In 2018, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 for the 50th anniversary of the mission where astronauts saw the other side of the Moon for the first time. Now it’s 2024, and that watch gets an update, kicking off what we expect to be a great year for Speedy lovers.

The Apollo 8 crew (Anders, Lovell, and Borman) — Image: NASA

In December 1968, NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders were the first humans to travel to space with the Saturn V rocket. Commemorating this mission, the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 got a great reception in 2018 and quickly became a much-loved Speedmaster edition outside the Moonwatch series.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update wrist shot

The new Apollo 8

Now Omega is introducing a new version of the Speedmaster Apollo 8. It not only features a new caliber (3869) and Master Chronometer certification, but you will also find the design elements of the watch to have a much finer level of detailing. Plus, it pays tribute to the first manned space flight using the Saturn V rocket in a neat way that the previous version didn’t.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update laser ablation

The new Omega 3869 movement

This new Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 ref. 310. uses the new caliber 3869. It is based on the caliber 3861 but features a representation of the lunar surface made through laser ablation. On the front, you will see the part of the Moon that you see from Earth at nighttime. The backside, however, shows the “dark side” of the Moon that astronauts saw for the first time in 1968.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update

More detail and a Saturn V rocket

What you will notice is that the new lunar surface on the movement shows more details than its predecessor. This is because laser ablation has become more advanced and now uses a higher resolution. Also, certain details, like the craters, have become darker due to the laser ablation on the brass material before the varnishing process. If we stay on the dial for a moment, we also see that the space below the 9 o’clock sub-dial is deeper than its predecessor. It gives the new small seconds hand more presence.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update Saturn V rocket close-up

The sub-seconds hand is now a miniature version of the Saturn V rocket. This hand is made of Grade 5 titanium and shaped into a rocket through laser technology. After it gets its shape, it receives an application of white varnish. Then, using “color laser marking,” the rocket gets its black surfaces. Using a loupe, you will notice that the rocket even shows “USA” in black. This patent-pending Saturn V hand represents a scale of 1:19,000 — that’s just neat in itself!

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update

The screws are less visible

Aside from the new sub-seconds hand, the minute hand and yellow (varnish) chronograph seconds hand changed; they are now domed. You will also see that the laser-ablated base plate looks different since the movement has changed as well. The visible screws are in less prominent places. The aluminum skeletonized dial remained the same, except for the hour markers. These are now beveled with two facets. The Omega and Speedmaster logos are also done in white and yellow lacquer.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update and previous version case profiles

The new Apollo 8 (top) and the previous version

A new case style for the new Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8

Zooming out, we see that the 44.25mm ceramic case has a new shape as well. Just like the current 42mm Speedmaster Professional models, this new Apollo 8 edition uses a shape based on the fourth generation of Speedmasters (105.012). This case comes in at 12.97mm thick and measures 50mm from lug to lug.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update lume shot

The bezel is made of a separate block of ceramic, and it now has the tachymeter scale in white (Grand Feu) enamel, whereas, in the past, it was done in Super-LumiNova. The same applies to the Omega logo in the crown, which is now also white enamel instead of Super-LumiNova.

A quote by Apollo 8 Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell

Turning the watch around, we see the dark side of the Moon’s surface on the movement. Whereas you needed to flip the previous version vertically to see the lunar surface from the correct perspective, with the new caliber 3869-based version, you flip it horizontally. Just like its predecessor, the black ceramic case back has the same quote by Apollo 8 Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell: “We’ll see you on the other side.” Now, however, it is black on black, with just enough contrast to make it readable.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update caliber 3869

The 3869 movement offers a longer power reserve than the previous 1869 and features an Omega Co-Axial escapement. The entire watch has been tested and certified as a Master Chronometer by METAS. This means it will run between 0 and +5 seconds per day on average. Another detail that I like is the positive diamond engraving of the Omega name and caliber number.

The new DSOTM Apollo 8 on the wrist

The new Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 is very wearable on my 18cm wrist. With a 50mm lug-to-lug, it’s not that much bigger than the classic Moonwatch. While the 44.25mm diameter is, of course, larger, that’s nice to have as now there’s also a lot of movement to show on the dial side. But the Saturn V rocket hand at 9 o’clock steals the show, of course, and it’s very clearly visible when wearing the watch.

A new rubber strap and folding buckle

The perforated black strap with a yellow interior is now fully made of rubber. The outside and lining are separate parts, and it feels super comfortable. Instead of an ardillon buckle, the Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 now uses a folding clasp made of ceramized titanium with a ceramic closing mechanism. The strap tapers from 21mm between the lugs to 18mm at the clasp.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 update pocket shot

Coming in at 99 grams

This new Speedmaster Apollo 8 weighs approximately 99 grams, and despite the larger case diameter, in combination with the rubber strap, it is a very comfortable watch on the wrist. I can imagine that someone could even use this watch as a “daily driver.”

Wearing both versions. The new Apollo 8 is on the left wrist, and its predecessor is on the right.

At 5 bar, the watch’s water resistance is very typical of the Speedmaster. However, now that the (entire) watch is certified by METAS, it is also guaranteed to be water resistant. You can swim with this watch but not dive with it. METAS tested it to 50 meters + 10%, just like the current standard Moonwatch models.

The price of the watch is CHF 13,500 / €15,800 / US$14,300, and it is available now. For more information, visit the official Omega website, and don’t forget to let us know what you think of this release in the comments!

Watch specifications

Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8
Skeletonized black aluminum over caliber 3869 with lunar surface done by laser ablation
Case Material
Case Dimensions
44.25mm (diameter) × 50mm (lug-to-lug) × 12.97mm (thickness) — approximately 99 grams
Box-style sapphire
Case Back
Ceramic and sapphire
Omega 3869 — hand-wound Master Chronometer caliber based on the 3861, decorated with lunar surface by laser ablation, 21,600vph frequency, 50-hour power reserve, Co-Axial escapement, silicon balance spring
Water Resistance
50m (5 bar)
Black rubber (21/18mm) with yellow interior, folding clasp made of ceramized titanium with ceramic closing piece
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), chronograph (12-hour and 30-minute counters, central seconds), tachymeter
CHF 13,500 / €15,800 / US$14,300
Five years (international)