When it comes to vintage watch buying, you really can’t go wrong with Omega. The popular Swiss luxury brand has a roster full of iconic models and loads of heritage and prestige, and many vintage Omegas can still be found at a bargain (though prices are on the rise). The brand makes a great entry point for any new collector who’s looking to get into vintage timepieces, but pulling the trigger on that first Omega can be pretty scary. That’s why we’ve come up with this guide on how to buy your first vintage Omega watch to give you the confidence you’ll need to add an older Omega to your collection safely and affordably.
When buying any vintage watch, you’ll need to take some precautions. You’ll need to know what you’re looking for, you’ll need to know the market, and you’ll need to buy from a trusted seller. This is especially true with Omega, given its status as one of the most popular luxury watch brands, as replicas and cobbled-together Frankenwatches are abundant in the marketplace. These “Faux-megas” can be avoided when purchasing on eBay thanks to the site’s Authenticity Guarantee for luxury watches, so read on to learn how that works as well as gather some other tips on how to buy your first vintage Omega watch. Then, take a look at our guide to our favorite vintage Omega watch families at the end.
Why Omega Is Worth It
If It’s Good Enough For The Moon...
Among Swiss watch brands, Omega is the second-best seller after Rolex. But in terms of prestige, it’s easy to make the argument that Omega should be number one. The brand can trace its roots back to 1848, and they’ve been making history ever since. In 1932, Omega released the first commercially-available dive watch in the Marine. The same year, Omega watches were used exclusively to time the Olympics — a tradition that continues today. And most famously, in 1969, an Omega Speedmaster became the first watch worn on the moon when Buzz Aldrin strapped one on his wrist for the Apollo 11 mission. There’s also a guy you may have heard of named James Bond who’s been rocking an Omega Seamster for the past 25 years. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Omega’s fascinating and impressive history, and by owning a watch from the brand, you can write your own page in the Omega story.
Narrow It Down
Speedy, Connie, Or Bond?
Unlike chief rival Rolex, whose catalog of models often goes decades with only incremental changes, Omega loves to mix things up. There are plenty of defunct Omega models worth looking at in the vintage market, from the Genève to the Dynamic to the, uh, Genève Dynamic. Then there are the “Big Three” lines of the brand that have been a consistent presence for over 60 years: the Speedmaster, Seamaster, and Constellation. But even they have gone through countless changes over the years. In fact, there are so many vastly different Seamaster references amongst the dress watch, dive watch, and chronograph categories that one could easily build a diverse watch collection consisting of nothing but Seamasters. So, with such a vast array of watches to choose from, it’s important to figure out what type of Omega you want and learn as much as you can about it before you go looking to buy.
Buy From A Reputable Source
Why eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee Is A Game-Changer
As the saying goes, you’re not buying a watch so much as you’re buying the seller. Anytime you’re spending serious money on something as frequently-faked as a luxury watch, you need to be sure that what you’re purchasing is the real deal. And the best place to do so is on eBay. The auction site has a new Authenticity Guarantee that applies to watch sales above $2,000, and it’s a total gamechanger. Here’s how it works: you buy your vintage Omega (or any other watch purchased for $2K or more), and the seller sends it to eBay’s team of authenticators. After they expertly verify that the watch is both real and that it matches the seller’s description, the team then sends your certified watch to you. And best of all, eBay offers this service free of charge, meaning your peace of mind won’t cost you a penny more than what you paid for the watch.
Expand Your Horizons
Tap Into The Global Vintage Watch Market
When buying a luxury watch, you may be tempted to stay local. You may have heard stories about shady faked watches being trafficked in other countries and you may want to avoid that whole scene. But you shouldn’t. Some of the best vintage watch deals are often found outside the United States, with Japan especially having a reputation for offering immaculate vintage Speedmasters at unbeatable prices. Plus, thanks to eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee, you can be assured of your far-flung purchase as long as the listing has eBay’s comforting blue checkmark. Just change your location parameters to “Worldwide” while searching for your vintage Omega watch on eBay, and let the international bargain hunting begin.
Before sports watches like the Speedmaster and Seamaster took over the luxury market, highly-precise dress watches were the hottest ticket in town. And in the mid-twentieth century, there was no more prestigious watch to own than the Omega Constellation, which for a time was colloquially known as “the Swiss Watch.” Vintage examples include the highly-collectible (and mind-numbingly beautiful) pie pan-dialed & dog leg-lugged examples from the 1950s and early ‘60s, the allegedly-Gerald Genta-designed “C-Case” Connies of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, and the divisive integrated bracelet Manhattan Constellations from the ‘80s and beyond.
One of Omega’s most popular discontinued watches is this massive slab of steel. Produced for just 8 years beginning in 1969, the Flightmaster was conceived as the ultimate pilot’s watch. Housed within its radial-brushed tonneau case was a unique movement that powered a chronograph, 24-hour indicator, and a fourth hand for a second timezone. The complicated movement, combined with the inner-rotating pilot’s timing bezel, necessitated three crowns and two pushers, making this one of the most appendage-heavy watches you’re likely to ever come across. And come across them you will on eBay, where these rare birds are readily available.
In 1948, Omega introduced the Seamaster as a robust highly-water-resistant dress watch. While still a durable and robust watch for the time, it became clear that Omega needed an even more seaworthy watch to bear the Seamaster name after the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Rolex Submariner debuted in the 1950s and forever changed the dive watch. So in 1957, the iconic Seamaster 300 debuted, transforming the Seamaster into a true dive watch for the first time. Over the ensuing decades, countless Seamaster references have left Omega’s factory in Biel/Bienne. Some standouts include the sword-handed Seamaster 300 reference 165.024, the funky alarm-equipped Memomatic Seamasters, and of course, the original “Bond Seamaster” Professional 300m from the Pierce Brosnan era.
There is no more recognizable watch in Omega’s lineup than the Speedmaster Professional. Forever known as the “Moonwatch” thanks to its outer space adventures, older references of the Speedy Pro are readily available on the vintage market. But the OG Moonwatch is hardly the only Speedmaster reference worth buying. You’ll also find the barrel-cased “Mark” series, countless automatic references, digital quartz models, racing Speedys (the watch was originally intended for motorsports), and even gold Speedmasters. Going back through Omega’s archives, it becomes obvious that the brand’s penchant for creating special additions of the Speedy is not a recent phenomenon. The Speedmaster has long been the jewel in their collection, and Omega isn’t shy about showing it off.
The 24 Best Vintage-Style Dive Watches
After picking up your vintage Omega, you may want to consider adding a modern piece to your collection. But after looking at so many great vintage pieces, you might find that the vintage aesthetic isn’t so easy to shake. That’s where our list of the best vintage-style dive watches comes in, offering you a stellar combination of modern reliability and old-school looks.
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