Omega Constellation 14393 and 14381 succeeded the legendary reference 2852 and pinpointed a shift from 50x caliber movements towards 5xx. They share a similar case design to the 2852 with 34,5mm circumference and they were produced in the early 60s. However, the 5xx movements are thinner than the 5xx movements resulting in a slimmer watch than the 2852.
The most popular variant of either the 14393 or 14381 is the ‘pie-pan’ dial. ‘Pie-pan’ refers to the dial configuration where the center of the dial is elevated. The lower and the elevated area are divided by the minute indices. In addition, the sides can be divided by the hour indices for additional effect.
|Lug to lug||43mm|
|Water Resistance||10 m|
Dial & Hands
The 14393 and 14381 come in various dial configurations. I have spotted at least: plain with gold and steel markers, pie-pan with gold and steel markers, metal rail-track, white with gold rail-track and bi-color dial. There is also an alternative at least with the 14393 where the dial has otherwise onyx indices but with numerals 12, 6, 9 for cardinals. In addition, the dial may have cross-hair printed across the dial.
The hands that I have observed are always dauphine, but with vintage Omega there are always exceptions. And as far as exceptions go, I have noticed that 14393 and 14381 seem to go without the ‘Officially Certified’ print, but I can’t tell if all come without the additional line of text or whether this is something that persisted only for a brief period of time. There are a couple of threads about these two-line constellations on Omega Forums.
Case, Case-back & Crown
The case of the Constellation 14393 can be considered eloquent. Then unpolished, the case has tiny chamfers, that elevate the look. Unfortunately, in most watches, these are usually gone as they’re the first victims of the polishing wheel.
The caseback bears the classic gold observatory medallion. Inside the caseback reads the reference of the watch.
The crown of the watch comes in two variations. The classic decagonal crown as shown in these pictures, or a thinner scalloped crown.
The 561 / 551 movement is beautifully finished and covered with Omega’s signature copper finish. The movements are pleasure to look at and operate. It is worth nothing that the cal 561 moment doesn’t have a date quickset. Those who intend to wear their watches, it might make sense to get a 551 no-date for slight convenience above the 561.
The serviceability of the 14393 / 14381 can be considered good. Omega still has parts for the 551 and 561 movements and the movements rarely have anything major wrong with them. One should still look out for water ingress as it can make movement repair very expensive. The biggest caveat regarding serviceability is that neither of the crowns are not manufactured anymore. Instead, unknowing watchmakers will replace it with generic Omega crown.
The vintage 14393 and 14381 Omega Constellation are an affordable window into the top end luxury dress watches of the 1960s. The minimalist and timeless designs make them excellent pieces for your Don Draper office live-action role plays. Both references offer a lot of collectability, as there are various dial-variants, some of which are extremely rare. I own a relatively common version of both references, and while I prefer the patina on the 14393, the no-date 551 14381 is more pleasant to wear as I don’t need to set the date. The case and the proportions of the 14393 make it nice to wear and pleasant to look at.