An undiscovered gem: The Omega Constellation | VARIO
There are brands that, as soon as you say their name a watch comes to your mind, think Audemars Piguet and the Royal Oak will dominate your thoughts, same with Omega and their bestselling model, the Speedmaster. That can be a blessing or a curse, some watches will do the impossible to have an icon and other brands have never ending catalogues leaving customers undecided on what they should go for (JLC comes to mind). Going back to the case of Omega, the Constellation line was one of the pinnacles of the brand in the past, a true luxury product with gracious lines and technological advances, have a quick browse on those beautiful pie pan dials from the 60’s and you will see what I mean, then something happened (the 70’s) and Omega needed to evolve, the sports chic integrated bracelet craze came in and while the Speemaster and Seamaster were well established products, the Constellation was due a facelift and what a facelift it was. Omega decided to give Carol Didisheim a chance and the result was an integrated bracelet with an ultra-thin quartz movement, it was technologically advanced and forward looking. The legend says that the inspiration came from a mirror found in a hotel in Manhattan New York hence some of these models are nicknamed the ‘Manhattan’, the claws on the bezel and roman numeral inside the dial was a true departure on what was offered at the time from other brands, and it was successful, very successful. Omega managed to tweak the design over the years, and it was (still is) very popular on Asian markets and also EU, not so much in the Americas which is what mega wanted to change. The new models are a complete revamp of that 80s Constellation, you can see the design cues everywhere but today we will be looking at my personal one which I think is a great find, is not the latest one but we will see why it makes sense.
The piece is 38mm so we are off to a good start (the reference number is 188.8.131.52.01.002) which feels perfect in my 6.25-inch wrist, being an integrated bracelet, it might feel a bit larger but its as manageable as anything under 39mm. The watch is packed with so many features and I think this is the best reference because it comes with the 8500 caliber which is superior to the current version (8800 caliber) and not sure why Omega did this downgrade, my Constellation has 60 hours of power reserve vs the 55 hours of the current and has independent adjustable hand for precise setting. The movement can be seen from the back and its finished beautifully, sure machined finished but to a high standard. The star of the show is the dial, decorated with a reversed "Clous de Paris" pattern and a matching date wheel makes it a real eye candy, the sharp hands and the top of the markers have Superluminova making the Constellation a true sports piece and yes, that also includes the 100 meters of water resistance. The bracelet flows from the case and makes the watch feel like a single cohesive piece and to me, that is the real advantage of an integrated bracelet, everything has been designed as a whole, it is dream to wear.
On the wrist:
The first impression is that the watch is that the watch has a lot of metal, and it does, the links give the impression of a brushed steel wall, the oyster style bracelet is so engrained in our brains that it is hard to imagine a solid link piece but once you get used to, it really makes sense. The Constellation is 12.5 thick, very easy to pull and of course, it gives this hefty feel that in my mind a true luxury product should have. The Constellation is not the most readable watch on direct sunlight but, in normal occasion it looks incredible, those textures are really something else and under the macro. The new versions are 1 mm larger, and I did manage to try one at the Omega boutique, there is not much difference, but the dial doesn’t come with a texture, it has a great black dial, but it does look a bit plain compared to the reference we are looking.
The Constellation is one the pillars in the Omega catalogue and the history really tell us that great resources and technology has been put into this line, I love how this watch looks and not because of the similarities with their integrated bracelet counterparts but the differences that it has, no one can mistake this design with anything else, and in a world where uniqueness is key and priced accordingly, the Constellation seems to be a hidden gem these days, I am sure at some point people will realize that is not only about the Speedmaster.
Written by Robbie from Robbie & Watches
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
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