We are easy to be annoyed when a watch brand starts making new models to a collection that they’re just going to milk a few more sales out of an old idea. But that does not work the same way, it’s important to pay attention to the brands which they provide valuable lessons in how to reinvent on the fly and how to take the point of a good idea and make it even better over time. And as far as those lessons go, the replica Omega’s latest focus to the Dark Side of the Moon collection – the Apollo 8 – is a great case in point.
Before we talk about the new Apollo 8, a bit of context will help. The fake Omega made everyone greatly surprised by releasing an all-black Speedmaster with a full ceramic case and dial, packing some serious horology under the hood too. You can check out our A Week on the Wrist review here to get a sense of what it was like at the time – we take the watch for granted now, but five years ago it was downright crazy-sounding. After that, Omega has iterated slowly, adding some additional colors and metal treatments to the mix, but the collection has stayed pretty restrained.
The Apollo 8 keeps one of the best parts of the original Dark Side. It still has a 44.25mm case made of brushed black ceramic that looks really sharp, on the wrist or on a table. But from there, things start to diverge. First of all, the movement inside isn’t the same, and you can tell from looking at the dial immediately. The old Dark Side watches have just two sub-registers – one on the left showing running seconds and one on the right showing both elapsed hours and minutes for the chronograph, plus there’s a date at six o’clock.
The key point of the caliber 1869 is that it’s manually wound. Yes, this a return to good old-fashioned Speedmaster goodness right here, but there’s a lot more to this move than just the nostalgia factor.
I really couldn’t believe it when I first put this watch on my wrist. I’ve always liked the Dark Side in theory, but in practice, it’s just been way too big for me.
The real make-or-break thing though with the Apollo 8 is the styling. This replica watch is a tribute to the Apollo 8 mission that first orbited the moon on December 8, 1968, and the dial and rear of the movement have both been decorated with motifs reminiscent of the lunar surface. For true space enthusiasts, this could be extremely alluring; for others, this could be a total turn-off. As to me, I consider myself someone pretty into the history of space exploration, but I found the treatment on the dial a little too much. The movement treatment, however, is outstanding and adds to an already awesome caliber. The yellow accents throughout are fun and add some needed color to the mix.