The Omega Constellation: Why We All Need One In Our Lives A watch that deserves more attention than it gets

The Omega Constellation: Why We All Need One In Our Lives

A watch that deserves more attention than it gets
May 03, 2021
The Omega Constellation: Why We All Need One In Our Lives

Among the watches I have, one of them has a very special meaning to me: the Omega Constellation. For me, the passion for this model started in the ‘90s when Cindy Crawford inspired so many women to get a Constellation — including my mom — who bought one for me.

For others, it all started even earlier. And that passion still burns strong. We see this regularly, as love for this watch is shared and re-shared here on Fratello or on our social media channels at a surprising rate. I find that very satisfying. I’m not afraid to admit I’m sad when I see people chasing the same type of watches designed by Genta, while there are so many concepts that deserve more attention than those more obvious choices.

The future of consumerism

I have been thinking a lot about the future of consumerism recently. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, reshaping the consumer landscape will be easier than ever. It is, in many ways, an unprecedented opportunity.

I firmly believe the way we choose will change drastically. Even now, we are starting to see changes in buying behavior. As we are paying more attention to craftsmanship and uniqueness, and less to so-called “large-scale success”. 

…unusual conditions…

Going back to the Constellation, it has built a strong recognition in some countries like the Netherlands, Poland, and China. However, it still lives life under the radar compared to more sought-after timepieces. I believe it deserves the spotlight (and has done for some time). These unusual conditions in which we find ourselves may have inadvertently created the perfect environment in which the Omega Constellation can finally flourish. When we look at the recent attention-worthy drops from Omega, that seems even more likely.

It tells the time. And a few things more…

Before Omega was known for its space achievements or exploring the oceans, the Swiss brand sent its watches to the Geneva Observatory to break the record for precision. And guess what — in 1931 Omega achieved just that. A few years later the Centenary was introduced. That was the very first chronometer-certified automatic wristwatch. It commemorated the 100th anniversary of Omega’s watch factory and later became the predecessor to the Constellation collection. The difference was, however, the production capabilities. While the Centenary was “limited” to 6,000 pieces, the Constellation was a mass-produced line. 

…the classic design by Carol Didisheim has revolutionized the watch industry…

Many might not be impressed, but having a collection equipped with a technically refined and beautifully finished caliber was a ground-breaking achievement in 1952. Within a few decades, we’ve seen some more-than-unlikely designs from Genta’s C-Shape Constellation to mid-1970s Constellation with Megaquartz Caliber 1510. Nevertheless, the classic design by Carol Didisheim has revolutionized the watch industry and has shone a light on the models we love today.

The Constellation 39mm next to the original 1982 “Manhattan”

When you can have whatever you want

Each of the vintage Constellations had its moment in the sun, but the introduction of the Omega Constellation Manhattan changed the game. It consigned the previous variety of the Constellation line to history, somewhat. The Manhattan brought a distinct, completely original aesthetic to the Omega catalog, and promised to be a wildly divisive (and fearsomely persistent) player for years to come.

…the most recent generation of Constellations clearly nodded to the much-loved design from ’82.

It dominated the headlines with one of the coolest advertising catchphrases ever: “when you can have whatever you want.” That self-assured swagger marked it as a model for the long-haul. While many of my colleagues prefer the early Constellation models (with the handsome pie-pan dials being particularly favored among the Fratelli), none denies the significance and scope of the Manhattan’s release. In the early days, everyone wanted one. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the most recent generation of Constellations clearly nodded to the much-loved design from ’82.

Omega Constellation 41mm

A bracelet that rules

I would like to emphasize how rare it is for the bracelet to take center stage. That probably has a lot to do with how similar many bracelets are. Even now, in this era of extreme attention to detail, bracelet design is often overlooked. Here, however, the case was so very different than what had gone before it demanded a new bracelet to make the most of it.

…easily identifiable from across the room.

The slim, sophisticated, and modern with polished mid-bar links or mono-rang links bracelet makes Omega Constellation a standout timepiece that is easily identifiable from across the room. That’s not something to sleep on. It masterfully proves how a well-executed concept can become an icon and suit both sexes.

Omega Constellation Manhattan

For those who are time-conscious

The new generation is anything but ordinary. This fact was highlighted once again when Omega took inspiration from the integrated design with the famous claws we know from the Manhattan collection from 1982 and its later update from 1995. But the beauty of the new collection is that you can have a little bit of everything. There undeniably iconic barrel-shaped case with half-moon facets returns, as does the integrated bracelet with mid-bar links.

…at around €6,000, it is a seriously tempting proposition.

With different case sizes from 25mm to 41mm and a variety of movements, the collection has brought its individual style and modern aesthetic to luxury consumers. Moreover, the most recent evolution gave people wanting a bigger case size the silhouette they always wanted and an opportunity to get a watch with some distinctive details like small seconds complication. Well, it makes the watch even more unforgettable and at around €6,000, it is a seriously tempting proposition.

Omega Constellation

Buy what you love

Last summer, I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Warsaw — Wódka Gessler Na Widelcu — that serves the modern versions of traditional Polish dishes. Its luxuriously decorated space and laid-back vibe welcome a new generation of consumers to out-of-home activities (remember those?).

…we had a lot in common.

I was wearing a black Jacquemus dress, some sneakers (I think), and obviously, my Constellation with a mother-of-pearl dial. To spice it up I took my Omega Flower ring with me. I mention all this because it was such a magical moment. The elderly couple sat at the table next to me (both of them were wearing two-tone Constellation watches from the early nineties), spotted my choice, and smiled in approval. I was in my late 20s; they were in their late 70s. That’s quite a gap, but it mattered not. It was clear we had a lot in common. Each of us bet on the not-so-obvious choice.

Omega Constellation

Watch enthusiasts’ behavior 

But what’s the point of telling this story? Recently, Robert-Jan’s personal story on collecting watches got me thinking of the consumer landscape. Strong exposure on social media, often approaching the hobby from an investment perspective, which encourages consumers to back safe choices really undermines the emotional center of our pastime.

…there are some existing classics that don’t get the attention they deserve.

Would-be collectors are channeled towards “investment pieces”. They are encouraged to buy these things whether they love them or hate them. These are the factors shaping the behavior of (especially new) watch enthusiasts. It is important we stop the flow of interest toward such a small portion of the market. There is a lot of joy to be had. There are many future classics yet to be discovered. And, in the case of the Omega Constellation, there are some existing classics that don’t get the attention they deserve.

Omega Constellation

For me, the Omega Constellation is this type of design as it embraces the incredible achievement of the past to celebrate the achievements of tomorrow. In the end you will not find you have bought just another popular timepiece. You will have bought a watch that expresses your character. Better still, it does this without ever sacrificing its own. That, I believe, is the perfect cocktail for success in the new digital age.

But what’s your outlook for global luxury consumption? And finally, what are your expectations from brands in the crisis market landscape?

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      1. Seamaster GMT. Purchased in 2000. In 2006 the GMT function died, gear would not engage during attempted adjusting while traveling. Entire gear replaced and failed again 2-3 years later. Sold for a small profit.
        Seamaster 007 purchased in 2009. Date quickset gear failed in 2015. Sent in for repairs and replaced. Then one year later the crown came off when unscrewed for a time adjustment. Repaired and failed again a little over a year later. Replaced crown and gifted watch to a relative.

        1. Oh you were lucky in that case. I got my first Connie in 1995, 2 years ago I gave it to my goddaughter and it still runs smoothly. Same with my 4 other Omegas. Last year my Speedmaster Reduced from 2009 needed a service. I went to Omega boutique. They handled everything and it’s like new.

  1. I am in the age bracket that is a little too old to really understand the significance that Social Media plays on its audience ( what the hell is all that influencer nonsense about? More flatulance than
    influence if you ask me) and just about young enough to understand that it is important for many people. That said, how much impact can advertisers have on the population? Yes brand image, reputation do impact on our/ my purchases , but if I don’t like it I will not buy it.

    The Constellation is a beautifully designed watch that has a strong identity, an identity that has been developed over many decades, but I think the reason that many people wouldn’t buy it, is because its like the Tuxedo of watches, yes you might have the opportunity to wear it now and again for special occasions, but its too much for a pair of jeans, or even an everyday suit. Its the cravat of watches, or the silk white scarf you might wear to the theatre. If you are going to drop a few grand on a watch you want to wear it everyday (apart from collectors, who have lots of watches they wear once or twice a year)
    I think the reason it is not as popular as it could be is because although it has a strong design, it hard to understand when its supposed to be worn, to work? to the opera? You have to think about it, but you don’t have to think about that when seeing a dive watch or a dress watch or fun everyday beater.

    1. It’s a love it or hate it kind of design, quite individual.
      Years ago I used to work with a field engineer whose only watch was a gold Constellation. Oddest thing to have on your wrist while wearing overalls and a hard hat. But he did wore it anywhere and very hard and that was it.

    2. I wear my Constellation with jeans and t-shirts, leather pants and jumpers, short dresses or gowns. Honestly, I’ve never found it unsuitable but perhaps I chose the model that is more “easy-going”. If you think of Constellation, which model you have in mind?

      1. For me the Manhattan is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Constellation. Perhaps it is one of those watches that you have to own before you really appreciate it, which itself might be part of the reason it is not as popular as other watches. Am I really going to buy a watch for a couple of grand that I might or might not learn to love?

  2. I tried on the new 41mm with black ceramic bezel and grey dial last week when I popped in to the local dealership to visit my old friend there after they just opened up again.

    He was showing me the pieces they got in whilst restocking and this was one of them.

    WOW. Not what my brain told me to expect from a Constellation. It is not a watch range that was even on my radar but I am finding it difficult to get it out of my head.

    I thought it is a watch that is all about the bracelet but this one was on the rubber backed leather and it looked and felt amazing on the wrist. I think it would get a lot of attention.

    It certainly has mine!

  3. I think that most successful watches are not that special, people making stories about them, and sometimes stories are more important than watches. people forgetting to be individuals

Karina Kwiatkowska
About the author

Karina Kwiatkowska

Karina Kwiatkowska is a Fratello's editor and longtime watch enthusiast. In her professional life, Karina is an international marketing strategist and holds a Master of Design title, focused on Luxury Brand Management Innovation from the University of Arts London. Follow... read more

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