Why not...? Blue and the Omega Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon
Whether a coincidence or a deliberate nod to the two major space exploits so far this year, our resident collector takes a closer look at the Omega Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon.
It would appear that everything has already been said about this primary colour: the sea, the sky, boys, the blazer, the uniforms of pilots or the monochrome of Yves Klein. For some it’s a royal colour, for others the colour of the flag. One thing is certain: blue is everywhere.
Blue dominates our everyday lives, so much so that we often forget its meaning. So let’s start by trying to understand it better. First of all it represents peace, calm and infinity. Even if it is considered a cold colour, it is nevertheless associated with a feeling of warmth when linked with the sky (fine weather) and the ocean (lagoons, holidays…). Blue is also an elegant and classic colour that reflects light. It is one of the basics of men’s fashion and is found as much on the suits of Savile Row as on Japanese jeans.
This is another of its particularities. There is not just one blue but many shades of blue. In fact, there are nearly a hundred! There are those of the kings, the smurfs, Chelsea (royal blue), Manchester United (sky blue), topaz, sapphire and Bugatti!
Culturally speaking, blue covers a vast palette.
In Iran, it is the colour of mourning. In China, it is the colour of immortality. While many countries proudly display it on their flags, it is a symbol of defeat for Cherokee Indians. The colour can also be a feeling (“the blues” or “blue devils”) or a musical genre (blues, from the French term “bluette”, or the blue note that gives the blues its particular sound).
Blue is therefore omnipotent, a federator but also much more complex than it seems.
But what about watches?
Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 © Omega
For many years, the dominant colours of watch dials were black, white, champagne and the occasional shade of grey. With the exception of a few components (blued hands), blue was ignored by the post-war watch industry for many years.
Some brands tried to break with this convention at the end of the 1960s. There were the dark-blue dials of the Omega Seamaster Ploprof (1970), the Bulova Oceanographer, the Heuer Carrera (Ref. 1553N), Skipper and Monaco (Ref 1133B), the Tudor Submariner Ref. 7021 and 9411 and the different shades of blue on the Seiko chronographs of the 1970s (Seiko Kakume 6138).
Slowly but surely, blue started to make its way into our watches, mainly on the dials.
Nevertheless, it remained in the minority, even though it had everything going for it. For some it was too “sporty”, while for others it could only go with the yellow-gold case of a dress watch. Blue suffered from a positioning that was too vague and the preserve of the avant-garde.
We had to wait a number of years for a reversal of this trend.
It’s difficult to say exactly when blue became a fashionable colour in watches, but I would tend to put the date at around 2014/2015. From this point, we started to see the colour everywhere. There were conservative blues (Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Blancpain…), lighter blues (Rolex) and funky blues (Doxa Project Aware).
But yet again, the colour was restricted to the dials.
We had to wait for the arrival of ceramic for the colour to embrace our watches as a whole.
Hublot and Omega were the first brands to join to race for colours. Omega started by offering the Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon” in black, steel grey and later in white. The famous – and controversial – “White Side of the Moon” deserves closer attention. For many, it is a ladies’ watch but I believe that it works just as easily on a man’s wrist, as long as he is willing to defy conventions.
Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon and Speedmaster White Side of the Moon © Omega
Hublot took up the baton and launched other case colours, for its ceramic and sapphire watches. More recently, red has started to dominate the innovative colour palette of the Big Bang collection. But before that, blue had been in favour at the Nyon factory.
In 2017, Omega pushed the boundaries even further by launching the first watch that was completely blue: the Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon.
Like its “white” sister, the blue Speedy is a watch that attracts or repels but leaves nobody indifferent. And that’s why we need to talk about it!
There is no need to dwell on the brand from Bienne. Nor indeed on the Speedmaster. So why is this new version of the Speedmaster different for Omega?
First of all, the brand is known for its classic, solid and timeless qualities. The “coloured” Speedmasters are therefore an attempt to distance itself a little from this rather conservative image. In 2014, Omega surprised the small world of watchmaking with the Dark Side of the Moon, the first all-black ceramic watch.
It was well received, a huge commercial success – proof that Speedmaster fans were looking for something different.
Omega thus hardly needed convincing to enlarge this “Dark Side” family. The black case is now available with several different dials, either all-black or with a vintage touch.
Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon © Omega
But it was the “White Side of the Moon” that pushed things even further in 2015. Too far, according to some people. Public opinion didn’t seem to be quite ready for an all-white model. But, as already mentioned, I thought this “Snowmaster” was a success, apart from a few teething problems like its “too feminine” positioning and the cheap look of its strap.
Omega could have stopped there.
In 2016, Omega added a moonphase to the Speedmaster Coaxial, as well as a new Master Chronometer chronograph movement. It tried to elevate the Speedmaster above its “sporty” image and offer it a complication worthy of its lunar heritage.
Once again, it was well received.
Enough to stimulate yet more creativity in the minds at the brand: the “Blue Side of the Moon”, a totally blue version of the Speedmaster Co-Axial Moon Phase, launched at Baselworld in 2017.
The Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon: when the blues put a smile on your face
The Blue Side of the Moon is a nice piece of watchmaking technology.
Omega wanted to use this moonphase model to show its technical, technological and aesthetic capabilities.
As far as the technical side of things is concerned, the Speedmaster is powered by one of the most sophisticted automatic chronograph movements on the market (featuring the Co-Axial escapement invented by George Daniels, which reduces the need for lubrication and improves shock resistance). It meets the most demanding precision requirements (METAS), is completely unaffected by magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss and combines several functions such as the chronograph, moon phase and date on the dial.
Calibre Omega Master Co-Axial 9904 © Omega
The movement can be admired through a sapphire crystal case back that is slightly domed, which adds even more charm to the general outline of the watch.
On the technological side, Omega shows off its expertise in the use of new materials. We already knew that Omega had the ability to produce coloured ceramic, but producing blue ceramic is a lot harder than producing it in white or black. Nevertheless, Omega managed it. All the visual elements on the watch are in blue ceramic: the case, the bezel, the moonphase disc, the chronograph pushers, the crown, the dial and even the folding clasp. The tachymeter scale on the Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon is in Liquidmetal™, another innovative material developed by Omega.
Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon © Omega
For the aesthetics, apart from the use of blue, Omega adds a few touches of red (the Speedmaster indication, the tip of the central chronograph hand and the date indicator). White can be found on the hour markers and the scales (date, chronograph, tachymeter). With a 44.25mm Speedmaster case it might seem a little big, but it is perfectly wearable!
The strap, which I will come to in more detail very soon – is in blue alligator leather.
Before handing over to the devil’s advocate, it’s worth pointing out that Omega launched – discreetly – a new version of the “Blue Side”, with a magnificent aventurine dial, Sedna gold accents and a slightly darker blue ceramic.
Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon featuring a blue aventurine dial © Omega
What does the devil’s advocate think?
When it was first presented, the Omega Blue Side of the Moon caused a lot of discussion on watch forums.
It doesn’t leave people indifferent and that is part of its appeal. It’s also its main disadvantage. It’s difficult to see the Blue Side of the Moon as a unique watch. It is part of a collection and I don’t see anyone being able to wear it daily. It must be appreciated and alternated with other more classic or “everyday” watches.
A ceramic watch also requires particular care. It may be almost unscratchable but it is also quite fragile. Despite its hardness, it is nevertheless sensitive to shocks. So don’t drop it and be careful around door and window frames!
Then there is the strap. It is high quality but its blue does not match the blue of the case. And while the blue of the case will never change, the blue of the strap will evolve over time. And we all know how hard it can be to match different shades of blue.
Omega should have opted either for a strap in a stable material (synthetic, rubber) that matches the colour of the case exactly, or completely break with the monochrome look and go for a dark-brown, grey or even red strap!
Finding the perfect strap for your Omega Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon will therefore be a challenge, but it’s one that is worth taking on.
So how should you wear your Speedmaster Blue Side of the Moon?
Let’s start with the strap: I only see one option. Go for a bespoke strap made by one of the specialists who offer enough options to meet the needs of such a demanding watch. I can only think of two companies that are up to the challenge: ABP (Atelier du Bracelet Parisien) and Combat Straps (Aaron Pimentel).
The ideas I have had for this Speedy go from a light denim strap to a dark-brown calfskin and a military green canvas or a titanium shade of leather. This choice will be critical and could take you some time.
Once you’ve dressed your Omega, it’s time to dress yourself!
The shirt needs to be classic in light blue or white. Why not try a polo shirt that reflects the shade of the bracelet rather than that of the watch? A blazer with patch pockets would be ideal, too. Avoid cuts that are too formal or too “British”. The blue Speedy has a southern, Italian edge, Dolce Vita! So consider the styles of Eleventy or Brunello Cucinelli. If you want to add a touch of folly, take a look at Bob – I love the off-beat style of some of their creations.
To complete the look, go for a classic pair of trousers but with a drawstring fastening. You’ll find the best at Suit Supply, either in off-white linen or summer wool.
Once you’re ready, you can go and enjoy a glass of the finest Chianti, the best pizza in town and a tiramisu.
Then the sky will be midnight blue and it will be time to hit the town…
A company of the Swatch Group, OMEGA has been behind major revolutions in watchmaking technology and the timekeeping of numerous Olympic Games. Its watches are worn by world-famous celebrities and have travelled to the moon, the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between.Find out more >
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