Trying to explain "what really is Omega", its no easy task. But it could unveil in the form of many things... definitely more then James Bond and Man on the Moon.
With little exception, wherever you look at, trying to document yourself about Omega's history, every piece of article will start with a reverence for what dictionary will return for "Omega", followed up by "accomplishment", "achievement", "perfection", etc. Nothing wrong, if it wasn't just a mereological element in a much bigger picture.
The very source of inspiration for many of the last 15 years articles, was the Omega official website, summarizing their history so unattractively, that you would hardly want to read it a second time. But things have changed, and this obsessing cliché is now smartly redistributed in crumbles on their new looking website, making the content more vivid.
The thing is, we could attribute and emphasize the right to the above epithets to so many good watchmaking companies, established well over 100 years ago, without being the last letter of the Greek alphabet - Ω. Sadly, the watchmaking industry has been faced to so many changes, forcing competition towards limits, that only a few still stand to advocate these merits today.
But the real contribution to the Henri Rieckel's trademark suggestion was the expansion of the Louis Brandt vision, through his descendants, by transforming the Établissage into a real Manufacture.
To enumerate a few milestones: With the introduction of the first long distance electrical transmission (1884), the factory was able to produce over 100.000 complete watches per year (1889), employing more then 600 people (1889). The company continued efforts to set high standards, and the introducing of interchangeable parts and their revolutionary Omega 19" caliber (1894) was considered a huge success. Not by coincidence, it became one of the earliest Swiss reference watches (1898), while the Gordon Bennett balloon race that opened the way into timekeeping events (1909), and the long series of Chronometers for rails, wheels, water and air, inevitably transformed Omega into one of the most important Swiss watch Manufacture.
The 1932 onwards highlight moments have had their share of attention in many public spaces, and although they are a sine qua non condition for their immense success, I will refrain developing a middle view opinion here, as they require but also deserve a much in depth study, space and dissemination.
This vast legacy could portray, in short, "what is Omega", as well as the ability to retain its unique character and control over its own destiny.
But did you know that although Omega would dominate the industry for a long period, in its long innovating history, there are a few milestones in the opposite direction too ?!
I have made a small selection of the most curios paths never taken by Omega, by including watches or complications that became a reference in the watchmaking world that Omega sadly never realized or further developed: