Almost 40 years since it launched the Constellation Manhattan, Omega reinvents this unique timepiece for today’s women

A symbol of unrivalled precision and beauty in watchmaking: this is how renowned watch manufacture Omega describes its now-iconic Constellation Manhattan wristwatch for women. When it was first introduced in 1982, the Manhattan ushered in a new era for the Constellation: not only was it updated with a look befitting the contemporary woman, but it was also equipped with technological advancements that greatly enhanced its precision.

Indeed, the very design of the Manhattan is the one most associated with the Constellation. In the original model, the claws that have become its key design elements were there to hold the watch’s sapphire crystal and gasket against the case to make it water-resistant. Sporting a barrel-shaped case incised with half-moon facets, along with a perfectly circular dial and indexes on its bezel, its design was considered unusual and revolutionary for its time. Nearly four decades on, Omega has reinvented this iconic piece of haute horologerie yet again—for the bold, beautiful, strong-souled women of a new millennium as seen in the qualities of its four brand ambassadors: celebrated supermodel Cindy Crawford, award-winning actress Nicole Kidman, Brazilian model-actress Alessandra Ambrosio, and one of China’s most bankable young actresses, Liu Shishi. Each of the 101 models in the 2018 Constellation Manhattan collection captures their strength, beauty, and dedication to delivering a magnificent performance at all times.

While the 2018 collection stays true to the Manhattan’s iconic design, the line has been given a full yet subtle makeover.

The new matte-finished watches have polished and bevelled edges along the case and bracelet, which gives them a more refined and exquisitely feminine appearance. Slender bezels have been added to the design—an element that gives a wide view of the dial which includes thinner Roman numerals in an upright reading position. Even the signature claws of the Manhattan’s design have been given a modern update: here, they have been made slimmer and are integrated better with polished bevels into the overall design.

It is in the bracelets that one can see some changes in the overall aesthetic of the Constellation Manhattan. While the bracelets used for the quartz models of the collection are similar to those revamped for the Manhattan in 2009, the ones for the 29mm Master Chronometer models are given a luxurious touch by the addition of polished mid-bar links. In both quartz and Master Chronometer models, however, the bracelet clasps now sport domed covers engraved with the Omega logo and symbol, polished half-moons, and a comfort-release adjustment that enables the wearer to extend the bracelet by 2mm whenever necessary. Further design changes can also be seen in the slim appearance of the 29mm Master Chronometer which is achieved by the use of a domed sapphire crystal on the caseback which absorbs the thickness of the movement's self-winding system.

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Above Brazil’s Alessandra Ambrosio

There are, of course, elements that remain pretty constant with regard to the Constellation Manhattan's design. While the hands have been given a slimline update, the dial maintains its classic appearance and is further enhanced by indexes inspired by the triangular facets of the Freedom Tower, one of the most iconic structures in downtown Manhattan. At the same time, the caseback on the 25mm and 28mm models still features the quintessential medallion with its trademark image of an observatory circled by eight stars overhead—a representation of Omega’s modern achievements in watchmaking precision; specifically, the eight tests that each of its mechanical watches must pass in order to be considered a Master Chronometer.

Speaking of Master Chronometers, one of the most notable things about the 2018 Constellation Manhattan collection is that all of its 29mm models have been certified at the Master Chronometer level. As a result, each timepiece performs at what may possibly be the pinnacle of precision, performance, and magnetic resistance—a level of performance that has yet to be seen anywhere else in the industry. In order to achieve this elite standing, the movements are subjected to standard chronometer testing under the Official Swiss Chronometer Control (OSCC). Afterwards, these must pass eight Master Chronometer tests, including exposure to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss. Only perfectly functioning timepieces that pass all these tests can be certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) and worn by women of taste and style.

Like the women Omega has chosen to represent it, the Constellation Manhattan exudes an elegance born of years of constant development and reinvention, a beauty that has been tempered and refined by the passage of time. Indeed, like the stars which inspired its creation nearly 40 year ago, it has come to embody timelessness and the constant pursuit of excellence.