Prices of Constellations vary in different markets. They are more expensive in Europe and the United States than they are in Australia and Asia, however values are globalising rapidly because of the Internet. Expect a starting price of at least 300 - 500 US dollars for a stainless steel Bumper model in good condition. Calibres 551, 561 and the quickset date Calibre 564 start at around 400 - 900 US dollars for the stainless steel models depending on condition and history and can go as high as 4000 US dollars for a fully original 18k solid gold model with original papers and box.
Expect to pay a premium for original stainless steel or gold bracelets. Beware of claims about original bracelets, as many of the earlier Omega bracelet clips wore over time and the bracelets had to be replaced. Omega branded bracelets are often ‘after market’ or recently manufactured, particularly ‘beads of rice’ bracelets. Models with refinished dials should fetch around 30 percent less than models with untarnished original dials.
Calibres 751, 1011, 1012, and 1020 are currently undervalued and represent good buying if they are in original condition. If you pay under 400 US dollars for a stainless steel example, consider it a bargain.
Delay buying a Constellation until you have gained enough knowledge to make some basic distinctions and judgements on condition, authenticity and value. Research market values of various models before you make your investment. Search the net for on-line dealers to gain a good idea of prices and compare those prices with specialist dealers in your city. Access other specialist collector’s sites for detailed information about calibres and serial numbers and insights into making judgements on authenticity. Avoid buying from on-line auction sites until you are knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions and can assess confidently market values, authenticity and condition by viewing photographs.
Collecting vintage Omega Constellations represents a sound investment. Prices are on the rise, but there is a plentiful supply of various models because of the numbers produced.
Befriend a benevolent watchmaker from whom you can learn about mechanical movements and to whom you can entrust your watches for occasional servicing. Buy one of the several authoritative books on Omega, join on-line Omega discussion groups and visit the official Omega site.
Knowledge is not only power, but is also what fuels a watch collecting passion. Knowledge will protect you in your purchases and ensure that your passion isn’t extinguished by a disappointing acquisition.
(C) Desmond Guilfoyle 2006