NASA’s Apollo 8 mission in 1968 was 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. On their wrists, a Speedmaster.
Now, nearly 50 years later, Omega introduces you to the latest addition to the Dark Side of the Moon collection. Not a black ceramic Speedmaster Professional like we predicted a few weeks ago, but a watch based on the existing Dark Side of the Moon models. However, not with the famous bi-compax caliber 9300 movement, but with a hand-wound caliber 1869 movement. This manual winding chronograph movement is based on the famous caliber 1861 movement, but with a nickel coated balance wheel and wheels, blackened screws, blackened bridges and main plate. The latter represents the near (front) and far (back) side of the Moon. The movement can be admired from both the front and back side of the watch, due to skeletonised dial and the sapphire caseback. Laser ablation has been used to decorate the bridges and plates, so it received this lunar surface look.
Just like the Dark Side of the Moon series, the new Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 has a 44.25mm case, but is not as thick due to the use of the hand-wound caliber 1869 movement. It measures 13.80mm in height, and 21mm between the lugs. The case is made of black zirconium oxide ceramic, like the other Dark Side models.
Omega used yellow as a contrasting color for the chronograph hands, hour markers, and the tachymetre word on the ceramic bezel. You will also find yellow stitching in the black racing strap as well as the (rubber) inside section of the strap, which can be seen through the micro perforations.
From the press release: “WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE” – the special words engraved on the caseback – were spoken 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 – a mysterious hemisphere never seen before by human eyes. Seconds before the spacecraft disappeared beyond the range of radio contact, Lovell spoke these final assuring words to ground control.
We will get our hands on this new Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 piece tomorrow, on the first day of BaselWorld. We are curious to see how it will feel on the wrist, this hybrid model between the Dark Side of the Moon and the hand-wound Moonwatch: a hand-wound Lemania based movement in a 44.25mm ceramic case. We will be back to you shortly with a hands-on report on this Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8.
Retail price of the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 reference 3188.8.131.52.01.001 is CHF9000.- Swiss Francs.
More information via Omega on-line.