Is Omega Afraid of Success?

Omega launched an updated “Gents” Constellation earlier this year in 36mm and 39mm. These new updates to the Constellation line left me wanting more. I could not help but believe there is a sleeping giant within the Constellation line. The Constellation line has a rich history, which even includes Gerald Genta designing some early references. The modern Constellation line is a popular dress-sporty line in Asian markets for Omega. However, in Europe and North America the Constellation line is overlooked likely because it is confusing as it is not clearly dressy and not clearly sporty. As I previously argued, the Constellation line was an integrated steel bracelet sport watch success waiting to happen. When I saw the headlines that Omega had added a 41mm ceramic bezel option to the Gent’s collection on July 8, 2020, I thought for sure Omega had finally done it and launched a commercially relevant integrated bracelet sports watch. Alas, Omega seems to hate money.

Omega launched a 41mm Constellation in its gents’ collection with a ceramic bezel, which would seem to suggest that Omega was intending to make a sportier version of the Constellation. However, the ceramic bezel still has the usual Constellation Roman numerals on the bezel. Lange does not even use Roman numerals on its own sports watch and if anyone was going to mix Roman numerals and a sport watch it would be Lange. Why then Omega, do you insist on keeping those Romans on the bezel? It is time to make like Frozen and let it go.

 

The archetypal sports watch comes on a bracelet, everyone knows this, except for apparently Omega. The 41mm Constellations were not even advertised with a bracelet option on Omega’s website. The watches are being advertised on a “sporty” leather strap with a rubber lining. According to Omega though, the bracelet from the 39mm Constellations will fit the 41mm Constellations but Omega has not been clear as to whether a bracelet option will be offered for sale with the 41mm Constellations or whether the bracelet will need to be purchased separately. In addition to the dressy lack of bracelet, the handset used on the watch is also on the dressy side. The hands are beautiful but look out of place on a watch with a ceramic bezel. Thus, the new 41mm Constellation seems to have more of a split personality between dress and sport than ever before. At this point it is hard to decipher whether Omega is just not seeing the potential hit they have on their hands or if they are just stubbornly dragging their heals telling us “you will like what we give you.”

Scottish Watches and Moritz Grossmann

 

Although the watch is muddled there is still a lot to like and appreciate in the new 41mm Constellations. The new 41mm Constellation come with the 8900 caliber, which has the time-zone feature allowing for setting the hour hand independently while the 36mm and 39mm Constellations come with the 8800 caliber that lacks this feature. Additionally, the 8900 caliber’s 60-hour power reserve is an additional 5 hours of power reserve over the 8800 caliber found in the 39mm Constellation.

The bezels on the watches are also a positive for the watch. The Omega LiquidMetal bezels are vibrant ceramic bezels and the black and blue bezels work perfectly on the watches in terms of color, contrast, and overall bling. The final positive from the watches are the dials. The silk embossed dial option is unique and charming. The silk dial may not be sporty but it somehow does not feel out of place on a sport watch. In fact my only complaint about the silk dials are that I wish Omega would use this dial on more watches.

Although, I believe the 41mm Constellation is still a muddled mess, the watch seems closer than ever before to being a relevant commercial success in Western markets. For me, the watch is just a bracelet, new handset, and Romanless bezel away from being an integrated sports watch success story. I would like to see Omega be brave enough to let the ceramic bezel go nude with only the “claws” holding onto the bezel. I would also like to see Omega switch the current handset with the simple pencil style handset from the Globemaster and give the Globemaster this eloquent handset. Finally, the watch just needs a sporty bracelet option. I am not a fan of the bracelet that comes on the 39mm Constellation, as it is too dressy, having an overall soft rounded shape.

I would like to see Omega develop a new bracelet based on the tank tread bracelet used on the Seamaster Professional 300m instead. I think changes to just these three areas would result in a commercial success that would be on par with the Speedmaster and the SMP for Omega. I have to believe someone at Omega knows this, I just wish Omega would be brave enough to give us the integrated sport watch Constellation we want even if only as another limited edition.

@the_complicated_wrist