Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Focus: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatches 2015

Swiss watchmaker Omega modernized the Moonwatch with three new faces, one of which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Mar 16, 2016 | By Staff Writer

It famously accompanied two NASA astronauts to the Moon in 1969, but the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional isn’t content to dwell in the past. While Omega continually releases commemorative Moonwatches that pay tribute to different space exploration milestones, the watch itself has also steadily evolved. In fact, Omega’s Moonwatch line today includes not only the basic steel model with Calibre 1861 – the contemporary version of the movement that went to the moon – but also variations with an extra moon phase indicator, open case back models, as well as several pieces with Omega’s proprietary co-axial escapement. Undoubtedly a bumper year for Moonwatches, 2015 saw Omega release a new batch of them, where the star of the show was clearly the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional “Silver Snoopy Award”.

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The Silver Snoopy Award began in 1968 as a way for NASA astronauts to show their appreciation to NASA employees or contractors who have contributed significantly to human flight safety or mission success. Presented by the astronauts personally to the recipients at their workplaces and in the presence of all their co-workers, the award is a humble lapel pin made of sterling silver and in the shape of a dancing Snoopy.

Why Snoopy, and not any other cartoon character like Mickey or Pokemon? Firstly, NASA wanted a mascot that could be easily recognised and accepted by the public, much like Smokey Bear with the United States Forest Service. Secondly, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, Charles M. Schulz, was an avid supporter of the U.S. space program. Omega was awarded its very own Silver Snoopy in 1970 in recognition of its steadfast reliability rendered on the Apollo 13 mission. Two oxygen tanks on the spacecraft exploded en route to the Moon, which led to the abortion of the mission. But the story didn’t end there; it is actually rocket science, you see. The team of astronauts had to spontaneously complete a number of mid-course corrections in order to achieve the trajectory that would allow them to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

Paying homage to this unforgettable mission, the watch features 14 small squares between zero and 14 seconds on the minutes track, accompanied by the words: “What could you do in 14 seconds?” This peculiar reference is a nod to the 14-second mid-course correction that the astronauts timed with their on-board back-up timing device: The Omega Speedmaster. Also alluding to Apollo 13, although this time it’s the 1995 film, is the speech bubble under the brand insignia that says: “Failure is not an option.” Finally, at the nine o’clock counter lies a cute snoozing mini Snoopy – there, you’re smiling now.

Over on the case back, the actual Silver Snoopy takes pride of place. Forged of a 925 silver medallion and protected by a plate of transparent sapphire crystal, it is an exact replica of the lapel pins presented to recipients of the award. The background is created in dark blue enamel sprinkled with silver powder by hand to give the impression that this Snoopy is floating about in space.

Its dial design is heavily influenced by the familiar comic script style of Schulz’s, which is most evident in the numerals of the chronograph counters. The watch is generously painted with Super-LumiNova for better legibility in the dark, but we’d be lying if we said the glow-in-the-dark mini

Snoopy wouldn’t make us wear the watch to bed just for fun.

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 1861
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Material: 42mm in stainless steel
  • Strap: Black coated nylon fabric strap with foldover clasp

SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH WHITE SIDE OF THE MOON

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The Moon has many phases, indeed faces too, and Omega has made enough Moonwatch references to emulate its ever-changing mien. Think of the complete darkness wreaked by a new moon and the gleaming brilliance of a full moon – these are but two completely polarised examples of the moon’s innumerable guises. The all-black Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side Of The Moon that was first released in 2013 perfectly mirrored the pitch-black darkness of a new moon in the sky. As one of the most audacious versions of the Moonwatch, the Dark Side Of The Moon caused quite a ruckus among the watch collecting community. This year, history repeated itself when Omega released the Speedmaster Moonwatch White Side Of The Moon.

If Dark Side Of The Moon represented a new moon, then White Side Of The Moon would be a full moon, big and bright against the velvety night sky. This lustrous timepiece is the third in Omega’s collection of Moonwatches to be completely crafted in ceramic, the first two being Dark Side Of The Moon and Grey Side Of The Moon. This leads us to wonder if Omega will ever be inspired by the rare blood moon… but we digress. White Side Of The Moon features a white zirconium oxide dial, zirconium oxide being the exact type of ceramic used, as well as a brushed and polished ceramic case, polished white ceramic bezel, and polished ceramic chronograph pushers. And if you think this watch just cannot get any whiter, Omega goes and makes a strap in white leather with a foldover clasp also in white ceramic; this model is the only one in the trio with a clasp made in ceramic.

Thankfully, key elements like the minute track, sub-dial indices and numerals, date, and brand insignia are printed neatly in black, with the Speedmaster done in red, just like the tip of the chronograph seconds hand. On the dial, the chemical formula for zirconium oxide, ZrO2, is very discreetly engraved near the cannon pinion. This bi-compax chronograph is clearly powered by the Omega Co-Axial Calibre 9300, which is the first in-house co-axial movement to be equipped with the chronograph function.

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 44.25mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 9300
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Case: Polished and brushed white ceramic
  • Strap: White leather with white ceramic foldover clasp

SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

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Needing no introduction today, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side Of The Moon was a big hit in 2013 and, two years on, it has spawned second-generation models that embrace its mysterious dark side while exhibiting new and exciting traits – great news for collectors looking to grow their horde of Moonwatches. Unlike White Side Of The Moon, these pieces are all darker than sin, and four new variants have surfaced: Black Black, Sedna Black, Pitch Black, and Vintage Black.

Black Black is without doubt the darkest of them all. With a polished and brushed black ceramic case middle, a matte black ceramic dial, black ceramic bezel, and a black ceramic clasp on a black-coated nylon fabric strap, it sinks deeper into the night with brushed blackened Moonwatch-style hands and blackened applied indices. No worries about legibility issues, though, as these are all coated with black Super-LumiNova.

Sedna Black, on the other hand, uses the bold darkness of the ceramic to bounce off the rich rose gold hue of Omega’s proprietary precious alloy, Sedna gold. This model has a completely brushed black ceramic case with a Sedna gold bezel ring that matches the Sedna gold applied indices and hands. All markings on the matte grey dial have been created using a process called laser ablation, essentially the removal of a material from a solid surface with a laser beam. Its hands and indices, as well as the two dots at the 12 o’clock position, are coated with a sand-coloured Super-LumiNova that Omega describes as “vintage” Super-LumiNova.

Pitch Black is fairly similar to Black Black, except that its hands, indices, brand insignia, and tachymeter are coated with classic green Super-LumiNova. Finally, Vintage Black stands out with its brown indices and hands, and brown leather strap, which gives it a more classical demeanour. The luminous pigment used in this model is also sand coloured “vintage” Super-LumiNova while its hands are a mix of blackened and varnished brown.

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 44.25mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 9300 chronograph
  • Material: Black ceramic, black ceramic with Sedna gold
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: Black coated nylon fabric with rubber (Black Black) Black leather with rubber (Pitch Black and Sedna Black) Brown leather with rubber (Vintage Black)

Story Credits
Text by Celine Yap

This article was originally published in World of Watches