Before smashing out this article story of mine, I’ve had a few iterations and writing blockage in my head due to this whole COVID-19 pandemic going on. So I want to apologize for the lack of work that I provided.
In many family lineages, not only do we pass down our name to the next generation, but an object that bridges the past to the present that we refer to as heirloom. Thus, one can engage in conversation to know more about the family lineage through a chat usually initiated by curiosity around the origin of the relic. Some, or most of us, have it in the form of jewelry. Be it a necklace, ring, jade bands that are more commonly seen in Chinese traditions, and watches.
It is common to see the ‘King of Watches’ – Rolex being passed down from previous generations, along with the hardships and success stories that pave the way for the current generation’s abundance. But regardless of the brand of the heirloom, it possesses an emotionally provoking sentiment in this object that is hard to describe with words. With the most recent story in our daily media consumption, Teddy Baldassarre, a friend of ours, uploaded a story about his heirloom piece with a beautiful story behind it. Be sure to check his video out. Big love to you, big man.
Thanks to Teddy’s story, my writing block has gotten a light down the tunnel to guide me to tell my story about this watch that I received, which belonged to my late grandfather. It is the Omega Constellation 1512.30.00, in quartz.
I received this watch back in 2020, just in time where the world was all fucked-over by Covid-19, a few days before my 26th birthday.
The Constellation 1512.30.00 is a discontinued watch introduced by Omega in 1995 as an iteration after the original Constellation Manhattan designed by Carol Didishiem back in 1982. The Constellation Manhattan uniquely features pair of claws on the cushion case to hold the crystal down without the help of a bezel. The 1995-introduced 1512.30 still features the claws as a design trait, but it has lost its original functionality. It now also features a roman numeral bezel on its 33.5 x 38mm case, retaining its original art deco inspiration from 1982.
The dial features a textured silver dial with a date window at 3 o’clock. Around the dial on the minute track, baton-styled 5-minutes interval indices can be seen with luminous phosphorescent (lume) plot on the outer end and dauphine hands as the hour and minute hands with minimal lume. The applied Omega logo sits at 12 o’clock position on top of the OMEGA branding, and Constellation at 6 o’clock position above a signature applied star.
Flipping to the back, the Chronometrie Conservatory can be found on the case back, paying homage to the birth of Omega’s Constellation line-up with their commitment to time-keeping accuracy. Although Constellation 1512.30.00 isn’t chronometer-certified, it is still lovely to see the emblem at the back of every Constellation watch.
After the Manhattan models, the Omega Constellation all sported an integrated bracelet. The latest modern models can swap the bracelets with leather straps with integrated end-links. I love the integrated bracelet on these Constellations using deployant clasps in contrast to butterfly clasps. As butterfly clasps can get pretty uncomfortable in warm climates because of expanded wrists.
Inside the watch houses an Omega 1532 quartz movement (I hear KC & JonJon gagging to this), a rhodium-plated finish movement with ETA Flatline III as a base movement. These movements are as high quality as they can get, and you certainly can feel it when you’re adjusting its time and date with its mini crown. It also features an end of battery life indicator that will have the seconds hand jump in a larger interval to save some battery before battery replacement.
Thanks to the movement, the watch can be made as thin as ~8mm, including its slightly domed sapphire crystal, making this a perfect small-sized dress-casual wristwatch. I find myself wearing this in casual wear without feeling out of place, unlike many dress watches out there, thanks to its integrated bracelet styling. The steel-on-steel look of the Constellation definitely helped break down the boundary between a dress and a casual look. The cushion case also helps make this watch not too dainty looking at 33.5mm on my already delicate-looking wrist.
I have never questioned how my family lineage ended up here in Malaysia as a Malaysian Chinese because I was born here in Kuala Lumpur. But what I do know is that my great grandfather decided to migrate down from Fujian of South-Eastern China because of flourishing opportunities here in the land of Malaya back then. As tone-deaf as it sounds, it’s also because his grave is here 🤷♂️. So, of course, my grandfather was born here in Malaysia too and settled in Negeri Sembilan.
My grandfather did not receive any proper education because of the frugal life they lived in. He started working in his early teenage years and performed all sorts of jobs, such as a truck driver, food production worker, etc. But because of his hard work, he managed to work his way up. He co-owned a soy sauce manufacturing plant in Seremban, the capital town of Negeri Sembilan, in the early 1970s. A few years passed on, and with some complications in business dealings and dirty tricks by a business partner of his, my grandfather lost his business ownership. He was forced back to square one of working random jobs around town. At the same period, my grandmother, who I’ve never met, passed away because of health complications.
Because of this, his children worked hard since young, promising to provide my grandfather with a better life after seeing the hardships that he went through to afford education and food on the family table. Fast-forward two decades into 1995, my grandfather’s children put their funds together and bought my grandfather’s first-ever luxury jewelry. It is this Omega Constellation in my hand.
As to how I got my grandfather’s watch passed onto me, it was initiated by a conversation with my family back in mid-2020, when Covid-19 cases in Malaysia were at a single digit. At the dinner table with my aunt and a few family business partners, my dad mentioned how I was into watches. Everyone just started throwing questions and opinions about wristwatches at me. Suddenly in the midst of it all, my aunt asked my dad: “I do remember that we gifted our dad a luxury watch back in the ’90s. Do you know its whereabouts?” At that time, my dad couldn’t recall its whereabouts, and it got my attention and sorta piqued around the idea of finding this watch somewhere in the house.
A few days before my birthday, my mother called me to the living room and passed the auspicious-looking nylon pouch to me without saying a single word. Looking at the nylon pouch reminded me of how my grandfather would store his valuables in bags with a similar look. I immediately knew that the legendary family watch was inside.
What does it mean to me?
I’m not gonna make this a very generic sort of ‘I felt the connection of my ancestors channeling through the watch into me’ *orgasmic eye-rolling* sort of thing. But, at least for myself, I’m the person who’s able to move on as life goes, but taking the experiences and lessons into the future for a better self. This watch right here is literally the bittersweet taste of my grandfather’s and his children to make a living for themselves. I’m way too lucky to have a taste of it today. If there’s ever one thing that I wanted to mention with this watch, are regrets.
The regret of not appreciating people around me and the guilt of not being a better grandson who visits his grandfather more often. And very much the regrets of me not providing for my grandfather like he provides to me every time I see him. So the only way I can ever do today is to cherish the watch as I wear it on my wrist, remembering his sacrifices and the love that I was showered with.
Maybe, or maybe it is, a futile redemption for myself.
The Omega Constellation 1512.30.00 is now a discontinued model.
However, it is available in the pre-owned marketplace in limited quantities.
For more of Omega’s latest collection, please visit http://www.omegawatches.com.