As one of the world’s leading luxury watch brands, Omega enjoys a passionate fan base of clients, collectors, and enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. With roots that date back to 1989, the Swiss watch company has released some of the most iconic timepieces, innovative materials, and groundbreaking watchmaking advancements throughout its long history. From the Moonwatch to the Co-Axial escapement to the new Master Chronometer rating, read on to discover terminology, inventions, and nicknames that are specific to Omega culture.
Official Omega Terms
Used on some Seamaster Planet Ocean diving watches, Omega Ceragold bezels seamlessly combine ceramic and 18k gold. The bezels are first formed using zirconium-oxide-based ceramic, which are then laser-etched with bezel markings such as numerals and scales. The ceramic rings are then plunged into a gold electrolytic bath for 48 hours where a thick layer of 18k gold coats the rings. The rings are then polished down to their ceramic layer, leaving behind a beautifully smooth ceramic bezel with an 18k gold-filled diving scale.
The Co-Axial escapement was invented in 1974 and patented in 1980 by watchmaker George Daniels. Omega purchased the rights of the Co-Axial escapement from George Daniels and debuted it in a DeVille watch in 1999. Compared to a traditional Swiss lever escapement, the Co-Axial escapement causes much less friction, thus there’s less need for lubrication and the watch can enjoy longer periods between servicing. The Co-Axial escapement also boasts better efficiency, resulting in better precision. Today, Omega furnishes many of their watches with the Co-Axial escapement.
“Griffes” is the French word for “claws” and refers to four metal pieces holding down the bezels on modern Omega Constellation watches. The “Griffes” made their debut on the 1982 Constellation Manhattan models and has since become an integral design element on all Constellation watches for both men and women.
First used by Omega in 2009, Liquidmetal is an alloy composed of zirconium, nickel, and other metals. Omega uses the alloy along with ceramic to create ultra-tough scratchproof and fade-proof bezels. The ceramic bezel inserts are first laser-engraved with bezel markings and then bonded with the Liquidmetal alloy. Once the Liquidmetal is polished away, Omega is left with a ceramic bezel with Liquidmetal-filled markings.
In 2015, Omega introduced the new Master Chronometer certification on the Globemaster watch. A Master Chronometer certification means that in addition to being COSC-certified, it has also been certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). METAS subjects watches to eight intensive tests over ten days including precision tests, positioning tests, magnetism tests, water resistance tests, and durability tests. Master Chronometer certified Omega watches are resistant to an incredible 15,000 gauss of magnetism, thus are considered true anti-magnetic timepieces.
While the Omega Speedmaster chronograph was first introduced in 1957, in 1969 it became the first watch on the moon when it traveled with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on their historic lunar landing. Since then, the Omega Speedmaster Professional aptly picked up the Moonwatch nickname. Omega has since created a variety of Moonwatch editions characterized by their black bezels, black dials, steel construction, and manual-wound chronograph movements.
Named after one of the reddest planetoids in our solar system, Sedna is Omega’s proprietary red gold alloy that blends gold, copper, and palladium. It is prized for both its beautiful color, as well as its resistance to fading.
Famous Omega Nicknames and Terms Used by Collectors and Enthusiasts
It’s important to note that famous Omega collector Chuck Maddox coined many of the Omega nicknames that are frequently used by collectors today. Chuck Maddox passed away in 2008.
The nickname used for the 1970s Omega Seamaster Chronograph ref. 145.0023 with the tungsten-chrome finish and the blue, red, and black dial. This was coined to complement the black “Darth Vader” version of the same watch reference.
The nickname used for the vintage Omega Seamaster Automatic 120m Chronograph ref. 176.004 in reference to the watch’s large 47mm case and blue dial and blue bezel. This is not to be confused with the new Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT “Big Blue” ref. 215.92.46 released at Baselworld 2017.
First released in 1969, “Bullhead” is the label given to a family of Omega chronographs that features the winding crown and chronograph pushers at the 12 o’clock position rather than the typical 2/3/4 o’clock position. The location of the pushers and crown, along with the distinct case shape do indeed come together for a design that’s remarkably like a bull’s head.
The nickname used for the 1970s Omega Seamaster Chronograph ref. 145.0023 with a black ceramic-like coated steel case and a black, red, and white dial.
In 2003, Omega released a larger, heftier, and more masculine version of the Constellation dubbed the Double Eagle. A double eagle refers to a score of three strokes under par in golf and as big supporters of the sport, Omega borrowed this term to name their then-new Constellation Double Eagle collection.
NASA Astronaut Edward White became the first American to walk in space in 1965. During his historic spacewalk, he had on his wrist an Omega Speedmaster ref. 105.003. Therefore, this particular reference has aptly been nicknamed the “Ed White.”
According to the late Chuck Maddox, the Speedmaster Automatic ref. ST376.0822 first released in 1987 is the “Holy Grail” Speedmaster. The 42mm Speedmaster Professional style case houses Omega’s version of the classic Lemania 5100 automatic movement.
In 1995, superspy 007 began wearing Omega watches in the famous James Bond films—and continues to do so today. One of those Omega watches includes the Seamaster Professional ref. 2531.80, which has since been nicknamed the “James Bond” by collectors.
To complement the “Darth Vader” and the “Anakin Skywalker” Star Wars themed nicknames, the vintage Omega Seamaster ref. 145.0024 picked up the “Jedi” moniker. However, the vintage Omega Seamaster ref. 176.0005 with a distinct cushion style case is also often (incorrectly) referred to as a “Jedi” due to an auction house catalog error.
The nickname used for a variant of the Omega Speedsonic ST188.0001—a chronometer chronograph powered by a quartz movement—from the 1970s with an unusual lobster tail-like metal bracelet.
Mitsukoshi is one of Japan’s most famous department store chains. In 2003, Omega collaborated with the store to launch a limited-edition Speedmaster Professional ref. 3570.31 dubbed the “Mitsukoshi.” Characterized by a white Panda-style dial with black registers, only 300 examples were produced and sold exclusively through the Mitsukoshi stores.
Omega has long been the official timekeeper of the Olympic games. For the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics the company unveiled the Seamaster Chrono Quartz ref. 196.0052. Now nicknamed the “Montreal,” the case was fashioned to resemble a scoreboard while the dial featured both analog and digital displays. Plus, the famous Olympic rings logo is found engraved on the caseback.
An affectionate nickname for any Omega Speedmaster.
The hashtag #SpeedyTuesday was created in 2012 by Omega enthusiast and blogger Robert-Jan Broer of Fratello Watches and quickly gained momentum across all social media platforms. So much so, that Omega created the Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited-Edition watch in 2017, aptly limited to 2,012 pieces!
In 1962, Wally Schirra piloted his Sigma 7 capsule on a six-orbit mission that lasted more than nine hours and on his wrist was his personal Omega Speedmaster CK2998. This particular watch became the first Omega in space and of course, picked up the nickname the “Wally Schirra.” Omega has since released a couple of commemorative models to celebrate the first Omega in space including the 2012 Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” ref. 311.32.40.