Last night I came across a photo that stopped me in my tracks, one of the nicest vintage watches I’d ever laid eyes on. The watch in question was an Omega OT 2872 Cal.320 Chronograph in pink gold – the one in the image below.
I’m very interested in chronographs from this period so I was surprised that I hadn’t seen this watch (but that’s what makes watches so interesting, you see and learn something new all the time!). What I did notice instantly was this Omega’s resemblance to two chronographs I love, the vintage Universal Geneve Uni-Compax and the modern Patek Philippe Ref. 5070P (my favourite Patek). All three watches feature a ‘simple’ 2 register chronograph and only 2 subsidiary dials as opposed to your more traditional 3 dial layout.
After delving deeper into the Omega above I came to discover that the manually wound Cal.320 movement inside utilises the same base Lemania CH27-70 movement as my favourite Patek! It turns out that the Lemania based chronograph calibers (after modifications by Patek of course) are commonly regarded as the best of the best.
In more recent years Patek have replaced the Lemania based manual wound movements with automatic in-house movements (like in the Ref.5960P) yet many collectors believe the Lemania movements were finished to a higher standard and thus more desirable.
What I find fascinating is that this gorgeous Omega which you can pick up for around $4000 shares the same base movement as one of the most desirable Patek Philippe’s ever made, a watch that will set you back around $80,000. The level of modification to the movement between each brand would be substantial to say the least but hey you can’t argue with the core comparison! Looks like I’ve got a watch to tide me over until I can buy that Patek.