You may remember the content series we launched back in June, where we took an in-depth look at eBay’s Authenticate program, designed to add a significant layer of consumer protection to shopping for luxury watches on the massive retail/auction portal. We’ve continued to take the occasional peek at the inventory on eBay—it’s hard to not continually be hunting—and we realized recently that there’s quite the archive of out-of-the-ordinary discontinued Omega watches up for grabs. Given the volume that the brand launches on any given year it’s easy to forget certain lesser-known models that launched within the last couple of decades, so we thought we’d approach this buying guide as a retrospective of sorts, taking a peek back into Omega’s odd archives.
Omega DeVille Chronoscope Co-Axial Chronograph
When people think Omega Chronograph, the mind obviously first wanders to the Speedmaster, and then maybe the Seamaster, but these Deville chronographs are equally worthy of consideration. Also available as a GMT chrono as well as a rattrapante (split-seconds) chronograph, their conservative 41mm casing means they’ve aged particularly well since launching back in 1999. They use a Piguet 1285-based column wheel chronograph caliber with a Co-Axial escapement. These remain quite affordable considering their high-spec construction, and this red dial variant is floating just north of the $4k mark.
Omega Seamaster Apnea Jacques Mayol
This Omega oddity from 2003 is a personal favorite of mine—a nod to an obscure field and executed in brilliantly detailed fashion. The Apnea—named after the medical term for temporary cessation of breathing—was designed with the help of the legendary freediver Jaques Mayol. Similar to a regatta timer, its series of 7 dial openings are used as chronograph minute counters, allowing for a total timing interval of 14 minutes (from silver, to red, to silver again). While the current world record for static apnea (holding one’s breath below the surface but not doing anything) is now north of 22 minutes, apnea freediving competition still remains under the 7 minute mark. When Omega deliberated over the design of this piece one key requirement presented by Mayol was to ensure that the colored intervals were clearly legible at all times, which is what led to the creation of the unique set of hands seen above. These days the Seamaster Apnea remains quite affordable, retailing for under $3,000.
Omega Speedmaster 3210.52 Casino Dial
Of course there had to be one Speedmaster in this list, and also of course, it had to be a properly weird iteration. The “Casino Dial” Speedy is a creation of the early 2000s, much akin to the Bullhead that appeared in a similar color scheme. The caliber 1164 that powers it is effectively an over-glorified Valjoux 7750 with Chronometer certification, but on the flip side it’s a budget-friendly twist on an iconic watch that you can pick up for a modest $2k.
Omega Constellation Double Eagle Mission Hills World Cup
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was blissfully unaware of this bizarre creation from the Omega catalog. This was one of several releases that were penned in an attempt to shift the Constellation collection to a more masculine audience—an effort that Omega eventually gave up on for the most part. at 41mm across and fitted with an integrated rubber strap, these pieces are known to be quite comfortable on the wrist. It’s also worth noting that those bezels do not use an aluminum insert nor a ceramic one, but rather a unique lacquer finish. This example is an unworn store display unit, listed at $3,679.99.
Omega Seamaster Ref. 2254.50
Yes, this is pretty basic when compared to the rest of our selections, but I’ve long felt that these sword hand Seamasters are under-appreciated in the sea of Bond versions you’ll see floating around. They come in around the same price of entry (basically a $1,500 to $2,500 window depending on condition, and because of this subtle design change they’ve always seemed a bit more timeless. It’s worth noting, you’ll often see these with a fading on the red tip of the seconds hand, often appearing more light orange than red.