World wide watches
Omega...first watch on the moon
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History of Omega Watch
Omega Seamaster De Ville, an early "waterproof" watch, with automatic movement and date, in 14k goldFounded at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1848 by 23-year-old Louis Brandt who assembled key-wound precision pocket watches from parts supplied by local craftsmen. He travelled throughout Europe selling his watches from Italy to Scandinavia by way of England, his chief market. After Louis Brandt's death in 1879, his two sons Louis-Paul and Cesar, troubled by irregular deliveries of questionable quality, abandoned the unsatisfactory assembly workshop system in favour of in-house manufacturing and total production control. Due to the greater supply of manpower, communications and energy in Bienne, the enterprise moved into a small factory in January 1880, then bought the entire building in December. Two years later the company moved into a converted spinning-factory in the Gurzelen district of Bienne, where headquarters are still situated today. Their first series-produced calibres, Labrador and Gurzelen, as well as, the famous Omega calibre of 1894, would ensure the brand's marketing success.
Louis-Paul and Cesar Brandt both died in 1903, leaving one of Switzerland's largest watch companies - with 240,000 watches produced annually and employing 800 people - in the hands of four young people, the oldest of whom, Paul-Emile Brandt, was not yet 24. Considered to be the great architect and builder of OMEGA, Paul-Emile's influence would be felt over the next half-century. The economic difficulties brought on by the First World War would lead him to work actively from 1925 toward the union of OMEGA and Tissot, then to their merger in 1930 within the group SSIH, Geneva. Under his leadership, then that of Joseph Reiser beginning in 1955, the SSIH Group continued to grow and multiply, absorbing or creating some fifty companies. By the seventies, SSIH had become Switzerland's number one producer of finished watches and number three in the world.
Weakened by the severe monetary crisis and recession of 1975 to 1980, SSIH was bailed out by the banks in 1981. During this period, Seiko expressed interest in acquiring Omega, but nothing came out of the talks. Switzerland's other watchmaking giant ASUAG, principal producer of movement blanks and owner of the Longines, Rado and Swatch brands, was saved in similar fashion one year later. After drastic financial cleansing and a restructuring of the two groups' R&D and production operations at the ETA complex in Granges, the two giants merged in 1983 to form the Holding ASUAG-SSIH. In 1985 the holding company was taken over by a group of private investors under the strategy and leadership of Nicolas Hayek. Immediately renamed SMH, Soci?t? suisse de Micro?lectronique et d'Horlogerie, the new group achieved rapid growth and success to become today's top watch producer in the world. Named Swatch Group in 1998, it now includes Blancpain and Breguet. Dynamic and flourishing, OMEGA remains one of its most prestigious flagship brands.
Omega watches in space exploration
The Omega Speedmaster, the iconic Moonwatch, selected by NASA for all the Apollo missionsMain article: Omega Speedmaster Professional
The selection of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph as the official watch worn by American astronauts was the subject of a famous space-race era rivalry between Omega and Bulova.
All subsequent manned NASA missions also utilized this hand wound movement wristwatch. NASA started selecting the chronograph in the early 60's and automatic chronograph wristwatches were not available until 1969.
However all the instrument panel clocks and time-keeping mechanisms in the spacecraft on those space missions were Bulova Accutrons with tuning fork movements, because at the time, NASA did not know how well a mechanical movement would work in zero gravity conditions.
First watch on the moon
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was the first watch on the Moon worn on the wrists of Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin. Unfortunately this historically notable watch is now considered lost. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin mentions in his book "Return to Earth" that when donating several items to the Smithsonian Institution, his Omega was one of the few things that was stolen from his personal effects.
Omega Watches and James Bond
The Omega Seamaster, a deep diving watch. The fourth button-like item (at 10 o'clock) is a helium release valve to allow helium out of the watch after diving at great depth. The watch is similar to that featured in recent James Bond films, in which this valve is transformed into improbable hidden gadgets.Omega has been associated with the famous James Bond movie franchise since 1995. That year, Pierce Brosnan took over the role of James Bond, and the producers wanted to update the image of the fictional "super-spy" to a more distinctly sophisticated "Euro" look.
Another reason for the change from the Rolex Submariner watches that Bond previously used to wear is the change in the business environment that surrounds modern high-profile films. Omega was amenable to participating in high profile co-promotions and product placements in the movies (something that the conservative Rolex company avoids)
Its Seamaster 300M Professional Chronometer is the current official James Bond watch, used by Pierce Brosnan in each of his Bond movies since, but not including, GoldenEye. In the GoldenEye film, the quartz Seamaster 300M Professional, model: 2541.80.00 was featured.
For the 40th Anniversary of James Bond (2002) a special commerative edition of the watch was made available where only 10,007 units were produced. The watch is identical to the model: 2531.80.00 except the blue watch face had a 007 logo inscribed across it. The band also had 007 inscribed on the clasp
Daniel Craig, the current James Bond of the film "Casino Royale" also wears the Omega Seamaster. In the film, he wears two different models, the Seamaster Planet Ocean in the first part of the film, and in the latter part (from travelling to Montenegro), he wears the "official" Bond-watch, the Seamaster Professional 300M. In connection with the launch of the film, Omega released a special 007-special of the Professional 300M, featuring the 007-gun logo on the second hand and the rifle pattern on the watch face. The face design being a stylized representation of the iconic gunbarrel sequence of Bond movies
Omega has also released another James Bond limited edition watch in 2006, a Seamaster Planet Ocean (limited production of 5007 units), similar to what Craig wears earlier on in the film, with a discrete 007-logo integrated on the second hand.
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