Dating a vintage omega pocket watch
The 19‴ family was so successful that the Omega caliber of 1894 would eventually give its name to the company as a whole, and the Omega Watch Co. The movement was produced in very large numbers during its heyday but obviously, it's been out of production for many decades (the last 19‴ Omega caliber was produced in 1923).
However, for the 125th anniversary of the first use of the name "Omega," the company is bringing the Omega caliber back, albeit in very limited numbers – 19 movements, to be placed in 19 watches, will be assembled from parts that have been in storage in Omega's museum in Bienne, ever since production concluded.
Until the 1990s, the only supplier of chronograph movements for Omega was Lemania. So, if you’re checking out an Omega chronograph from the 1950s, which is supposed to have a cal.
In 1894, however, the company began production of a movement that was to change watchmaking history, and whose name was to become established as one of the most important in the history of Swiss watchmaking.
This movement was the Omega caliber – a 19‴ (19 ligne; for more info on the ligne as a unit of measurement, check out our story from last year) with several important characteristics.
This was in 1894 still something of a novelty – though the first patent for keyless works allowing both functions through a single crown had been granted in 1845, by Adrien Philippe (who would with Antoine Norbert de Patek, go on to found Patek Philippe) the field was still very much open to experimentation, with a patent granted for the system used in the 19‴ caliber in 1894.
The caliber was referred to as the Omega caliber – the Greek letter Omega is the last of the Greek alphabet, and was chosen as a fitting name for the 19‴ family of movements as they were intended to be the last word in accuracy and reliability, in watchmaking.321 but it has a silvery finish on the plates, cocks, and bridges, and it doesn’t have the 321 marking, it’s simply not a 321.