Hands-On Old-School Subtlety With The Omega CK 859
A silvery salute to Omega's past and present.
Of the several new models that Omega recently previewed in Miami, one reference stood out among the deep-diving Ultra Deep and increasingly colorful Aqua Terras and Speedmasters. It's the new CK 859, and in a room full of bright and boisterous sports watches, this classically-minded and comparatively demure model managed something remarkable – it stood out because of its subtlety.
Sure, the big divers and vibrant dials will always be the ones to grab headlines, but for those of us with a taste for old-school design, the CK 859 offers a compelling blend of Omega's past design brilliance and its modern-day watchmaking excellence.
In many ways a re-issue of vintage models within the CK 859 reference, this new model is hand-wound, 39mm wide with a steel case, 20mm lugs, 30 meters of water resistance, and a lovely 1930s-inspired sector dial that is made from Ag 925 silver. Finished with blued steel hands and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal up front, the CK 859 is 11.7mm thick and measures 46.2mm lug-to-lug.
Upsized only slightly from the usual ~37mm sizing of vintage CK 859 examples, the 2022 CK 859 was directly inspired by an Omega watch from 1939 that used a hand-wound case and had a small seconds display. Similarly outfitted, the CK 859 benefits from the light coloring of the silver dial and the no-date execution of the movement.
Speaking of the moment, the CK 859 uses Omega's caliber 8926, a manually wound movement with a rate of 3.5 Hz, 72 hours of power reserve from dual barrels, a free-sprung balance, and Omega's Co-Axial escapement. As is common with much of Omega's current lineup, the 8926 is a METAS-certified Master Chronometer and is capable of withstanding magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss.
The movement is visible through a wide and bright caseback and, thanks to the lack of a winding rotor, we get a pretty good view of the movement architecture and the finishing, which shows rhodium plating and arabesque Geneva waves.
On wrist, the CK 859 wears as you might expect, inconspicuously and with predictable comfort. It's casual but in a considered way that leans on the vintage aesthetic without feeling gimmicky or like too much of an affectation. While I would likely opt for a more naturally colored strap or even a leather NATO, the strap and buckle are of usual Omega quality and when matched with the 39 x 46.2mm sizing, the CK 859 wears really nicely on my 7-inch wrist. If you want the tech of a modern Omega but would prefer it packaged in a manner most traditional (and tasteful), the CK 859 checks the boxes and then some.
The mix of the brushed lugs and the polished bezel help add some complexity to support the sector dial. In daylight, the silver is warm in coloring and has a very fine matte finish. Thankfully, for a dial that might have otherwise felt rather flat, the sub-seconds display is on an inset subdial that helps to build a sense of depth despite the largely painted dial design.
The hands are a bright blue if turned against available light, but in most cases appear much darker. Regardless, thanks to the light tone of the dial and the sector layout, legibility is excellent and the vibe is entirely old-school, right down to the vintage-inspired dial signature.
Interestingly, while not specifically limited by Omega, the CK 859 is being produced as a serially numbered edition, in which each example will be individually numbered in the order of manufacturing. The one in these photos? No. 0, baby. Kind of cool.
Omega is retailing the CK 859 for a list price of $6,500, which of course includes the brand's five-year warranty. This pricing is directly in line with other loosely similar options, like the 39mm JLC Master Control Date (now discontinued, but originally $5,700).
If you want to spend less for a similar look, the Longines Heritage Classic Sector Dial will keep you in the Swatch family for $2,500, but you forgo the silver dial and the Omega's impressive movement, which to my eyes is a huge part of the CK 859's appeal. If, for whatever reason, you're inclined to spend more – way more – I'd suggest you hunt down a Patek Philippe 5296G or perhaps take a look at the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix line, which opens around $12,000.
All of that is to say that the CK 859 feels well-placed in the market to appeal to the sort of customer who knows of Omega's lineage and what they've come to offer as a modern watch manufacturer. With comfortable proportions suiting a good-looking and versatile design, the CK 859 is a hand-wound take on the vintage charm of Omegas past that also reflects all that we've come to expect from a modern Omega.