Lunar Love: Omega

Omega’s new Speedmaster is an update on the original model– created to mark a half-century since the first moon orbit

Watches & Jewellery 29 Apr 2024

Omega’s new Speedmaster is an update on the original model– created to mark a half-century since the first moon orbit

The new Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8’s running seconds display features a hand in the shape of Nasa’s Saturn V rocket

The story of Omega’s Speedmaster watch has always been one of firsts. In the 67 years since the Swiss watchmaker initially launched the distinctive model, the high-spec timepiece has become a bona fide icon in the world of horology, making history on the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 as the first watch ever to orbit the moon and, a year later, the first watch ever worn on the moon, when it accompanied astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 lunar voyage.

The Speedmaster name was first used by Omega in 1957, taking the form of the ref CK2915, also known as the Broad Arrow because of the shape of its hands, and powered by the legendary calibre 321, a movement that dated from as far back as 1942, made in conjunction with Lemania, one of Omega’s ancillary companies at the time.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8

In the decades since, Omega’s Speedmaster has taken on many other forms, notably in 2018 with the Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 timepiece. Launched to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, the first Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon was the perfect combination of modern Speedmasters, using new materials and a rich heritage, with its black ceramic case and three subdials powered by a hand-wound calibre 1869. Now, the Omega Speedmaster evolves once more with a brand-new Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon, overhauled with new design touches and a refreshed movement.

New for 2024, the latest 44.25mm Speedmaster Apollo 8 is powered by the Omega calibre 3869, a master chronometer-certified movement that mirrors the design of the 1869 found in the 2018 model. The main difference lies in its resistance to magnetic fields, which now reaches 15,000 gauss, certified to the co-axial master chronometer standard in accordance with the levels of excellence set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) to ensure precision and performance. The new model also sports a free-sprung balance wheel with a silicon balance spring, updating the regulator pin setup of the 2018 Speedmaster Apollo 8.

Omega also took the opportunity to rework the dial of the Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 watch, which, according to the brand, is sculpted in black anodised aluminium and now sports greater lunar detail ‘thanks to defined laser engraving and contrasting surfaces’. As such, the lighter dial side – which sits alongside light grey coated wheels and dark grey gold coated balance wheels – represents our view of the moon’s surface from Earth, while its back shows the dark side that only astronauts got to see.

The reworked dial features black anodised aluminium and greater lunar detail

With a tachymeter scale filled with white grand feu enamel instead of yellow, and a running seconds display at 9 o’clock in Grade 5 titanium that now flaunts a hand shaped like a microscopic version of Nasa’s famous Saturn V rocket, the new Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 further differentiates itself from its 2018 predecessor.

One final touch is a series of engravings on the caseback, which now include the final words spoken to ground control by command module pilot Jim Lovell just before the Apollo 8 mission disappeared to the far side of the moon, also known as the dark side of the moon, and out of radio contact – ‘We’ll see you on the other side’ – lending a nostalgic quality to this decidedly modern watch, which will no doubt please both lunar enthusiasts and watch connoisseurs alike.