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Omega Constellation from 1966 : a mini-review

  1. Aster

    Aster Mar 21, 2020

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    Hello,

    I'm a newcomer to this fantastic forum, but I know I will be welcomed !

    I will try to do a quick and modest review of my latest watch acquisition, I have been enjoying for a few weeks now : an Omega Constellation from 1966, which appears, in my non-expert opinion, in a very good shape for its age ! (and sorry in advance for my sometimes approximate english because it's not my native language...).

    I must confess that I've always had a weakness for these vintage Omegas from the 50s and 60s, which are very sober and of top class (it often goes together ) : so, I decided to take the plunge for my first vintage watch, and here is the result on my wrist (tmèses photos were taken rather quickly with a simple phone : therefore, they're not necessarily very artistic, at least not as much as many other great pics available on this forum !).

    02C2583F-FF2C-4730-8AAD-F2DC40BE4AF0.jpeg

    I must admit I've hesitated a lot before taking my decision to purchase a vintage Constellation, because of the numerous fake watches presented as authentic ones, more or less successful (and often dishonest) redials, franken watches, etc. In short, it's difficult to get started without having some basic knowledges to rule out questionable models (and, sometimes, sellers)… : so, many thanks to this great forum, I took the time to familiarize myself with the main characteristics of the different models, then I looked for a selling opportunity in the sales section, in order to have the most serene mind possible regarding its authenticity (a wonderful transaction with Shabbaz !) : I'd like to thanks very much all the contributors to this truly remarkable site, thanks to which I learned a lot ; and no doubt I will continue to do so !

    This Constellation (model 168.010 from 1966) has a diameter of 35 mm, which is actually very different from what we can see today on most modern watches. I like the idea of a subtle and discreet watch, which slips easily under the sleeve of a shirt, compared to certain current watches which sometimes tends to be a little too much ostentatious (but it is a very subjective opinion and many will probably disagree :)). And with my rather thin wrists (16.5cm), it goes without problem for me ! In the end, it was not so much the size that surprised me but the lightness of the watch: it's actually very strange to hardly feel the watch that you have on your wrist, even if you get used to it very quickly !

    062C6EAC-D0CC-4B0F-8390-FA743FF0B05F.jpeg

    This Constellation has a magnificent silver sunburst dial, steel indexes with onyx inserts (although I never really got to see if they were really inserts or simply painting ; I understand that Omega made the transition between the two methods during the production period of this model), dauphine hands on the same model as the indexes, as well as a date at three o'clock. On the back, the traditional Genève observatory and these eight stars is proudly represented !

    8D96A41B-3397-43B7-BF3A-6B8284365369.jpeg 0EA4F01C-C806-4E35-B890-B07D437F3866.jpeg 4A5BEB00-243C-4A73-84BF-7F66585B18CB.jpeg D6642959-F46B-4FC7-BB40-369799C180E2.jpeg

    The whole watch is of great finesse, especially the inscriptions which are really of a subtlety that I had never seen before (all the more if you keep in mind that they are more than fifty years old). Obviously, the case (and in particular the lugs) has some scratches, but it's far preferable to a polished one : and they gave this watch an incredible charm !

    Note in particular the 3.5mm crown which is partially hidden into the case: if the objective is undoubtedly to keep the watch the most refined silhouette possible, I must admit that it's not really easy to handle ... (and I don't have particularly thick fingers !). Fortunately, it's an automatic watch and I escape a daily winding ...

    B1369241-0238-4AF3-9CF5-6EDDED4AC4D9.jpeg 11259664-514F-482F-977A-C306333D5517.jpeg

    One of the (many) reasons why I fell in love for the Constellations of the 50s and 60s is the domed plexi crystal : the reflections are just extraordinary and I'm ready to give all the sapphire glasses of modern watches for the rendering of light through the plexiglass.

    And, as a bonus, the presence of a dial lens, which I understand is not so common on Omega watches, provides a nice additional contrast ; and, of course, the Omega logo engraved in the center of the crystal !

    D04EC95B-54E7-4017-9ABC-AD96D2D4737B.jpeg 4C978E91-6B9F-4FF3-8AE1-EC1BE05945E4.jpeg 9FADC3E1-80FC-41AA-8247-F26ACAAF0CB6.jpeg B659D77E-1C3B-4561-9466-E6C9FB286D9E.jpeg

    This Constellation is equipped with an Omega 564 caliber: it's an automatic movement with a 50 hours power reserve, which still seems to be present today despite all the years gone by. The accuracy comes out at around -20sec per day (fully wound), which is very acceptable for a watch of this age and which could undoubtedly be improved during a next servicing.

    Note the quickset date system, that I discovered on this occasion. In short, the crown has three positions: the first to manually wind the movement, the second for setting the time (so far, nothing very unusual) and a third allowing to advance the date by one day. So, to get to the right day, you have to pull the crown from position 2 to 3 then return to position 2, and start again as many times as necessary. To be completely honest, this device gives me cold sweats : the somewhat "brutal" day jump when you get to the third position, the tiny crown (it seems rather fragile for my fingers which are used to modern crowns), the whole mechanism over 50 years old ... So I'm very happy not to have to use it very often ...

    And finally, I thought that a watch of this class deserved a strap as classic and sober as possible : a simple alligator strap in black leather, which corresponds to what fitted these watches at the time in the 60s. The only concession to modernity, a folding clasp rather than the traditional pin buckle ...

    And voilà ! I could not be happier with this little treasure every day on my wrist and I see no reason why it should not continue !
     
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  2. Wuza72

    Wuza72 Mar 21, 2020

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    Welcome to the OF !

    Mine says hi !

    Movement number dates to 1962 but the dial was changed mid or late 60s.

    IMG_20191011_154449.jpg
     
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  3. DaveK

    DaveK Mar 21, 2020

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    Welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing the pics and your interesting review!
     
    Aster likes this.
  4. Peemacgee

    Peemacgee Purrrr-veyor of luxury cat box loungers Mar 22, 2020

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    Welcome @Aster
    Lovely write -up, the evident pleasure in owning your Constellation shines through.
    -and it’s obvious why because it is a lovely watch you have there (not sure how @Shabbaz could bear to part with this one)

    Great dial and sharp facets on the lugs.

    Pie-pans usually get all the praise but in my book, the subtle sophistication of a dome dial Constellation is hard to beat.
    -and the hidden-crown case further exemplifies the simplicity.
     
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  5. aprax

    aprax Mar 22, 2020

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    That's a beautiful watch, and I very much liked your review. And superb photography: I wish I could take pics like that with my phone!
     
  6. OMEGuy

    OMEGuy Mar 22, 2020

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    Did you say "a mini-review"?

    For me it was a great review. :thumbsup:

    Enjoy this watch! They don't come much better than this...
     
    Aster likes this.
  7. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Mar 22, 2020

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    Well. I've sold it because of the black dial 168.010 which I bought recently. And I did not wear the watch anymore. So I love to see it go to a (very nice) member. Watches are meant to be worn. This one was lying in a box.

    Enjoy!
     
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  8. DJG2645

    DJG2645 Mar 22, 2020

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    Welcome @Aster and a great review! I can tell how much you're enjoying your new Connie...it is beautiful and I was very tempted myself when I saw @Shabbaz was selling it, it's stunning IMO but I was chasing a Seamaster at the time :)

    Looks great on a black strap too, enjoy wearing and thanks for sharing the story!
     
    Aster likes this.
  9. Aster

    Aster Mar 22, 2020

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    Thanks you all for your kind answers and your encouragements ! (I don't know if I deserve this much)

    Could I dare to take this opportunity to ask several questions (without link between them) to which the specialists you are will surely have answers ?

    1 / I noticed that, on all the 168.010 models with dauphine hands I've seen (but maybe there are other cases too?), the minutes and the seconds hands did not reach exactly the minutes indexes (the hands are too short about around 1mm-1.5mm), while I had the impression that it was rather the rule for Constellations : do you know where this specificity comes from (did Omega use hands initially designed for smaller cases)?

    2 / During a serciving, I understood that it was very difficult to change only the crown gasket and that it was very tempting to completely change the crown itself (which I obviously don't want to do !). So, is there a major problem with having an unsealed crown? (for normal use I mean: I do not intend to dive with it, but can there be moisture infiltration that can cause damage inside?)

    3 / I've always imagined that it was impossible to overwind an automatic watch (but maybe I am wrong?). On this model, I can almost feel a blockage of the crown once fully wound, or at least a very very strong resistance which really doesn't make me want to go further...,which is very different from the other automatic watches that I have in my hands. Is this something common on this type of caliber?

    Many thanks in advance for your precious answers !
     
  10. Peemacgee

    Peemacgee Purrrr-veyor of luxury cat box loungers Mar 23, 2020

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    1.this is also the case with its cousin the 168.004
    ‘Pencil’ hands on the 168.010 are also slightly short of the minute hache marks.
    It may be that standard dauphine hands were used and the dials were slightly larger.
    As the usual sources no longer have hands to cross check this, it would need someone with an Omega parts account to cross reference hands, say, from a 168.005 dome dial.
    Perhaps @Archer might kindly oblige if he has time?

    2. crown gaskets were not intended to be replaced in Connie crowns.
    An old gasket in a crown will always present a potential risk to moisture ingress.
    There is a replacement crown (two actually) for the 168.010 but it is not hidden and protrudes slightly but doesn’t look too bad.
    We all value originality, so be careful when around water (washing hands etc, not swimming) and if you live in a particularly humid area consider replacing the crown.

    3.it is impossible to overwind a Connie movt. (Or any automatic I believe)
    Given the particular difficulty in using a hidden crown, I’m impressed that you have actually wound the watch fully.
    Winding the watch will no doubt show some progressive resistance but there shouldn’t be a ‘blockage’ - it may be a factor of the difficulty in using the hidden crown.
    @Archer has suggested using a special winding tool for crowns that are difficult to use.
    The 564 is used in a number of other Connies and is no different in winding to the earlier 561.
    just remember to set the hands to 6.30 before using the quickset date in order to ‘protect’ the quickset mechanism.

    hope that helps.

    (P.s. you might have got more responses if these questions were posted in the vintage Omega forum. )
     
    Aster likes this.
  11. Aster

    Aster Mar 23, 2020

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    A very big thank you @Peemacgee for all these precise and useful answers! (and my apologies for asking these questions in the wrong section: I don't yet know all the customs of this forum:) ).

    Regarding the question of the hands length, you are of course absolutely right and I had indeed not seen that other models, like the 168.004, were in the same situation : so, I still have a lot to learn!

    For the crown gaskets, I feel reassured because where I live (in Paris) there is not yet a tropical climate ;) So, I understand that there is not too much risk in living with a worn out gasket if yo take a minimum of precaution, which is very good news.

    And finally, about my winding question, it's a very strange effect because this "blocking" (I may have chosen this word badly, because it is rather a strong resistance) arrives at the end of around thirty/forty turns. But after all, it doesn't matter where it comes from : the important thing is that the movement works well and I asked myself this question above all out of simple curiosity : I'm just going to refrain myself from winding my watch too much !

    Thank you again for your quick and precious help !
     
  12. cicindela

    cicindela Steve @ ΩF Staff Member Mar 23, 2020

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    To offer a contrast comparison, here is my black 168.010 with pie-pan dial.
    168_001b.jpg 168_0010d.jpg !CEndDgQBWk~$(KGrHqJ,!hoE0hmc6BEvBNSbTy7rtQ~~_3.jpg BLK2.jpg m3.jpg
     
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