Like almost every year, OMEGA also in 2018 introduces a Speedmaster Special Edition. This year they celebrate 50 years of the Apollo 8 mission and surprise with a new skeletonized Moonwatch movement for their famous ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ watch.
The Speedmaster collection has a long tradition at OMEGA and was first introduced in 1957 with a tachymeter scale on the bezel for a clearer readability. Ever since Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin wore a Speedmaster watch at the first moonlanding mission in 1969, they lovingly call it Moonwatch.
Another important event in space history was the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968 when three astronauts were the first ever to orbit the moon and examined the ‘dark’ side of the moon from space. Jim Lovell, amongst the three astronauts said the famous words “We’ll see you on the other side” just seconds before they started to orbit the moon. From now they were on their own for the next 34 minutes as the radio contact was cut to ground control.
What they saw can now be seen on the new Speedmaster Apollo 8. OMEGA has done something that probably only watch enthusiasts will appreciate. They tried to recreate the lunar surface by laser ablating and blackening the bridges and main plate. They shall indicate the tiny looking craters and irregularities visible from the earth point of view. With its caseback – or let’s stay with the space language – ‘the dark side of the moon’ OMEGA wants to delve into the dark side that only astronauts get to see.
The only true recognizable difference would probably be the yellow colour coding used on the dial side. OMEGA has actually first used this colour coding for their Speedmaster Racing model from 1968, the same year as the Apollo 8 mission, however we like the thought that the yellow indicates the sun that makes the bright side of the moon visible to us. It is also obvious that the lettering ‘Tachymeter’ and ‘Speedmaster’ are yellow coloured, remembering that the Speedmaster watch from 1957 was the first to have a tachymeter scale on the bezel. But these are only some speculations and our own thoughts.
A fact however is, that the movement is manually wound instead of automatically as we are used from past Moonwatch types. This change makes the new Speedmaster Apollo 8 little slimmer and more comfortable to wear. Hence the calibre has changed from the 1861 to the new blackened and decorated calibre 1869 as a tribute to the first moon landing in 1969.
The case is made from black zirconium oxide ceramic at a diameter of 44.25 mm. The Speedmaster Apollo 8 comes with a black leather strap with yellow stitching and micro-perforations that reveal a yellow interior rubber section worked into the strap. The strap also very much reminds of the first OMEGA Racing models from the 1950s, paired with the attributes of historical space adventures to make it a true Speedmaster Moonwatch.