Unfortunately, a lot of brands these days already bombard our mailboxes with pre-SIHH and pre-BaselWorld releases. So we know what’s coming, some times we even receive invitations to come and have a look before one of the big shows, to do our own photography. To be honest, we favor the ‘being surprised’ a bit more, like in the old days, when press kits were a binder with some spec sheets and actual photos.
Some brands don’t share at all before the show, or at least only minor things in advance. Some times it can be useful, to do some preparation because trust me if I say that there’s little time during SIHH and BaselWorld to sit down and do a proper write-up.
Although we already received some ‘under embargo’ materials for the upcoming BaselWorld next week, we didn’t from Omega. Being Speedmaster nuts ourselves (I speak for the entire Fratello team), we are very curious what surprise Omega has in store for us. Let’s have a try.
An easy guess would be to have a look at certain years. 1958 is special of course, but not in terms of a specific Speedmaster. At the time, the CK2915 was still being produced and that is something Omega already celebrated last year (which we love and we bought a few ourselves as well). Let’s look at the time line of Speedmasters: 1963 would be 55 years ago, which brings us to the 3rd generation of Speedmaster watches, the 105.003. Could be, but not convincing enough. Let’s move 5 years ahead, 50 years ago in time. Omega came up with the Racing. However, there’s a bit of confusion there (at least for us), as we also see Racing models that were produced before 1968. However, the Racing is something we would definitely love to see happening at some point. But it must be said, that there already was one in 2004 for the Japan market and we are pretty certain that Omega wouldn’t re-issue that exact same model.
Somehow I don’t believe that Omega will do a re-issue, like they did with the Mark II in 2014 or 60th anniversary of last year. Another interesting 1968 idea is the caliber 861 introduction, but having the caliber 1861 since over 20 years now and never doing anything to celebrate the 861 (to my knowledge), I don’t see something in this regard either. A couple of people approached us via email to ask if we think if Omega is going to do another Snoopy re-issue. Although I am pretty sure they won’t (as I don’t see any occasion to do this), it does show how powerful the 2015 release of the Snoopy Silver Edition was.
But I do feel that 50 is a good number to celebrate anything. Let’s have a look at the space missions. Every other 5 years, Omega is releasing an Apollo XI limited edition. The last one was very neat, with the titanium case and Sedna gold bezel. This was in 2014, celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Moonlanding. We addressed this Speedmaster here and here. We expect full force Apollo XI stuff next year, for the 50th anniversary. So what happened to NASA in 1968?
Apollo 8 of course! It was the second manned spaceflight Apollo mission by NASA, with on board Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders. Apollo 8 was launched in 1968. Only in December (21st), so very late in the year, but still 1968. Being one of the first Apollo flights, it had a lot of ‘first’ in general. Being the first Apollo mission to be launched from Kennedy Space Center for example, but also the first flight where the astronauts orbited the Moon, see Earth entirely, witness the Earth rise and – here it comes – see the far side of the Moon. Or dark side.
Now, in 2013, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon. This watch was the first Speedmaster made from ceramic (black) and according to Omega’s PR material, had a clear link to Apollo 8 where astronauts saw the dark side of the Moon themselves for the first time. According to Omega “It was the adventures and the accomplishments of the Apollo 8 astronauts that inspired this model.”. Although never marketed as the 45th anniversary edition for Apollo 8, it did commemorate the astronauts from that mission.
Sure, Apollo 7 also took place in 1968, but since Apollo 8 reached a couple of important milestones for the targeted moon landing (Apollo 11), I say Apollo 8. So what can Omega do to celebrate the Apollo 8 mission with a Speedmaster? As you might remember, there was already a mission patch model in 1998 inside the Missions Case that we showed to you here and here.
A regular Moonwatch model with a caliber 1861 movement and an Apollo 8 mission patch on the 9 o’clock sub dial. Given the last few Apollo limited editions, I am sure Omega is reaching beyond that.
Even though the mission patch shows the Apollo 8 mission orbiting Earth and Moon, it is rather ugly and I can’t imagine that this would be full size on a dial for example, like the Apollo XVII coin dial model. However, I can see this mission patch being put as a medallion on the case back of a watch. In bas relief or perhaps as an engraving.
Dark Side – Black Apollo 8
The Dark Side of the Moon was – perhaps still is – a huge success. A black watch isn’t a fad, it is here to stay. Look for example at the Seamaster Planet Ocean DeepBlack. Especially for a limited edition, a black watch can be very attractive. Also for Speedmaster collectors, who are now only able to pick the Dark Side of the Moon or one of its variations to spice up their Moonwatch collection. So, my guess would be a full black Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ model.
We have showed you a customized DLC Speedmaster Pro in the past here and I think it looks cool. However, Omega won’t be doing a DLC, I am pretty sure they’d go for ceramic like the Dark Side of the Moon and Deepblack model. A 42mm Speedmaster Professional with manual-wind movement in full ceramic.
Not as shown as above, but that’s how a black Speedmaster looks like. I can’t think of Omega doing a ceramic version of that bracelet, so I reckon we will see a special NATO strap or leather strap instead, or a fabric strap like the Dark Side of the Moon. It also shouldn’t be a copy of the Dark Side of the Moon in my opinion, so in my best imagination it should have some small details that make it look more ‘special’ or more ‘commemorating’ Apollo 8 than the regular Dark Side. A Sedna bezel would be cool for example, but that was already done with the Apollo XI 45th edition. I am a lousy photoshop user, so I am not even trying, but you can go quite far with configuring a black Speedmaster Professional.
I guess we have to wait until Thursday March 22nd, we will be with Omega at 9am to see their 2018 watches. Make sure to stay with us that day, here and on our Instagram feed.