Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon (DSOM): 10 Questions

DSTOM COVER

QN1: What is this?

AN: It is an automatic self-winding wristwatch.

QN2: What does “Dark Side of the Moon” mean?

AN: It could refer to one of the following:-

i)      According to Wikipedia, the Dark side of the Moon refers to the side that is opposite to the Sun and which causes the phases of the Moon, e.g. New Moon, Half Moon etc., to appear from the perspective of the Earth;

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ii)     The Dark Side of the Moon could also refer to a studio album released by Pink Floyd in 1973;

iii)   It could be an all-black wristwatch made and released by Omega during Baselworld 2013 when black wristwatches are already a little passe.

QN3: What’s with the crazy long name for a watch?

AN: Primarily to justify the all-black appearance of the watch and to invoke the image of something mysterious, since the dark side of the moon is a relatively unexplored and unknown region of lunar topography. On another level, Omega constantly reminds everybody that the original manual-wind Speedmaster Professional was the first watch on the moon, so is another way of playing up the lunar association.

QN4: Will it look good on my grandmother?

AN: No.

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QN5: What’s a Speedmaster then?

AN: Wow, this is going to take longer than I thought. The Speedmaster is a line of chronograph watches first launched by Omega in the 1950s. As its name suggests, the line’s primarily competency/ gimmick lies in the precision-timing of (fast) moving objects. Other Omega lines include the Seamaster (diving use), the Constellation, and the DeVille lines (dress watches).

moonwatches

QN6: What’s so special about this one?

AN: It’s sexier in black. In all respects, the DSOM shares the exact same dimensions as the normal Speedmaster Co-axialjustin.j.law@gmail.com chrono, but its dial, case, chronograph pushers and even the strap buckle are made entirely of black zirconium-oxide (ZrO2) ceramic, a technological feat. Ceramic also happens to be highly scratch-resistant and light, making the DSOM – at 91gms –a lot more comfortable to wear than the normal Speedmaster Co-axial chrono (163gms). Finally the watch is a limited production model, made in small quantities to keep supply low (and hopefully demand high).

QN7: Why did Omega feel the need to launch this limited production model of the Speedmaster then?

AN: The general feeling is that despite having a fine movement, the base Speedmaster Co-axial Chrono has not performed well in the market – its price tag of SGD10,300 being one of the main factors. So Omega doubles-down and launches the limited production, sexed-up DSOM and prices it even higher at SGD15,500. This strategy looks like to have worked as it’s sold out in Omega boutiques with waiting lists forming.

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QN8: Which other watches should a buyer also consider?

AN: The DSOM is a chronograph with Omega’s in-house 9300 movement. There are plenty of chronographs out there in the market, but there are only a handful of alternatives that feature in-house movements which also happen to be in the DSOM’s price bracket. A few contenders are:-

a)  Rolex Daytona (Ref 116520). The Daytona is, hands down, the absolute yardstick in sports chronographs anddaytona perhaps also one of the most recognised watches of all time. SGD 15,500 gets you the entry-level stainless steel version and a full carpet of chest hair. Despite the long-standing complaint about not having date windows, the Daytona’s value retention is unrivalled, with resale prices consistently strong.

b)  Breitling Chronomat 44 (Ref AB0110). Equipped with the brand’s very own Breitling 01 movement, the stversion-2014-chronomat-44-145ainless steel Chronomat 44 is both larger and priced a shade cheaper (SGD 14,250) than the DSOM. Its manly and rugged good looks also set it apart from the somewhat delicate looking Omega. Unfortunately Breitlings tend to lose their value faster than the planes they are often associated with, so if you buy one make sure it’s a keeper.

c)  Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph (Ref 2068570). Perhaps the most decorated movement-maker in the Master-Extreme-jlc-2068570world with more than 60 in-house calibres, so you know you’re always getting heritage and prestige in spades when you buy a JLC. SGD 12800 gets you this stainless steel watch on a leather strap, but value retention, like the Breitling, is not particularly encouraging.

d)  Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph “Lunar Dust”. Why stop at one when it’s doing well? Omega knows a thing or OMEGA-Speedmaster-gsotm-croppedtwo about cannibalizing sales, and the DSOM’s ultimate challenger could be another all-ceramic constructed stablemate launched earlier in 2014. There’s no mistaking the silvery-gray ceramic case of the Lunar Dust, and its matte platinum dial make it aesthetically the polar opposite of the DSOM. It’s definitely a dressier watch, but also more expensive. Think of it as Airwolf vs Redwolf.

In summary, despite such a strong field – the DSOM has quite a lot going for it against key rivals. At SGD15,500 it’s certainly expensive, but still competitively priced for a wristwatch featuring an in-house automatic chronograph movement and the (albeit tenuous) heritage of the moon-watch. In addition, the all-ceramic construction of the DSOTM is sure to trump its run-of-the-mill competitors, with far more interesting dinner conversations and greater wrist comfort.

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QN9: Will it retain its value well?

Ans: Quite likely. It is a produced only in small quantities, and boutiques have waiting lists for the DSOTM. The fact that it just won the ‘Revival Prize’ (awarded to the best ‘re-interpretation’ of a classic watch) at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) 2014 can’t hurt either.

QN10: Is Omega paying you for this article?

Ans: No. They should.

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Omega Speedmaster Co-axial Chronograph, Reference: 311.92.44.51.01.003, Omega in-house caliber 9300 movement. Zirconium oxide ceramic case and buckle. Leather-lined Cordura fabric strap, sapphire crystal glass, waterproof to 50m. Recommended retail price: S$15,500.00 (USD 12200).

Omega Speedmaster, Rolex Daytona, Breitling Chronomat and Jaeger leCoultre Deepsea Chrono courtesy of Omega, Rolex, Breitling and JLC websites.

Special thanks to Mr. Justin Law for the lunar photography.

 

 

One Response to “Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon (DSOM): 10 Questions”

  1. Winston Says:

    Also consider the Zenith Stratos for chronos… Good value…

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