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Movement introduction: Omega best 5 movements

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It's very hard to choose 5 best movements from all the movements issued by Omega, which has a long history of more than one hundred and fifty years and has produced hundreds of types of movement. So when i was choosing, i focused on the following aspects:
Omega is not the brand that is known for its difficulty technology. Although they has tourbillon and perpetual calendar, that's just the symbol of showing strength and quality, not mass produced. What i chose must has large quantity, very common on the market, must has high- quality, must is the Epoch-making product made by Omega and must is mechanical movement. Not the immature product or the electronic quartz products. So followings are the 5 most representative movements of Omega that i chose:

1. The 19" movements
Discontinued Time: 1894
Designer: Franois Chevillat
Diameter: 43mm
Swing: 18000/h
17 jewels
19" movement is an epoch-making product. Its greatest significance is that the 19" movement laid the foundation of all the later Omega movements and the production of precision parts in the Swiss watchmaking industry. It’s the 19" movement formed the packaging combination concept.

In the 1601, Swiss has already created the Geneva tabulation association. Although, Swiss has more 500 watch factories at that time, all the watches are manual produced and each part of the watch is only fit one watch. The watch components cannot be mass produced. Until in the 19th century, Swiss and American watch factories started to mechanize mass produced watches. The American Waltham Watch Company is one of the representatives, the pioneer of using advanced and sophisticated machinery manufacturing watches and clocks technology. It was also at this time, the Swiss Louis Family relocated their factory in the Bill region, which has more adequate manpower, abundant resources and convenient transportation. They gave up the old assembly system, started to design more sophisticated and more advanced machinery and technology, hired experienced designers and workers, adopted the mechanized production pattern, produced the unified standard parts and introduced the new division of labor system to do the assembly work. Then in the 1894, the famous epoch-making movement-19" movement, the achievement of all the Louies Family’s efforts, was been produced. All of the components are made in production line and can be substituted for each other. This production pattern reduced a lot of manpower and fully improved the quality of the products. And also in the same year, they gave the product a unprecedented name: OMEGA.

This 19" movement had the most advanced structure - lever escapement. It was also equipped with bimetallic truncated counterweight balance and superior blue steel spring. The snail time adjustment was set on the balance bridge with beautiful screwed jewel bearing. All these details make this movement a wonderful movement. When this movement came out, it has broken countless Observatory races records. And it gained and has maintained the highest 97.8 points in the KEW races in 1936. The most accurate watch of all over the world is just the 19" movement.

2. 30mm movement
Production year: 1939-1963
Production quantity: more than 3, 000, 000
Designer: Henri Kneuss
Information: 30mm of diameter, 4.05mm/5 of thickness, 15/17 jewels
Swing: 18000 A/h
Power reserve: 42h

As a wist watch movement, this movement is an extremely special one. It has been said that the 30mm was just the boundary between the pocket watch and wrist watch which were supplied for testing in the Observatory races. That means, 30mm is the maximum limit diameter of watch at that time. The designer was Henri Kneuss, who has already very famous at that time. This movement took the advice of Henri Gerber, the second chief designer of Omega. Before this movement, the main competitors of Omega are Zenith and Longines, while this movement beat all the rivals and hold the palm in all tests, including the Neuchatel, Geneva and KEW (it broke all the records in 1940, 1946 and 1949). In the 1951 Geneva races, 30mm gained the highest wrist watch score 870.3, which has not been broken till now. From 1938 to 1964 almost 1/3 Observatory certificate are awarded to 30mm movement. It is also one of the most worthy collected watches that experts recommend. The unusual adaptability, excellent calibration performance, easy maintenance and appropriate application components made up this top quality movement. The barrel and balance were designed as large as possible to achieve the top calibration standards. The most efficient power transmission relied on the strict size of the gear: the superb movement equipped with the smallest escapement system. Since 1943, all the balance have started to been set with the Incabloc shock absorber. The 30mm movement is a milestone in the watchmaking industry during the 1939 and 1963, a quarter of a century. The truth is that the largest users of this movement was the British Army. The British army and navy were equipped with the watch as good as that of Royal Air Force pilots and military in World War II. (110, 000 watches in total, More than half of their total sales in Switzerland). 30mm has 26* three small hands series and 28* three big hands series, the former is 260-269, the later is 280-286. The specific difference are the slight jewels number and some other nuances. Please note that the 262 and 281 are COSC, with large screw regulator on the balance bridge. The price is higher than that of other watches.

3. The 321movement
Production year: 1946-1968
Production quantity: more than 40, 000
Designer: Albert Piguet
Information: 27mm of diameter, 6.74mm of thickness
Swing: 18000 A/h
Power reserve: 44h
17 jewels
The star balance and the Y shape plate of 321 movement are unmatchable by the later 861 movement. The escapement feels noble and complex, it seems like that it is screwed balance. The combination of the Y-shaped plate with elegant radian neutralized the overall complex chronography system. Many people doubt that if the star balance is better than eccentric balance. But most watches like the star balance structure. The standard edition movement, 27 CHRO c12, was published in 1942, joint designed by Omega's watcher, Jaques Reymond and Lemania’s watchmaker, Albert Piguet. In 1946, Omega reformed it to CAL. 321. This movement was firstly set in the SEAMASTER which was produced in 1957. And then, it is well known that NASA chose several commercially popular chronographies (not custom version but civilian version). Omega also attened several NASA missions and in July 21, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the Speedmaster became the first watch that landed on the moon. And since then, there is a classic Omega series created by this movement: Speedmaster.

4. Auto 561 movement
production year: 1958-1969
Designer: Marc Colomb
Production quantity: 1, 000, 000
Information: 27.9mm of diameter, 5.55mm of thickness
Swing: 19800 A/h
Power reserve: 48h
24 jewels
This was the final glory of Omega's former quartz generation: the automatic series. During the 20 years, from the 25mm 470 series and the 490 series with three big hands in 1955 to the 27.9mm 752 with double calendar in the 1970s, it has owned too many prides and too many Observatory certificates. And the decay of Omega later also directly affected this old factory'destiny.
The most mature and famous product during the 20 years was the 5 series, some of which has been certificated by COSC: 551, 561, 564 and 751. A product can be a landmark is not because of its advance. The most popular watch are the Omega Constellation "monocoque" Piepan models. And the 561 is the most popular and the west product of them. 564 and 751 has already has the 70's modernity on its shape of watch case, but its value is not higher than the Piepan watches. And the well-saved 561 is very valuable in the secondary market. The coating of the movement is the iconic color of medium-term Omega: Rose Gold. The flexible tourbillon and the Swan’s neck regulator improved the overall aesthetic and usability of the whole movement.
Many people are interested in the 5 series Omega, but most of them cannot distinguish the springs and the tourbillon material of the COSC 561 and the normal 562. COSC watches is not only more complex on the adjustment but also more professional on the choose of material. So there are many COSC 561 which is faked by 562 or 565.

5. Co-Axial 2500
Production year: since 1999
Designer: George Daniels
Information: 25.6mm of diameter, 3.6mm of thickness
Swing: 28800 A/h
Power reserve: 42h
27 jewels
It has been rebuked that the Co-Axial escapement is using the ETA movement. But in my opinion, the ETA movement that has been changed with Co-Axial escapement in the heart position is not ETA movement anymore. Although most famous and able watch factories and brands are generalize their own in-house movement, but their movements just have slight difference in some details, such as the plate's style and the tourbillon’s structure, almost no factory has really creative spirit. Omega had not produced their own in-house movement for nearly 20 years before the 1970s. And in the 1970s, the powerful ETA movements has occupied half of the movement market at that time and people has already used to the "sharing movement". Even Omega was using the ETA2892 to maintain the ordinary watch’s function. Omega just slightly upgraded and improved the movement from 1109-1120. The Co-Axial escapement has already been designed by Daniels in the 1970s, but the quartz watch was in vogue at that time, many factories collapsed quickly and no one can afford a new machinery structure. The Co-Axial escapement had been experimented by Patek, Rolex and other watch factories, but was been rejected because of the production costs and other issues. But Mr. Hai Nieke of Swatch Industry showed his great foresight at that time and contributed to the cooperation between the British watchmaker, George Daniels and Omega. The Co-Axial escapement was firstly been used in ETA2892, the new Deville series till today’s Railmaster. The FP refitted 3133 Co-Axial movement is also sophisticated technique of Speedmaster series. It’s said that Omega has found their own factory for the production of Co-Axial escapement. And the Omega’s generation came again.

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