The Constellation family – like this just serviced and all original 1973 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.
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 first run of Constellations used the Omega Caliber 35x bumper movement which was replaced in 1955 by the full rotor Caliber 50x series. The early automatic bumper movements received the moniker from the slight thud the wearer perceived when the rotor hit a spring and bumped back. Unlike modern automatics that perform a full 360-degree spin, the rotor of these bumper movements moved back and forth at roughly 120 degrees ‘bumping off’ a pair of springs on the opposite sides of the watch. Subsequently, in the 1970’s, Omega introduced the final Constellation movements, the 1000 series calibres, with the Cal. 1011 (like this example here, which were produced between 1972 through 1979) and the Cal. 1021 being the standouts of an otherwise lackluster movement line.
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 its original bracelet, nylon NATO strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.
1973 Omega Constellation Chronometer Ref. 168.0056 Calibre 1011 Automatic
DIAL: Original Omega and Chronometer-signed dial, with original hands. Lumed indices and hands, which shine when exposed to strong light.
CASE: Original 35mm (w/o crown, 37mm with) x 41mm stainless steel case, with sharp caselines; original caseback features a clear and defined Constellation emblem case.
CRYSTAL: Flawless crystal, no 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: An uncommon and original hi-beat 23 jewel Omega Calibre 1011 automatic mechanical movement, which beats at 28,800 bph. This watch was serviced in May 2020.
CROWN: Original Omega-signed stainless-steel crown.