The OMEGA Constellation
The first constellation model was introduced in 1952, the automatic movement calibre 354 28.10. seventeen jewels self winding mechanism with rotor winding in one direction with bumper springs. These watches are now known as bumpers.
These early constellations had snap backs rather than the later screw down case back. The back is externally decorated with a solid 18ct gold medallion featuring a picture of an observatory set against the night sky.
Rugged masculine styling and being marketed as an active sports watch made the constellation the flagship of the OMEGA watch company. They were very expensive when new, totally hand assembled and each one observatory tested for positional errors and performance in extreme temperatures.
1952.............13,952 watches certified as chronometers
1963...........103,040 watches certified as chronometers
1969...........194,580 watches certified as chronometers
1972........2,000,000 certified to date
CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON TESTING CHRONOMETERS
The calibre 505 was designed specifically as a precision chronometer - but was used in non constellation watches before being fitted to constellation models.

  

The OMEGA 561 specifically designed for constellation models was launched in 1959, its winding was created with exceptionally low gearing-the slightest movement of the wrist would drive the rotate in either direction.

By using satellite and reduction wheels unique to OMEGA every movement of the wrist is used to wind the mainspring.

Before the crash of the Swiss watch industry at the beginning of the 1970ís the OMEGA range consisted of over 2000 different case styles, a large number of these constellation.

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Financial problems led to OMEGA cutting back on the number of models and limiting the production of mechanical watches . This in my opinion was the end of the golden years of wrist watch manufacturing.

On a personal note, after serving my apprenticeship with GIRARD PERREGAUX watches I went to work for the OMEGA watch company. The constellations from before 1970 are in my opinion the best high volume watches ever produced. The reliability, finish of the movement, and the distinctive styling of the cases is unsurpassed.

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