Every Current Model Line Explained

The Complete Buying Guide to Omega Watches

June 7, 2019 Buying Guides By

First watch on the Moon. A classic James Bond model. Worn on the wrist of JFK and Mikhail Gorbachev at their respective inaugurations, and on the wrist of Mao Zedong for 31 years. Elvis Presley wore one while cruising in his purple Cadillac, and today George Clooney wears one while cruising on a Vespa. A paradigm-shifting mechanical movement designed by the 20th Century’s greatest watchmaker. The only brand to truly compete with, and sometimes dominate, Rolex. A Babe Ruth-style run as some the most accurate watches in the world, and the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games over and over. This is Omega, one of the greatest Swiss watch companies of all time.

Omega has been around under one name or another since 1848, but today’s lineup draws heavily on its classic mid-20th-century designs. Though not quite as slow to evolve as Rolex, Omega has incrementally developed its watches such that they feel simultaneously historical (though not anachronistic) and modern (though not trendy).

George Daniels was an orphan in London who, during the 1960s and 70s, worked to fix a friction problem with the standard “lever escapement,” which had regulated mechanical watches for close to three centuries. He fixed the friction problem, thus offering the first significant horological contribution in hundreds of years, and he named it the co-axial escapement.

Omega bought the patent in 1999, and has recently built new, high-tech facilities to nurture the co-axial escapement — as well as their Master Chronometer program — into the 21st Century. The co-axial mechanism, Omega argues, reduces service intervals (which lowers the price of ownership), and it helps maintain accuracy. When you buy an Omega with a co-axial movement today, you’re getting an advanced mechanism and an important piece of horological history.

Though the co-axial escapement constitutes a serious innovation, one “trend” Omega has followed, however, is today’s obsessive production of limited editions. While we can’t chase down all the LEs for you here (they’re often gone within minutes of release anyways), we encourage you to follow your curiosity about them, should you have any.

As for the core Omega lineup, we have assembled a quick reference guide that’ll help you get familiar with the Omega landscape and point you to specific watches that epitomize the brand’s best offerings. We have elected not to show every single available model in the interest of clarity and brevity, but this guide should serve as a good starting point.

Buying Guide

The Speedmasters

Originally designed for motorsports and often cited as the Porsche 911 of watches, the Speedmaster became The Moonwatch when Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in 1969 wearing his trusted reference ST105.012. Today’s Speedmasters come in many styles and sizes, from historically accurate recreations to solid gold diamond-encrusted shiners, to ultra-light carbon technical wonders. Here are four Speedmasters worth knowing about.

The Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph 42mm

An essential model, this is a modern take on the original Speedy that adorned Buzz Aldrin’s wrist 50 years ago when he set foot on the moon. Still featuring a hand-wound Omega caliber, it doesn’t get much more iconic or handsome than this.
Size: 42mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Stainless steel (leather also available)
Movement: Ref. 1863 mechanical
Price: $5,350

Speedmaster Professional Chronograph 39.7mm

Smaller and sporting a solid case back, this model is more vintage-y than its larger cousin. This watch is noted as The First Omega in Space, as it’s based on the model that accompanied Wally Shirra when he orbited Earth in 1962.
Size: 39.7mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 1863 mechanical
Price: $5,300

Speedmaster Moonwatch Omega Co-Axial Chronograph 44.25mm “Dark Side of the Moon”

The modern looks, larger size, carbon case, and high performance co-axial movement make this Speedmaster unabashedly of-the-moment. (See also the Gray and White Side of the Moon.)
Size: 44.25mm
Case Material: Black ceramic
Bracelet: Coated nylon fabric
Movement: Ref. 9300 co-axial automatic chronograph
Price: $12,000

Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 45mm

A modern upgrade of the X-33 released in the 1998, the Skywalker X-33 was designed with astronauts in mind. To that end, it features a quartz-powered ana-digi display with multiple time zones, three alarms, a chronograph, countdown functions and more. It may not look like a traditional Speedmaster, but it’s a natural evolution of the Space Age original.
Size: 45mm
Case Material: Titanium
Bracelet: Titanium bracelet
Movement: Ref. 5169 electronic chronograph
Price: $5,900

Note: We’ve chosen to only highlight some of the seemingly limitless number of Speedmasters out there. To see the entire collection, click here.

The Seamasters

This is a confusing line within the brand because Omega produced what were essentially splash-proof dress watches under this monicker for decades. At the same time, the Seamaster line has included Omega’s most robust, high-tech dive watches. That confusion isn’t entirely gone today from the lineup, but the waterproofness has been upped significantly across the line. Here are today’s essential Seamasters that you’ll want to know about.

Diver 300M Co-Axial 42mm

Made truly famous when Pierce Brosnan’s costume designer decided James Bond should wear what the British Royal Navy was sporting during the 1990s, we saw 007 drop his Rolex Sub in favor of a quartz Seamaster 300. (Daniel Craig strapped on a mechanical 300M more recently.) The 300M has maintained its looks and specifications over a slow evolution for a few decades, making it one of Omega’s most consistent models. The threaded helium escape valve at 10-o’clock gives the watch a quirky asymmetry, while the wave dial begs to be viewed under a loupe. There are many variants to choose from, though we like the liquidy blue and silver quite a bit. Also available as a chronograph, in precious metals, and so on.
Size: 42mm
Case Material: Steel
Bracelet: Rubber
Movement: Ref. 8800 co-axial automatic with date
Price: $4,900

Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Diver 43.5mm

Larger than the 300M, twice as water-resistance, and offered in a bevy of variations that include carbon cases, a GMT movement, a chronograph, and more, the Planet Ocean is Omega’s most advanced dive watch collection. Orange has been a popular color, but given the multiplicity of options, there are few looks you can’t find within the Planet Ocean lineup.
Size: 43.5mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Nylon NATO
Movement: Ref. 8900 co-axial automatic with date
Price: $6,200

Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Diver Chronograph in Solid Red Gold 45.5mm

To get a sense of how far Omega will take some of its Planet Ocean models, check out this massive solid gold chronograph. Omega’s proprietary gold is called Ceragold, and the red hue is surprisingly subtle in person.
Size: 45.5mm
Case Material: Ceragold (red gold)
Bracelet: Rubber-backed Alligator
Movement: Ref. 9301 co-axial automatic chronograph with date
Price: $33,000.00

Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial 38mm/41.5mm

The Aqua Terra lineup speaks to that aforementioned confusion between dress watch and sport watch that’s inherent to vintage Seamasters, but this duality is also the strength of the modern Aqua Terra. Sporty and rugged, for sure, but elegant and professional enough to pair well with a business suit on the daily. This could be your only watch.
Size: 38mm or 41.5mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
Movement: Ref. 8800 (38mm) or 8300 (41.5mm) co-axial automatic with date
Price: $5,700 (38mm); $6,000 (41.5mm)

Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial GMT 43mm

Adding a 24-hour GMT hand with jumping hours for quick setting of local time, this Aqua Terra becomes a world traveler’s companion ready to cover any occasion, from business to high adventure. A chronograph model is also available.
Size: 43mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
Movement: Ref. 8605 co-axial automatic GMT with date
Price: $10,800

Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial Worldtimer 43mm

With a multi-city worldtimer function and beautiful globe in the central sub-dial, this Aqua Terra approaches haut horological heights while remaining, essentially, a badass tool watch. (There’s that duality again.) Also available in two-tone and in solid gold.
Size: 43mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8939 co-axial automatic GMT Worldtimer with date
Price: $48,600

Seamaster 300 Co-Axial 39mm

Not to be confused with the Diver 300M, the 300 range is Omega’s vintage playground. These aren’t exactly strict reissues due to the modern co-axial movements, but their styling harkens back to the early divers from Omega. In 2017, Omega, to much acclaim, released the 1957 Trilogy, which included the Seamaster 300 (featured separately here), the Railmaster, and an original-looking Speedmaster. The success of that Trilogy has seen Omega releasing these models individually ever since, and they’re often hard to come by due to their popularity.
Size: 39mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8806 time-only co-axial automatic
Price: $7,000

Seamaster 300 Co-Axial in Yellow Gold 41mm

Riffing on the vintage styling of the smaller 300 above, this 41mm solid gold beauty with green dial and strap is ready to hit the Emerald City and pull back the proverbial curtain. Easily Omega’s most striking vintage-inspired model. Also available in steel.
Size: 41mm
Case Material: Yellow gold
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8913 time-only co-axial automatic
Price: $26,500

Seamaster 1948 Co-Axial Small Seconds 38mm (Limited Edition)

With platinum pretty much quadrupling the price, this watch is not for the faint of wallet. Classic 1940s Seamaster styling puts this one squarely in the dress watch era of the Seamaster. (Also available with a center-mounted sweep seconds hand.)
Size: 38mm
Case Material: Platinum
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8805 co-axial automatic with small seconds
Price: $42,700

Seamaster Bullhead Co-Axial Chronograph 43mm (Limited Edition of 669 pieces)

What is this thing? Well, it’s a tribute to the original Bullhead Chronograph, which was a typically weird-looking 1970s design. Love it or hate it, it took the Seamaster in a new direction, and provides an alternative to the standard round-cased watches.
Size: 43mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 3113 co-axial chronograph
Price: $9,600

Ploprof 1200m Co-Axial 55mm

It never ceases to amaze us watch fans that the Ploprof is still in production. It’s massive at 55mm, incredibly cumbersome, and, if nothing else, a stellar example of how much less gadgetry is needed to accomplish super-deep waterproofness today. For some, however, this can-opener-esque behemoth is pure beauty. Go nuts and opt for one of the two-tone versions.
Size: 55mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Stainless steel mesh
Movement: Ref. 8500 co-axial with date
Price: $9,700

Note: We’ve chosen to only highlight some of the Seamaster line. To see the entire collection, click here.

The Constellations

This is where Omega slots in the majority of its dressier watches today, most with a vintage reference to the 1940s and 50s models, like the so-called “pie-pan” that sported an interestingly ruffled dial edge back in the day. You can also find women’s diamond-encrusted models among the Constellations. We’ve selected a few essential models below.

Constellation Globemaster Co-Axial 39mm

Classic 50s styling in a more modern dress watch size, the Globemaster is decidedly not a sport watch; it’s a bare-bones dress watch that’ll pair perfectly with your hand-stitched brogues. Available in steel, solid gold, and two-tone (featured here).
Size: 39mm
Case Material: Steel and gold
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8900 co-axial with date
Price: $8,600

Globemaster Co-Axial Annual Calendar 41mm

Getting an in-house annual calendar movement in a watch for under $10k is actually something to take notice of. This watch is for the business traveler looking to make an impression that says, “I’m traditional, smart, and you should cut deals with me.” After 5pm, it’s ready to clink glasses in celebration of a closed deal.
Size: 41mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8922 co-axial annual calendar
Price: $8,600

Note: We’ve chosen to only highlight some of the Constellations line. To see the entire collection, click here.

The Devilles

The name DeVille adorned the dials of many vintage Omegas through the 50s and 60s, suggesting a decidedly American spirit. (After all, Omega’s largest client base was in the USA during this period.) Today’s DeVilles are the fanciest and most complicated Omegas available, with many models going beyond the dress watch category into haute horlogerie proper. If you’re into vintage dress style and high prices, this selection should whet your appetite.

DeVille Co-Axial Chronograph Solid Gold 42mm

Unmistakably traditional, but loaded with a high-tech co-axial movement that meets Omega’s Master Chronometer specifications for the utmost in mechanical timekeeping accuracy.
Size: 42mm
Case Material: Red gold
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 9301 co-axial chronograph with date
Price: $29,000

DeVille Co-Axial Solid Red Gold 41mm

Traditional, nearly to a fault, this all-gold watch is going to stand out on anyone’s wrist in any circumstance in any outfit. If you like flashing bling, this may be your Omega.
Size: 41mm
Case Material: Red gold
Bracelet: Red gold
Movement: Ref. 8501 co-axial automatic with date
Price: $33,200

DeVille Co-Axial Tourbillon 44mm (Limited Numbered Edition)

Depending on your circumstances, walking into a room with this watch on is going to either announce your wealth, your inability to properly manage your finances, or your ability to steal precious watches. When the zombie apocalypse comes, you might flip it for access to a subterranean bunker. The centrally-mounted tourbillon is as unique as it is handsome.
Size: 44mm
Case Material: Red gold
Bracelet: Red gold
Movement: Ref. 8501 co-axial automatic with date
Price: $156,000

DeVille Hour Vision Co-Axial 41mm

The Hour Vision line has a sapphire case-side that affords a rare lateral view of the co-axial movement. This window was developed early on in Omega’s co-axial program just for that purpose, but remains unique within the line to this day. Also available with an annual calendar co-axial movement.
Size: 44mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8501 co-axial automatic with date
Price: $7,700

DeVille Tresor Co-Axial 40mm

The Tresor sub-line offers sleeker cases, precious metals, diamonds, and generally constitutes watches best matched to black tie and evening gowns. Worth a look if you’re looking for something to wear while tossing back caviar and Dom Perignon on New Years. This cheery cherry red model celebrates Omega’s 150th Anniversary.
Size: 40mm
Case Material: Yellow gold
Bracelet: Leather
Movement: Ref. 8929 hand-wound co-axial time-only
Price: $17,800

Note: We’ve chosen to only highlight some of the DeVille line. To see the entire collection, click here.


The Specialities section includes limited editions, one-offs and and special projects from across the different lines (including this Olympic Pocket Watch 1932 for $109,000). If you’re searching for something special that doesn’t exist in a regular production model, this is a good place to start.

The Complete Rolex Buying Guide

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Allen Farmelo

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