INTRODUCING: Omega’s New Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 (Ref. 310.92.44.50.01.001)
Updated and upgraded, the Apollo 8 Moonwatch makes a sensational return into our orbit.
The Omega Speedmaster’s storied history with space exploration has been well documented. Most notably, it was worn by the crew of Apollo 11 that first landed humans on the Moon in 1969, which earned the watch its nickname of the Moonwatch. However, the space-bound timepiece was part of another momentous campaign the previous year, when Apollo 8 became the first crewed spaceflight ever to orbit the Moon. In other words, it was the first watch to witness the ‘dark side of the Moon’, which brings us to the timepiece at hand. While Omega had marked the 50th anniversary of the space mission in 2018 with the first Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8, it’s kickstarting 2024 with a new model of the watch, updated from the inside out.
At first blush, the latest Speedmaster Apollo 8 is a dead ringer for the original, retaining the 44.25mm black ceramic case. Yet, the proportions have been tweaked, with a trimmed thickness of 13mm, though its lug-to-lug has been slightly lengthened to 50mm, which may be a challenge for smaller wrists. Despite its heft, the watch weighs in at 99g, thanks in no small part to its lightweight but robust case material. Its ceramic bezel has also been reworked with a white grand feu enamel tachymeter scale, replacing the forbear’s Super-LumiNova-filled markings.
Another update can be found in the watch’s engine – from the 2018 model’s Calibre 1869 to the new Speedmaster Apollo 8’s Calibre 3869. Though both are excellent manual-winding movements in their own right, the latter trumps the original with a longer power reserve of 50 hours. More importantly, Calibre 3869 has achieved the Co-Axial Master Chronometer standard, certified by METAS. With a free-sprung balance wheel and a silicon balance spring, it delivers the Swiss industry’s highest level of precision and chronometric performance and is resistant to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss.
Dial-wise, the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 now boasts an enhanced look of the lunar surface as seen from Earth. Achieved via a refined laser engraving process, the craggy surfaces on the black open-worked anodised aluminium dial are more pronounced, sitting beautifully alongside exposed light grey-coated components. Its small seconds hand at 9 o’clock now takes the form of NASA’s famous Saturn V rocket; the patent-pending 3D feature is engineered from grade 5 titanium via laser turning, and its colours are achieved with white varnish, ablation, and laser blackening.
The same Moon-themed decorations can be seen on the movement’s bridges and plates, showcased by the sapphire crystal caseback. Encircling this uncommon view is a series of engravings, such as “APOLLO 8, DEC 1968” and “WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE” – words spoken to ground control by Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell before the spacecraft disappeared to the far side of the Moon, and out of radio contact, for the very first time. Finally, Omega has swapped the original’s calf leather strap for a perforated rubber one, wisely retaining the yellow accents that mirror that of the watch dial.
A handsome reminder of human achievement, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of exploration beyond earthly bounds, the new Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 is part of Omega’s permanent collection and retails at S$20,500.
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