As a fan of the classic 1950s and 1960s Omega Constellations, Colin Smith had always dismissed Omega’s 1982 reworking of its flagship model, known as the Constellation Manhattan, as something of an aberration from the “true” Constellation concept. His “road to Damascus” moment occurred recently when he saw a 36 mm black-dial co-axial chronometer on display at an Omega dealer in Bordeaux.
About Colin Alexander Smith
Colin, aka “The Bumbling Watchmaker,” is a freelance translator and digital nomad currently based in southwest France. When not haggling over and rather hamfistedly restoring vintage watches, or sampling Bordeaux wines and magret de canard, he is a keen 35mm film photographer and jazz/rock guitarist. Follow him on Instagram at @slowdive_watches.
Entries by Colin Alexander Smith
If you were to ask people about the first watch they received as a child, the majority would probably say it was a Timex. And although LIP was at one point the world’s seventh largest watch manufacturer, it’s now little known outside France. Both companies share an extremely turbulent past one aspect of which Colin Smith shares with us here.
Colin was wearing a steel watch with blue dial when the receptionist at the trading company he was working for, a chirpy lass straight out of the BBC’s ‘Eastenders’ soap opera, looked down disdainfully and said, “I hate watches with blue dials. They remind me of old men in pubs.” What happened after that can only be described as a case of gerontohorologyphobia: fear of inadvertently wearing an old man’s watch.
Increasing demand for timepieces, especially Rolexes, with the Omani emblem is understandable given the high quality, good condition, demonstrable provenance, and rarity of most of these watches, combined with the fact that they had often been presented to their first owners in the 1970s by Sultan Qaboos in person as a token of gratitude for services rendered. Colin Alexander Smith takes a very close look at the meaning behind these rare timepieces.