The OMEGA Constellation started life in 1952 as the Swiss watchmaker’s flagship model. In the intervening 68 years, it evolved from an unimpeachably elegant gentleman’s timepiece to Cindy Crawford’s wrist porn. The descent from masterful minimalism to bling bauble began in 1968, when designer Carol Didisheim got her claws out…
Note the bejeweled brackets pressing on the crystal. Originally functional, they quickly became ornamental. At the same time, the Constellation fell from the OMEGA firmament, losing top dog status to the reinvented Seamaster and its derivatives.
Now that’s it 2020, you’d think OMEGA would claw its way out of an aesthetic born in the age of Madonna (the singer). Nope. The claws that define the model are still there, flush to the bezel. The bezel interrupters violate the Farago family dress code: no horizontal stripes. They make you – in this case the watch – look fat. Even in slimming black. Even with a slimmed down bezel.
On the positive side, OMEGA has blessed the new Constellations – all thirteen 39mm models – with Master Chronometer movements, The Co-Axial 8800 is a magnificent engine, tested and certified for accuracy and durability to an inch of its life. Twice. Equipped with a silicon balance spring, the 8800 laughs at magnetic fields up 15,000 gauss. It doesn’t look too shabby either.
The Constellation’s integrated, polished edge bracelet is another big change. With upmarket stainless steel luxury sports watches flooding the market (e.g., Bell & Ross, Chopard, H. Moser & Cie., A. Lange and Bvlgari) the $6,050.00 all-steel Constellation is bound to find favor. Unless you want to go swimming – 5 bar water resistance makes it a bit worrying for edge pool flexing.
Equally if less obviously joyous: OMEGA has addressed the lack of micro-adjustments bedeviling their bracelets. The new “comfort-release” bracelet affords a 2mm adjustment – enough to avoid the need to remove links for most buyers.
Aesthetically, I’m not a fan of the Constellation revamp. The claws cum stripes are a needless affectation, and the slimmer bezel (with redesigned Roman numerals) still makes the dial look small – a problem for a 39mm watch. But the movement elevates the line and OMEGA’s bracelets were already as good or better than Rolex’s.
The Constellation strikes me as one of the watches you have to try on before deciding whether or not to buy – a timepiece whose tactile quality may make it irresistible. And here’s the funny thing: I reckon the fully blinged-out gold woman’s watch looks better than the men’s. As it should for $24k. Hey Kaia! Time for a new watch.