The Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon: Capturing the brilliance of a full moon

First, there was the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, and then Omega Replica Constellation Watches revealed its counterpart inspired by lunar dust, the Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon. To round off the collection, OMEGA is proud to introduce yet another innovative timepiece inspired not by astronauts’ views of the Moon in space, but rather the radiance of the celestial body as seen from Earth: the OMEGA Speedmaster White Side of the Moon.

Underscoring the brand’s commitment to innovative creations and unique and advanced production processes, this eye-catching chronograph is the third in Omega’s Replica De Ville selection of solid ceramic timepieces. The white zirconium oxide ceramic dial is complemented by a brushed and polished 44.25 mm ceramic casebody made of the same brilliant material. The polished white ceramic bezel has a matt chromium nitride tachymeter scale. The polished ceramic pushers on the case function totally independently so there is no risk to the chronograph mechanisms as a result of inadvertent manipulation.

The box-form scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, treated with an anti-reflective coating on both sides, protects the dial with its 18K white gold “Moonwatch”-style hands and applied indexes. The central chronograph seconds hand, however, is rhodium-plated and stands out with a red tip – an unexpected dash of colour on the face of the timepiece. White Super-LumiNova coats the central hour, minute and chronograph seconds hands as well as the indexes and the two dots at 12 o’clock. Engraved just above the centre of the dial are “ZrO2” and, also in red, “Speedmaster”. There is a small white sub-dial at 3 o’clock that serves as a 60-minute and 12-hour recorder and a small second sub-dial can be found at 9 o’clock.

The Speedmaster White Side of the Moon is presented on a white leather strap with a white foldover clasp with grade 5 titanium frame-spring folders – the special ceramic clasp distinguishes this model from its siblings.

The polished white ceramic caseback, with its bevelled scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, features matt chromium nitride marks and is engraved with the name of the watch: “White Side of the Moon”. The Replica Omega Hour Vision Co-Axial calibre 9300, the first in-house Co-Axial movement to feature a chronograph function, is at the heart of this statement-making timepiece.

Omega Replica Speedmaster “Grey Side of the Moon”

To accompany its highly successful “Dark Side of the Moon” collection, Omega launched the Omega Speedmaster “Grey Side of the Moon” last year. Fashioned from ceramic and platinum, the watch features several design elements that distinguish it from other Omega Replica watches.

The watch’s look is inspired by the lunar dust that captured the footprints of the Apollo astronauts in the iconic images beamed back to Earth. When creating this watch, Omega Replica Seamaster had to employ a special process to capture the color of the lunar surface. The ceramic material starts out white, but it takes on the required darker hue in a high-temperature plasma furnace. Exposed to a proprietary mix of gasses at a temperature of 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours, the ceramic emerges in a shimmering grey. This unique ceramic is used to create the case, caseback, bezel, crown, pushers and buckle of this 44.25-mm timepiece.

omega grey side of the moon

In another first for Omega, the engraved tachymetric scale on the bezel is filled with Super-LumiNova, making it highly legible in all lighting conditions. The “Ω” symbol on the crown is also filled with the luminescent material. The dial of this new Omega Speedmaster is sandblasted 950 platinum, and two integrated platinum subdials distinguish this model from its legendary “Moonwatch” predecessor. The subdial at 3 o’clock incorporates both the 12-hour and 60-minute chronograph counters, for intuitive reading of the elapsed time. The continuous seconds appear at 9 o’clock. The dial is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides. The Speedmaster “Grey Side of the Moon” is presented on a grey leather strap. Red stitching on the underside of the strap complements the red accents on the in-house Omega Co-Axial caliber 9300 movement, which is visible through the beveled sapphire crystal caseback. This movement is fitted with an Si14 silicon balance spring for improved timekeeping performance under all conditions. The Replica Omega Speedmaster “Grey Side of the Moon” is offered with a four-year warranty and is delivered in a special presentation box. The watch is priced at $12,000.

omega grey side of the moon

Speedy Tuesday – Rob’s Omega Replica Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB

It’s Speedy Tuesday! One of our readers, Rob, mailed us with some great news. He purchased a beautiful Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB from the first owner.

Speedy Tuesday – Rob’s Omega Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB

Rob explains: “….. the watch was purchased by the previous owner while he was in the medical corps of the Navy (in the midst of the Vietnam War, although I’m not sure if he actually wore it overseas or saw action). He wore it for a little while, but eventually moved on to something else and basically just left it in a drawer for decades. Thankfully, the original papers were kept with the watch and given the light use over the ensuing decades, the case and dial are quite possibly the cleanest I’ve ever seen for this reference.”

It is uncertain where this beautiful Omega Replica Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB was bought originally, but the watch was bought in 1968. The Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB was made from 1966 till 1968 and the serial number (or movement number, as Omega officially calls it) refers to somewhere 1967. Unlike many Speedmaster enthusiasts think, the year in the reference number doesn’t automatically refer to the production year of the watch. You always have to check the serial number to be certain. Omega keeps track of two dates actually, the serial number that refers to the production date and the date it was delivered to one of their agents. Then, of course, you have the date when the watch was sold. There can be quite a bit of time between those dates, for various reasons.

OmegaSpeedmasterProfessional105012-66CB-02

Another interesting aspect about this Omega Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB is the ‘CB’ part. CB stands for Le Centrale Boites and was one of the (two) case makers used by Omega Replica Watches for the Speedmaster. The other case maker was Huguenin Frères. There are some differences in cases made by these two manufacturers, which is ‘unthinkable’ these days, as the specifications that are supplied by the brand should be leading at all times. However, it was in a different era and perhaps CB had good reasons to do things differently from HF. The CB cases are becoming more difficult to find in an unpolished condition but the good news is that it is very easy to spot. The lugs happen to be a bit more flat on the upper side, and have this very thin facet next to it (on the inside). This thin facet is easily gone when being polished and an easy way to detect sloppy polish-work.

Rob bought this Speedmaster Pro 105.012-66CB with the original warranty papers, which where then filled-in by hand (name of the buyer, serial number, reference number and date of the sale). It is interesting to see that the original owner had his name and title engraved in the case back. I personally like this type of ‘personal history’ on a watch. It shouldn’t influence the value of the watch as far as I am concerned in negative nor positive way. The condition of the watch is much more important.

OmegaS peedmaster Professional 105012-66CB

Our reader got into mechanical watches just 1.5 years ago, and from the start, he knew that the Omega Speedmaster was something special. As he described it in his e-mail to us, “it was apparent that a Speedmaster was universally recommended for anyone’s collection, regardless of one’s wealth / penchant for expensive pieces. The history, in my very humble opinion, is unmatched by any other sport watch and the design is perhaps the most unchanged of any watch that’s been in production over a similar time period. In short – it’s historically significant, timelessly designed, rugged, and able to be had at a relatively affordable price (especially 145.022’s and other 861 calibers).”

Like many other (starting) Speedmaster collectors, Rob was first after a 145.022 from a very early period, preferably the transitional model that has the applied Omega Replica Seamaster logo but with the caliber 861 movement. A very cool looking watch with the aesthetics of the 145.012 and 105.012 but about half the price of those. However, his first buy was actually a Speedmaster reference 105.003-65 he stumbled upon in Denmark. No more than six months later, Rob added this beautiful Omega Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66CB to the collection as well. Quite an amazing start for someone relatively new into watches (and Speedmasters).

Speedmaster duo: 105.012-66CB and 105.003-65

Fratello Reviews and Compares the New and Vintage Omega Replica Speedmaster Mark II

Every Tuesday on my blog, we tackle a topic related to Replica Omega Speedmaster watches. This week’s Fratello Friday comes to us from that “Speedy Tuesday” series, and focuses on my recent opportunity to review, compare and contrast the new Omega Speedmaster Mark II with its vintage predecessor from 1969.

After the Omega Speedmaster Professional won the race to the Moon in 1969, Omega thought it was time to come up with a watch that was perhaps a bit more up-to-date and ready for the 1970s — design-wise, that is, as the watch would still need to handle the same abuse as the Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch” could. Sometime in 1969, Omega introduced the first Speedmaster Mark II, which was actually a Speedmaster Professional Mark II. (For non-native-English-speaking readers: the “Mark” in the name stands for a new or revised/improved version; it is similar to calling something a “2.0 version” these days.) The Speedmaster Mark II came with the same Lemania-based movement as the Moonwatch, Reference 145.022. This movement is Omega’s Caliber 861 and was in production from 1968 through about 1996, when it was succeeded by the Caliber 1861 movement. The Speedmaster Mark II had a barrel-shaped case that looked totally different from the asymmetrical Speedmaster Professional case. The regular Speedmaster, which was issued to NASA astronauts, was still in production, however. Throughout all the Speedmaster Mark series, the regular Speedmaster Pro remained available (and, of course, remains so today).

Omega Speedmaster Mark II  Racing

When Omega ceased production of the Speedmaster Mark II in 1972, the Mark III already had been introduced. The Speedmaster Mark III was succeeded by the Mark IV in 1973. Then there is the Mark 4.5 (which is a Mark IV with a different movement, an Omega Caliber 1045), which came on the market in 1974. The last one of the Speedmaster Mark series is the Mark V, introduced around 1984. Confusing, right? There are even more models in between and some slight variations on the above. In any case, Omega decided to do a Speedmaster Mark II reissue earlier this year, and we noticed that the watches were already in the Omega boutiques before their official introduction at Baselworld 2014. Just like the original Speedmaster (Professional) Mark II watches, there are a few variations available of the Omega Speedmaster Mark II Co-Axial 2014 models. There is a black-dial version and a racing-dial version as well as a Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016″ Olympic Games edition (pictured below)that we saw during our appointment with Omega.

Speedmaster Mark II "Rio 2016" Olympic Games edition

As you can see on the photo of the new Speedmaster Mark II Racing (below), the barrel-shaped case and bracelet are very similar to those on the original version. We will come to that comparison later on. If you take a closer look, you will notice that the dial is somewhat different from the original. The racing track is a bit different from the original, which had a red outer track and an orange Omega logo at 12 o’clock. However, the biggest differences are perhaps in the text on the dial and the fact that the new Speedmaster Mark II 2014 model has a date aperture. Instead of a no-date, hand-wound chronograph movement – like the one that is still being used in the Speedmaster Professional 357x.xx series – Omega decided to use its Caliber 3330 movement. This movement has a column-wheel mechanism, a co-axial escapement, an Si14 silicon balance spring and a power reserve of 52 hours. It has little similarity with the original movement, except for the tri-compax layout of the dial, of course.

People have asked us about the base movement for Omega Caliber 3330, as it is not one of Omega’s in-house-developed chronograph movements (Caliber the 93xx series). We tend to think that it is based on some ETA caliber that has been tailored for exclusive use by Omega Replica Constellation only, hence the Si14 balance spring and co-axial escapement. It is understandable that Omega decided to use this movement. It is probably not a watch for the purist – although it is an awesome timepiece – but more for someone who loves vintage watches but wants to wear something new. There also may be some collectors who just feel that they need a piece like this in their Speedmaster collection. We believe that the target audience, though, is the guy who loved seeing the vintage Speedmaster Mark II on the wrist of his father or grandfather and has decided to go with a similar timepiece with all the modern technology inside. For the purists, there are still some great pre-owned vintage Speedmaster Mark II models out there that are priced attractively.

Omega Speedmaster Mark II Rio 2016 - back

So, would you opt for the old, original Omega Speedmaster (Professional) Mark II or would you rather have one of the new versions? We’ve put the old Speedmaster Mark II Ref. 145.014 next to the new Ref. 327.10.43.50.01.001 and show you the optical differences between the two. (We’ve already discussed the movements a bit so need to compare those.) The dimensions of the new Speedmaster Mark II are 42.4 mm x 46.2 mm, whereas the vintage model measured 41.75 mm x 45 mm. This means that the new model is slightly bigger, which is evident in the photos below.

Omega Speedmaster Mark II vintage vs. new - side-by-side

On the dial, you will notice that – besides the date window, obviously – there are other differences between these two. It seems that the new Omega Speedmaster Mark II with the matte black dial has the same graphics printed on it as the racing version, with the exception of the use of orange for some of its accents. The minute track and hour markers are quite different from the Speedmaster Mark II 145.014 model. It is clear that the old model has a dial that is more similar to the Speedmaster Pro “Moonwatch” than to its 45-years-younger successor. The hands have also changed a bit, and are now a mixture between the original Speedmaster hands and the Speedmaster Mark III hands. Although the vintage Mark II in the photos is a bit roughed up, you can clearly see the similarities between the style of finish on the case and bracelet. The polished edges on the case give a superb contrast to the sunburst brushed finish of the upper side of the case. Keep in mind that the Speedmaster Mark II’s sunburst brushed finish is a magnet to scratches – this doesn’t have anything to do with the material, only with the type of finishing – and it will require a pretty good watchmaker to deal with this. In any case, we’d advise you to have this finish redone by Omega, which has the proper machines and knowledge.

The bracelet clasp is also something that you will immediately notice when comparing these two. The old steel clasp is just a straightforward folding buckle whereas the new clasp is in line with all the other modern Omega Replica De Ville clasps — two release buttons and easy to resize. Again, the one you’d choose depends on your personal preferences and whether buying a vintage watch is in your comfort zone. Buying a nice vintage watch of any kind will require a bit of research. For the modern guy who merely wants a modern watch with a cool, vintage look, the new Omega Speedmaster Mark II Co-Axial might be the right choice. The black dial version is Reference 327.10.43.50.01.001 and has a price tag of approx 4,600 euros (including VAT). The orange Speedmaster Mark II racing is Reference 327.10.43.50.06.001 and has an (approx.) 4,600-euro price tag. A vintage Omega Speedmaster Mark II 145.014 in good condition can be found for below 1,800 euros. For now, that is.

Omega Speedmaster Mark II vintage vs. new - clasps