The official timepiece of NASA. It doesn’t get any more prestigious than that.
Omega SA is a luxury watchmaker that has been operating out of Biel/Bienne in Switzerland since 1848. The company was founded by Louis Brandt, though it didn’t get the name Omega until 1903.
Biel/Bienne is home to a museum that celebrates the company’s long and remarkable history.
Kings and Astronauts
With top credentials like those of Omega SA, it’s only natural that top people all over the world would grow to love and appreciate the craftsman of these timeless timepieces.
In particular, Omega is known for its being the official watch of prominent organizations. The Royal Flying Corps of Britain made Omega its official watch in combat in 1917. The next year, the United States Army followed suit and made Omega its official timekeeper. This put Omega watches on the wrists of thousands of troops as the end of World War I pushed towards its close.
Omega was the first watch on the Moon in 1969 after it was made the top choice of NASA. Buzz Aldrin remained a fan of the watch long after his last flight.
Since 1932, Omega has been the official timepiece of the Olympic Games. That means that these timepieces are used to measure the time at the most high profile sports event on the planet. Speaking of high profile. Omega is the watch of James Bond himself, being worn by 007 in his films since 1995.
Prominent individuals are major fans of Omega as well. George Clooney, Mao Zedong, Prince William, Elvis Presley, and John F. Kennedy have all worn these classic timepieces.
High profile wearers is a major boost for the advertising of Omega. Some of the highest-profile placements of the watches have been paid, however many were spontaneous thanks to the high reputation of the watchmaker.
One of the hallmarks of the high-end Omega watch brand is that it uses precious metals to make precious watches.
Where gold and other precious metals come from isn’t often something that consumers think about. That’s why it came as a shock to many when the World Wildlife Fund released a list of environmental ratings for fifteen major jewelers and watch manufacturers in 2018 that showed seven companies as having a negative impact on the environment and negatively impacting climate change.
Omega faces charges of lacking transparency regarding its precious metals. The direst problems occur in places like South Africa, Russia, and China. Jewelry and watch manufacture accounts for half of the gold that’s mined in the world every year, but Omega (among other companies) is unwilling or unable to show where their materials come from.
Omega is no longer an independent watchmaker but instead is owned by its formal rival the Swatch Group. Swatch is a massive company that’s publicly traded on the Swiss Exchange.
Swatch makes more than seven and a half billion Swiss francs each year. It employs almost seventy-five thousand people all over the world. Omega is not its only brand, as Swatch owns more than twenty subsidiaries.
Despite the buyout, Omega has preserved its separate identity. Omega and its high end, moonwalking watches are expected to continue to serve their customers and keep them on time long into the future.