For me, there were two men that shaped the watch industry in the 20th century, Gerald Genta and George Daniels, CBE. Mr. Genta’s integrated bracelet designs continue to influence and shape the watch industry long after his passing. Seriously, even Lange, yes that Lange, now have an integrated looking sports watch model in their range. Meanwhile in the 1970’s, Dr. Daniels was busy refining a watch’s escapement in a meaningful way for the first time in centuries.
These two men revolutionized the watch industry and there is only one watch house than can claim to have worked with both of these men. This watch brand is, of course, Omega. I know what you are thinking, well why doesn’t Omega offer an integrated bracelet watch with a Genta-esque design and a Daniels’ derived co-axial escapement? The problem is, Omega does offer an integrated bracelet watch with a Genta-esque design and a Daniels’ derived co-axial escapement. I am of course referring to the Constellation line.
The Constellation line was recently given a facelift by Omega targeted at men in a 39mm case. The watch did not get much coverage except from an outlet that also happens to be an Omega authorized retailer. But I am sure those two facts are not related, wink. (should that not be “dink”? Ed)
Omega has been pushing the watch with its ambassador Eddie Redmayne of Fantastic Beast fame but the watch to me is more meh than magical. However, I think the Constellation, in its current Manhattan integrated bracelet form, should be the watch of the moment for Omega. Well, maybe the watch of the moment following the new 321 “Ed White” because now that’s what I call a Speedmaster. But I digress.
The Constellation has incredible history having been launched in 1952. The Constellation line was not designed by Genta but does have some references that owe their design to the great Gerald Genta. Shockingly though, Gerald Genta did not design this integrated bracelet look for Omega, his work on the line was when he was coming to the end of his Polerouter period also known as his BRO period, in other words the time Before Royal Oak. Despite this, Omega still has everything it needs to launch perhaps the most compelling steel integrated bracelet sports watch in the industry. No other watch house can claim to offer a line of sports watches with a history touched by both Genta and Dr. Daniels, albeit a slight touch from both rather than guiding hands but hey, that’s where the marketing department earns their money.
For me the Constellation has about 80% of what it needs to be a successful sports watch. Arguably, the defining characteristic of an integrated bracelet sports watch is the bezel. The Constellation line already has an interesting bezel detail, the “claws” which gives the bezel visual interest without repeating the genre typical bolts or screws. The bezel though does need to lose the roman numerals to take the turn to sporty.
The watch already has the Dr. Daniels part of the watch with Omega already using the co-axial 8800 in the model line.
Further, the line already has a compelling and different blue dial option, with this silk embossed dial. This blue dial is captivating, it is the familiar blue dial option expected in an integrated sports watch but this dial has a texture and shading that gives it visual interest different from the usual blue dials. The only problem is this dial appears only to be currently offered in gold. This combination of the interesting blue dial, co-axial escapement, and integrated bracelet is 80% of what Omega needs to make this Swiss watch great again.
More importantly, it can make a new cash cow and share the load with the Speedmaster, if Omega can continue to offer this watch in its current 5-7 thousand price bracket. Unfortunately, 10% of what the line is still missing is that certain joie de vivre. The joie de vivre the watch is missing may just be a refinement to the bracelet as the bracelet has a dressy but simple appearance. The bracelet like the rest of the watch just has a very soft and elegant appearance. The watch seems to only have soft rounded edges but in my opinion, what really defines the integrated sports bracelet watch is the use of more angular edges. I would like to see a reworked sharper-edged version of the SMP’s tank treads style bracelet into the Constellation line. The current soft rounded-edges on the Constellation give the watch more of a bracelet that tells the time effect rather than the industry norm design of a watch that uses an integrated bracelet. Therefore, I believe Omega needs to be more like everyone else and adopt a more angular and futuristic design for the Constellation in order to make it relevant in the integrated bracelet watch market.
In my opinion, the last 10% the Constellation needs is just a serious marketing push. I believe Omega has everything it needs to make the Constellation a pillar of their lineup. To be clear, I am not arguing that Omega needs to get rid of the dressy Constellation. Rather, I am arguing Omega just needs to give the lineup some serious consideration in light of the current market demand for integrated bracelet sports watches. If Omega wants the Constellation to have more of a “masculine” attraction Omega should be offering a clear “sports” model within the Constellation line-up.
To be clear, I use “masculine” only in the sense of referring to a harder more angular looking watch that is often referred to as being masculine design language as I believe the current design’s soft rounded edges have a more feminine look. Which is not stay that the watch is for men or women in particular. Watch’s should not be viewed as having a gender or marketed directly towards one gender; it’s your wrist and your money you should wear whatever you like no matter how the watch is marketed.
So while the rest of the watch world has been losing its marbles and building stainless steel integrated bracelet blue-faced sports watches, why has this marketing push and design tweak not arrived, too focused on 007 and landing a watch on the Moon perhaps?
Maybe the passing of Daniel Craig and 51 years since a watch landed on the moon will give Omega the space to think more about the Constellation, hey, novel idea Omega, you could do a few limited editions to test the water?