The Constellation family – like this just serviced and all original legendary 1966 “pie pan” example here – has been around for nearly 70 years as one of Omega’s oldest collections. First appearing in 1952 with the chronometer Calibre 354 automatic movement, the Constellation was designed to be Omega’s bellwether watch, taking full advantage of Omega winning yet another chronometer competition – meaning the movement was tested for precision in five different positions and temperatures, certified, and stamped with a caliber number as a signifier it passed inspection – at the Geneva Observatory.
But let’s talk about the coveted unique “pie pan” design a little.
Omega produced its so-called “pie pan” 12-sided angular dials from circa 1952 to 1970, with a very limited number produced in 1974. With its raised central area and sloping peripheral chapter ring for the hour markers, the dial is rather similar in appearance to an upside-down pie-pan, providing the watch with depth and originality. Pie-pan models are coveted among vintage watch collectors and inspired the dial of the current Omega Globemaster. Available in steel and gold models, the case shape remained round but the lugs, hour markers and bracelets varied extensively.
The legendary Gerald Genta is often credited with the design of the Constellation, but customary during this era, Omega did not credit a freelance designer – even on Genta's most famous creation, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, another individual is listed on the patent. Regardless, Genta's wife confirmed her husband as designer on at least two Constellations, the Ref. 168.005 here and the Ref. 168.009 C-Shape. For many Omega enthusiasts, the Ref. 168.005 remains the definitive steel Constellation.
The Constellation was named in honor of the Constellation jet that flew during World War II. Constellation casebacks commonly feature a medallion with the Observatory of Geneva crowned by a constellation of eight stars – the stars represent eight big chronometer competition wins, which was a world record.
Since 1952, the Constellation has undergone countless aesthetic transformations, from the pie-pan dials of the 1950s to the ultra-thin quartz watches of the 1970’s leading to the consolidation of the collection in 1982 with the Constellation Manhattan. Constellation movements were constantly upgraded and for decades it remained the watch to first see the best new movements from the manufacturer.
The Constellation was originally branded as the “Globemaster” in the United States, dropped in 1956 as Douglas Aircraft – manufacturers of huge transport planes of the same name – held the trademark. Fast forward to the 21st century, which featured Omega purchasing the same trademark in preparation for the debut of its Globemaster watch, which channels the spirit of the original.
This Omega comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.
1966 Omega Constellation Ref. 168.005 Calibre 561 “Pie Pan” Automatic
DIAL: Original and highly coveted 12-sided Omega and Chronometer-signed silver “pie pan” angular dial, with subtle patina and original silver dauphine hands. Correct “dog leg” case lugs. Lumed indices and hands, which shine when exposed to strong light.
CASE: Original 34.5mm (w/o crown, 35.5mm with) x 40mm stainless steel case, with sharp caselines; original caseback features a crisp Constellation Observatory with seven star emblem.
CRYSTAL: Original crystal, no deep imperfections.
BAND: Original Omega-signed stainless-steel Constellation bracelet, which fits up to a 7.5-inch wrist. This Constellation also comes with a blue and black nylon NATO strap, with stainless-steel hardware.
MOVEMENT: Original 24 jewel Omega Calibre 561 automatic mechanical movement. This watch was serviced in June 2020.
CROWN: Omega-signed stainless-steel crown.