Hands-On With The New Omega Constellation 41mm
Today, Omega introduces its gent’s Constellation 41mm. We had the opportunity to go hands-on with the new Constellation 41mm, a watch based on the 1982 “Manhattan”.
If you’re looking for a historical overview of the Constellation Manhattan, check out our previous articles here and here. The Omega Constellation 41mm watch is very similar to the recently introduced 39mm version. But there are, of course, a few differences that I would like to share with you, along with some lovely hands-on images taken by our friend @nd_graphy. Thanks!
Omega Constellation 41mm
But first of all, let me tell you that I believe that the Constellation based on the 1982 “Manhattan” is an under-appreciated watch. I happen to own a few Omega Constellation watches. Not only the vintage models with the pie-pan dials but also the models with the “claws”. I have a weak spot for the 1982 “Manhattan” and own a number of those watches, including the updated version from 1995. Elegant watches, that are perfect daily companions. In fact, I received my first Constellation’95 in 1998 and it was my daily wear for quite some time.
Then, Omega introduced its successor. The Omega Constellation Double Eagle, which I never took to in quite the same way. It was different but never seemed to exude the character of what came before or after, in my opinion.
Since then, Omega has tried to fix this watch. And, thankfully, it looks like the brand is back on track with the release of this new Constellation in 41mm. Although the Constellation watch is a top seller in many Asian countries, it has never fared as well in Europe and North-America. Some people did not find previous iterations to be masculine enough. Others feel that the modern versions lack the refinement seen in the models from the 1980s and 1990s models.
Omega has chosen to address these concerns, step-by-step. With the introduction of the new line-up of Constellations, which started with the ladies’ version at the end of 2018, the Constellation received some pretty good updates. This release continues to build on these increasingly solid foundations.
The Constellation for gents is available in 36mm, 39mm, and now in 41mm. Only 2mm difference in diameter, I hear you say, but there’s more to it. For starters, while the smaller versions are powered by caliber 8800/8801 (gold), the Constellation 41mm is equipped with caliber 8900 or 8901 (depending on the material of the case). Steel and bi-color watches come with the 8900, while the gold models are installed with caliber 8901. The caliber 8900 family has a bigger power reserve than the 8800, with 60 hours, but also has this independent hour hand. That’s very useful if you are a frequent traveler to different time zones.
The Constellation 41mm is introduced with leather and rubber straps. The leather straps also have rubber lining, for a comfortable fit around the wrist. I noticed that the strap is very flexible and has no stiffness. It is especially soft near the lugs. Because of this, the Constellation 41mm will even fit relatively small wrists. But that’s not all. If you prefer a bracelet, fear not, the bracelets from the 39mm will fit this Constellation 41mm. Straps and bracelets can be exchanged between the 39mm and 41mm versions. That’s an unusual but welcome bonus.
Just like the smaller versions, the hour markers are influenced by the Freedom Tower in Manhattan, New York. Also, the crown has been inspired by the shape of the indices. It looks very nice and it’s a little nod to the original “Manhattan”.
As you probably know, the story goes that the claws that pressed the sapphire against the case were inspired by the mirror “claws” that Omega’s product director Pierre-André Aellen at the time saw in his hotel room. In Manhattan.
Steel, Liquid Metal, and Ceragold
The Constellation 41mm comes in a few variations. Besides the beautiful silky dial in the steel model we have here, and the blue dial in the gold model, there are also models (in steel) with a steel bezel. The steel model we have here has a LiquidMetal bezel and the gold models have a Ceragold bezel. The shape of the bezel, the engraved Roman numerals, and the insertion of the claws was not an easy task according to Omega. It all needed to have a tight fit, and Omega decided to change the design of the claws a little bit. No more “sticking out”, but rather a perfect integration of them and the bezel.
The Constellation 41mm is versatile
After trying and wearing the Constellation 41mm, I think it is the best executed Constellation since the ’95 models. That is fueled by a bit of nostalgia, of course, because qualitywise, the latest generation (the 5th) Constellation is simply the best. That said, I still feel that this Constellation 41mm (or 39mm, or 36mm) is not for everyone. Nor should it be, of course. It is very outspoken and doesn’t exactly fit in the category of a dress watch (due to its thickness of 13.5mm) or as a sports watch.
I do believe it is suitable as an everyday watch. It is a watch you can wear with a suit but also with a t-shirt and jeans. The fact that there is a metal bracelet option makes it even more versatile. The blue and Sedna (reference 18.104.22.168.03.001) and black and gold (reference 22.214.171.124.01.001) models will both retail for CHF 18,900. If you favor the icier grey and steel model (reference 126.96.36.199.06.001) you need only part with CHF 6,000 to get one on your wrist. That is an attractive price for a structurally complex watch that is evolving in a conscious and practical way. More information via Omega online, or check the specifications chart below.