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Omega 14311, A Chronometre - Review

  1. cicindela

    cicindela Steve @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 22, 2013

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    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.


    3244.jpg
    3244x.jpg
    3242.jpg 3254.jpg 3253.jpg 3263.jpg 3240.jpg 3241.jpg 3076b.jpg 3237.jpg 88a7.jpg 293233334_o.jpg









    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/
     
  2. chiko7734

    chiko7734 Mar 22, 2013

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    That is truly beautiful. Congrats!
     
    dsio likes this.
  3. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 22, 2013

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    Brilliant watch Steve and great review, your writing style is as enjoyable as your photography!
     
  4. alam

    alam Mar 22, 2013

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    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 Staff Member Mar 22, 2013

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    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

    Privateday7 Mar 23, 2013

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    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 Staff Member Mar 23, 2013

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    No dibs from me - but only because I knew it would be a waste of time to call.

    Best way to negate a dibs yet. :p
     
  8. Dablitzer

    Dablitzer Mar 23, 2013

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    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 Staff Member Mar 23, 2013

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    A nice piece that is now firmly ensconced in the home of the right collector. Big congrats!
     
  10. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 23, 2013

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    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 Staff Member Mar 23, 2013

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    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

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 23, 2013

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    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 Staff Member Mar 23, 2013

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    OK, enough Hijacking
     
  14. Varasc

    Varasc Mar 29, 2013

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    Superb...
     
  15. adam78

    adam78 Mar 30, 2013

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    So who's keeping track of who's dibsing what from whom? I certainly can't...
     
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