Omega Cal.491 Automatic 18ct Pink Gold 1955 Oversize 38mm
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Restored, Serviced & Guaranteed
A Carefully Owned & Lightly Used Example
Extraordinarily Large 18ct Pink Gold Automatic Vintage Omega
Beautifully Restored Ivory Cream Dial With Sub-Seconds Dial
Very High-Grade Cal.491, 19 Jewels Omega First Full Rotor Automatic Movement
Oversize 38mm, 18ct Pink Gold Case, Excluding the Signed Omega Crown
New Hirsch Burgundy Leather Strap with Gold Plated Omega Buckle
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Wonderful Condition
Matching Vintage Omega Presentation Box Included
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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Since the company was founded in 1848, Omega has pioneered a huge range of technical innovations in watchmaking. Britain’s Royal Flying Corps chose Omega watches in 1917 as official timekeepers for its pilots and again in 1940, RAF Pilots watches were supplied by Omega. The 1940s also saw the first tourbillon wristwatch and the first of the famous Seamaster watches, whilst the 1950s and ’60s introduced the legendary Constellation, Speedmaster, Seamaster 300 and Railmaster. Over these years, everyone from John F. Kennedy to Elvis wore Omega watches on official duties. What’s more, in 1962, astronaut Wally Schirra took his Omega Speedmaster into space on NASA’s Mercury Sigma 7 mission, and in 1969 two Omega Speedmasters were the first watches to arrive on the moon, worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
In 1932, the watchmaker became the official timekeeper of the Olympics, inaugurating a multimillion-dollar marketing effort. This was recently extended to the 2032 Games.
Why This Watch Is Important
As everyone familiar with vintage watches knows, watches were much smaller in the old days … and particularly so compared to the crazy watch sizes we see on the high street today! Typically, during the 1940s and ’50s, gent’s watches started at 30mm in diameter, excluding the crown. The majority were 31 – 33mm, and during the 1960s and 70s, sizes were usually to 33 – 34mm. Vintage watches larger than this are referred to as Oversize and these are highly sought after because a seemingly small difference in diameter, adds significantly the ‘presence’ of the watch on the wrist. This is because a 1mm increase in diameter, adds over 3mm (3.142) to the circumference of a watch.
Vintage Omega watches of 35-36mm and above are rare and we consider these as Oversize. Occasionally we have seen 37mm Omegas in stock and the current price of these is around £3,500 for a hand-wound watch in 18ct yellow gold. However, 38mm versions are incredibly rare, so rare in fact that we have only seen one in stock previously which was a hand-wound watch 18ct yellow gold, rather than the pink gold automatic we see here.
We estimate that fewer than 400 watches examples of this watch were ever made and probably less than 300 exist today anywhere near this condition.
Incidentally, Rolex Precisions of 35mm and above are also considered Oversize and the largest, the incredibly rare 37 mm Rolex Precision, currently sells for around £7,500. Should you be lucky enough to find the automatic version, this will be around £12,000 – in 18ct yellow gold!
What a stunning looking watch dial. It is simply spectacular! Ivory Cream with applied pink gilt ‘Pencil’ hour indices and applied 2, 4, 8, 10, 12 numerals matched with the original restored pink gilt ‘Dauphine’ hands.
A little hard to pick out in the photographs until one looks closely, the dial has a very subtle and attractive radial relief around the outer sector of the dial, which adds interest to this huge dial.
The dial is signed ‘Omega’ with the applied Omega brand and ‘Swiss Made’, at the very bottom of the dial. The dial also carries the classic 1950s subsidiary seconds dial at ‘6’. Just wonderful!
Please note – the hands are original and restored and have been kept as they are, rather than replaced. This is to retain their originality, character, and charm. We use a very high definition camera and macro lens which picks up a great deal of detail, much more so than the naked eye. The camera images therefore, can be a little unflattering whereas in real life, the slight tarnishing you may notice on hands in certain shots is almost impossible to see. If seen at all, the effect is quite charming. However, if you would prefer to buy this watch with a correct, new set of replacement hands, we will fit these free of charge.
This is the original dial which has been restored to the highest standards by our dial restorers, who are considered to be the best in the UK.
This is an early example of Omega’s Calibre 491, subsidiary seconds dial movement with 19 Jewels and full rotor automatic bi-directional winding. Made in beryllium bronze, this was part of Omega’s second series of in-house automatic movements, produced between 1955 and 1960 and one of the very first non-bumper automatics.
As can be seen, the movement is in incredibly clean condition, and it has obviously been very well maintained.
The movement has been fully overhauled and serviced by our vintage Omega specialist watchmaker. The watch movement winds, runs and sets smoothly and is keeping excellent time. Following its service, the movement has been calibrated and it is currently running arrow straight at +4 seconds/day which is excellent for any watch of this age and has also been verified on our electronic timegrapher instrument. The watch also has an excellent power reserve of 46 hours. We are therefore more than happy to offer 12 months warranty on the movement of this watch*.
The movement is all correctly signed and branded: ‘Omega Watch Co’, ‘Swiss’ and ’19 jewels’ with the Calibre number 491 and the serial number 14840174 which dates the manufacture of the watch to 1955.
*Please note, our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
As discussed above, this is an exceedingly large watch and one of only two examples we have ever seen in stock of this size. However, this is the first and only example we have seen in 18ct pink gold, so this is a very rare piece indeed.
Please note: It is important to be careful with large cased Omega watches as some have unsigned watch cases. Many of these watches were cased in Argentina during the 1950s when Omega allowed this practice due to difficulties in exporting complete gold cased watches to Argentina, which was a very important market at the time. This watch however, has a totally genuine and fully signed and branded Omega case, carrying both Omega model and serial numbers. It also carries Geneva Swiss 18ct gold hallmarks.
The case is of three-piece construction with a press-fit case-back which is of full thickness and has never been engraved. This is tight-fitting and presses down with a pleasing and very reassuring pop. The case profile and overall design carry a good deal of 1950s style with nicely crafted lugs, making the case of obvious high quality and sophistication.
The watch has been very well cared for and after a close inspection has simply required a careful clean and a gentle polish to bring it back to its current, almost as new condition. The case, the case-back and bezel are all in superb condition with no marks or scratches visible to the naked eye. Even under high magnification, it is very hard to find any signs of wear, indicating this watch has seen very little use and has had a charmed life.
Inside the case, all is as expected and correctly signed and branded: ‘Omega Watch Co’, ‘Swiss Made’ with the case serial number 11497034. It also carries the Omega model reference number 2879 and Geneva Swiss 18ct gold hallmarks.
As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
A new, high quality Hirsch burgundy strap, along with matching Omega gold plated buckle has been fitted. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin, but can also obtain most types and colours at short notice.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, all the numbers and markings on the watch are correct, dating the watch to 1955.
Our detailed ‘Particulars’ document will be included in the sale, along with our detailed receipt and 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale, along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If at any time, this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The matching vintage Omega presentation box shown in the photographs is included with this watch.
Omega watches of this quality and rarity will always remain collectable and values will remain strong, so this watch will make an excellent investment and family heirloom piece. Even though vintage Omega prices have risen markedly of late, we feel excellent examples such as this still remain undervalued. Each year as the world market for fine vintage watches grows ever wider, limited availability means prices are surely destined to climb ever higher! However, the rarest pieces such as this, tend to climb in value faster and remain stronger than the mainstream.
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well-known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.
We will be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call on Landline 0207 727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
We await your call and we will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting vintage watches, we will also be happy to hear from you.
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches!