An Interesting Look into the Story Behind Omega Watches

 

Engineered to with uncompromising standards, the Omega watch brand can be described as a staple on a number of a well-to-do man’s nightstand or dresser. You will find them nestled safely in its deluxe velvet box, making sure that this incredibly fine timepiece is going to be totally free of scratches and dust when it is not eloquently strapped on its owner’s wrist.

Now for a short but fascinating glance at the history that is behind these fine and luxurious watches. Omega was well respected long before having celebrity spokespeople such as George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, or tennis personality Maria Sharapova were there to talk about the watches.

omega watch
By: Jonas Nordström

The fairy tale beginning of Omega Watch Company actually began in the 19th Century -1848 to be exact, when Omega founder, a Swiss watchmaker named Louis Brandt, began creating and producing his “Omega” watch masterpieces. Naturally, each watch or timepiece was created by using his hands and meticulously building every watch one piece at a time.

Mr. Brandt first created pocket watches, at that time they were the in style and were considered to be both highly desired and valued by the market. In the mid 19th century the concept of attaching a strap to their watch had been thought to be practical and useful. The popular and accepted method to carry your beloved “Omega” watches – also known as “Bienne” watches was to have them in your pocket.

Regrettably, Louis Brandt died in 1879 and the control of his small company was passed down to his sons, Cesar Brandt and Louis Paul Brandt. They continue to operate the family business renaming the company “Bienne” in 1880.

The start of the Omega brand, in fact, happened in 1894, a little more than a decade following the renaming the company to Bienne. Cesar and Louis Brandt introduced, initially, the brand “Omega” to the Swiss general public. Eventually, Omega watches turned into one of Switzerland’s largest and most elegant exports. The name Omega actually originated from one of the Brandt brother’s personal calipers for measuring watch movements.

Sadly, the leadership of the Brandt brothers was short-lived when they both

omega watch
By: Mike Steele

abruptly passed away in 1903. This led to four people now assuming total control of Omega watch company. One of the people who inherited was Paul Brandt, he not only inherited the family name but also inherited their entrepreneurial instincts also. Only 23 years old, Paul was the eldest of the of the group who assumed control of Omega watch company following the passing of the Brandt brothers.

The company then merged with a fellow Swiss watch brand in 1930. The brand was owned by a parent, SSIH (Socite suisse pour l’industrie horlogre) which was located in Geneva, Switzerland.Luckily, the merger between Omega and Tissot was a huge success, which explains why within a comparatively short period of time the SSIH group expanded to over fifty different companies which included Lanco, Lemania, and Hamilton. And in a brief period of time, the SSIH group managed to become the third-largest maker of luxury watches and watch movements worldwide.

It was at this time that Omega created some of its most treasured timepieces and watches. These are thought to be vintage Omega watches which are still highly desired and famous even to this day. During World War II, Omega developed a rock solid reputation for developing pilot and military watches for military personnel. They have been renowned for their superior craftsmanship and their excellent attention to detail. Additional popular watches that were produced in that era were the Omega Speedmaster chronograph, Omega Seamaster waterproof sports watch and Omega Constellation watches, all of which are still popular now.

While in an economic recession in 1980, Omega once again found itself being forced to merge with another Swiss watch giant (ASUAG). They design and manufacture other highly popular Swiss watches including Swatch, Rado, and Longines. The new company that formed from the merger was named the ASUAG-SSIH company. Regrettably, even the with the combined assets and resources, ASUAG-SSIH ended up being unable to ward off the economic slump that Omega was facing at the time They were eventually taken over by a private investment group who renamed the company SMH which exists today.