June 5, 2018
by David Bredan
The lower overall height entails enhanced wearing comfort, as the watch won’t get hooked up on sleeves and other common items of the real world so often, and its weight will be lower down and will be sitting on a wider back (as opposed to the narrow sapphire box of the previous versions), therefore now wearing with little to absolutely no wobble. Worry not though, this latest DSotM has lost none of the presence of the previous versions. Its black and yellow theme is as vibrant as it is menacing and the footprint is still substantial.
Where Omega could have thrown a hand-wound 1861 into the black case with much less overall effort and creativity, I’m certainly glad they didn’t. Instead, they spiced it up in a way that now other Moonwatches with this movement look almost naked in comparison. Many of the plates and bridges of the movement were replaced by structural elements that are dark grey in their color and bear the Moon’s pattern. With the purple jewels and the dark, silvery wheels and cams one even forgives the short power reserve or the lack of a column wheel.
What really gets me though is the center dial that was partially opened to reveal some of the movement underneath. Omega has done an exceptional job at keeping things interesting without creating a mess: all the sub-dials as well as the main indications remain perfectly legible at all times – not something that could be said about most other comparably creative exercises in watchmaking. The large, applied indices stand out even more beautifully, the stick hands are just ideal to offer legibility without covering up too much of the eye-candy, and the black-white-yellow contrast means that you can actually read the time accurately.
Further goodies include ample lume on the hands and markers and not only those, but also on the bezel markings and, if I recall correctly, the Omega logo in the crown. If you are hooked on ceramic and/or on the Speedmaster, the DSotM line still very much has you covered. The case is beautifully finished with sharp lines and alternating brushed and polished surfaces which, at last, can stand out more as they aren’t overwhelmed by the sheer size of the thing. The multi-tier bezel with the box sapphire crystal is also a neat trick at adding volume and disguising thickness all with the same move.
While I did commend Omega for putting aside its love affair with limited editions and its pride of its in-house calibers, the NASA storytelling had to continue, apparently. While some I presume are growing a bit tired of this, I have no doubt at all about this approach still working brilliantly for the majority of the Speedmaster clientèle, and that’s quite alright. This particular piece is a commemorative edition to Apollo 8, the first manned craft to orbit the Moon and therefore the first to see its “dark side.” I like the “We’ll see you on the other side” because it can be applied to everyday life and is a lot less cheesy or weird than the “What would you do in 14 seconds?” on this (mind you, highly collectible) version. I also agree with Omega’s decision this time around when they chose to leave the dial free from historical quotes and such – yeah, I guess it’s cool and all, but I personally wouldn’t want to be reminded of it every time I glance at my watch. This is just another thing this new Apollo 8 gets right.
On the wrist, the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 feels and looks the best a DSotM has looked so far. It’s large, but wears more naturally and comfortably – and, whoopdeedoo, how a watch feels on the wrist does have an effect on how it will end up looking on it too. The black and yellow may be a tad too much for some, but then again, this was never meant to be your safe-looking Speedy. On a personal note, I think the overall balance in aesthetics, boldness, and long-term appeal is absolutely spot on in this one. It really is a constellation (ahem!) of well-made design decisions as far as a funky watch made for everyday wear is concerned.
Available from around September, 2018 and priced at $9,750, the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 is a pricey, but very strong contender. It is a job well done by a major brand that managed to get not only the basics, but also the publicly “demanded,” as well as the creative elements right. Still very much a Speedy, but, in my view, a refreshing one at that – and the best Dark Side of the Moon so far. omegawatches.com