Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8
The approach to the Speedmaster Moonwatch's 50th Anniversary has just begun
This year I scored a draw at Baselword 2018 - I guessed correctly the prediction of the new Omega Seamaster 300m, but I was wrong regarding the Speedmaster. I could bet everything on an Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Master Chronometer, but things went differently - Omega focused on tradition and decided to amaze us all with quite a strong and captivating design for the dial of the new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 (reference 318.104.22.168.01.001).
Ceramic, Laser and Tradition all together
The shape of the 44.25mm Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8's black ceramic case is typical of the modern Speedmasters, while the traditional 1861 hand-wound movement is now an old acquaintance our ours, but what is so special about this chronograph?
It is simple and through the anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass (no hexalite) you can see a perfect reproduction of the Moon on the dial - it is finely crafted using a precise laser abrasion treatment.
The partial skeleton allows the user to get a glimpse of the 1869 caliber, technically identical to the classic 1861 from a mechanic point of view, but featuring a laser engraving of the bridges and sporting darker tones than those of the dial; we will find out later on why.
The Apollo 8 - the details that are a reference to the NASA enterprise
In 1968 the crew of the Apollo 8 mission was the first to witness the dark side of the Moon; 50 years later Omega wants to celebrate with the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 that mission and the references to it are numerous. The dial - on top of showing the image of the moon, is slightly lighter in color than the back of the watch itself. The dial is actually the lit side of the satellite, whereas the back side represents the dark side of the moon: a very fine detail. Through the sapphire crystal case-back, you can see the laser work that was performed on the bridges - a very successful and eye-satisfying effect that intentionally clashes with the color of the spring and the gear train that are both coated with nickel.
To crown the sapphire crystal is the engraving of the famous quote "See you on the other side" that was pronounced by the astronaut Jim Lovell. I also like to think of another reference, represented by the dial, despite the fact that is is actually my own thought - the crew of Apollo 8 spaceship was in orbit around the Moon 10 times within 20 hours, almost as if it were a real race. Hence my idea of a connection between the enterprise and the design of the dial that features racing version indices and a perforated leather strap with yellow stitching.
Yellow - one of Omega's favorite colors
It wasn't on the Speedmaster that the yellow color appeared for the first time, simply go back to the racing version measuring 40mm (reference 322.214.171.124.04.001) or to the special edition dedicated to Schumacher (reference 3810.12.40). I link the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 more naturally to the Aqua Terra> 15.000 Gauss (a timepiece that I own) - a pioneering version that anticipates something that will be more structured in the near future, like, for instance, a Dark Side of the Moon collection with a manual anti-magnetic caliber. Is this the dream? Maybe it is, but, after all, next year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moonwatch.
The opinion of an Omega fan
As I am writing this article, I have suddenly realized that the more I look at this timepiece, the more it captures my attention - the dial is so complicated that it somehow breaks with the traditional cleanliness of Speedmasters. Despite all, it still allows us to enjoy new details every time we look at it. Like on the entire generation of Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon, in addition to the indexes, the tachymetric scale and the Omega symbol on the crown are also coated with SuperLuminova® - rather than for a useful purpose this serves as an aesthetic refinement, but it clearly shows the attention to detail that the maison puts into each one of its pieces.
The 1869 caliber also contributes to the reduced thickness of this case (13.8mm) if compared to the Dark Side of the Moon collection with the 9300 automatic movement. This might sound obvious in the case of a manual caliber, but it is nevertheless a detail that makes us appreciate this watch even more. I would have expected such a reduction for the diameter of the case too (it doesn't meet the typical 42mm size of the Speedmaster Professional). We are really looking forward to spending some more time in the company of this particular version of the Speedmaster and give you some more details that include a try-on test too. We will do this in August, when the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 timepiece will become available in the Omega boutiques retailing at a price of 9.000 Swiss Francs. See you all in August then!
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®