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Omega has a storied history in the world of horology, particularly noted for its innovation and precision in watchmaking. The Omega Constellation series, revered among collectors and enthusiasts, stands as a testament to this legacy. This article delves into the origins and evolution of the Omega Constellation, examining its technical advancements and the significant milestones that have shaped its storied past.

Early Beginnings

The lineage of the Omega Constellation can be traced back to the success of the 30T2 RG series. This family of movements established Omega’s reputation in chronometer production during the 1930s and 1940s. The pivotal development, however, began with the advent of automatic calibres in the early 20th century.

John Harwood’s Contribution

The journey towards the automatic wristwatch began in the late 1770s, but it wasn’t until 1924 that British horologist John Harwood patented a design in Switzerland. Harwood’s partnership with Fortis led to the creation of the first commercially available automatic watch, introduced at the Basel Fair in 1926. Despite initial success, manufacturing issues and the Great Depression hampered its widespread adoption.

john harwood

Omega’s Reluctant Entry into Automatic Movements

Omega’s scion, Paul-Emile Brandt, initially resisted the automatic watch trend, despite Rolex’s early success with bi-directional winding systems in the 1930s. Brandt’s reluctance stemmed from a belief that automatic watches were unnecessary if people were “too lazy to wind their watches every day.”

The Breakthrough: Calibres 28.10 and 30.10

By 1942, observing Rolex’s success, Brandt commissioned Charles Perregaux to lead Omega’s efforts in developing automatic movements. The result was the creation of the 28.10mm and 30.10mm calibres, unveiled in 1943. These movements marked a period of significant innovation for Omega.

Technical Innovations

The design of these calibres avoided Rolex’s patented bi-directional system, instead featuring a robust oscillating weight that wound in one direction. This “bumper” system, named for the sensation of the weight hitting buffers, was both durable and compact, allowing the movements to remain thin.

Additionally, the movements increased the beat rate from 18,000 to 19,800 beats per hour, enhancing their stability and accuracy. The 28.10 and 30.10 series were pivotal in establishing Omega’s reputation for precision and reliability in automatic watches.

Evolution and Expansion

Omega’s automatic movements evolved rapidly post-World War II, reflecting the brand’s ambition to dominate global markets.

The 30.10 Series

The larger 30.10 calibres (330 to 333) were used less extensively but featured prominently in early Seamaster models and the Omega Tresor. Notably, the calibre 333 powered the later wave of Centenary models and other high-end automatic watches

.30.10 ra movement omega

The 28.10 Series

The 28.10 series (calibres 340 to 355) saw widespread use, with over 1.2 million pieces produced. These movements powered a variety of models, including the early “no-name” Seamaster and several chronometer versions, such as the calibre 341 used in the Omega Centenary.

omega 28.10 ra movement

Luxury Finish and RG Regulators

Omega’s “Luxury Finish” movements, characterized by meticulous aesthetic and functional enhancements, became a hallmark of their post-war models. The RG regulators, introduced in the 30T2 RG series, added to the allure, although their technical superiority over other regulators was debated.

The Omega Centenary: A Prelude to the Constellation

The Omega Centenary Collection, introduced in 1948, was the first series of chronometer-grade automatic movements. Intended initially as a limited edition, its success prompted further production. The calibres 331 and 341 from this series laid the groundwork for the first Omega Constellation models.

omega 1948 centenary watch


Centenary models, particularly those with calibre 341 and calibre 333, are highly sought after by collectors. The rarity and historical significance of these models, combined with their technical and aesthetic qualities, contribute to their desirability.

From Centenary to Constellation and Beyond

The success of the Centenary models directly influenced the creation of the Omega Constellation series in 1952. This new line carried forward the technical excellence and luxurious finishes of the Centenary but introduced distinctive design elements such as the “pie-pan” dials and star markers that became iconic. The Constellation series continued to evolve, incorporating advanced materials and technologies. Today’s Constellation watches remain true to their heritage, blending classic elegance with modern innovation, featuring Co-Axial escapements and Master Chronometer certification, ensuring their place as a symbol of precision and luxury in contemporary horology.

Vintage Omega Constellation in 18k White Gold with White Pie-Pan Dial wristshot


The Omega Constellation series represents a pinnacle of watchmaking, embodying the brand’s commitment to innovation, precision, and aesthetic excellence. From the early automatic movements of the 1940s to the celebrated Centenary models, Omega’s journey has been marked by significant technical advancements and a relentless pursuit of horological perfection. As such, the Omega Constellation remains a symbol of luxury and craftsmanship, cherished by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

View our collection of Omega Constellation watches here.