Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Omega Constellation 1001: Against All Odds

Collecting the noncollectable: Omega Constellation Integral



"To be, or not to be...." that was precisely my feeling when deciding whether to grab this Omega. There are so many negative comments, reviews against this Omega movement cal. 1001. So many have classified it as a disaster or even a catastrophic movement.

"In 1968, the Omega 1000 series calibres came into this world with what are said to be significant birth defects..............The newly designed winding mechanism and the self-lubrication system created problems with reliability. Calibres 1000, 1001 and 1002 are best avoided, except by those who can repair and maintain them." wrote Desmond Guilfoyle. His full article can be read HERE!


Well there is always the other side of the coin. I have also heard the story about an Omega Cal. 1001 on someone's wrist for the last 25 years without servicing. Why I decided to have this one in my collection? This is because it was the Cal. 1001 that has launched Omega into the fast beat movements in 1969, eight years ahead of its rival, Rolex. Also the 1000 calibers were the last few Omega in-housed Constellation movement before Omega outsourced its manufacture of mechanical watch movements. Omega, for reasons of cutting costs and surviving the Japanese Quartz revolution, replaced the in-house Constellation movement in 1984 with the ETA 2892-2 and renamed it Calibre 1111.

This Omega Constellation is the same watch that is on display in the Omega museum and is labelled as the Constellation "integral line". The integral line watches were the first in the world to have the bracelet integrated into the case design. 1960's-1970's Constellations were manufactured at a time when mechanical watchmaking technology had reached a high point. The Constellation was one of the finest and most accurate watches available at the time and catered to different budgets and tastes with a choice of stainless steel to a solid 18K gold cases.


This is the most basic 1970's Omega Constellation with date function. It is a square shaped stainless steel case with integrated stainless steel bracelet. Its case measures 36mm x 40.9mm. The crown is signed with Omega logo or the horse shoe logo. This watch is with acrylic crystal and has a tiny little Omega logo engraved at the center of the crystal. The silver dial with baton indexes has had its glory day. 


The factory stainless steel bracelet is still intact and in good condition. The folding clasp is proudly signed with a huge Omega logo. 


The inner clasp is also signed as well with a reference number of 1155/148. 


The screw-down backcase of the Constellations is nicely decorated with a space observatory station with 8 stars in the sky. 


The 1000 series was one of the best-selling of all Omega self-winding calibres. More than 1.5 million were used not only as certified chronometers in Constellations, but also the uncertified movements in Seamasters, Geneve and Speedmasters.


The certified chronometer calibre 1001 was the first of the series to power Constellations. Cal.1001 is a 20 Jewels automatic movement adjusted to 5 positions and temperature. It has a power reserve of 42 hours. Designed by Kurt Vogt under Alfred Rihs, it was an impressive 4.25mm thick. Apart from its high frequency (28,800bph), it incorporated a number of technologies, such as a hacking feature to allow more accurate time setting, instantaneous date and a thinner rotor to slow down and create less stress and wear on the winding mechanism. 



Despite its shortcomings, Cal. 1001 is of significant in Omega's horological history. The Omega Constellation Integral line does have its place in Omega's hall of fame and some may say hall of shame as well. 

(Acknowledgement: A good portion of this post is based on Desmond Guilfoyle's and http://omega-constellation-collectors.blogspot.com works.)

5 comments:

  1. I love my 1001 Constellation, although I wish it worked. One day I'll put her in the shop and have someone treat her well, but for now it's a bit richer than I would like, so she'll sit in the box until that day comes. I DO long to wear it though...

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  2. IS THE SAME DIAL FOR OMEGA cAL 1010?

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    1. NO !!!
      The 1010 is the much improved upgrade of this movement.

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  3. I recently bought an almost complete 168.046 with the 1001 movement and I must say that I am very impressed with it !!!
    Servicing the movement was very easy and after initial wind it ran very strong with amplitude around 280 on a partial wind.
    Timing it was very easy too and achieved a flatline +- 0 seconds per day took less than a minute !!!
    I have looked at reviews saying avoid this movement but I totally disagree with them and only wish I had bought one of these movements many years ago.
    I have 6 Rolex watches includng 1570, 3000, 3035 and 3135 movement and I would rate this movement higher in terms of accuracy ease of servicing and adjustment.
    A VERY UNDERRATED MOVEMENT !!!

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  4. I too have worn this watch for, at least ten years, without a downtime. My is the 1002 movement. Is it as reliable as the IWC 853 movement--probally not, but it's not two grand either. There's a evolution that "Waych Guys" morph into. At first, they buy what looks good, and usually trendy. If they get into repair--they begin to change. You look beyond the asthetics, and really value that hidden engine. Let the filthy rich boys buy the name. I can repair watches. To those who want to get into the profession there's many routes. Don't rule out self study. If you live near a privately funded watch school; apply. Right now, most newer watch brands will not sell parts. They want the customer to send the watch to the factory, and it seems like a simple service is always $800. Just my experience, but they always seem to find something that needs replacing. It seems to violate The Sherman Anti-trust Act, but it's just not on the U.S. Government's radar, or priority list--I get it! They claim it's a problem, but it a niche problem. And just about every politician is wearing a gift watch from the Swatch Group--current owner of Rolex, etc. If you have the money--be my guest. I don't like making luxury companies more wealthy. There's a lot of watches to be found on the secondary market. The 1002 is not the watch to learn on, but a year, depending on your commitment, natural ability; you can service (clean, and oil) this watch. Watch repair is not rocket science. The Rolex boys might claim otherwise, but it's just a skill. It feels good to get a broken watch working. As to my 1002, I bought it broken years ago. It was just a stem, and I needed to replace a little piece of metal(fork piece) that holds the rotor on. I filed a tiny piece of metal, and fixed it. It was sold by a Watch Repair person. I believe he bought it, and read the negative reviews, and decided to off it. Fine--I will happily buy it. My whole point is don't believe everything you read on the Internet. And sorry about my rambling. I find spring stressful, especially this year of 2017. I'll leave on this--Watch Repair can be therapeutic. It's easy on the body, unlike auto mechanics. If you get into the hobby/profession their will be a time when you experience a Zen state. It might take a few years, but it will come. The parts will just go together. Watching that balance wheel spin, after a service--will just relax you. It will be awhile though. At first, you might just give it up when that Click Spring flies across the room into the abyss, but their will be a time when accidents just decrease. Oh yea, unless you have a neurological problem; your shaky hands will become steady. I tried to teach a friend basic watch repair, and he tried to use the "My hands are too shaky?". I made him ride it out. A few weeks later he had the dexterity of a good Surgeon. (That lost click spring can be made. It can be salvaged from a spare watch, or just made. I a few months Hope to offer online classes on the repair of watches. I will probally be at watchrepairvideos.com, or horology.biz. Maybe I'll meet you? The cost will be low, and I'm nice. )

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