “Silver Snoopy Award” edition. Its case back is the most expensive cartoon you’ll ever watch.
There are really too many options here, but we have to pick one. To add a bit of color to the collection, let’s lock in the Japan Racing limited edition ref. 3570.40 from 2004. Here, you’ve got a nod to the racing heritage of the watch and “pops of color,” as we love to say in the industry. The sky’s the limit (space pun not intended) when choosing your own Speedmaster with a twist.
Wild Card Choice
For the last slot, the wild card slot, we’re going to leave things a bit open-ended. We’ve already covered the pillars of the brand, and now that we’ve got the classics covered, it’s time to go for something more unique. You can take this in any direction you want – the weirder, the better. I’ll give you a few ideas to get started.
For that sleek, sexy, 1970s vibe, there’s the Omega Constellation. You could go for the Gerald Genta-designed version, but your best bet would be the integrated bracelet versions that are very handsome and quite underappreciated. You may even go with a two-tone Constellation for a bit of glamour.
If you’re a military history fan, then you’ve probably already considered a “dirty dozen” Omega. These were military-issued watches for British soldiers in WWII. As the nickname implies, there were a dozen companies supplying these watches, and Omega had some of the highest production numbers, so they’re not too difficult to find.
If watch movements are a priority for you, you’ll be pleased to know that there are Omega chronographs out there with the famous caliber 321. The 321 is based on a Lemania caliber from 1941, and was used in the original Speedmaster, as well as some Vacheron Constantin chronographs, and grail-level Patek Philippe watches like the 3970, 5970, and 5004.
If you want a watch that is sure to get some attention, why not choose a PloProf? This is a timepiece the really grows on you the more you look at it, and it signals to other enthusiasts that you’re not afraid to have some fun with your collection.
Since we have to pick one to finish off this article, let’s go with the Omega Ranchero. This watch is lovingly known as the “Fourth Musketeer,” the forgotten sibling of the 1957 trilogy of the Speedmaster, Seamaster, and Railmaster. It was only produced for approximately two years in the late 1950s, and was discontinued because in Spanish, the term ranchero is a somewhat condescending term for a farm laborer. That aside, it’s a great looking watch if you can find an original, and the fact that it was a flop will put a smile on your face every time you look at it.