Recently a scan of a 1949 Omega advertisement was forwarded to me by a collecting colleague during an email exchange about a recent acquisition he had made of an early calibre 352 RG Chronometer. (Click on the scan above for an enlarged image of the advertisement.) The dial on his acquisition (see second pic – thanks Evan) was the same style as in the advertisement and he wished to know if his Omega was one of the batch mentioned in the advertisement.
Translated from French, the ad basically proclaims that, “A series of 1000 production line chronometers with consecutive serial numbers was submitted to the testing laboratory, Bureaux officiels de contrôle de la marche des montres” (the fore-runner to the modern COSC labs in Switzerland). The ad continues,” For the first time in the history of watchmaking, all without exception, receive the official certificate for timing (chronometer certification).” “Further, all are honoured with a special mention of particularly good results.” The ad goes on to say something to the effect that at the very moment the government authority demonstrated that this series of 1000 chronometers was such an exception, it could be inferred that virtually all Omega wrist chronometers rolling off the production line exceed such high thresholds of precision.
When one considers that in 1949 Omega had only been producing automatics for six years, it is a remarkable feat of manufacturing and quality control to achieve such precision in a production watch.
We know that this series of 1000 chronometers was submitted to the testing bureau between June 27th and September 22nd 1949. But how would one know if the watch in Evan’s possession belonged to this record-breaking batch? As the serial numbers were consecutive, the solving of this mystery hinged on whether Omega had a record of the serial numbers.
I contacted John Diethelm at the Omega Museum. John has always been very generous in sharing his extensive knowledge of Omega history and accessing the archives for unpublished information, and he replied that the museum did have a record of the serial numbers. So, mystery solved! All of the automatic chronometers were 28.10 RA SC RG calibre 352s and the series started with serial number 11’418’001 and finished at serial number 11’419’000. So, if you have a movement with a serial number within that range, know that apart from being a very fine instrument, it’s also part of history.
I have been collecting pictures and data on these early Omega chronometers with the intention of composing a larger essay about them. If you have pictures or information to share, I would love to hear from you.
Did my collecting friend’s Omega Chronometer have a serial number within the famous 1000? Well, sadly, no, but he is happy enough in the knowledge that he acquired an excellent model 2517 at a bargain basement price!
Return to home page
Return to home page