The Constellation, the first mass-produced chronometer from Swiss brand Omega, is a key player in today’s watch market. It has consistently shown strong sales performance, particularly in the vintage realm, says Paul Hoyt, founder of US-based online watch company Connoisseur of Time.
One of the most coveted models is the Grande Luxe. Produced in several references throughout the 1950s, it is available in all gold or platinum, and it sports Omega’s famous brick bracelet. “Revered as the Holy Grail by many Constellation enthusiasts, [it represents] the pinnacle of vintage collectability,” says Hoyt. The Calendar De Luxe, which boasts a solid-gold case and gold-colored dial akin to the Grand Luxe, is another collector favorite, he adds.
The Constellation made its debut in 1952 as the first flagship watch from Omega, preceding the Speedmaster by five years. Known for its high precision and beauty, the model took its name from the emblem on its caseback, which displayed an observatory with eight stars above it. Those stars symbolize the two chronometer records and six first-place awards that Omega earned between 1933 and 1952.
Since its release, the Constellation has attracted many famous fans, including supermodel Cindy Crawford, actor George Clooney, and even Elvis Presley, who favored a 1960 model with a calendar and a black “sniper” dial in pink gold.
Collectors seeking their own Constellations can expect varying prices today, says Hoyt. Vintage editions “generally offer an accessible entry point, with options below $2,000 for a well-preserved original steel model.” On the other end of the spectrum, the esteemed Grand Luxe models command a higher premium, typically fetching around $10,000. The rarest solid-gold vintage Constellations from the 1950s, complete with cloisonné enamel dials, can surpass $50,000.
Of course, there are some potential pitfalls to seeking a secondhand model, including the presence of “Frankenwatches” with mismatched parts. “Buyers should be mindful of dials that have been refinished in black color on steel vintage Constellations from the 1950s and early 1960s,” Hoyt cautions. “My primary advice to collectors is to always ‘buy the seller before you buy the watch.’”
Main image: Omega brand ambassador George Clooney. (WNN Rights Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)
This article is from the September-October 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.