Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review

Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

This is a review of what may have been the hottest watch of 2013. It certainly was based on internet buzz, and when we first laid hands on the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon (ref. 311.92.44.51.01.003) earlier in that year we knew it was going to be big. Finally, aBlogtoWatch offers a full, hands-on review of the famous all-black ceramic version of the new Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph which we are proud to offer as our first watch review of 2014.

The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon feels so much more than a ceramic version of the modern Speedmaster. Omega has cleverly been able to produce yet another model which really feels like more than the sum of its parts, and if you look at the minor details you'll realize that this isn't just another black ceramic-cased timepiece. It combines the history and mystique of the Speedmaster collection, with a useful material, and very satisfying design that is both masculine, and just plain cool. What do you get when you upgrade one of the world's most iconic sport watches into a cult item? You get the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon.

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

When we first went hands-on with the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watch we were instantly thrilled by it. Usually it takes me a few seconds to really take in something I am going to like, but when I saw the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon for the first time I think I spontaneously uttered "cool." Omega knew it was going to be appreciated, but they didn't know how much. Omega's CEO even confided in me that they were sitting on the concept for a few years because he wasn't sure when the right time to release it was. One of the issues he said was production. Getting the case just right was the real issue, and that is one of the major challenges of ceramic. Further, if you are new to all this and wonder why watches should be made out of ceramic in the first place, then it is because of ceramic's very high scratch and wear resistance.

In theory ceramic is anything but a luxury material, but in practice it can be very complicated to produce correctly. This, and most other luxury watches that use ceramic are actually using Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2). The ceramic base powder is mixed with pigment and then formed into a shape. That shape is then baked, which shrinks it and yields its final form. Because the material shrinks, getting it into precise colors and sizes is anything but easy. So the tricky part of working with ceramic is conceiving the process to produce and finish each part. Once that process is down, it is relatively straightforward in terms of production.

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon case is fully made in ceramic, and that includes the case pieces, pushers, buckle, and also dial. The "ZrO2" label can be found on the back of the case as well as on the dial just over where the main hands connect in the center of the face. This isn't the first watch made in ceramic, but as far as we know it is the first production Omega watch with a full ceramic case. Though Omega has been using ceramic for several years, being used as a bezel material (mostly in the Planet Ocean and other Seamaster pieces) as well as for parts of the case on their Ladymatic models. Ceramic is an important part of modern Omega watch production, and the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon is an accumulation of that dedication to the material.

What makes this particular ceramic case special is the finishing and this is a really important point with regards to understanding the larger appeal of the watch. Most ceramic watches have a single finish over the entire case. Most ceramic watches are polished, and some are matte finished. I don't think I've seen a ceramic watch that is fully brushed, but I have seen ceramic parts such as bezels which are brushed. What Omega did with the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon is mimic the finishing of their metal Speedmaster watches for the ceramic case. This means that the upper part of the lugs as well as the sides (flanks) of the case is brushed versus polished, which helps frame the personality of the watch and is a major element of the design.

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Omega fully understood that a black ceramic version of the Speedmaster, to be successful, would need to stay true to the Speedmaster in all other respects. What the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon offers is an unadulterated Speedmaster experience in a new material - and in my opinion that is the key to this model's popularity.

"Dark Side Of The Moon" is engraved into the rear of the case, which forever tells the owner that this is a special model. Rarely do you see the names big brands give to their more exotic timepieces right on the cases. I find it really cool that Omega decided to put the name on edge of the case back - where there isn't really that much room given the expansive sapphire crystal window offering a view into the movement. Another unique element of the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon piece is the strap. Unlike other Speedmaster models that come on a bracelet or alligator strap (for the high-end 18k red gold models), this one comes on a black Cordura strap. Cordura is a coated fabric, and is offered here with a leather liner. On the inside of the strap is some red contrast stitching - just a hint to go with the touch of red on the dial. That the buckle is ceramic is also a rarity.

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Omega fans know that the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon is built on the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph that was debuted just a few years ago as the most modern Speedmaster watch ever. We offered a full aBlogtoWatch review on the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph here so that you can better understand it. Though we will go over it again briefly right now. The famed Speedmaster collection gained world fame in the late 1960s for being on the wrists of the Apollo 11 astronauts when they traveled to the moon. Since then Omega has left the collection relatively classic looking, but has updated it over the years. Nevertheless, the classic "Moonwatch" has always continued to be in production.

Eventually Omega wanted to produce a Speedmaster with a fully in-house made movement. That happened when Omega finally introduced its rather fantastic Caliber 9300 family of automatic chronographs with Co-Axial escapements. The 9300 is a great movement, and it also happens to look beautiful. We love that it fills up the back of the watch, and turning it over to view the movement through the case back is a treat. Unlike previous Speedmaster models, the 9300 offers just two subsidiary dials on the face, versus the traditional three sub dial layout. Nevertheless, functionality is not sacrificed because the right sub dial has two hands - which measure both the chronograph minutes and hours. Thus, the 9300 movement offers a cleaner bi-compax dial layout with a fully functioning 12 hour chronograph.

Omega Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Black Ceramic Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

23 comments
Phil de Fer
Phil de Fer

I bought one yesterday and love it.  The strap is good, Kevlar and leather and feels fine.  I am used to wearing older Omegas with normal leather straps anyway.  I was planning to get a Seamaster with orange detailing but when the shopkeeper mentioned he had one of these I had to look and it was love at first sight!  It is much lighter on the wrist than the steel Seamasters or Speedmasters and the leather inner to the strap means it stays in place rather than rotating around the wrist.  The quality of finish is immense and I don't find it too shiny in normal lighting (rather than the spotlights in jewellers.  It is a bit slimmer than the Seamasters I was considering so I plan to wear it with a suit and think that 99% of people will not even notice it.

Neil C
Neil C

Tried this on at the weekend in Vegas. It is a bit shiny for me, and certainly wears much smaller than 44mm, but still love it.   Tried on a GP Sea Hawk, now that is a huge watch, totally badass.


MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Kris CHave you tried one on Kris? The strap is nicer in person that it appears in photos. But I do realize that your strap standards are higher than the average watch geek :-)

ocabj
ocabj

I tried on this watch at an OMEGA Boutique a few months back when they had a sample copy for viewing. The watch is legit. It's gorgeous and fits comfortably well (at least on my wrist). Initially, I thought I would hate the cordura strap, but when you see it in person and put it on, you'll realize it's a very good strap decision for the watch. 


Obviously, my only qualm is the price. $12K USD is a lot for an average Joe like me. I definitely want one, but I'm not sure what I'd shell out for one. 

GaryK30
GaryK30

Ceramic is very scratch resistant, but is it prone to shattering?


Panagiotis
Panagiotis

Funny how the live photos of the ceramic make it look like a rendering in your hand!

Thanatos42
Thanatos42

That's a lot of cash for a nylon strap and no precious metals or diamonds.

Gee Z
Gee Z

Gorgeous package - case, movement, dial and strap. Unfortunately too large with 44.25mm, and also to expensive.

spiceballs
spiceballs

Beautiful but yes, a bit "shiny".  Be nice to also see it on a black (matt + polished links?) ceramic bracelet.  No doubt that would allow Omega to hike the price even further.

jtambor
jtambor

Had the opportunity to give this model a try a few weeks ago. Felt that is was a bit too flashy for me..very shiny.

Did look/wear a bit smaller than the dimensions suggest even on my small wrists.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It's a great looking watch.  They've managed to transfer the usual details over to ceramic very crisply.  The movement is very plain and I too wish they'd have decided to do something a little more exciting with it. 

HowieBoyd
HowieBoyd

You mention: "...most of the previous generation Speedmasters which are 40mm wide" but the Omega website lists the model 3570.50.00 as 42mm Case Diameter.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

So much want. I'd bin that awful strap in a heartbeat and replace it with something as equally exquisite as the case. 


I'm somewhat saddened by the movement, as I've said before - it is a great movement, but certainly not exclusive to this watch - they use it in everything. I think Clooney eats a bowl of 9300's covered in unicorn milk for breakfast every day. I read that in the internet somewhere, so its obviously true. 


At the very least, they could have finished the movement in black to match the case, and then the red enameling on the rotor and mainplate would look very cool.  


All that said, seeing the reflection of the hands on that mirror-finish ceramic (sorry, ZrO2) almost brings a tear to my eye. 


Ariel, whats on the bezel under TACHYMETRE? Looks like a smudge, but it;'s in all the shots - it's not a ding is it?

Vhough
Vhough

I love this watch so much! I have tried the prototype in the Omega Boutique in Glasgow and fell in love immediately. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

I can hear Pink Floyd playing in my head. What a great looking watch. Such balance and attention to  detail and the overall aesthetic. Too bad it costs so much. But supply and demand is in Omega's favor at the moment. Just the thing to wear on a tropical beach Ariel?

jtambor
jtambor

@spiceballs I have heard that Omega would "never" make a ceramic bracelet...

Treading on Rado's ground I guess.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@HowieBoydThere are actually a number of other Speedmaster models. Right now the Speedmaster Racing watches are 40mm wide.

witchwatch
witchwatch

@Kris C


I agree wholeheartedly, the strap is crap! Omega should have went for Kevlar as IWC did for the Topgun.

Spaceguitar
Spaceguitar

@Kris C I had that same question about the smudge. Is there perhaps a thin piece of protective plastic over the bezel that is on there? I thought I saw similar smaller marks around 4 o'clock on the bezel as well. 

witchwatch
witchwatch

@Vhough


As did I :). Although would you not agree the strap was disappointing?

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Kris CHave you tried one on Kris? The strap is nicer in person that it appears in photos. But I do realize that your strap standards are higher than the average watch geek :-)

I like your suggestion about having the movement finished in black with a touch of red. That would be killer on this watch.

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