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The Constellation line stands out as a beacon of nonconformity among all of Omega's lines. Once the flagship of Omega models, the Constellation was launched by Omega in 1952, succeeding a limited-edition model dubbed the Century, which commemorated the company's centennial in 1948. Omega never intended to produce the Century for retail, but it received such wide acclaim for both its innovative case design and its chronometer-level accuracy that Omega decided to use it as a prototype for a new line. Omega built this new line, the Constellation, around their new automatic bumper movement, a watch that matched their ideal for what a modern timepiece should be.
Omega submitted the Constellation to rigorous testing by the Geneva Observatory, which subjected each watch that it received to a series of 30 to 50-day tests covering eight categories of accuracy. Watches that passed the rigorous scrutiny were dubbed Observatory Chronometers and were awarded a special Bulletin de Marche from the Observatory. The Constellation passed this grueling series of tests (more rigorous even than those conducted by COSC) with flying colors, acing every category. Henceforth, the case back of the Constellation was adorned with the cupola of the Observatory surrounded by eight stars, one for each category of the test, as a reminder of the watch's superior engineering.
Of all the multifarious dial and hand configurations that the Constellation has seen, the classic "pie pan" dial is the most iconic. Most commonly seen in stainless steel, the pie-pan Constellations of the 1950s also came in two-tone steel and gold or were gold-plated. The steel versions are certainly the most popular, commanding more money than the gold-plated versions, which were essentially a thin layer of gold over a steel shell. While gold-plating is certainly a cost-saving measure, gold-plated watches don't withstand the rigours of time as well as solid gold or steel. These Constellations also bore the more commonly-seen white or silver dial which collectors have come to associate with the model.
However, the Constellation was also available in an all 18k gold case. Dubbed the Constellation Deluxe, this reference--ref. 3782--is among the rarer references of Constellation, with the addition of a solid yellow-gold dial. This addition makes the pie pan dial all the more distinctive and elegant, with applied gold markers and the requisite language ("Chronometer officially certified" and the model name at 6 o'clock). The Constellation, already so unusual when compared to other Omega models such as the Speedmaster and Seamaster, is made all the more uncommon when in solid 18k yellow gold. For a collector who desires a chronometer with a strong history of horological excellence and a distinctive flair, the 18k yellow gold Constellation is a triumph deluxe.
18k yellow gold case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown). Omega reference 2782, caliber 354 automatic bumper wind movement. Circa mid-1950s
18k yellow gold case is in excellent condition, showing no signs of over-polishing or major blemishes. Gold pie-pan dial is likewise in excellent condition, showing only slight signs of light wear and use in keeping with its age. Signed crown and signed case back; case back is in superb condition, showing traces of factory brush finishing.
Includes 18mm Hirsh lizard strap with Omega buckle in yellow gold.