Omega 14311, A Chronometre - Review

  1. cicindela
    cicindela Steve @ ΩF
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     Mar 22, 2013
    Omega 14311 Chronometre, undifferenciated.

    One of the more interesting Omega references of late 1940's is the 14.311 or 14311. This is an 18k gold, bent-knee lugged Chronometer. The watch is powered by the Caliber 352 RG bumper Chronometer, a desirable movement for collectors. This is a reference perhaps best known as one of the early Globemaster or Pre-Constellation models. Remarkably it was also imported by Norman Morris as a straight or plain Chronometre using the same reference number (Guilfoyle). While it is unusual to use the same reference number for two different models, it is not unknown, especially during a time when the importer could do pretty much what ever he wanted. Some of these watches were later re-dialed as Globemasters (Guilfoyle) and are considered the earlier form of the Constellation in the U.S. These were marketed under that name due to trademark conflicts with the name “Constellation”. However the earlier assembled, plain models are not an early Constellation or Pre-Constellations in the accepted usage of the term. One might argue that it is one of the several precursors of the constellation, as it disappeared shortly after the arrival of Omega labeled Constellations, but it was distributed more or less concurrently with the Globemasters and there is nothing in the literature of the time labeling the plain model 14311 as a Globemaster as well. Of the case backs for these watches that I have seen, most date the manufacture to between 1945 and 1948; actually before Omega claims to have released the 352.

    An ad from 1954 picturing the plain model 14311 watch reference is described by Richon, AJTT, (page 363) as a “Globemaster”. However this may be a simple misunderstanding or error. This reference, once again in the plain form, is also pictured with several other non Constellation Chronometres on page 263 AJTT, with no reference to Globemaster or Constellation (black dial). While during early 1950s the plain model could have be labeled a Globemaster or a Constellation on the whim of several individuals that had it within their power, the fact remains it was not.

    Where does this bring us today? Globemaster 14311s and Plain Chronometres are both collectable, uncommon watches. Dials for both are found with both plain and guilloche finishes. The Globemaster Models feature a star on the front and an observatory case back. The “Plain Chronometer” lacks both of these.

    Norman Morris also imported other references that were marketed under the Globemaster name. Principally the 2648, 2652, powered by Cal. 352 and 354.

    This watch has an elegant look and stands out on the wrist. The grasshopper knee lugs are casually noticeable. The guilloche dial with a silver border adds a boldness to the dial. It keeps excellent time, very good for a watch over 65 years old. I have seen very few of these watches with the guilloche dial and many of the surviving pieces have had their dials refinished. I might add that this watch came with a very high, cheap, after-market crystal that distorts the dial image quite a bit and makes accurate photography difficult. I am going to have to replace it, but it is a low priority. The watch came with an original 18kt Omega buckle, consistent with others I have seen from the late 1940s early 50s period. I can’t help but think though, that with the larger face, a blued steel center seconds hand, as omega used in early constellations and some other Chronometres, would add another note of distinction. Maybe I can find one.
    Size:

    Diameter, 35.20mm, not including the crown. In comparison this is a little larger then a 2652 Constellation. Lug to lug, 24.80mm. Case approximately 7.0mm thick
    Movement: The 352 RG (or 28.10 RA SC RG T1 previous reference in this configuration), is stated by Omega as produced in 1949, as stated previously, this timing may be an error. Between the caliber 351 and the caliber 352, 286,000 were produced. Only some of the 351s were Chronometre grade verses all of the 352s. Both were rated at 19,800 BPH. The movement is powered both by hand winding and an oscillating 120 to 130 degree “bumper weight. This gives the watch a characteristic “thump” when worn.

    Following are images of a 14.311 I recently acquired with original dial. This watch matches the image found on page 363, AJTT.














    Links:

    http://omega-constellation-collectors.blogspot.com/2009/03/rare-14311-globemaster-surfaces.html



    http://omega-constellation-collectors.blogspot.com/2009/03/rare-14311-globemaster-surfaces.html



    http://omegaforums.net/threads/18k-14311-pre-constellation-chronometre.2041/
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    3. Last post by adam78 Mar 30, 2013
  2. chiko7734
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     Mar 22, 2013
    That is truly beautiful. Congrats!
    dsio likes this.
  3. dsio
    dsio Ash @ ΩF
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     Mar 22, 2013
    Brilliant watch Steve and great review, your writing style is as enjoyable as your photography!
  4. alam
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     Mar 22, 2013
    Awesome! :thumbsup: I'm jealous, dibs? ::love::or perhaps Dennis made the call already? :D where did you find this beauty?
  5. cicindela
    cicindela Steve @ ΩF
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     Mar 22, 2013
    alam
    alam said
    Awesome! :thumbsup: I'm jealous, dibs? ::love::or perhaps Dennis made the call already? :D where did you find this beauty?
    I traveled to a small monastery in Bhutan, at about 20,00ft. There an old monk asked me one question, "When will Angel buy your watch?"
    I answered, "Old wise one, I think that this will not be ?"
    He said,"Very good my son" and he then gave me this watch. :whistling:
    alam likes this.
  6. Privateday7
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     Mar 23, 2013
    cicindela
    cicindela said
    I traveled to a small monastery in Bhutan, at about 20,00ft. There an old monk asked me one question, "When will Angel buy your watch?"
    I answered, "Old wise one, I think that this will not be ?"
    He said,"Very good my son" and he then gave me this watch. :whistling:
    At 20,00 feet the Bhutan monastery will not be far from sea. Indeed it is a very rare situation. :D
    Since I am not an Angel, my probability to buy this watch from you is rather high then.....eh? :p
  7. ulackfocus
    ulackfocus Dennis @ ΩF - vociferous quartzophobe
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     Mar 23, 2013
    alam
    alam said
    Awesome! :thumbsup: I'm jealous, dibs? ::love::or perhaps Dennis made the call already? :D where did you find this beauty?
    No dibs from me - but only because I knew it would be a waste of time to call.

    cicindela
    cicindela said
    I traveled to a small monastery in Bhutan, at about 20,00ft. There an old monk asked me one question, "When will Angel buy your watch?"
    I answered, "Old wise one, I think that this will not be ?"
    He said,"Very good my son" and he then gave me this watch. :whistling:
    Best way to negate a dibs yet. :p
  8. Dablitzer
    Dablitzer Nude Watch Photographer
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     Mar 23, 2013
    ulackfocus
    ulackfocus said
    No dibs from me - but only because I knew it would be a waste of time to call.

    Dennis, best use of reverse psychology dibs yet! ;)

    Steve, that is truly beautiful, the Angels most definitely looked down on you for this piece..:thumbsup:
  9. MSNWatch
    MSNWatch Vintage Omega Aficionado
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     Mar 23, 2013
    A nice piece that is now firmly ensconced in the home of the right collector. Big congrats!
  10. SpikiSpikester
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     Mar 23, 2013
    cicindela
    cicindela said
    There an old monk asked me one question, "When will Angel buy your watch?"
    Before we get too metaphysical about the quality if the watch, it might help to point out that Angel (alam) is one of the forum members :D
  11. ulackfocus
    ulackfocus Dennis @ ΩF - vociferous quartzophobe
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     Mar 23, 2013
    SpikiSpikester
    SpikiSpikester said
    Before we get too metaphysical about the quality if the watch, it might help to point out that Angel (alam) is one of the forum members :D
    Yeah, we know - and we bust on him all the time for dibsing Steve. You can dibs Kyle, me, and a few others, but Steve is like a black hole of mint vintage Omegas.... once a watch goes past his event horizon it's never to be sold again.
  12. SpikiSpikester
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     Mar 23, 2013
    ulackfocus
    ulackfocus said
    Yeah, we know - and we bust on him all the time for dibsing Steve.
    Yeah, but not everybody knows :p

    There's something appropriate about Angel being the only one to approach the event horizon :)
  13. cicindela
    cicindela Steve @ ΩF
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     Mar 23, 2013
    OK, enough Hijacking
  14. Varasc
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     Mar 29, 2013
    Superb...
  15. adam78
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     Mar 30, 2013
    So who's keeping track of who's dibsing what from whom? I certainly can't...