The Constellation Day-Date has been a long time returning. The last fully in-house Constellation movement with the day-date complication was the calibre 1021, phased out in 1979.
Between now and July, Omega will release various iterations of the 38 mm case Day-Date Constellation, starting with diamond bezel models that will set you back between thirteen and thirty-eight thousand dollars and culminating in the release of the all stainless model with black dial in July, priced at around $8300 US Dollars. I say “culminating” because I think the black dialled all stainless Day-Date is a classic in the making.
Under the dial is a modified calibre 8500 movement which Omega has designated as the calibre 8602 to identify the Date-Date complication. This family of ‘in-house’ co-axial calibres now has five years of history behind it; five years in which no major design or manufacturing fault has surfaced, a truly remarkable track record for a new calibre. Featuring a silicon balance and co-axial escapement, the series is one of the most beautiful looking new millennium movements on the market.
The Constellation Day-Date arrived at Baselworld 2012, thirty years after Carol Didisheim’s first Manhattan version with the famous griffes (or claws) created a sensation at Baselworld in 1982. (Click here for the story of how the griffes came about). I’m surprised that Omega has not made more of the Didisheim link to today’s Constellations and acknowledged her contribution to one of the most enduring designs in contemporary Swiss watchmaking.
There is a remarkable balance to the dial design that respects the minimalist approach to Constellation dials. The curved day aperture is tucked neatly between the eleven and one o’clock markers and the date aperture unobtrusively replaces the six o’clock marker.
While most men will eschew bezels that have the numerals set with 116 full-cut diamonds (seen in the picture above), a wait of a mere four months will net you a silvered or black dialled version of this classic thirty-nine jewel chronometer.