At Baselworld 2013, Omega surprised us with the novel, black ceramic Dark Side of the Moon. Last year, Omega evolved its ceramic line with a grey case and dial by evoking the look of lunar dust with its Grey Side of the Moon. So, how, you may ask, will Omega follow up these two hits with another ceramic masterpiece? The answer, as we will reveal, represents an all out barrage from the Swiss Maker. Yes, Omega is placing a large bet by placing a lot of Zirconium Oxide chips into the center of the table.
White Side of the Moon
With the dark and grey sides of the moon canvassed, Omega felt it was time to move on to an earthbound view of the moon. When we look up at the orb from Earth, the moon often appears as white against a dark sky. So, you’ve guessed it, a white Speedmaster is on the way and is dubbed the “White Side of the Moon.”
The White Side of the Moon, WSotM, will come in the familiar 44.25mm case but, this time, formed in a combination of brushed and polished white ceramic. The tachymeter scale is also matte white ceramic. An anti reflective sapphire crystal provides the window for viewing the white ceramic dial equipped with white gold hands and indexes. The central hand, however, contains a nicely contrasting red tip. White SuperLuminova is on duty for your nightly needs. The white side of the moon will come equipped with a white leather strap, ceramic white clasp and underlying titanium folders. The white ceramic case back contains a sapphire display back engraved with the model name. Similar to its forbearers, the WSotM utilizes Omega’s 9300 caliber co-axial chronograph movement. We expect pricing to run similar to the other ceramic models, which is in the 10,000 Euro range.
My brief impressions of this watch are that it looks like a high quality piece and immediately ushers in competition from a highly credible watchmaker against the popular Chanel models. I showed a picture of this watch to my wife and to one of our friends, also female, and both, in unison replied, “Want”. So, if this small focus group is any indication, Omega will have a hit on their hands with the female market despite the large diameter. Furthermore, what man would not want to buy their significant other a Speedmaster? It seems like a clever move on Omega’s part, indeed, and I can’t wait to handle it.
By now, you are ready to move on to other reading because you’ve figured that Omega is done with its ceramic Speedmaster releases. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong because Omega doesn’t have another piece for you. No, Omega has FOUR more ceramic Speedmasters up their sleeve.
Dark Side of the Moon Collection
Owing to the ever-changing view of the moon, and, more likely, a better handle on ceramic manufacturing, Omega is rolling out the all-ceramic Dark Side of the Moon Collection this year at Baselworld. All models will use the 9300 caliber, 44.25mm case, and contain a caseback recalling the original Dark Side of the Moon model. We expect pricing to, once again, come in around 10,000 Euros (above for the Sedna). Let’s review the four new models.
Black Black (318.104.22.168.01.005)
The Black Black is appropriately titled because, and there is no better way to say it, extremely black. It has a black case, matte black ceramic dial, black clasp and black nylon strap. Even the hands are black and contain black SuperLuminova. The tachymeter scale is back lacquer.
First thoughts: The Black Black looks cool and somewhat tactical, but due to its monochrome design, I’d guess that this will be purchased as more of a novelty: albeit, an expensive novelty.
Sedna Black (322.214.171.124.06.001)
The Sedna Black is notable for use of the proprietary rose gold alloy on the bezel ring and also for the indices and hands. The black case is brushed and features a matte grey ceramic dial. This model uses Vintage SuperLuminova on the hands, indexes and for the 12:00 dots. A brushed ceramic clasp is fitted to a leather strap.
First thoughts: The Sedna Black is the dressiest model of the bunch. I have a hard time not liking anything with Sedna and that affinity stems from last year’s Speedmaster limited edition (insert link). I’d expect those who bought last year’s LE to take a close look at this or it might appeal to those who liked that, but who want something a little bigger, automatic and technologically advanced.
Pitch Black (3126.96.36.199.01.004)
The Pitch Black has a polished and brushed black case, matte black ceramic dial, and brushed tachymeter scale. SuperLuminova is used on the indexes and tachymeter scale. The subdials contain vanished hands. The model comes with a black leather band with ecru (nude) stitching and a ceramic clasp.
First thoughts: Winner, winner, chicken dinner! To me, aside from the Sedna, this looks like the most timeless model of the bunch and versus the Sedna, it wins out because gold tends to be polarizing. I’d like to see this on a black leather rally strap and I think it would be even better. If the Luminova appears as crisp white, this should prove to be a very special watch in person.
Vintage Black (3188.8.131.52.01.006)
The Vintage Black contains brown indexes and hands with Vintage SuperLuminova. The brushed ceramic bezel contains a tachymeter scale filled with the same Vintage SuperLuminova. The central hands are blackened while the sub hands are varnished. A brown leather strap and ceramic clasp finish the watch.
First thoughts: The Vintage Black is a handsome watch that will certainly snare those who like the vintage look. It looks like a great casual watch as well. An in person viewing will determine whether the faux patina is “over the top”.
So, there you have them, the FIVE new ceramic Speedmasters. I’ll leave you with a few thoughts as you’ve likely formed a distinct opinion by now.
First, I really like to see companies experimenting and producing watches with advanced materials. Omega has done a nice job by making the entire watch ceramic, from the pushers to the case backs. Also, while it’s difficult for me to already think about 2016, Omega is showing us that there is real versatility with ceramic as a volume watchmaking material. Finally, Omega has put a lot of thought into the little things by choosing brushed and polished surfaces depending on the model. They’ve also created a lot of unique bits such as handsets, bezels, etc.
Regarding some of the questionable points, aside from the WSotM, Omega is really putting a lot at stake on black-cased models. I suppose that PVD models are still popular, but I wonder if they are as popular as, say, 3 years ago (I know these are not PVD but the look is the same)? Along the same lines from a potentially vanishing trend theme, these are big watches at >44mm. Regarding pricing, this is a big step into the >10K arena. Finally, and this is perhaps my biggest concern, is Omega watering down the uniqueness and resale value of this line by offering so many models: especially in the DSotM Collection?
Overall, I am very excited to see the new Ceramic Speedmasters at Baselworld and I am sure they will be a joy to handle in person. Let us know which of these new pieces is your favorite in the comments section below!