Over the moon To keep readers on their toes (all 10 of them) we're gonna try something different this week. Instead, of three brands, we're going to talk about one: Omega. No, I'm not shilling for Omega, if anything I have a real problem with its "more is more" approach. But I'm going to focus on one of the brand's successes: the Speedmaster line, and its recent moon-related special editions.
The Speedmaster Professional, or Speedy as it's known among nerds and collectors, is the name given to Omega's chronograph collection, one of a handful of instantly recognisable designs in watchmaking. Established in 1957, the Speedmaster is noted for its robustness and innovation, and, in 1969, it became the first wristwatch on the moon, when astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore his during the Apollo 11 mission.
In 2013, Omega decided pay tribute to the Speedmaster's lunar heritage, introducing the Moonwatch "Dark Side of the Moon" - a black Speedmaster. With a case made almost entirely of ceramic, what was already a tough watch became even tougher - ceramic is scratch resistant and has a premium look and feel.
This year, Omega has launched a variation of the Dark Side of the Moon, the Black Black (top). With a black ceramic case body and a matt-black ceramic dial, and even subdials, hands and indices in black, things have taken a dark turn. The dial design has, mercifully, remained true to the classic and inside the 44.25mm case is a cutting-edge, in-house 9300 co-axial movement that features innovations such as silicon parts and offers 60 hours of power reserve.
There are several other variations of the Dark Side of the Moon, including the Sedna Black, Pitch Black and Vintage Black. Prices start at HK$93,600.
True to form, Omega has also rolled out the Moonwatch "White Side of the Moon" (above right), as a counterpoint. I said before I wasn't a fan of the brand's more is more approach, but in this instance I can let that slide as this White Side of the Moon is a bravura statement watch. The features, size and movement are all the same as its dark sibling with the one whopping difference being the use of white ceramic. Chanel has had great success with white ceramic, so there's already a luxury association with the material, but it's still a bold choice for brave men and show offs. I'll be frank, it's not my sort of thing, but Omega deserves some credit for trying something different. Available from next month, prices for the White Side of the Moon should start at HK$86,500, with diamond pavé variations also available.
After black and white, it was almost inevitable there would be a Moonwatch "Grey Side of the Moon" (above right) - and, one hopes, Omega stops there. With the same size, design, movement and features as the others, its selling point is, you guessed it, the use of grey ceramic. The inspiration here is lunar dust. As with the white, people might wonder what the fuss is about but coloured hi-tech ceramic is incredibly hard to do. The grey, I suspect, may not be as popular as the more showy black and white options, but, then again, collectors will likely get all three. The Grey Side of the Moon is priced at HK$95,000.