Speedy Tuesday – the Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon
Well, someone had to do it, so why not me? Yes, I actually wanted to get my hands on the new Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon. First shown at Baselworld this past March, and previewed here, the watch was “polar”-izing from the get go (nasty pun there!). For the most part, purists were outraged and those interested in the brand, and the Speedmaster line, casually remarked that this release was akin to “jumping the shark”. For those of you not familiar with that cliché, you can look up the derivation, but it basically means that something has made a definitive transition from interesting and unique to hackneyed and overdone. Specifically, in the case of the White Side of the Moon, many felt that this was Omega taking it too far and letting a good idea, in ceramics, go bad. Were all of the detractors wrong? Well, that’s tough to say, but what I can tell you is that I’d bet that 99% or more of the complainers were and, presumably, still are men. In my opinion, it’s this masculine view that has led to such a negative introduction. So, with that in mind, I’ll attempt to take a wider view of the WSotM and attempt to give you my thoughts on this fairly audacious Speedmaster.
Speedmaster White Side of the Moon – interesting debut
Perhaps the release of the “WSotM”, along with 5 new “Dark Side” variants, in 2015 was simply too much for watch lovers, but were they wrong in slaying it? To a large degree, I think they were a bit unfair. Omega offers a lot of variation when it comes to the Speedmaster. They offer the model in everything from a manual wind movement to automatic and with a host of different complications. Additionally, the models can be had in everything from steel, precious metals, titanium, and ceramic. The sizes also vary from below 38mm to the 44.25mm that we see today on the Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon. Omega also makes it a point to market certain Speedmaster models, the 38mm, to women. In comparison to another legendary chronograph, the Rolex Daytona, Omega seemingly tries to offer something for everyone and that’s where the WSotM enters the fray.
I guess moving from one continent to another causes some fuzziness on exact timeframes, but I think I recall paging through a Tourneau holiday catalog a number of years back and seeing some rather flamboyant Daytonas on display with bright dials and matching leather straps. While Rolex certainly would be happy to take a man’s money if he chose to wear one of these, it was pretty clear that these pieces were marketed to females. So, with this in hand, we do have precedent of a watch company taking a watch that was historically a male offering and marketing it to females. For certain, at 40mm, the Daytona works well as a unisex watch. This makes the offering of the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon, at 44.25mm, all that more interesting for what, I believe, is primarily a woman’s watch.
I can recall laying eyes on the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon in Basel and being shocked – in a good way. I thought to myself that Omega, with ceramics manufacturing now becoming a core competency, saw a bona fide opportunity after watching Chanel rack up sales with its same material J12. Perhaps the WSotM is a little bit delayed to reach the party, but it’s clear that women are into bigger watches and are also not afraid to spend 5-figures on them. Omega’s confidence in the WSotM was further bolstered at Basel when they showed us a version with a diamond bezel. I also found the release to be a minor masterstroke because, unlike Chanel, Omega is a true watch brand, and manufacturer, which makes the WSotM a fairly appealing gift for a man to buy for his female significant other. In other words, it’s credible, and a man can likely get his head around the high purchase price of an Omega versus a watch from a haute couture fashion brand. Finally, I was shocked because, as I mentioned in an earlier article, I received a resounding flood of texts from my wife and her friends on how great this watch looked.
Details on the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon
So, with the social commentary out of the way, what is the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon like when kept for a couple weeks? Well, we always start with the specifications, but I am going to keep that to a minimum. Frankly, the watch is exactly like the Grey Side of the Moon that I recently reviewed aside from its hue, it’s deployant buckle – in lieu of pin, and white ceramic dial instead of platinum. The size, the exceptional in-house co-axial 9300 movement, and price of 10,400 Euros are all identical to the medium-toned version.
Let’s talk strap and buckle on the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon because I think it’s absolutely necessary. As I mentioned in my GSotM review, the Grey Side and the original Dark Side of the Moon will begin shipping with the deployant in November. So, effectively, all ceramic models will move to deployant by November. Robert-Jan reviewed one of the Dark Side variants with the deployant buckle and he wasn’t enamored.
I have to say that my feelings, and those of my female friends, are exactly the same. It’s very well made, but we found the deployant to really “stick out” during wear to the point that it looked “tacked on”.
Furthermore, in the case of the white ceramic, it looked a bit look plastic and was actually translucent on the underside of the buckle to the extent that the titanium hardware was visible inside the ceramic. So, while a deployant may sound ritzy, all were in favor of a high quality ceramic traditional buckle.
The white alligator strap, sadly, received similar mixed marks from all around. Frankly, it was a little dirty upon receipt from the prior user. I don’t hold a grudge, though, as this strap shows use very quickly and easily. If you think white jeans are dirt magnets, this isn’t far off the mark. So, what’s my suggestion for Omega? It’s an easy one that is probably, although not confirmed, underway at the brand: create high quality colorful straps! Red, light blue, yellow, and pink would all give this watch some much needed “pop” while resolving the dirt issue. Functionally, though, this strap was very easy to adjust and contained stitched rubber reinforcement along the buckle holes. It’s definitely a well-made piece.
Moving on to the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon case and its details, my “reviewers” and I came away with some consistent feelings. First, it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between a polished or matte surface on the white ceramic. We had all ogled the Grey Side, so we had a comparison in our heads. Whereas the Grey Side looked so metallic, the White Side looked a touch flat. Upon close inspection, the finishing is just as incredible, but it simply isn’t as noticeable at a glance.
Second, when viewing details like the crown, pushers and bezel, the white ceramic can appear almost resin-like. These thoughts were basically in line with the deployant concerns.
Speaking of the bezel, it has numbers on its surface that are likely of platinum, but they’re very smooth. In some angles or lighting, the numbers disappear. I’d actually like to see engraved numbers filled in with the platinum.
The dial is a real highlight for the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon. This part of the watch really encapsulates the “expensive” look of the watch and makes me think of frivolous things like the French Riviera, yachts, etc.
The white ceramic dial looks beautiful under the domed sapphire crystal and the red “Speedmaster” font gives it a nice dose of spice. Black font and brushed metal indices help round out the package. As in some other ceramic models, the central chronograph hand is adorned with a red tip. Here again, I really like it. Other details abound such as recessed sub registers, a discreet date window at 6:00 and strong SuperLuminova on the hands and indices. While the WSotM’s dial may lack the surface treatment of its Grey counterpart, the look of smooth white ceramic works well for this piece.
Wearing the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon
On the wrist, the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon fit well. A friend of mine tried it on and it looked great. The white is incredibly eye catching, so I think that if you’re looking for a watch that stands out, this should work fantastically. I can imagine that it would look even better with dark clothing or some sort of boldly colored dress, but it certainly “works” with anything. Per my earlier comments, the idea came up again about pairing the WSotM with straps of different colors. All that being said, the women I spoke with all enjoyed the Gray Side a little more as they felt it could be more appropriately combined with business dress.
Oh, and for the heck of it, you can see how it looks on a hairy wrist – mine!
Speedmaster White Side of the Moon…Final Thoughts
So what do I really think of the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon? Well, as I mentioned, I think it’s a great idea from Omega to make a “real” watch targeted for women that combines their best in material technology with their best on the mechanical side. I also like that Omega doesn’t assume that women want throwaway quartz movements. However, the thing that blew me away was the consistent mention of how much my female, albeit small, audience mentioned the departed Grey Side of the Moon. I don’t know if my test group felt that the WSotM was too white or if the simply loved the GSotM that much more, but I suppose you have to credit Omega for creating two credible choices.
I mentioned that the Speedmaster White Side of the Moon retails for 10,400 Euros. Yes, this is a lot of money. Again, though, I think it compares favorably to the Daytona. This is especially true if you look at Daytonas that are targeted to females as they are typically made of precious metals or contain gemstones and the prices likely exceed more than double of the Omega variant. Of course, as stated, Omega will soon offer a diamond version of the WSotM as well.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this review of the Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon. It’s not a watch that would likely cross the minds of a lot of our readership for their own wrist, but it might now make the possible holiday list for a significant other. Let’s hope that Omega is working on some bright straps for this piece because I do think it will make a world of difference. Men like to change straps on their watches, so I’d imagine women would have a similar interest. Until then, let’s be happy that the good folks at Omega have offered us so many choices when it comes to their legendary Speedmaster line.