A new edition of Baselworld means a new Omega Speedmaster Special Edition. This has become a tradition – think Snoopy Award, Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, CK2998 or Apollo 17 45th Anniversary. This year, the space theme is still the main ingredient, as Omega celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 8 Mission. In that perspective, the brand chose to use the popular “Dark Side of the Moon” theme. But as you’ll see, the Speedmaster Apollo 8 is very special – visually and mechanically.
This new Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon “Apollo 8 50th Anniversary” is a combination of various elements that we’ve seen already on Speedmasters, but never reunited in a single watch. In short:
- The classic Moonwatch case, but with a 44.25mm diameter
- The Dark Side of the Moon concept, meaning a full ceramic case
- The first Dark Side of the Moon with a hand-wound movement, based on legendary calibre 1861
- A partially skeletonised movement
- Laser engravings on the bridges
For this new limited edition of the Speedmaster, Omega uses the Dark Side of the Moon concept as a base, with the larger version of the Professional Moonwatch case, measuring 44.25mm. Even if it is larger, the shape is identical to the standard Moonwatch, with its asymmetrical case, protected crown and pushers and lyre lugs. Even the surfaces are finished in the same manner, with brushed case bands and a polished bevel on the side. What changes here is the material and black zirconium oxide ceramic has been used everywhere – case, bezel, crown, pushers and case back. The bezel is engraved with a tachymeter scale, highlighted with white numerals.
The full black theme is contrasted by several touches of yellow. Starting with the perforated leather strap, with yellow rubber on the inside, but also on the dial, with the three chronograph hands in varnished yellow. This colour can also be found on the bezel (the “tachymètre” inscription) and on the dial, the hour markers and the “Speedmaster” logo.
The main attraction of this Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon “Apollo 8 50th Anniversary” is to be seen in the movement – to be precise, on both sides of the movement. The movement used here, calibre 1869, is based on legendary calibre 1861, used on the Professional Moonwatch for decades. This is the first time, however, that the hand-wound movement is used on a Dark Side of the Moon timepiece. Visible through the partially openworked dial is the movement’s main plate, itself partially skeletonised to reveal some of the chronograph levers (mainly visible on the left side).
The back of the watch also reveals a special treatment, with entirely blackened bridges, offering a great contrast with the nickel-coated moving parts. Unique to this Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 are the engravings applied on both sides of the movement – obtained by a laser ablation process, for a realistic rendering of the lunar surface. Just like the Moon has two faces, this watch shows two different styles. The engravings on the dial side represent our view of the Moon’s surface from Earth, while the back of the watch delves into the dark side that only astronauts get to see.
The case back, also in black ceramic, is engraved with “WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE” – words said by Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell on board the Apollo 8 mission at the start of the crew’s pioneering orbit to the dark side of the moon.
No words yet on a possible limited production of the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8. It seems that this watch is a special edition but not a limited edition – we will confirm during Baselworld 2018. This reference 3126.96.36.199.01.001 will be priced at CHF 9,000. More details on www.omegawatches.com.