Considering that Omega mostly specialised in tool watches, the Constellation is a real gem of a timepiece. The watch adds the much-needed ‘oomph’ into Omega’s rustic and mechanised tool watch style catalogue. The Constellation has always had the bad luck of being overshadowed by other timepieces from the Swiss watchmaker such as the Seamaster and the Speedmaster. Nonetheless, the Constellation series has always held its ground despite being the odd duck in the Omega watch family. The collection was first released in the year 1952, before the official launch of the ‘Speedy’.
Omega Launches New Constellation Mens’ Models In 41 MM
Now, in 2020, the Swiss time crafter has finally decided to release a new 41 mm variant of the coveted watch collection. Keep reading!
The Origins of the Constellation
The original Constellation was an iconic creation with its pie-pan design and was by far the classiest design of that era. In my opinion, those timepieces were truly top-drawer material. The Constellation has gone through a ton of transformation over the years. One such change was the introduction of the quartz movement in 1970. Another popular edition was the ‘Manhattan’ that was released in 1982. The watch featured the then-new 1422 ultra-thin Quartz movement and an integrated bracelet. Hour markers were painted on the underside of the case shield and were in the form of Roman numerals.
Last but not least, the watch had ‘griffes’ at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. For those who do not know, these above-mentioned features can all be seen in the Constellation watch of today. A fun fact about the ‘griffes’, these claw-like structures might be reduced to aesthetics these days but back in the day, they had a practical use. They were actually used to help minimise the case thickness, a necessity for that era as thin watches were in demand. The movement used in this timepiece was also a marvel of Swiss engineering. It was Quartz alright, but then again it was Swiss Quartz, a huge difference if you ask any learned person in this field.
This idea struck Pierre-Andre Aellen, the then product director of Omega as he was shaving one morning. According to an interview with Desmond Guilfoyle, Aellen noticed his bathroom mirror being held with nothing other than what appeared like claw-like extensions. These griffes are still present today in the newly launched 41 mm Constellation watches for men.
What’s New: Features In The Constellation 41 mm
The design elements used in the new 41 mm line of timepieces have been taken from the new 39 mm and 36 mm watches announced a while ago in January 2020 so we will just keep our focus on the 41 mm line for now. Perhaps the biggest change seen is the slight increase in case size. Now coming in 41 mm cases, the constellation is finally big enough to satisfy the ‘big watch’ fanatics. Upon taking a look at the new watches, as mentioned earlier, you would see that the griffes at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock have been retained. They kind of had to do that. A Constellation without griffes would not be a Constellation anymore.
The hands are way more slender than memory would serve. The indices too, are sleek and slim in design. The brand has introduced a bunch of dial styles this time. You have the classic sun-burst style and then you have the rhodium-grey silk-embossed design. All the references have a ceramic bezel except for the stainless steel variant. The Roman numeral hour markers are etched and painted in either Ceragold or Liquidmetal. The overall profile of the 41 mm timepieces resembles the 1982 edition of the Manhattan references. I guess Omega wanted to pay tribute to the predecessors. Whatever the case, the watches simply look fantastic.
The calibres used in the 41 mm line are the 8900 and the 8901 (They are the same. The 8901 just has a gold rotor.) The movement is visible via a see-through sapphire crystal case back so that people can actually see what they are paying for, or at least get to be awe-struck for a few seconds. Brands like Omega never leave a chance to flex and this is a classic example.
On a serious note, like all other existing Omega calibres, this movement has a co-axial escapement as well. They are resistant to electromagnetic fields to up to 15,000 gausses. They use free-sprung adjustable mass balances and silicon balance springs. Lastly, it is certified by METAS as you know Omega is no longer affiliated to COSC. Oh, and the calibres offer a power reserve of about 60 hours. Needless to say, Omega has once again proven its technical prowess in high-end horology.
In the end, it would be correct to say that these watches not only offer a homage to their progenitors but also add a nostalgic element in the collection. For people who belong to that era, these timepieces will have great sentimental value.