Omega SA, Alpha Dog
Altitude and Attitude
What were you doing at age 23? Working at a bar and trying to figure out what to do with your new BA in Communications? Well, at 23 Louis Brandt was busy founding what would become Omega Watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Louis would assemble key-wound precision pocket watches through the British market to buyers throughout Scandinavia. Due to the fast growth of the company and the unsatisfactory conditions of the original assembly shop, Brandt’s sons abandoned the location to look for greener pastures. The sons moved into a small factory in Biel/Bienne in January 1880, eventually buying out the entire building later the same year. A mere two years later the company relocated to a converted spinning factory in the Gurzelen area of the same city, where the company remains headquartered to this day.
The Great War and Troubled Waters
After the Brandt brothers died in 1903, the 800-employee company was left in the hands of four young people, the oldest being Paul-Emile Brandt, who was only 23 at the time. Brandt took over and brought the company to new heights, becoming the company’s most storied builder and architect. Omega was chosen as the official wrist wear for Britain’s Royal Flying Corps, as well as the American Army’s combat units during World War I. The troubled economic times of WWI led to the eventual merger of Omega and Tissot in 1930 into the group SSIH, Geneva. SSIH, along with Rolex dominated wrist wear for decades up until the 1970s, when a couple of plucky little companies out of Japan named Seiko and Citizen came a-knocking, pioneering and perfecting the new quartz movement.
Fly Me to the Moon
What’s a little competition between friends? Omega and Bulova had been competing for a NASA contract to be the official watch of the astronaut. Although Omega came out on top as the official timepiece for the astronauts in the program, Bulova Accutrons, with their tuning fork movements were chosen as the panel clocks and time-keeping mechanisms in the spaceships themselves. The first watch on the moon was the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph, worn by Buzz Aldrin. It would have been Neil Armstrong wearing the moon’s first watch, but he left his aboard the Lunar Module after the onboard timer on the LM malfunctioned. Unfortunately, while donating several personal items to the Smithsonian Institution, Aldrin’s watch was stolen. Now Armstrong’s 105.012 Speedmaster is on display at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Shaken, Not Stirred
As if being the first watch on the moon wasn’t cool enough to guarantee profitability, due to the global economic crisis and recession between 1975 & 1980, profits for the manufacturer dwindled enough that the company needed to be bailed out by banks in 1981. SSIH wasn’t the only watch manufacturer on troubled waters, which led to a merger between them and another large Swiss watch manufacturer, Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG (ASUAG) in 1983. The company experienced a resurgence in the mid-90s when Pierce Brosnan’s version of 007 switched from the traditional Rolex Submariner to the Omega Seamaster. Omega has been the watch of choice for the British super spy ever since. In 1985 ASUAG-SSH was taken over by a group of private investors led by Nicolas Hayek and renamed Société de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie (SMH). In 1998 this became the Swatch Group. They now manufacture several brands of watches including Omega, Swatch, and Breguet.
From America’s Cup to Olympians the world over, from submariners to astronauts, from James Bond to Mao Zedong, Omega has been and will continue to be a driving force in precision timepieces. Through Omega’s ability to innovate and create, rising to every challenge, their history has been long and their future will remain bright.
Getting the Most Out of Your Omega Watch
The last letter in the Greek alphabet is the first choice of watch owners around the world. An Omega watch is a symbol of perfection and quality craftsmanship that stands the test of time. Their beauty and reputation for reliability make them popular additions to any ensemble, and clients can expect to receive a premium price when pawning Omega luxury watches.
Without question, Omega watches are among the best items to pawn as they can command a premium price when they are well-cared for and in pristine condition. As such, it is advisable to clean the watch and have it professionally tuned-up prior to presenting the item to a luxury pawn shop. When cleaning the watch, owners should avoid using solvents, detergents or electrolysis as these can damage the finish and the components and negatively affect the value. Moreover, it is best to replace damaged components such as scratched crystals or broken links as these can reduce the value of the pawn loan that can be offered.
How to Pawn an Omega Watch
Securing a pawn shop loan from our online luxury exchange is as simple as filling out the application, accepting our offer, and sending your watch to our secure facility via the preprinted FedEx label we will send you. If you accept the final evaluation of our watch experts and GIA-certified evaluators, we will deposit the funds directly into your bank account.
From start to deposit, we make pawning watches a simple and satisfying process for all of our clients. We invite you to contact us to see how easy we make it for you to secure everything from a short-term pawn loan to a small business loan using your luxury watches as collateral.