The Omega Speedmaster is one of the most iconic chronographs in the history of watchmaking. Although it can be traced back to the 1950s, the Speedmaster really hit it big when it became one of the official NASA flight watches, and the first wristwatch worn on the moon.
While the Speedmaster is an incredible piece of engineering, Omega has used its ties with NASA and the Apollo missions to create loads of special editions. Some even contend that there are so many special Speedmasters, well, they aren’t so special anymore. Some vintage watch retailers have hundreds of different Speedmasters for sale (like Chronext, source of the featured image for this article)!
Some special edition Speedmaster models may well deserve this kind of criticism, but the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon isn’t one of them. It is a truly innovative design from Omega, and the models that have hit the market so far are gorgeous.
New Materials and Movements
Unlike many of the other Speedmaster special editions, the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon is packing some new gear. When the model first launched in 2013, it showcased a case that was machined from a chunk of zirconium oxide ceramic, which is both tough and lightweight.
The original Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon used the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 9300, which was the first of the company’s in-house co-axial movements to feature a chronograph. It has only two sub-dials (versus three sub-dials in the traditional version), and sports a date window at 6 o’clock.
The vertical clutch 9300 does have a 60-hours power reserve, and was one of the first Omega movements to feature a silicon balance spring. Pretty great specs, despite the price of admission (MSRP north of 10.000 EUR).
In terms of dimensions, the new (at the time) ceramic Speedmaster was 44.25mm in diameter – a little bigger than the classic moonwatch, but bigger cases were ‘in’ at the time. This being said, due to shorter lugs and the light weight (the case being ceramic and the clasp titanium), the Dark Side of the Moon doesn’t wear that much bigger than the original Speedy.
The original run featured a few different color variations (with more being added later), with the all white “White Side of the Moon” standing out as a very unique piece. The “Grey Side of the Moon”, added in 2014, was particularly popular. The most common model named “Dark Side of the Moon” has a black ceramic case, and white indices that help with readability. A Blog to Watch did a very nice review of this initial edition.
Worth mentioning are also the more exotic “Black Black” and “Sedna Black” versions, as well as the bling-bling diamond-set variation.
More Dark Side of the Moon Editions Were Sure to Come
As we mentioned already, Omega has never met a special edition that it didn’t push to market. The Dark Side of the Moon Speedmaster line is no exception!
Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon “Apollo 8”
The Apollo 8 mission didn’t land on the moon, but it did see NASA astronauts circle around the moon, and see the dark side of the earth’s biggest satellite for the first time. The Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 edition was created to celebrate this milestone, and packs some very cool features.
The Apollo 8 edition swaps the 9300 movement for a hand wound calibre, called the caliber 1869, with the last two digits echoing the year 1969, when the Apollo 8 mission occurred. The caliber 1869 is very similar to the caliber 1861, which is based on the Lemania 1873.
This movement is without a doubt more faithful to the original manually wound moonwatch, although Omega decided to upgrade the looks of the caliber 1869 to fall more in-line with the rest of the line’s aesthetic.
The dial on the Apollo 8 is partially skeletonized, and looks through to the movement’s mainplate, which has received laser ablation to make it resemble the moon’s surface. The overall effect is absolutely stunning, and takes some time to appreciate.
The rest of the dial looks more or less like one of the Speedmaster Racing models, with a yellow chronograph hand and some other yellow accents as well. The case size is basically the same as the original Dark Side of the Moon, and the new caliber 1869 can be seen via the sapphire case back. For more information about this release, there is a great review over at Monochrome Watches.
Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon “Alinghi”
For those of you who aren’t up on the global sailing game, Alinghi is one of the best competitive sailing teams out there. It is also Swiss, and has had its brand on a number of special edition watches. The Dark Side of the Moon Alinghi is another stunner, with a very similar feel to the Apollo 8 at first glance.
Upon closer inspection, we see that the Alinghi’s dial is made from carbon fiber, and some openwork around the 8 o’clock position. The workmanship is flawless, with the caliber 1865 peeking through the open space in the dial.
The 1865 is basically the same as the 1869, with some small changes made to its styling. The dial has swapped yellow for red on the Alinghi, and again is reminiscent of a Speedmaster Racing model. One big change is the Alinghi logo (also the hand) on the 6 o’clock subdial, which is red – and very eye-catching. If you’d like more information about the Alinghi, you can have a look at Worn & Wound’s review.
Like many Omega special editions, the Alinghi has some small touches that separate it from what came before, and make it into a unique piece.
The Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon has created something new in the Speedmaster line, with new materials and revamped movements. Omega definitely hit the right spot with this line introduced in 2013, and each new release brought welcome additions on the table. We’re definitely looking forward for future releases under the DSOTM umbrella.