Today, before we open our talks, it goes without saying that there’s no popularity lost for the average replica Omega Speedy. Of course, I have to respect their history, what they have done for the major popularity of quality watchmaking, and so forth, but, generally speaking, the countless modern references of Speedmaster out there just don’t do anything for me. But then I found the Apollo 8 and thought, “that would be OK, maybe one more version won’t be the end of the world “.
The Apollo 8, from the very beginning, is somewhat odd duck. Between its special partially cutaway dial, bright yellow accents, a ceramic case, a particularly modified hand-winding calibre, there’s a lot going on here that ensures this piece isn’t your average Speedmaster dial variation. Its design is a tribute to the Apollo 8 mission that orbited the moon, and, as you can see from the imagery, there’s many “moon-ness” to its design.
Though it’s still a larger 44.25mm diameter case – a far cry from the more svelte OG Speedies – it is a touch thinner than most of its siblings on account of the calibre choice. The two biggest hurdles I cannot get past with Co-Axial Speedmasters is the thickness of their cases, and the stacked hour/minute chronograph subdials that impact legibility, and the Apollo 8 puts both of those issues to rest in one fell swoop. Functional fun aside, the dial and movement finishing of the Apollo 8 are a real treat. What appears initially as part of the dial is effectively the calibre’s mainplate, which has been blackened and then “laser-ablated” (per fake Omega documentation) in order to depict an interpretation of the moon’s surface. Out back, the balance cock and some bridges have been treated with the same process. While these changes have zero effect on running performance, the added contrast plays an important role in altering the appearance of Omega’s calibre 1869.
Black cases, in general, have a tendency of making replica watches appear a touch smaller on the wrist than their stainless steel siblings, and when connected with the added lightness of ceramic, its physical and visual heft is almost misleading. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not looking down and thinking this is a 42mm reference 145.022, but it’s by no means as overbearing as its Co-Axial cousins. As a finishing touch, its supple perforated leather strap with contrasting yellow stitching is quite cozy, and pulls the aesthetic package together wonderfully. The fact that they finish it off with a matching ceramic buckle is just icing on the cake.
Hence, has Omega replica converted me into a Speedy lover at the end of the day? The answer is no. Have they put an offering on the table that I can objectively look at and say, “I don’t care to have one of those, and would pleasantly recommend one to someone else”? I suppose I can safely say yes to that at the very least.