Türler Dial 166.052 Omega Constellation Chronometer

It’s hard to think of a three hander with date that’s more classic than a 1601 Datejust. But they do exist. The vintage world has these little understudied pockets capable of amazing everyone. This is one. It’s a Constellation, and it’s a Constellation in the same way that U2 is a band. U2 are world class, so much so that their guitarist gets away with the nickname ‘The Edge’. This ref. 166.052 has no such nickname yet, but it’s a world class watch under 5K, or just at 5K with this lovely Türler signed dial. And given the case condition maybe you could get away with calling just this example ‘The Edge’.

The 166.052 was introduced in 1952, when Omega decided to expand its efforts in chronometer certification and use the Constellation name as a platform for top of the line, chronometer-certified dressier (than the Seamaster) watches. The caseback pays tribute to this, depicting an observatory with eight stars above it, to represent Omegas eight outright victories in chronometer competition from 1933 until 1952. Those were six first-place victories and two world records for precision, the latter set at Kew-Teddington Observatory. That caseback depiction actually predates the range, and is where the Constellation name comes from. This is a full rotor calibre 1001 that runs at a higher 28.8K vph for, you guessed it, precision.

But this Omega is about the Mad Men aesthetic. Its 34mm solid gold case sports contrasting finishes, with the finest fluting (almost a texture) you’ll ever see on a bezel. Additionally and a bit strangely, it has a wide chamfer on the lug underside instead of the lug top, with a brushed case side. I’ve heard some say that this was intended to make the watch more comfortable to wear, though totally unsubstantiated it’s a neat detail. And that Türler dial has another thing going for it: onyx indices and hands. That’s the kind of thing you see on the very high end Speedmasters, hanging out on a vintage constellation. And if condition is the new rarity, this is the rarest thing in the world. Unrestored, exceptional. Quite the considered way acquire some refinement under 5K.

This example really is remarkable. The retailer claims that it is unrestored and entirely original. If that’s the case, it has lived in a drawer. Normally in vintage there’s a lot for me to point out in this condition paragraph. Not so. The dial is perfect, the tritium is perfect, the case is perfect. It looks mostly, if not entirely unworn. It comes from a well-regarded South Korean retailer, watch only.