The Omega Museum celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2004. In recognition of this milestone, Omega chose a watch with an even greater historical significance for its annual Museum Collection piece. The fifth watch in this collection is a reproduction of the Centenary watch produced for the company’s 100th birthday in 1948, which was also the first self-winding Omega wrist chronometer.
In keeping with the Museum Collection philosophy, the 21st century reproduction of the Centenary watch remains faithful to the design of the original. The watch is characterised by the sleek lines of its period case in 18-carat red gold with distinctive lyre-shaped lugs. It has a coppered dial that is separated into two zones – a vertically brushed centre section and a sun-brushed outer hour ring – by a classic “railway” minute track.
The hour ring has applied Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, applied triangular hour markers at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock and applied lozenge-shaped hour markers for the remaining hours. The time is displayed by polished bevelled Dauphine hour and minute hands with a countersunk small seconds dial on circular snailing in the centre zone above 6 o’clock.
The watch is completed by simple polished 18-carat red gold bezel and a domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflective treatment. Whilst the original model was available as a limited-edition in two sizes, fitted either with a 28.10mm (2000 pieces) or 30.10mm (4000 pieces) calibre, the contemporary model is available exclusively in a 36mm diameter case that houses the Omega calibre 2202 Co-Axial chronometer movement.
This unique movement, fitted with the revolutionary Omega Co-Axial Escapement that reduces friction and prolongs the movement’s life, has a 48-hour power reserve and official COSC chronometer certification. The combination of traditional design with the latest in watchmaking technology is also reflected in a subtle change on the dial, which, in addition to the original applied Omega symbol and period lettering, sees the original inscription “Automatic” replaced with “Co-Axial” – a term that only Omega watches can boast. And despite its 1940s design, the watch meets all of Omega’s strict quality requirements, notably being water resistant to 30 metres/100 feet.
With such a restricted production run, the original Centenary watch was destined to remain unique. However, it was so successful that Omega soon had to find a suitable replacement. This came in 1952 with the now world-famous Constellation. As with the original model, production of the 2004 Omega Centenary is also limited – as for all Museum Collection pieces – to the quantity corresponding with the year of the original.
The individual limited number (0001/1948) is engraved in the centre of a zoned case back together with the Omega symbol and name. The four sections surrounding the centre bear the inscription “THE OMEGA MUSEUM COLLECTION”, “THE CENTENARY WATCH”, “COLLECTORS’ SERIES NUMBER FIVE” and the year of the original, 1948. Like the original model, this limited-edition reproduction is sure to be coveted among watch collectors.