Credit where it’s due I appreciate each of these exotic and rare occasions when I see evidence of a big brand listening to their customers. Some of Omega’s hot sellers, including the great Dark Side of the Moon series, were, according to many supporters of the brand, just too wide and too thick for their own good, forcing many to leave their wallets in their pockets otherwise very popular watches in the shops. Now, with this Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8, we still see one of those rare occasions when a brand listened and brought us a hot new release that answered their screams – even if that meant breaking any self-imposed rules or to break through previously sacred glass ceilings in creativity. See, the thinnest and most portable Omega DSotM.
I said Omega had some tough rules with the Apollo 8, and I think it’s more important to understand them than to know the story of Apollo 8 from the inside out. As we shall see, the choice of movement plays an important role in making this Apollo 8 as special as it is – and Omega’s choice of movement in itself is remarkable for two reasons. First, it is very rare for a large brand to place a “smaller” movement in one of its higher-positioned collections. And that’s exactly what happened here. The chic, endlessly sophisticated high-tech coaxial chronograph of other DSotM watches has been replaced by a new twist on the 1861 manual wind caliber – more on that later. Second, it may be even rarer for a big brand to creatively craft one of its core moves, and yet Omega has really made a great effort to highlight this 1869 caliber (as it’s called here).
Beyond the theme of movement, Omega has also shown its abilities – finally! – to be truly original with the original Moonwatch look and to have produced something that makes me wonder, “why did not that happen earlier?” I think we agree that it is very rare that we see major brands take this freedom with a core product. To spice things up, Omega not only took things with them, but also did not bother to make the Speedmaster Apollo 8 a non-limited edition. Yeah, you see that right: Here’s a cool new Speedmaster, which is shockingly not a limited edition, but will actually be available in boutiques – as it is successful, which is hard to believe, it will not be.
The reduction in thickness is as remarkable here as it is great. This is very noticeable and very impressive. The previous versions were pretty much a bit of a burger, something they make up for with their Bad Ass-Space-Age, Black / Gray / White Ceramic Speedmaster Vibe. The Speedmaster Apollo 8 serves as a remarkably intelligent, creative and likeable middle ground between the chaos of the DSotM series and the romantic Moon / NASA history of the regular lunar clock.
Do not get me wrong, the 44.25mm wide Apollo 8 edition is just as wide as its previous, modern, moon-like ceramic counterparts from Omega, but thanks to its size, it looks and wears a noticeably smaller thickness. This is made possible by Omega putting aside his fancy and complicated coaxial movements, all of which are equipped with automatic winding, and replacing them with a custom-made version of the manual winding caliber 1861 found in the classic Moonwatch, renamed 1869, ” Moonified “variant.
Due to the loss of the thick automatic winding construction, the case of the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 could be 2.5mm thinner than previous DSotM watches, making it “only” 13.8mm thick. Yes, that’s still considerable, but as you can see a few shots up, it means that the watch can finally lie flat on its flaps like any dignified, obscure case on a leather / canvas strap does should do.