The Art of Acquiring a Vintage Omega Constellation


 Fake 168.005 ensemble

The counterfeit watch industries of China, Vietnam and Thailand have done much to weaken confidence in the buying of ‘Big Name’ vintage watches such as Omega, Rolex, Patek Philippe and some of the other great Swiss brands. As technology has improved in these countries, so have the quality of their fakes. A combination of official sanction and corruption in China, for example, means that factories turning out legitimate watch parts by day can be used for the purposes of manufacturing counterfeit watch parts by night.

The sad part of about this is that many people deny themselves the pleasure and joy of owning a high-end vintage watch for fear of buying a fake. However, those oriental scumbags in the counterfeiting game have yet to produce the perfect fake. In most cases, they leave clues around like confetti and it isn’t all that hard to tell the difference between an impostor and the real McCoy.

Learn about specific vintage brands or models BEFORE you take the plunge. Join some of the bigger brand forums such as Watchuseek, Timezone, the Puristpro or their non-English equivalents; seek to build up your knowledge with the help of others; source sites like this one that specialise in certain brands or models; build up an inventory of pictures of genuine dials and movements as a resource from which you can make comparisons; join the Omega Vintage Database, and begin to notice how quickly your knowledge builds and the finer distinctions you are beginning to make.

What’s the point of owning an iconic vintage watch if you don’t know anything about its history, horology and design code? Part of the pleasure of going vintage can be to acquire enough knowledge about your favourite brands and models so as to be able to talk the ears off anyone who perchance notices what’s on your wrist!

Another reason for learning about your target vintage models is that you can then engage in banter and indeed spirited debates on various watch fora. You may even make some new friends, as many subscribers to these communities of horological petrol-heads have done.

Fake 168.005 case with fake case number 091919 stamped 

The Omega Constellation models currently faked are gold cased models from the nineteen-fifties and early sixties, particularly case numbers 14900 and 168.005. Fake pie pan dials usually accompany these brass-nickel alloy pinchbeck cases made to look like gold. Stainless steel cases 14900, 167.005, 168.005 are also faked with fake hand and dial ensembles. But there are many clues to their counterfeit status, all of which can be found on this site.

So, don’t let your fear of buying a fake Omega Constellation put you off owning one of these legendary models. That means the fakers win! Accumulate knowledge at the same time as you accumulate funds to purchase, and when the balance sheets of both have reached a healthy level, take the plunge!

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:26 am

    Dear Desmond,

    it's a great site that you are running, glad that I've found it.

    I am collecting vintage watches for some time now and Omega, especially the Constellation range, is on top of my wish-list. Unfortunately, there are many people around who sell fakes or Frankenwatches. Your essays are of excellent value, as they give loads of hints how to find the originals.

    I wonder if you have ever thought about publishing a book about the Constellation range. It can consist of all the essays you have written already, including the pictures. I personally would prefer a book to clicking to the various essays on your site. Don't get me wrong, this site is great, but sometimes, a book is easier to handle, and it doesn't need electricity ;).

    And could you recommend good online sources for buying vintage Omegas in Europe? A site for Omega enthusiasts would be great, I think chances are higher that they don't sell fake stuff.

    I am currently interested in a Constellation 168.019 (cal. 564) with the so-called silk-dial, looks sooo great.

    Keep up the good work,
    oliver (Germany)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Oliver

    Glad that you like the site. :)

    One day when I get some time I will most probably put all of my essays into some form and edit as a book, however in the short term I dont see might light at the end of the tunnel.

    Good choice - the 168.019 looks great with the silver dial. Good luck in your search.

    I'm a bit wary of recommending dealers, although I understand there are some really good ones in Europe, because of my belief that a dealer's reputation rests on the watch he is selling now.

    Nice to receive your support and the best of luck in your search for the 019.

    Regards

    Desmond

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  3. Anonymous9:55 am

    Hi,

    it's me again.
    Just wonder if you ever saw watches from ebay seller swisschristmas / in-time-out (seems to be the same person behind both names) from the U.K. He currently lists 2 Constellations from around 1966.
    Ebay-Id for the auctions are 130398070682 and 330440363316 .

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    oliver

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  4. Anonymous10:02 am

    OH, am surprised that you have already answered to my first posting, that was fast! I guess you wouldn't if you lived in Germany, as it's 4 a.m. over here now! Finding that 168.019 won't be easy, I guess. And for the book, nevermind, as long as you don't think of stopping this site, it's o.k. :).

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  5. Hi Oliver

    For some reason I cant access those pics on the ebay site.

    Can you send them via email. Just click on 'about me' and then the email

    Cheers

    Desmond

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  6. What a great site. I wish I'd seen it before I bought my Constellation.
    However, I now feel confident that I've bought a good one. Many thanks.

    John.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi John,

    Yes the other purpose of this site is as a resource to confirm that one has made an astute purchase.

    Glad to hear that you've done so

    regards

    desmond

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  8. Dear Desmond,

    I've been following your site quite sometime. I will check your site when I want to buy or sell Omega watches. I really enjoy reading your articles.

    Your recent article and photo on The Art of Acquiring a Vintage Omega Constellation really worry me because I bought the exact Omega Constellation Dial featured in that article with photo of Fake 168.005 case with fake case number 091919 stamped.

    I bought that watch from Philippines, cal. 501 with case reference no. stamped 2887. Bought it after I checked your pdf file on full calibre data which stated cal.501/505, year 1956 and reference 2887.

    Wonder whether I have purchased a fake constellation.

    Your site is the best for all Omega's fans out there. Keep up the good work.

    Thank You and Kind Regards

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  9. Hi Irhomdey

    Click on the about me click through and send me some pics of your watch. Dial and caseback, along with movement, and I'll have a look at it for you.

    Cheers

    Desmond

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  10. Dear Desmond,

    I have sent an email with photos of dial, movement and caseback for your comments.

    Thank you and Kind Regards
    Irhomdeys

    ReplyDelete
  11. Carlos1:13 pm

    Hello Desmond,

    I have followed your site for some time now and as a result I have used what I have learned to acquire my first vintage Omega Seamaster DeVille. I will post some scans when I receive the watch back from servicing. It is a 1965 monocoche 14K solid gold Cal 562. I am currently looking for an original buckle for it and expect it will take me some time.

    Currently I am about to pick up a second Omega, this time it is going to be a SS knurled bezel c-shape from 1968. I was inspired to do so by your essays on the cal 751 and the C-Shape Constellation. I already have an original 60's 19mm omega strap for this one that I had to re-condition back to life and feel that an original SS buckle will be much easier to find.

    One model I have my eye on but I cannot find enough information to decide its' authenticity is a Globemaster from 1968 because I do not know were to reference the US case numbers. The case has two #s, E06068 and FX6282. I hope you can shed some light on this.

    About myself, I have always admired the Omega watch line but had not owned one until recently. When speaking with my father about the Omega vintage watch I had recently purchased, he told me that he had been the AD in the area of Angola, were I was born and in which we fled from in the late 70's. It always amazes me how we always move in circles.

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  12. Hi Carlos,

    What a great story about things going in circles!

    Re the Globemaster, the most collectible one will be the early 'no-name' Constellations which have the same case numbers as the Connies, but no Constellation script....just a star, in cases 2648, 2652, for example. There is an essay on them somewhere. The later US cased Globemasters are not so collectible and petered out by 1959-60, and so 1968 is too late for one of the 'lesser' Globemasters.

    Also these US cased Globemasters are very hard to authenticate because Omega does not keep records of the case numbers and no record is available from the original US distributor, Norman Morris. Sadly its touch and go, so to speak.

    Great choice in the knurled bezel C-Shape- they look great on the wrist.

    Regards

    desmond

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  13. Anonymous11:25 pm

    Dear Desmond,

    I agree about the book. Wonderful, invaluable site, but a book would be fantastic too.

    Cheers,

    Chris

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  14. Hi Chris

    maybe an ebook in the future?

    I notice that for the first time electronic books have overtaken hard copies in some areas.

    Thanks for your post

    Desmond

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  15. Anonymous9:57 pm

    Hi, my father recently bestowed to me his Omega 18 it gold watch , which he purchased in the 50's, according to my mother. . I noticed that although it it has the star on the dial, it lacks the the word "constellation" above it. Also chrometer is spelled chrometre. Lastly When I am wearing it I can feel a thumping as if something is loose inside. I would appreciate any light you may be able shed as to the model of this precious heirloom. Thank you.

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  16. There is a story attached to what we call the "No-Name" Constellations and its good rather than bad news.

    Click here http://users.tpg.com.au/mondodec//Globemasterpost.pdf

    To answer your other questions, Chronoetre indicates manufacture in the early 50s and all Constellations had chronometre spelled in that way at the time.

    The thud you hear is the rotor of the movement hitting the buffer springs, however if it is more like a clasng than a thud you should have the piece seen to. These movements will go on forever if serviced every four or so years.

    Cheers

    Desmond

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  17. Anonymous8:12 am

    Hello there, I am looking for an Omega Constellation circa 1969. I believe that the model number is 168.019. It has the day/date and is part of the C shape. It was my father's watch and it was recently stolen. Any help would be appreciated.

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  18. Hi

    I wrote an essay on C-Shape Constellations that detail each model including the calibre 751 powered model 168.019. It's under 'Good Buys'. That should provide you with plenty of info

    Cheers

    Desmond

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  19. Jonathan7:13 am

    Hi Desmond,

    I'm in the midst of learning about and searching for my first constellation. I was looking at this one on ebay - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Omega-Constellation-Chronometre-18K-Pie-Pan-Dial-/121050386788?_trksid=p2047675.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D11%26meid%3D4901512662666176590%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D1005%26rk%3D1%26sd%3D330840767800%26

    The case number, calibre etc all seem to match up. There's nothing that jumps out at me as being wrong after reading through all your information but I'm just a beginner with this stuff. Do you see any issues? Do you think it's a good buy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It all seems to check out. Case is quite sharp and doesnt show a lot of wear. Movement is correct and seems clean, although it could need a service as I note the seller doesnt say anything about the service history of the watch.

      Pictures of dial are not large enough to state with certainty that it is factory original and not refinished. It looks ok but if I were intertested in this piece, I would be asking for closeups of the dial and assuming that the watch would need a clean and oil when I purchased it.

      Good luck

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