Dubai, UAE, September 03, 2018: With more than a century of innovation and design, OMEGA is today celebrating its extraordinary heritage with women and watches. But more than the timepieces themselves, this is a story that reflects the diverse attitudes, styles and personalities of women all over the world, and how OMEGA has always remained in touch.
The 20th century was a defining era for women’s rights and equality. It was a time when they found not only their place, but also their collective voice. As the century began, another revolution was taking place in the world of women’s watchmaking. In a silver case, covered entirely in a delicate floral design, OMEGA’s very first wristwatch for ladies made its début appearance. Although the brand had previously offered beautifully engraved pocket watches, 1902 was the moment when the OMEGA ladies’ watch became a pronounced and distinguishing feature of style.
However, it’s fair to say that the idea needed time to get comfortable. In some circles, it was still considered rude for a woman to look at her watch, perhaps giving a suggestion of boredom or disinterest. Therefore, OMEGA began to produce its own “secret jewellery watches”, pieces that looked like jewellery, but had a small watch hidden somewhere inside. The popularity of these pieces grew, along with the brand’s other subdued and classic designs.
The years progressed, and so too did OMEGA’s relationship with style. During the “Roaring Twenties”, short skirts and bobbed hair were all the rage for flappers, while the Art Deco movement was introducing the world to rich colours and bold shapes. Matching this new-found liberty and expression, OMEGA produced its own range of Art Deco jewellery watches. And because OMEGA knew that discerning women cared as much about the inside of their watches as the outside, each piece was complemented by OMEGA’s renowned precision.
In fact, it’s astonishing to know that from 1894 to 1935, more than 35% of OMEGA’s advanced movement production was destined for ladies’ watches. It’s a clear indication that the brand appreciated the possibilities and importance of such a market.
Perhaps one of the finest examples of this commitment was the OMEGA “Medicus” in 1937. This easy-to-use and highly readable watch was designed for hardworking nurses and was OMEGA’s first wristwatch with a central seconds hand. Not only did the “Medicus” answer the needs of women in the medical profession, it did so with absolute beauty and refinement.
From work, to home, to play, OMEGA’s advertising at the time also appeared modern and gender-neutral, reflecting the varied lifestyles of women everywhere.
As attitudes began to change in the 1950s, gradually, the advertising evolved too. While many brands played to the stereotypes of domestic duties or innuendo, OMEGA was showing the individuality and sense of style that makes each woman unique. Like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn on the big screen, OMEGA ads were making a stand for elegance and personality.
As one commercial from 1951 wrote:
“In all facets of life, a woman is just as active, sporty, and as busy as a man, like him, she demands a watch of precision.”
It was during this decade that OMEGA made its strongest statement yet about its commitment to women as clientele. When the Ladymatic was created in 1955, it featured the world’s smallest chronometer-certified rotor-equipped automatic calibre. Far more superior than almost everything else on the market, it was an instant sensation, combining advanced technology with beautiful design.
From here, the stars kept on coming. The OMEGA “Flowers” jewellery secret watch was the first ever timepiece created with mauve gold, an original piece made in 1955 that was set with diamonds. In fact, many of these secret watches were created in collaboration with recognised designers, a trend that continued into the 1960s and 70s, a time when experimentation, colour and creativity was gripping the world.
During this time, jewellery designers such as Gilbert Albert and the avant-garde Andrew Grima helped to produce some stunning pieces using a variety of precious metals and stones, even including a piece of real meteorite used in Albert’s ”Moldavita” watch.
When Cindy Crawford became the brand’s first ambassador in 1995, it began a new era in which OMEGA was proudly associated with the most successful and confident women. This was established further in 2005 when the academy award-winning actress, Nicole Kidman, also became a valuable and integral part of the OMEGA family.
Since then, many other famous names from film, sport and modelling have all signed on. Some of those today include the model Kaia Gerber, golfer Michelle Wie and actress Liu Shishi
It seems that no matter the decade, OMEGA has always kept step with the changing attitudes and preferences of women. Now that the 20th century has ended, and women are making a greater impact than ever before, OMEGA has proudly reached a point where its ladies’ watchmaking is at the forefront of the industry.
The brand’s technology has been shaped around their needs to ensure that the beauty of each watch can be met with the highest standards of innovation inside.
In some cases, in fact, this has meant a finer and more delicate level of craftsmanship than men’s watches have ever required.
So it goes without saying, that from now and into the future, OMEGA will evidently continue to make every ladies’ watch with iconic precision and style, and always inspired by the women who wear them.