Fratello Classics: 4 Vintage Omega Replica Watches Under $1,000

Omega Constellation Reference 2852 10SC, ca.1961

Let’s start with a couple of Constellation models you should be able to source for under a grand. Although this watch looks a bit used, worn, or perhaps even “damaged,” some might appreciate its “patina.” Although I am not too fond of dials that are scarred, this one does show that the watch has seen a bit of the world. This piece reminds me of an old, comfy-looking leather Chesterfield couch. This is an early 1960s model that has a Caliber 505 movement. These first series of Caliber 50x movements came right after their bumper movements (Caliber 354 and so on) and are considered to be solid performers. After the 50x series, Omega Replica Speedmaster came up with the 55x and 56x movements, which are improved versions. Just like all other Constellation watches of that period, this one was chronometer-rated. The dial has the “officially certified chronometer” wording and the movement has “adjusted to 5 positions and temperatures” engraved.  This reference 2852 10SC Constellation has a 35-mm case diameter and has the fancy lugs and and 10-sided winding crown. The dial has quite a bit of patina, but is still very readable, with large dauphine hands. It’s not shown in the pictures, but on the caseback of this Constellation (as on all the current models, as well, I believe) is an embossing of an observatory. This particular model has a gold emblem on the back, with the Geneva observatory.

Omega Constellation Ref. 2852

Omega Constellation ‘C’ Model reference 168.017 ca.1968

Later in the 1960s, Omega  came up with a different case design for the Constellation collection. While the famous round “pie-pan” models were still available during the time, Omega also introduced the “C”-shaped model. The one I picked is Reference 168.017. It contains automatic Caliber 564, which has a quick-set feature. This model appears to be larger than the round models, mainly due to the integrated lugs, but is also just 35-mm in diameter. It certainly wears larger, though. You will also be able to find these models from a later period with a 300-Hz tuning-fork movement.

Although the case shape is a bit peculiar for today’s tastes, perhaps, the dial is something you should pay attention to. It has a very nice texture, which is a bit difficult to see in the picture, and the stick-shaped hour markers have onyx inlays. The caseback has the Geneva Observatory emblem, of course.

As you can see on the picture of the movement, the gold-copper finish is very nice to look at. If you are going to buy a vintage Omega with a similar caliber, make sure to have a peek at the movement before you buy. Some of them have green spots (moisture) or patina (also moisture) and if there are too many of these spots, I would leave the watch alone.

Omega Constellation Ref. 168017SP - front

Omega Seamaster De Ville 166.020 ca.1968

Before the De Ville became a stand-alone collection of watches, Omega Replica  Constellation used this name for some of the dress watches in its Seamaster collection. A number of these Seamaster dress watches actually are not that much different from the Constellation watches, except that the Constellation models always had chronometer-certified movements and the cases were a bit fancier.

This Seamaster De Ville also has an automatic caliber (565) and has a gold-capped case. Do not mistake this for a plaque or double; it is more like a shell of solid gold that goes over a stainless-steel case. You could say these were the two-tone watches of that era. Unfortunately, the watch in this photo does not have an original crown (it is unsigned and slightly too big) but with a bit of luck you might find either an original spare crown, or even a model with the correct crown. The stainless steel caseback has the Seamaster logo and Seahorse image embossed.

Omega Seamaster Deville Ref 166020

Omega Genève Chronostop ca.1970

Omega’s Genève collection is a bit odd, to be honest. It was used as a label for all different sorts of watches, from dress watches like the ones above to sporty watches such as the Genève Dynamic models of the 1970s. One of the Genève models I really like is the Chronostop watch. It was hard to find one under $1,000, as the model is relatively popular for a small-cased watch, but I managed to do so.

This particular watch’s movement is Caliber 865, based on Lemania Caliber 2225. It has a monopusher chronograph function. As you can see, the watch has only one pusher, which is used to start, pause (not stop), and reset the red seconds hand. By pushing it once, the chronograph hand starts to run. If you want to stop the time, you have to push it and keep it down. If you release the button, it will reset to zero again.

Omega Genève Chronostop

Other Omega Replica De Ville Watches that would fit the $1,000 bill include the 1970s Omega Genève Dynamic, a gold-capped Omega Seamaster Calendar with the date aperture at 6 o’clock, and a number of other Constellation and Seamaster references. One of the fun parts of the quest is the challenge of finding one that’s the right watch for you and also in good shape. Give up any hopes to find a Constellation or Seamaster in gold, or to get one with box, papers and original invoice, for this kind of money. However, if you do come across one, do not hesitate.