The word conjures so many images. Some dude walking on the moon. Some dude diving beneath the sea. Some dude trying to learn the Greek alphabet.
But back to watches. Omega was founded by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1848 and is responsible for some of the most notable, historically important watches ever made. The Speedmaster, the Seamaster, the Ploprof. The list goes on.
Thankfully, despite Omega's juggernaut status in the watch industry, you can still buy their vintage watches for a vast discount next to pieces from their direct competitor, a little brand that rhymes with "Tolex." From sub-$1,000 Seamaster dress watches to sub-$5k Speedmasters, the world is full of incredible vintage Omegas that you can actually afford.
Here are some of our favorites.
The DeVille was first launched as a subset of the Seamaster line, and was later spun off into its own collection in 1967. Designed not in Omega headquarters in Bienne but in Geneva, the DeVille was meant to be an urban watch and an alternative to the brand's sportier models. Plenty of different designs were released over the years — both Seamaster variants and stand-alone models — and as these models weren't among the brand's high-end offerings to begin with, you can often find great deals on them today. (Just keep in mind that any vintage watch you nab for cheap on, say, eBay, will likely need a service.)
Price Range: $500-$2,000
Seamaster Dress Watches
Omega made so damn many Seamasters, in so many dial and case configurations, that you'd be hard pressed to ever chance upon the same reference twice. Most are that charming 34mm size, which, contrary to what some folks might have you believe, you can indeed "get away with." The best part? They all have in-house Omega movements, wonderful dial designs, and they're affordable. Like, several hundred dollars-affordable (if you're willing to take on the cost of a possible service) or sub-$1k to $3k for a piece from a reputable dealer — even in precious metals. Just beware of redials, as there are many of those floating around the 'net.
Price Range: $500-$3,000
What if you could get a chronometer-certified, vintage watch from a major Swiss brand with an in-house movement and unique dial for $1k-$3k? Well, you can. Omega's Constellation, which has been in production since the early 50s, has gone through myriad iterations over the years, but perhaps the most interesting are the "pie pan"-dial models of the 1950s and 1960s, which feature raised dials similar to those of certain Rolex Datejusts. There's as much variety here as there is with vintage Seamasters, so be sure to shop around before you pull the trigger.
Price Range: $1,000-$1,3000
1980s/1990s Speedmaster Professionals
The wonderful thing about the Speedmaster is how little its fundamental design has changed over the past 60+ years. Yes, it's used different movements, and there have been dial tweaks, but for the most part, a Speedy is a Speedy is a Speedy. Meaning, you can get a great reference 3950.50 with a tritium dial or even a more modern early 3570.50 with a tritium dial for under $5k. Sure, that's no small amount of scratch, but compared to the price of, say, a Daytona? Yup — quite a steal. And you're still getting an in-house Omega movement, a matching bracelet (should you desire), and that gorgeous Speedy dial and case.
Price Range: $4,000-$5,000