Baselworld 2018: Hands-on with the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8
There has been an immense amount of show buzz around the new Seamaster 300 (see Topper's post here for those hands-on impressions), but in the minds of many Omega fans and collectors here, the big story is the new Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8. It's big, not just because it's an incredibly cool watch with an added layer of technicality to an already technical collection, but because it's the most wearable ceramic Dark Side of the Moon to date, and I think that's going to get a lot of people quite excited.
Quick context on the watch itself, it pays tribute to the first humans to ever see the actual dark side of the moon – the 1968 Apollo 8 mission, wherein astronaut Jim Lovell famously told Ground Control "We'll see you on the other side" before heading into the far, unlit side of the moon – those words are engraved on the caseback, which is a neat touch for NASA fans. Much of the watch's lore has already been well documented already – we're here, because we want to show you what it looks like on the wrist!
As you can see, the 44.25mm case diameter is unchanged, meaning its top-down footprint is largely the same. Thanks to the moderately short lug-to-lug measurement, it wears nicely on even my 7" wrist.
Flip the case over, and you'll see the engraving commemorating the mission, but more importantly, you'll notice that Omega has deployed its Calibre 1868, which is a specially modified version of the legendary Lemania-based manual-winding cal. 1861. In addition to looking extremely cool due to the PVD-coated bridges (this is the literal dark side of the moon here), it's much thinner. This enables the watch to wear significantly thinner (it shaves a full 2.5mm off), and even more compact than the other ceramic Speedmasters.
Here you can see that thinner case height – note a fair amount of the overall height is reserved for the generously domed crystal, so the overall visual silhouette on the wrist feels much more sleek. The yellow stitching and perforations in the strap nicely match the accents on the dial.
Of course, being the 1861, there are now three chronograph registers – a first for the Dark Side of the Moon watches. But more importantly, at this angle you can see two things: the subtly skeletonized dial, with openings allowing the viewing of some of the PVD-coated movement plates. But you can also see the subtle texture designed to emulate the moon's surface here. This was done through laser-ablation, wherein the material was essentially burned with lasers at different intensities, effectively sublimating the dial with the moon's surface in startling detail. Bear in mind that it differs from Omega's Seamaster 300 wave dials, which are just laser-engraved – a slightly more traditional manufacturing process.
It's worth mentioning that unlike the highly limited CK2998 edition (which we already sold out our allocation), the Apollo 8 will be joining the mainline Dark Side of the Moon collection, so they won't quite be as hard to come by. That said, if you have any questions, or would like to be amongst the first to own one, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our new Pre-Order Central page to reserve one online. And if you don't see your desired watch in the Pre-Order Central, don't worry, just call the shop at 888-730-2221, and we'll be happy to assist you. For the latest in the rest of Topper's show coverage, head over to our Baselworld 2018 page, which we'll be updating following every brand meeting.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.