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januari 17, 2024

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The Updated Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8

The connection between Omega and space exploration isn’t to be demonstrated anymore. While born as a racing chronograph, the 1957 Speedmaster is now known by all as the official watch of astronauts, as the watch worn by Apollo 11 crew members… It’s nicknamed the Moonwatch for a reason. Yet, there’s more than this specific version in the collection, and Omega has long demonstrated its ability to play around with the Speedmaster concept. Today’s proof is a new member of the Dark Side of the Moon collection, and it’s an update of an existing model. Here’s the new Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8.

Omega has thus just released its newest member in the Dark Side of the Moon collection, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. First released in 2013, the concept was to offer a black look (hence the DSOTM name) to the Speedmaster. But Omega being Omega, it wasn’t done by coating the case, but by offering ceramic as its main material. This collection, at least for most of the models, is characterized by its 44.25mm case (the same as the 2011 Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph and the Speedmaster Racing), a full ceramic case and dial, and major difference with the Moonwatch, an automatic column-wheel chronograph movement, the calibre 9300. Multiple editions have since been released, in black, grey or white ceramic. 

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 - 311.92.44.30.01.001
The previous generaion Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 (no Co-Axial Master Chronometer, launched in 2018)

There’s one watch that is an important exception to the rules we’ve just mentioned, and that is the 2018 Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 – a watch that actually made a lot of sense since the dark or far side of the Moon was first observed during the 1968 Apollo 8 mission. While retaining a 44.25mm black ceramic case, this edition was powered by a partially skeletonized and moon-textured version of the hand-wound calibre 1861 – the movement used in the Moonwatch for decades before it transitioned to the Master Chronometer calibre 3861 in 2021.

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Joining the ever-growing Apollo collection (Apollo 11, Apollo 13/Snoopy, Apollo 17 and Apollo 8) and range of Speedmaster DSOTM watches is this new model, a revamp of the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8. Five years after its initial introduction (and a few months…) and late to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission is this new edition, which retains most of the attributes of the original model, yet with small updates for the design, and deeper mechanical changes.

What remains (at least in principle) is the 44.25mm black ceramic case, with a bezel made from its own block of ceramic, and a tachymeter scale in white grand feu enamel (vs. SLN in the previous version). In the same vein as the updated Moonwatch of 2021, this new model is said to have been slightly redesigned to come closer to the proportions and shapes of vintage asymmetrical models. At 13mm in height, it isn’t too thick and the 50mm length is, well, quite long. We’ll very soon have a hands-on session with this new Apollo 8 Speedmaster and we’ll be able to give you far more details regarding these small updates on the case.

The dial is here protected by a sapphire crystal with AR coating and the caseback also features a see-through crystal. It is framed by a black ceramic element engraved with “Dark Side of the Moon – Apollo 8, Dec 1968”, “We’ll see you on the other side” and “Co-Axial Master Chronometer” mentions. Water-resistance is rated at 50 meters and the watch weighs a very acceptable 99 grams. The crown and pushers are equally made from black Zr02 ceramic.

As for the dial, the overall concept of the partially skeletonized and moon-textured plates that was found on the initial Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 has been retained. In the same vein, the black scheme with yellow accents is still present, however, some minor changes can be seen in the laser-ablated Moon texture as seen from Earth – the texture and detailing are more pronounced than before – and the overall architecture of the movement is a bit different (new calibre) with fewer visible screws. The main new element is, of course, the small seconds hand shaped like a Saturn V rocket, and made of grade 5 titanium. It’s done by laser turning, while the colours are achieved with white varnish, ablation, and laser blackening.

Inside the case is a new movement, the calibre 3869 – a partially skeletonized version of the recent calibre 3861. As such, it comes with the brand’s advanced technical features, such as the Co-Axial escapement and the Master Chronometer certification – with impressive resistance to magnetic fields. This hand-wound chronograph is actuated by a cam system and boasts a relatively comfortable power reserve of 50 hours. The back is also decorated with a Moon texture (here the dark or far side of the Moon) with light grey coated wheels and dark grey gold coated balance wheel.

Worn on a 21/18mm perforated black and yellow rubber strap (it was in leather in the previous version) this new Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 is now equipped with a folding clasp made of ceramized titanium. It is released as part of the permanent collection and isn’t limited. It is priced at EUR 15,700, CHF 13,500 or USD 14,300.

For more details, please visit www.omegawatches.com.

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