A Star is Forlorn







This is a genuine Constellation sold in the US that does not feature the Constellation script above the star. The watch is registered in the Omega archives as:

- OMEGA - ( Constellation)
- mvt N° 14'003'114
- automatic chronometer rating mvt of cal. 354
- watch reference : KO 2652 - 14K goldcap on stainless steel case
- manufactured and delivered to USA on September 19, 1955

So why the absence of the Constellation script? Simple, albeit very unusual really. As mentioned in this post, in the early to mid 1950s Omega Constellations were not sold in the USA or Canada because of a copyright issue surrounding the name Constellation.

The copyright issue was eventually resolved in 1956, and from that date Omega was able to release the Constelllation in North America. But, as the earlier post reveals, Norman Morris, the US importer of Omega watches at the time, imported the movements and produced dials naming them after another heavyweight in the areonautical industry - the Douglas Globemaster.

The watch you see above was delivered in its entirety to the US and it must have been quite uncommon even then because of Omega would have been considerably more expensive than its US cased Omega models because of the high tariffs imposed on fully cased watches in the US at the time The highest tariffs were circumvented by a number of leading Swiss manufactures by having the imported movements cased and dialled in America.

We know the case and dial came with the movement because of the case number 2652, one of the earliest manufactured, and the spelling of the word 'chronometre'. The case also carries the correct markings indicating its production in Switzerland.

This is indeed a good find, made even better by the watch having avoided the fate of many of the calibre 354 Globemasters: that of being re-dialled as Constellations.

My thanks to Peter Wagenaar and owner Norman Garbaccio for bringing this beautiful relic to my attention and providing the pictures.

10 comments:

  1. Desmond,
    From the pics you posted there is no "Swiss Made" at the 6 o'clock position either?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, there doesn't appear to be from the pics Luke.

    Of course this watch pre-dates the official and legal definition of Swiss Made in watches that occurred in December,1971. The definition was again tightened up in a government ordinance dated May 27, 1992 which stipulated that at least 50% of the total value of a movement’s components must be of Swiss manufacture if the claim of Swiss Made is to be printed on a dial.

    As we get into the 60s we see a great deal more consistency in the 'swiss Made'in watches of all brands.

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  3. A postscript on the Swiss Made posts.

    The owner tells me that the word 'Swiss' is printed under the 6 o'clock marker but is obscured by the reflector ring.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ahhh ok interesting. I have seen a few 1950's Omegas with the word "SWISS" appearing below the 6 o'clock marker (some bumber Seamasters and Connies).

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  5. Anonymous12:58 pm

    After reading this post and doing my diligence, I'd wonder if you'd give me your thoughts on this piece I'm thinking of grabbing.

    http://s300.photobucket.com/user/lmarcze11/library/Connie

    Thanks,

    Laz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Overall a nice piece with a better than average dial and a clean movement.

      Lugs are a little rounded but not excessively so and the bezel shows a fair bit of wear (which in some circles is called patina), so while not being the sharpest card in the pack, it is a very honest watch that clearly has been well cared for and worn quite regularly during its lifetime.

      Guilloche dial adds another tick with only very minor patina. In short, a watch I'd be proud to wear, providing there are no issues with the movement. Check if it's ever been cleaned and oiled because the movement screws are the sharpest I've seen in a while. Crown looks as though its a replacement (unless its the pics) and could be 18k plated and not 14k plated to match the solid 14k bezel and gold placque.

      Regards

      Desmond

      Regards

      Desmond

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  6. Anonymous12:48 am

    Des,

    Thanks for your insight. The seller confirmed the 18k crown as you thought, and reports that its running +18 sec a day @ 280 amplitude. I'm wondering what you would say is a fair price for this piece?

    Laz

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    Replies
    1. Hi Laz

      That's not a bad rate for a watch of this vintage.

      On a scale of one to ten in terms of condition and originality, ten being museum quality, I would rate this watch at around 6 1/2 . A 1 or 2 rated piece would fetch around 2.2 to 2.5 k, whereas a 10 would fetch 5.5 to 6 k.

      If I was buying the watch myself, I would want to pay no more than USD 3.5 to 4 k. (3.5 being on the low side) I don't know what a bidding war, if there was ever one, would push the price up to on an auction site, but I would expect the watch to fetch that kind of money in a bricks and mortar watch auction.

      Also 3.5 to 4 represents what I would call 'Global Internet Price' . Of course what a B&M watch dealer would sell it for is anyone's guess, because they tend to have higher overheads and want to make 100% profit on a watch if they can.

      Hope that helps

      Cheers

      Desmond

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  7. Anonymous12:21 pm

    Well Desmond, your writings have caused my wallet to become a little lighter! The new piece is on its way.

    I've been combing your essays for a "Things to do when you receive your 'New' Vintage Constellation."

    What are some of the things you check when a new purchase arrives? Check under the bonnet? Have it serviced? Take it out to a nice dinner with a bottle of aged bordeaux? I'm curious to learn the habits
    of the informed.

    Laz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laz,

      Glad to be of service!

      I think you've listed most of the post arrival rites. I guess the number one priority is to establish a service date, simply disassembling the movement, and cleaning and oiling it. That will allow you to maintain the correct service interval - about four to five years with light wear.

      I think you have a good piece that ticks some important boxes: the guilloche dial being the jewel in the crown.

      May you wera it well.

      Cheers

      desmond

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