Once made for the ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ now worn amidst wind-swept oceans.
Earlier this week (on ‘Speedy Tuesday,’ just for good measure) Omega released the latest addition to its popular Speedmaster line-up — known simply as the Speedmaster Alinghi, named after Ernesto Bertarelli’s sailing team. Built around the same basic design as the Apollo 8 (what Speedy enthusiasts refer to as the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’), the Alinghi is a curious addition to Omega’s expansive backlog of nautically-themed commemorative releases.
In 2018, the brand produced a one-off Seamaster Planet Ocean for use by Emirates Team New Zealand. This year, it celebrates its selection as timekeeper for the venerated 36th America’s Cup yacht race with a themed release, limited to 2,021 pieces. In that sense, the decision to put what is traditionally seen as the definitive space watch on open water seems like a bizarre one — until you consider that the essence of yacht racing is speed. To be sure, the Alinghi is perfectly capable of taking a dip should that need arise (the case is water resistant to 50m) but its primary drawcard is a mix-up of mechanics and construction.
At a glance, if you liked the original Apollo 8 Speedy there’s a good bet you’re going to have a similarly warm reaction to this. The former’s yellow accents have been substituted with a more vibrant red — derived from the colour of Alinghi’s stylised red wave logo. The same motif is printed on the 6 o’clock chronograph register and, along with the word ‘Tachymetre,’ makes for the most eye-catching segment of the watch.
In addition, you’ll likely notice two highlights inside the 30-minute totaliser: highlighting the 4th and 5th minutes of the duration. In regattas this is crucial, as yachters are given a 5-minute countdown before the commencement of a race — so as to manoeuvre themselves into the best starting position.
Like its spiritual predecessor, the Alinghi is outfitted with a cam-actuated movement based upon Omega’s long-serving calibre 1861. As with the OG ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, differences largely boil down to aesthetics. For this release, the calibre 1865 takes visual inspiration from various parts of the TF35 catamaran (pictured above). It’s anyone’s guess how true to life the movement’s finishing is, but the ‘honeycombing’ effect you see in the mainplate and barrel (achieved using a technology known as laser ablation) is said to resemble the internal structure of the TF35’s carbon hull.
Tenuous allusions to yacht racing aside, the overall look is pretty satisfying: Intermittently breaking up the mostly steel bridges with pops of textured, carbon black. In an unusual twist, Omega reps have even confirmed this release will not be a limited production — so you have ample time to see it in the metal before committing to a purchase.
The Omega Speedmaster Alinghi is now available, priced at HK$88,600. To learn more, visit Omega online.