My Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon (311.92.44.51.01.007) arrived after nearly six weeks of waiting. There’s already a lot written about this model, but I wanted to add my two cents. The photos aren’t great because I took them with a phone that doesn’t have a macro mode, and the color of this watch attracts dust like crazy.

I’m still not a watch enthusiast, and this is just my second automatic watch (excluding a couple of cheap fashion brand models). There will be some blundering and engrish ahead (and I might compare the DSOTM to my diver a bit too much). At the end, there’s a bit of a… plot twist.

# Looking at Speedmasters

I’ve been keeping an eye on it for over a year, and because it’s not cheap [to me], I wanted to make sure I gave it serious consideration. I considered the more classic Speedmasters and tried to persuade myself that I wanted “the real thing,” Hesalite and all, then later a more realistic sapphire sandwich, before realizing I wouldn’t have the stamina to polish scratches and would lose out on a date window.

The original 2013 DSOTM was always one of my favorites; it was a bit of a blasphemy, but it looked like the hottest Speedmaster out there!

Omega’s marketing team did their job, but it just made things worse…

But it wasn’t the only enticement.

The thing has the familiar, highly legible, and identifiable Speedy face, but it appears to have been tweaked for a more realistic modern use as a whole.

It’s famous, but not overly so; it’s recognizable, but not overly so; it’s not regarded as a classic, but it’s still valued.

With a few advancements thrown in for good measure… so I eventually bit the bullet when I came across one that was both fairly priced and came with an official warranty.

The seller cut corners on the lining, and when DHL dropped the shipping box, it didn’t look so good. Even, when I opened it, I was pleasantly pleased to find it in perfect condition. There isn’t even a speck of damage on the Omega card box’s outer surface.

Here’s the inner case, shiny and heavy.

A manual, a warranty card, a card with pictograms, and a cloth are included with the watch.

The card is stamped by an AD, as promised by the seller, and comes with Omega’s four-year warranty on Co-Axials.

The main box is a work of art. Strong, heavy, and well-constructed. Extremely polished and a magnet for fingerprints. While it’s beautiful, it’s not practical for daily use unless you have a lot of space, so I put it away right away. It will, without a doubt, look amazing on a store show.

If I decide to keep the watch “forever,” I’ll probably sell it to a collector because I know I’ll just store it and not get any use out of it.

# Way too big?

When I first heard about it, I immediately dismissed it because of its huge size (44.25mm x 16mm thick).

The principle continued, and looking for sellers made the price more bearable. Nonetheless, it was a big timepiece. I had to try one in person at a supermarket, in the hopes of permanently burying this attraction.

The visit to the AD did not go according to schedule. I wanted it to be noticeable when I picked it, knowing it was significantly thicker than the stainless steel 41mm watch I was wearing at the time.

Nonetheless, it seemed to be smaller. What kind of enchantment was that?

I suppose the shape/size of the lugs, as well as the overall dark color, make it wear and look a lot bigger, and the weight adds to the illusion. It wasn’t a Skagen, but it wasn’t the beast I was expecting either.

The lugs, on the other hand, don’t even come close to stretching past the elbow. It also has a very light feel to it. The weight on the wrist is difficult to notice. It will be imperceptible without the strap contact/pressure - the DSOTM weighs 91 grams. A Breitling Chronomat, by contrast, weighs more than twice as much at 209 grams!

It’s bigger than my Aquaracer 500M, but because of the weight and color, it appears and feels smaller in person.

The light weight of the case, pushers, strap, and ceramic and titanium clasp all contribute to the overall feeling of lightness and comfort. Considering the scale on paper, that’s very impressive.

So, if you’ve been avoiding this model because of its scale, don’t! It has a small appearance and a small feel to it!

[I’d make a joke about “That’s what she said!” but that would be childish]

The Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon, on the other hand, does not seem immature. While checking out the DSOTM, I tried one in the shop; it looked really elegant and cool. The dial pattern is very pleasing, and it looks less sporty as a result of the buckle, making it more versatile to wear as a dress watch on occasion.

Despite the fact that the GSOTM appeared to be very special, I preferred the DSOTM because it has a distinct appearance…

# Back to the look

In terms of aesthetics, there’s probably no need to go into great depth because this is highly subjective and a matter of personal taste, but I’ll share some initial thoughts.

The Super-LumiNova-coated white-gold hands and applied white-gold indexes look more luxurious than the white hands and applied luminous indexes on other Speedmasters, which is a good extra. It’s difficult to catch in pictures, but the face appears to be refined and tidy/easy to read.

The bezel is made of ZrO2 ceramic, as previously mentioned. The silver-gray scale lettering is inset along the ceramic bezel using lasers, which are then packed with Chrome Nitride (CrN).

CrN is a hard, inert thin film coating with a strong adhesion—molecular bond that performs well in corrosive conditions and withstands slipping wear. I’m not sure how it compares to ceramic+LiquidMetal bezels, but the combination of ZrO2+CrN should result in a bezel that is scratch/fade resistant and capable of retaining its as-new appearance for several years.

Despite its hardness, as with any ceramic bezel, you can avoid slamming it against something too solid.

As compared to the Aquaracer, one thing I found is how much stronger the lume is. Despite the fact that the indices are much smaller, it glows brightly, even even when not in the dark. Super-LumiNova coating is extremely efficient. It most likely lasts longer as well, but I didn’t compare.

# And the ceramic thingy

Many interesting black watches have a scratch-resistant DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating, but it is thin and can be damaged by rough handling, leaving silver-colored scratches. With zirconium dioxide ceramic, this isn’t a problem. Except for the movement, the DSOTM is almost entirely made of ceramic.

The pushers are also ceramic and have a strong feel to them. Pulling out the crown is difficult, at least not when wearing the watch, since the gap for a fingernail is small. It won’t be an issue unless you have to change the time/date regularly.

On a more realistic note, I’ve read extensively about the use of ZrO2 ceramic and am familiar with its benefits and drawbacks. Because of the different construction, removing the ceramic back with the window is not as easy as with steel Speedmasters. Separating the breakable ceramic back from the rest of the case should be painless with the right tools and treatment. This detail, combined with the complexity of the 9300 Co-Axial movement, could result in higher service costs.

Drops must be avoided, but that is the case for any watch. In this scenario, a misstep might cause the case to be damaged to the point of requiring repair, which won’t happen with stainless steel. In exchange, it is scratch/ding resistant, which is something I enjoy because I plan to wear it everyday, with care but also susceptible to the scratching of my desk at work and other daily wear and tear.

There aren’t many posts about chipped xSOTM models, but there are a handful. They might not be important given the model’s popularity, but who knows. I hope I’m not proved wrong one day, but I believe the benefits of my use style outweigh the disadvantages. It should theoretically be able to outlast me. The strap fabric is by far the weakest of all the materials. This watch isn’t appropriate for use as a tool watch, but it wasn’t meant to be.

# Accuracy

The Omega Co-Axial 9300 movement is well-known, so there’s not much to tell about it. The DSOTM was checked on a timing machine by WatchTime magazine, which found an average daily gain of 2.3 seconds (2.2 seconds with the chronograph on).

I’ve been recording the accuracy of my DSOTM since I got it two months ago, and it’s actually at +1.6 seconds a day, despite keeping the chrono on the majority of the time (I like seeing shiny things move). That’s a lot more than I expected from the 9300.

With my other watch (based on a Sellita SW200), I’m getting +4.0-4.5s/day, so anything below that is an increase.

In comparison to my other watch, the rotor on this one is very noisy. When you raise your hand to touch your forehead, for example, this is very obvious.

This appears to be standard in all 9300s, based on what I’ve read. When you’ve gotten used to the noise from the rotor and regular activity, it’s actually very fun.

# Value

I’m in Europe, and this DSOTM was available for a fair price (-26% off retail) from a small seller who got it from a German AD. Since I still see such a watch as a wearable cash deposit, I took advantage of the discount, which is another reason why I hope it looks fresh for a long time. There are certainly less expensive ceramic watches available, but I don’t believe there is anything that offers the Speedmaster’s history and many of its characteristics (full ZrO2 case, including dial/pushers, ingenious use of ceramic+titanium in the clasp, in-house chrono movement, back crystal, lightweight, etc) for a lower price.

In my view, it is certainly worth a premium over a stainless steel sapphire sandwich, but this is highly dependent on the buyer’s taste and preferences.

# So overall?

I like how it manages to be a unique watch, a modernized version of a classic with little resemblance to the NASA days but still an impressive Speedmaster that can be worn on a daily basis. It looks fantastic without drawing too much attention to itself or shouting “luxury.” It’s a strange one because it seems to be sturdy on the hand, but the weight makes you almost forget you’re wearing it. It also has the odd characteristic of appearing cheap and sporty from afar, only to fully reverse that once you get up close and see how well constructed and detailed it is.

Whatever you think of its appearance, it is still a completely black watch, which may seem a little somber and, if worn every day, can become tiresome to others. Everything to think about.

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