Customers in some parts of the world had to wait a long time for their Dark or Grey Side Of The Moon (hands-on here) watches, but the Dark Side Of The Moon, or "DSotM," as it is often referred to, was a resounding success. The four new color variants have recently begun to appear in stores around the world, so now is a great time to get your hands on all four of them, as they provide more options for those looking for new, arguably more niche, color variations of the sci-fi spec Speedmaster theme.
We'll quickly summarize everything you need to know about the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon if you've just recently established an interest in watches or have been living in a cave with no WiFi for the past several years. It was the first Omega watch to feature an all-ceramic case, which meant that all case parts, pushers, crown, and even the dial were made of this old-new material. Because of its high scratch resistance, zirconium dioxide was chosen for these components (it is also pretty good at withstanding exposure to UV radiation and acids, the latter certainly not something you would want to test, though).
What made it truly unique is that Omega did not cut corners and cheat when creating this new line of Speedies, instead investing the time and resources required to refine the material to a degree that faithfully replicates the finish seen on the original steel Omega Speedmaster. The sloping curves that run through the side of the case and onto the lugs, as well as the pushers and crown, have all been shaped and finished in a way that pays homage to the original Omega Speedmaster aesthetics while still being a new, high-tech version of that.
The Omega 9300 Co-Axial, a column wheel chronograph caliber with an automatic winding two-register dial configuration, is the movement within the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon – this is also true for the four new models, as Omega has yet to expand its range of Master Co-Axial, extremely anti-magnetic calibers. Omega's co-axial motions have been around for nearly 15 years, and the 9300 exemplifies a degree of finishing and execution that exceeds the ingenuity of the late George Daniels' co-axial escapement.
The Omega 9300 movement also includes some of Omega's more recent innovations, such as a free-sprung balance with a silicon balance spring, a series-coupled double barrel configuration with a 60-hour or 2.5-day power reserve, and comprehensive and beautiful finishing on all plates and bridges. These features combine to make the 9300 a truly modern caliber – and help to explain the significant premium charged over, say, the Omega Speedmaster Professional "Moonwatch."
Let's get the administrative side of things out of the way first, and take a quick look at all four new models, as seen in the picture above from left to right:
– Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Sedna Black (Ref 3188.8.131.52.06.001), – Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Vintage Black (Ref 3184.108.40.206.01.006), – Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Pitch Black (Ref 3220.127.116.11.01.004), – Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Black Black (Ref 318.104.22.168.01.005).
They are, in short, the Sedna Black, Antique Black, Pitch Black, and... Black Black models, each with its own take on the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon's bold ZrO2 ceramic dials and 44.25mm-wide cases.
The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Black Black is, as its name suggests, very black, and it stands out from the rest of the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon offerings for that reason alone. Apart from the subdued sheen of the hands and index frames, everything is matte black, including the cover, dial, indices, numerals, logos, messages, and even the date disc and numerals. True, black-black watches have become increasingly popular in recent years, but if there was ever a short-lived trend among luxury timepieces, this was it. To be honest, we've seen far less black-black high-end pieces debut in 2015 than in previous years.
Still, the Black Black, the darkest of all Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watches, looks space-age chic, and given the swift fade of the trend that arguably influenced its makers, it might very well become a collector's item a few decades down the road – as we will reminisce on a time when the Swiss luxury watch industry was booming, and anything was possible.
Back to facts, when all is dark, legibility suffers – it's no secret that to make objects visible, you need both light and shadows, and aside from a few reflective surfaces, we're missing the former. Laser technology was used to “matt” the ceramic dial, eliminating the distinctive jet-black gloss. Even the luminescent material used in the indices and hands is black SuperLuminova, making the "Blackmaster" more legible when exploring the dark side of the Moon – black lume isn't known for its torch-like light. Despite this, the legibility of the base Speedmaster dial design shines through – literally, as the indices and hands "pop" from the black-hole-like background when light hits it in the right way.
When it comes to legibility, the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Pitch Black reaches for the opposite end of the scale, regardless of whether it's day or night. In reality, the name Pitch Black is a misnomer: while the case and dial are black, this watch has more lumed components than almost every other Omega ever made, illuminating design elements (and a few others) that you may need to see at night.
An off-white colored lume has been added to the hour, minute, and chronograph seconds hands, which emits a radiant green light when charged by an external light source. The lumed tachymeter scale of the ceramic bezel, as well as the Super-Luminova applied Omega logo on the crown, are the icing on the cake, and what really brings the Pitch Black to life at night. Both are really cool features that will make for some neat detailing on not just this one, but arguably all other Speedmaster watches (excluding the original Moonwatch, of course). Last but not least, the off-white varnish on the three hands of the two sub-dials matches the color of the Super-Luminvova added to all other components.
The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Sedna Black is the third in line, and it uses Omega's patented 18k gold alloy of palladium, copper, and at least 75% gold. Sedna Gold was created with the aim of making regular red gold more durable and therefore more beautiful over time. The indices, hands (except the chronograph seconds hand), and bezel (which has a ceramic insert for that extra bit of black) are all Sedna Gold, while the Speedmaster script and the tip of the central chronograph hand have two splashes of red.
Having seen all four Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watches “live,” I thought this piece, which combined the yellow-ish color of the gold with the aforementioned spots of red, looked a little out of place among the other Dark, Grey, and White Side Of The Moon watches. The advantage of gold, on the other hand, is that it adds a touch of class and elegance.
Then there's the Vintage Black. Although the Black Black is a lot of fun, the Pitch Black is intriguing because of its lume-craze, and the Sedna Black is a little more sophisticated than the others, the Vintage Black may be the most cohesive and fascinating new style of the bunch. In fact, if Omega had only launched one new Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watch in 2015, I wouldn't be shocked if this was the one they chose.
To some degree, the word vintage definitely applies to the style of this guide, as the matte, dark blacks, sand colored lume and text throughout, as well as the brown leather harness, all give it a vintage feel. We see faux-vintage lume used on watches more and more as the vintage-revival trend continues to thrive; however, there is a significant difference between most other examples and this one. Whereas several brands (small and large) use it to simulate aging on their newly launched “vintage tribute” watches, the gaudy, “try-hard” sense is gone on the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Vintage Black for the simple reason that one cannot mistake a 44.25 millimeter diameter, full ceramic watch of this caliber for a vintage timepiece.
What's left is a remarkably well-balanced look that's as plain and straightforward in its color scheme as it is elegant and wearable on a daily basis. The Vintage Black, like the Pitch Black, has a lumed tachymeter scale on the bezel and a lumed Omega mark on the crown. All of the hands, indices, and text are in this hue, which Omega refers to as "Vintage" Super-Luminova – there are no splashes of red or other colors, only a subdued blend of two high contrast colors.