|Year of production (circa)
Omega Constellation Ref. 168.029
Texture is everything. That is surely the case for this beautiful C-case Omega Constellation Ref. 168.019 from 1968.
The show stopper here is the rich linen dial. A pattern of alternating brush strokes, diagonally crossing the dial, mimics the texture of linen fabric. It is a subtle effect for sure, but it adds a real sense of depth and visual interest. Other details, such as the Constellation star above the six o’clock marker and the applied Omega logo complete a very attractive dial. Stark black hands and indices contrast the silver linen dial nicely.
The typical C-case, combined with the broad day-date aperture at three o’clock is indicative of the late sixties and early seventies. The package is completed by the original brick bracelet. Of course, it will work on one of our beautiful leather straps just as well.
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When Omega celebrated its centennial in 1948, it launched its first chronometer-rated wrist watch, the Centenary, to commemorate the event. The watch was an instant hit and in 1952, Omega decided it was time to expand its chronometer efforts. The Constellation was born as its top line of officially chronometer-rated watches.
The Constellation would be easily recognizable through a star on the dial and a caseback featuring an image of the Geneva observatory and eight stars. A nod to the accuracy records Omega set at the Kew-Teddington observatory in the 1930’s.
The first models featured bumper-automatics. A variation on the common free-spinning rotor, where the rotation is limited to 120 degrees, before the rotor hits a spring. This can be felt when handling the watch as a little bump. After four years, these calibers were replaced by free-spinning automatics.
The earlier models from the 1950’s and 1960’s featured the iconic pie-pan dial. The dial would slope down at an angle around its outer perimeter, providing a very cool sense of dimensionality. Since the look is reminiscent of the underside of a pie-pan, a nickname was quickly born. Halfway through the sixties, flat-dial versions slowly took over. The pie-pan remains a highly sought-after Constellation variant today.
In the 1970’s, all sorts of creative case shapes and integrated bracelets were launched. Different sizes were introduced for men and women. Countless dial variations were sold. Steel, gold and gold-cap versions can be found.
The Constellation is clearly Omega’s high end range. More effort was put into finishing techniques and accuracy. Where the Seamaster and Speedmaster lines were more about utility, the Constellation was (and still is) a tour-de-force in watchmaking precision.
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