View Full Version : Pre "Omega", Omega ?
05-11-2011, 11:14 PM
I just acquired an early Omega pocket watch. The movement slightly larger than an American 12s, is an open-face model, has nickel plates, private-labeled for New York jeweler (Dial only), has the Swiss patent #8760 setting mechanism, and a serial number of 1,239,***. The movement is only adorned with the sign for "Omega", which I believe denotes a pre-"Omega" Omega calibre. It does appear to be a quality movement, complete with what look to be platinum mean screws in balance. It's 15J, intact, probably requiring a basic service, and is in what looks to be a silver case, however there are no hallmarks. Case is marked "Switzerland", with a #"4", and a serial number that is different from the movement.
The movement information provided by Dr. Ranff's site for the 19L model, looks just like it, however, mine is smaller at just over 40.6mm on widest part of the pillar plate, and has nickel plates. Any additional info on the particular model is appreciated. I'm guessing that it's probably pretty early, like 1895-1899'ish, based on the serial number, as well as the fact that it's only marked with the greek omega symbol on the stepped balance cock.
Information from Omega is a little contradictory, but most agree that a movement having a serial number in excess of 1,200,000 would date into the first decade of the twentieth century (at least). Thus the movement is not "pre-Omega" and there must be a different reason for it not bearing the Omega name. Perhaps just the trade mark was sufficient.
05-12-2011, 08:01 AM
The Omega company exports many watches or watch movements to the States with no explicit "OMEGA" name on it! The "Labrador" watches are a great example, first nobody knew that this was a trade name from Omega.
Your movement was made between 1895 and 1902.
05-12-2011, 09:25 AM
Thanks for your responses, gent's. The reason I figured that the watch was from just before the turn of the century is based on this information from Dr. Roland Ranfft's movement archives. The page shows a watch with a serial number of 1,204*** that was said to have been made in 1896. The page goes on to state that, "The name Omega of this calibre was given to the company not before 1903."
In addition, there is similar movement that was discussed on watchuseek.com, to which Dr. Ranfft commented that its serial number of 1,745*** dated it to near 1901. Since mine is 500,000 numbers earlier than the one that was from 1901, it would seem that it's earlier, and therefore before the watch company was called "Omega". I am taking somewhat sequential serial numbers for granted.
05-12-2011, 05:19 PM
the manufacturing year 1896 of the number 1204679
and 1897 for 1248889
were submitted by the Omega museum.
So yours with the number 1289298 was pretty likely made in 1898, and
is an Omega 18''' (not yet in my archive).
The informations about the name "Omega" first used for this line of
calibres, and since 1903 for the company came from the same source.
This calibre was made with 17, 18, and 19''' diameter and two heights
each. Moreover diameters matching the American sizes after Lancashire
gauge were produced.
Until now I requested data of such early calibres from Omega, because
the early numbering was pretty confusing. But now Omega asks for any
information more $$$$ than to be payed for many watches, and I'll have
to find a way of communication which is effordable for a hobby archive.
Regards, Roland Ranfft
05-12-2011, 11:51 PM
Many thanks for your response, and for providing valuable information to the watch community.
That's too bad about Omega charging a lot for providing information that only they can provide. I guess they don't see a quantifiable return on providing such archival information. At least they keep the records. BTW, for your records, the serial number on my watch is 1,239,298 and the SS/AN dial is marked, "Bartens and Rice, New York". If there's anything else you'd like from the watch, let me know.
Thanks again for your contributions.
05-13-2011, 06:18 PM
That's too bad about Omega charging a lot for providing information that only they can provide.
Anything new needs time to settle. Probably they will ask in the future only
the charge for a printed copy from the records, and again provide other
informations for free as formerly.
I guess the new charge for requests will not cover teir costs anyway, and
it is just the question whether they want to gain reputation from providing
informations, or reduce the work by asking $$$.
the serial number on my watch is 1,239,298
Sorry, couldn't read it better in the photo. So it was surely made one year earlier.
Regards, Roand Ranfft
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