|Bracelet/Strap:||WRIST ICONS leather strap made by Jean Paul Menicucci|
|Box/Paper:||Handmade Leather Travel Pouch IF ordered at WRIST ICONS|
Omega Centenary first series (28.10 RA JUB) 2499 with rare silver box
If you are a serious Omega collector you need a Centenary! The Omega Centenary was introduced in 1948, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Omega’s establishment. And also the Omega Centenary was the company’s first chronometer certified automatic wristwatch. The idea behind this particular timepiece was to represent Omega’s 100 years of timepiece creation. This first series Omega centenary comes with an original Jezler silver box.
The original Centenary was produced in limited quantities (6000 in total, 2000 as a limited edition to celebrate 100 years of Omega history (1848 – 1948). It used the calibre 28.10mm movement and 4000 using the calibre 30.10mm). However, according to Omega, the Centenary was so successful that they started developing a successor that would be produced in large quantities and become a collection on its own.. This became the Omega Constellation collection that was introduced to the market in 1952 as a new line of watches with chronometer movements to be produced in series.
The Omega Centenary Collection was the first series of chronometer grade production automatic movements produced by Omega. Though its dial was unusually functional in design, its graceful gold case boasting playful lugs was the thinnest of its era. Consumers loved it and the first series of production sold out quite fast.
The concept and case design came from René Bannwort, Omega’s Head of the Creation department. Before this time there were no designers within the big watch companies since they bought the cases directly from suppliers. Therefore most of the early wristwatches looked a lot like each other. René Bannwort was the creator of Omega’s Constellation and Seamaster lines and later became the founder of Corum. As mentioned above originally the Centenary was intended as a limited edition. The success of this series with retailers, knowledgeable collectors and watch enthusiasts caused Omega to reconsider. The upshot was that Omega trialled a second ‘batch’ of 28.10 and 30.10 centenary models in a luxury finish format, again to great acclaim.
It were the earlier 28.10 calibres that were direct antecedents to the first Omega Constellation models. So it can be said with some authority that the bulk of the genetic material for the first Omega Constellation models came from calibre 341, the chronometer version of the base calibre 340. While the 30.10 calibres 331 and 333 series did their job in promoting Omega chronometers to the world, they were selected out and ultimately died a peaceful and highly respectable death.
The movement of the first chronometer of the 28.10 series was the 28.10 RA JUB finished to a deluxe standard and selected to power the smaller format 2499 Centenary in 1948. Known as the calibre 341, but not stamped as such, only 2000 pieces of this exposed springs model were produced.
The first chronometer of the 28.10 series was the 28.10 RA JUB (seen opposite) finished to a deluxe standard and selected to power the smaller format 2499 Centenary in 1948. Known as the calibre 341, but not stamped as such, only 2000 pieces of this exposed springs model were produced.
Any Omega Centenary is collectible; however it appears that the most sough-after Centenary models are the calibre 331 and calibre 341, most particularly the 28.10 RA PC JUB AM (calibre 341) because of the limited numbers produced. These are the scarcest of all of the Centenary models. There is real interest and support in calibres 333 and 343 because of the RG regulating system and, again, given attrition and demand these latter calibres can be considered to be at least decidedly uncommon.
Now let’s dive into the technical details of this calibre.
At the Basel Fair of 1926, it was the Fortis that introduced the first mass-produced automatic wrist watch designed by the British horologist from the Isle of Man, John Harwood. Rolex introduced the world’s first bi-directional winding system in the early 1930s. Paul-Emile Brandt, one of the heirs of the founder of Omega Louis Brandt, was very resistant to this new development. He waited more than 15 years to introduce Omega’s first automatic references: The 28.10 and 30.10 Calibres. He commissioned Charles Perregaux to lead an Omega team in the design and production of two automatic calibres, a 28.10mm and a larger 30.10mm model. Instead of a bi-directional system as introduced by Rolex, Omega opted for a bumper movement
They created an oscillating weight that was stronger, heavier and thus very robust. Springs (see opposite at twenty to twenty five past) impeded the rotation of the oscillator and permitted the movement to be wound in only one direction.
Omega compensated for the recurring shocks on the movement and case caused by the oscillating weight by inventing an exceptionally sturdy means of fixing the movement. The movement slid into a lateral pin on one side and was fixed by a large screw that held a supporting tongue. This system prevented movement instability that could be caused by small screws unwinding because of the constant shocks of the oscillator.
A further benefit of the ‘bumper’ system, so named because of the gentle thud that could be felt on the wrist as the weight hit the buffers, was the seating of the rotor well down into the movement and this facilitated in the 28.10 and 30.10 movements heights of less than 5mm, comparable to the most advanced hand wind movements of the time.
The development team also made a technical decision to increase the beat rate from the standard 18,000 beats to 19,800 beats per hour, creating one of the first ever ‘fast- beat’ automatic movement series. This increase in frequency is partially responsible for the bumpers’ reputation as an extremely stable and accurate family of movements.
Omega launched both series in 1943 with the 30.10 being housed in case 2374 and the 28.10 set in case 2375, both available in various metals and price points. These models were marketed aggressively around the globe as the “thinnest automatic watch available in the world today”. Thus began Omega’s rise to the top of the production watch genre. These two calibres were unveiled in July and September 1943 and marked the beginning of an extraordinary period of innovation and growth of the Omega brand.
What is not to love on the design of this early Centanary?
The earlier 28.10 JUB dials more than often feature Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock, diamond shaped and faceted hour markers, arrowhead markers at 3 and 9 o’clock and the Omega symbol. The earlier models usually feature a two line chapter ring very similar to those found on the 2500 dials. The sub-dial is circular guilloche and each minute is usually marked out. Swiss will normally appear below the chapter ring at 6 o’clock. The gold dials have beautifully chosen diamond-shaped hour markers except for the Arabic ’12’. A small sub-dial is located at 6 o’clock for the seconds. The gold applied Omega logo and ‘Omega Automatic Chronometre’ are proudly shown on the dial and there’s no mention of the model name ‘Centenary’.
The hands on all Centenary models are consistently faceted dauphine style hands with an index hand on the sub-dial.
A small flat Omega signed crown finishes the elegant designed Centenary.
Turn the watch around, and you are looking at a solid gold caseback . Remove the snap-on caseback and you have an amazing view of the beautiful copped coloured, in-house, developed and produced Omega chronometer movement. The bumper rotor moves short distances before it hits the spring that will bounce it back. These bumper movements were also used in those first automatic Seamaster and Constellation timepieces. The 30.10mm calibre (which was the basis for the later 331 calibre) was also used in an Omega Tresor. Both calibre 28.10mm (which was the basis for the later calibre 341) and 30.10mm were used in luxury versions (‘RA JUB’) for the chronometer certified Centenary models. Only later, another batch of 5000 Centenary reference 2499 watches was produced, using calibre 343. Calibre 343 was based on the original 28.10mm calibre, but with a different finish and a new type of regulator. A very detailed description of the movements used in the Centenary models can be found here.
Source: Fratellowatches and Time and Time Omega Journey through Time and the perfect research of Desmond Guilfoyle omega-constellation-collectors.blogspot.com
The case, crown, dial, movement are all Omega signed. Its 341 calibre chronometer automatic movement which has been fully serviced and regulated. This particular Omega Constellation has just undergone a check by our watchmaker. It keeps good time but I would recommend a service. We can arrange that for you.
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase.