We were privileged to catch up with Nick Foulkes, a renowned author, journalist and watch expert who joins Watches of Switzerland Group CEO Brian Duffy to discuss the iconic Swiss brand, OMEGA. In this episode, they talk about the role that the brand plays in the history of Swiss watchmaking, the brand’s true identity, plus we delve into Nick’s thoughts on what OMEGA has to offer for the future?
The history of OMEGA began in a small farming town known as La Chaux-de-Fonds. From then on, the founders of the brand acquired a factory in Biel/Bienne, and this is where OMEGA designed and produced their wonderful watches, and became one of the largest watch manufacturers in the world. Describing La Chaux-de-Fonds as a showground for watches, Nick explains that watchmaking is a part of who the Swiss are.
Starting in 1948 with the production of pocket watches, the name OMEGA started life as the name of the Calibre, before taking the name of the brand. The company rose to prominence due to their unique calibre design, which featured 2 interchangeable components so other watch makers could order their products. For over 100 years, this made the brand stand out from the crowd and by 1945 they’d made an estimated 10 million watches.
In 1969, when mankind took its first steps on the moon, they did so wearing the OMEGA Speedmaster. With only a limited number of pieces made, these were presented to the NASA astronauts and others to dignitaries.
Another pivotal moment in OMEGA history is the moonlanding with 2019 pays tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Speedmaster. It was the only watch to survive rigorous tests for the likes of temperature, vibration and shock by NASA. The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch has also been part of 6 lunar missions.