The Constellation: Omega's Star Since 1952
The Constellation was Omega's very first mass-produced chronometer. This watch remains a symbol of precision and elegance to this day. Top models are made of platinum and can withstand magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss.
A Symbol of Elegance and Precision
Four claws, a golden star, and an integrated band – that's what defines the Omega Constellation. The Swiss watch manufacturer first introduced this collection in 1952, though the design has changed drastically over the years. For some 30 years, the Constellation had a classic look; however, this was replaced by a much sportier feel. The claws at 3 and 9 o'clock resemble small grips and have been the most prominent features of this timepiece since 1982. Then there's the integrated band in leather or metal. The latter comes with horizontal links for guaranteed comfort.
The Omega Constellation collection is truly vast. It contains everything from 24-mm women's watches in stainless steel and medium-sized two-tone models to 38-mm gold timepieces with diamonds. Most watches feature a date display at 3 or 6 o'clock; however, there are also day-date variants available, which show the day written out at 12 o'clock and the date at 6.
Other typical Constellation features include Roman numerals on the dial and bezel, as well as a golden star representing the timepiece's accuracy on the dial's lower half. Every model has the same medallion on the case back, which depicts the Geneva Observatory surrounded by eight stars. The eight stars stand for the eight precision records set by Omega in the 20th century.
While the Omega Globemaster is also part of the Constellation collection, its retro 60s design helps it stand out from the crowd. A so-called "pie-pan" dial, which resembles the namesake bakeware, and fluted bezel characterize this series. What's more, the Globemaster was the world's first watch to receive certification as a Master Chronometer, meaning it's not only extremely accurate but also resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. Top models come with an annual calendar and are made of Sedna gold, Omega's proprietary rose gold alloy. Limited to a run of 352 pieces, the platinum edition with a blue leather strap is particularly elegant.
5 Reasons to Buy an Omega Constellation
- Master Chronometer resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss
- A distinctive design with four claws since the Constellation Manhattan
- Vintage watches, some at very affordable prices
- A popular retro watch: the Omega Globemaster with a pie-pan dial
- Top models in gold with an annual calendar
Prices at a Glance: Omega Constellation
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Case material, diameter|
|Globemaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer, 22.214.171.124.99.001||29,000 USD||Platinum, 39 mm|
|Constellation Co-Axial Day-Date, 126.96.36.199.02.002||23,500 USD||Yellow gold, 38 mm|
|Constellation Co-Axial Date, 188.8.131.52.02.002||18,500 USD||Yellow gold, 35 mm|
|Constellation Co‑Axial Master Chronometer, 184.108.40.206.01.001||18,000 USD||Yellow gold, 41 mm|
|Globemaster Annual Calendar, 220.127.116.11.06.001||6,900 USD||Stainless steel, 41 mm|
|Constellation Co-Axial, 18.104.22.168.01.001||4,100 USD||Stainless steel, 38 mm|
How much does an Omega Constellation cost?
The Omega Constellation collection is massive. It covers everything from affordable vintage watches for a few hundred dollars to diamond-encrusted gold watches worth well over 100,000 USD. There's truly something for every taste and budget. The design options are just as diverse. Take your pick from among classic dress watches, sporty yet elegant timepieces with distinctive designs, and various retro models.
If you're interested in the classic Omega Constellation with four claws, your options include watches made of stainless steel or gold, as well as two-tone versions combining both materials. You can purchase a 38-mm stainless steel watch with a Co-Axial caliber for 4,100 USD new. Pre-owned pieces cost around 3,300 USD.
Those who enjoy fashion from the 1980s should take a closer look at two-tone watches in stainless steel and gold. Prices for the 38-mm ref. 22.214.171.124.02.006 sit around 6,400 USD new, while used editions are quite rare.
Mikhail Gorbachev is the proud owner of a Constellation in 18-karat gold. More precisely, his Omega is likely a Constellation Manhattan – a somewhat older and smaller model. The Constellation collection features a few 35-mm men's watches for those who share the former Soviet leader's preference for more modest timepieces. Be sure to set aside around 18,500 USD for a never-worn example. Those in Sedna gold sell for similar prices.
The collection's top models are made of gold and feature an automatic Co-Axial caliber with a day-date display. Plan to spend about 23,500 USD on the 38-mm version. Pre-owned pieces cost several thousand dollars less. There are also editions with diamond-studded bezels and/or dials for anyone who prefers timepieces with a little sparkle. For example, the ref. 126.96.36.199.58.001 boasts 11 diamond indices on its dial and a further 34 diamonds on its bezel. Prices for a never-worn watch come in at roughly 33,000 USD.
Prices for Women's Constellation Watches
The Omega Constellation collection is also home to numerous women's watches. These timepieces are especially finely decorated and often feature diamonds. Some examples only use these gemstones for the indices, while others have gold cases that are almost completely encrusted with diamonds, from the bracelet to the bezel and mother-of-pearl dial. The white gold ref. 188.8.131.52.55.010 and its rose gold counterpart both have an official list price of 130,000 USD. However, you can find the rose gold edition on Chrono24 for about 105,000 USD.
The simple, 29-mm stainless steel variant with a Co-Axial caliber is significantly more affordable. You can get a new model for around 5,200 USD. Used watches change hands for several hundred dollars less. Editions with a mother-of-pearl dial, diamond indices, and diamonds on the bezel cost roughly 8,400 USD in mint condition. You'll need around 23,500 USD for a Sedna gold watch with a matching gold bracelet.
The 24-mm editions are especially delicate and look especially nice on slender, more feminine wrists. In fact, the yellow and rose gold versions look more like bracelets than watches. Precise quartz calibers guarantee these timepieces' accurate timekeeping. Diamond indices, as seen on the ref. 184.108.40.206.53.001, further enhance the watch's value. This particular model features 12 sparkling gems on its blue dial and feels especially refined. You can call this watch your own for about 10,500 USD.
The Constellation With a Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber
In 2020, Omega treated the men's Constellation collection to several upgrades. The company introduced 39 and 41-mm models, which they have outfitted with the latest Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibers. These movements are more accurate than many of the other calibers tested by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Furthermore, Omega Master Chronometers can withstand magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. The 39-mm version uses the caliber 8800 with a 55-hour power reserve, while the 41-mm edition features the caliber 8900 and has a 60-hour power reserve.
Omega partnered with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) to develop a new and practical method for testing watches. These tests examine the watch's accuracy, water resistance, power reserve, and magnetic resistance. Those that pass earn the title of "Master Chronometer."
Perhaps the most important design detail of the 41-mm Constellation is its black or blue ceramic bezel. Like most of the series' stainless steel or gold bezels, these ceramic bezels feature Roman-numeral hour indices. Alpha hands and narrow indices display the time on the dial. There's also a date display at 6 o'clock. For the case, you can choose between stainless steel, yellow gold, or Sedna gold. Omega also offers models in a two-tone combination of steel and gold. A stainless steel watch with a black ceramic bezel and gray dial will set you back around 5,800 USD. The yellow-gold version paired with a black ceramic bezel and black dial sells for roughly 18,000 USD on Chrono24. Two-tone editions fall in the middle of those price ranges at about 7,700 USD.
The 39-mm Constellation has a slightly more classic feel than its 41-mm sister models. This is mostly due to the use of steel or precious metals for the bezel instead of ceramic. What's more, the four claws stand out more prominently on these watches than they do on those with a ceramic bezel. Again, you will find timepieces in stainless steel, gold, or a two-tone combination of both materials. The two-tone models exude the stylish charm of the 1980s and have an official list price of 9,700 USD. You can save a few hundred dollars by purchasing your watch on Chrono24. The stainless steel editions are even more affordable at around 5,400 USD. Yellow or rose gold watches with a matching bracelet occupy the top of the price range at about 33,000 USD.
Prices for the Omega Globemaster
The design of the retro Globemaster makes it a bit of a black sheep in the Constellation family. In particular, its pie-pan dial and fluted bezel pay homage to Constellation watches from the 1960s. At 39-mm, modern Globemasters look great on most wrists. What makes this line truly special is how every watch comes with Master Chronometer certification, meaning they can withstand magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss.
You can purchase a stainless steel watch on a leather strap for around 5,600 USD in mint condition and 4,300 USD used. Those with a stainless steel bracelet cost only slightly more.
The Globemaster is also available in several two-tone variants, as well as in 18-karat gold. A never-worn Sedna gold timepiece demands about 16,000 USD. Prices for pre-owned gold watches sit around 13,500 USD. Two-tone editions with a bracelet in steel and gold cost about 9,200 USD new and 8,000 USD pre-owned.
Limited to a run of 352 pieces, the platinum Globemaster is one of the series' most expensive watches. Mint-condition timepieces sell for around 29,000 USD, which is about 12,000 USD below the official list price.
The Globemaster was the first watch to pass all of the METAS tests and earn the distinction "Master Chronometer." The series' name comes from a line of watches produced for the American market in the 1950s. Since "Constellation" had already been trademarked in the United States, Omega called these watches "Globemaster" for the American market.
The Omega Globemaster With an Annual Calendar
There is also a platinum version of the Globemaster with an annual calendar available. It has an official list price of 53,000 USD, though the same watch sells for about 48,500 USD on Chrono24. Unsurprisingly, the stainless steel versions are much less expensive. Set aside around 6,900 USD for a mint-condition timepiece and 5,800 USD for a pre-owned one. The Sedna gold edition requires an investment of approximately 22,500 USD. Unlike the Globemaster with three hands and a date display, variants with an annual calendar are 41 mm in diameter. An additional central hand points to the current month on a scale around the dial's edge. Since it is an annual calendar, you only have to manually correct the display once a year at the end of February.
How much do vintage Constellation watches cost?
The Constellation collection has belonged to the broader category of luxury sports watches since 1982. Its competitors include industry icons like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. However, the Omega is much more affordable than these legendary timepieces. For example, quartz watches from the 1980s often sell for less than 1,000 USD, depending on their condition. Well-maintained two-tone models with the automatic caliber 1111 cost no more than 2,400 USD. However, you will need over 4,700 USD on hand to purchase a yellow gold edition.
If the Constellation Manhattan's 1980s aesthetic doesn't speak to you, you may prefer something from earlier decades. Round models from the 1960s with pie-pan dials are much more budget-friendly alternatives to the modern Globemaster. Examples include the references 168.004 and 167.005. The latter sells for about 1,800 USD in stainless steel and 2,500 USD in two-tone. The 168.004 is even less expensive. Stainless steel and two-tone varieties sell for roughly 1,700 USD. However, the gold variant demands around 5,000 USD.
Fans of oval watches should take a closer look at the ref. 168.017. This timepiece embodies 1970s watch design. At 35 mm in diameter, it is a fantastic option for men and women alike. Prices for steel watches in good condition begin around 1,100 USD. Those that combine steel and gold cost a few hundred dollars more. Gold watches on a matching gold bracelet sit at the top of the price range and can demand up to 6,000 USD.
The History of the Omega Constellation
Omega first introduced the Constellation in 1952 and still produces it to this day. Since then, the design has undergone many changes. It had developed from an elegant dress watch into a modern, sports watch by the early 1980s.
The most long-lasting change came in 1982, when Omega started producing the Constellation Manhattan. Four claws were added to the fixed bezel, two on each side at 3 and 9 o'clock. They would quickly become the distinguishing features of the Constellation collection. These claws are purely ornamental; jewelers usually use them to set gemstones. Another characteristic detail of this collection is the five-pointed star on the dial above 6 o'clock. This feature debuted on the first model in 1952 and is a symbol of the watch's quality and prestige as a chronometer. Indeed, the Constellation was the first wristwatch chronometer Omega produced in a series.
State-of-the-Art Co-Axial Caliber Technology
The Omega Constellation is a nod to the field of astronomy, as its name refers to a group of stars that form a particular shape in the sky. Over its 160-year history, Omega has participated in many observatory trials and was the only manufacturer other than Patek Philippe to participate every year. Omega has been setting precision records since the very beginning. The Constellation collection pays homage to these observatory trials. The star on the dial and the observatory cupola on the case back symbolize Omega's achievements.
Two barrels in the calibers 8500 and 8501 provide a power reserve of 60 hours. The 8501 features an 18-karat rose gold rotor and balance bridge. The 8500 and 8501 power the collection's 38-mm versions. In the smaller 35-mm versions, Omega uses caliber 2500, the very first Omega movement to feature a co-axial escapement.
The Constellation is available as a simple three-hand model without additional functions, with a date display at 3 o'clock, or with day and date displays. The day-date versions feature the day written out at 12 o'clock and the date at 6 o'clock. These watches get their power from the Co-Axial calibers 8602 and 8612. The date and day displays jump forward right on time at midnight. These calibers also have a 55-hour power reserve and feature a silicon balance spring. If you're interested in a comparable watch with a day-date display, you may enjoy the Rolex Day-Date. This Rolex is available exclusively in gold or platinum.