Omega is no stranger to the world of sailing, but this it’s going deep with its ties to the ocean. The brand announced this year that it will be the official timekeeper of the highly anticipated 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand and will continue a partnership with the defending Emirates Team New Zealand. And in 2018, it created an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black, which was worn by Emirates Team New Zealand captains Blair Tuke and Pete Burling in the Volvo Ocean Race, the hardest and longest endurance yachting race in the world.
To herald the America’s Cup news, Omega launched a Seamaster Planet Ocean 36th America’s Cup Limited Edition equipped with its Master Chronometer Caliber 8900 with blue ceramic diving bezel and red ceramic 5-minute counter, a feature specifically for sailing races. The 43.5 mm limited-edition of just 2,021 pieces is $7,050.
But now the brand is teaming up with the Swiss sailing syndicate Alinghi on the new Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Alinghi ($10,800).
The collaboration is a bit of a surprise, considering Alinghi-owner and double America’s Cup winner, Ernesto Bertarelli, said the team would not be competing in the 2021 regatta in Auckland. Representing the Swiss yacht club Société Nautique de Genève, the Alinghi crew had defeated New Zealand in the cup in 2003.
The main reason he is choosing to opt out of the race, according to New Zealand publication Stuff, is his disdain for the monohull design of this year’s boats, which he told Italian newspaper La Stampa he feels are “catamarans dressed as monohulls.” He added that he felt the annual redesign of the boats was making the race a competition between engineers rather than sailors.
Also surprising is Omega’s choice to feature its Dark Side of the Moon watch, which has been used to promote its history with the space program, in partnership with a sailing team. However, the brand managed to work in a five-minute timer into the sundial on the right in keeping with classic regatta pieces. (The five-minute countdown before the start of a yachting race is critical as boats jockey for the best position in the water.)
Also new to the Dark Side of the Moon is the caliber 1865 (based on the Moonwatch caliber 1861, which was used in the hand-wound Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 chronograph from 2018). It has been spruced up with laser-etching on the main plate and barrel bridge for a honeycomb effect that is meant to mimic the interior of Alinghi’s new TF35 catamaran’s carbon hull. The same decoration was used for the black carbon bridges and highlights the impressive architecture visible through the caseback. The ceramic bezel of the 44.5 mm case keeps the tachymeter scale in miles per hour, but the size of the zirconium oxide ceramic case has been reduced from 16.14 mm to 13.80 mm for a less clunky, more wearable version on the wrist.
Another highlight is the use of the Alinghi logo, which is highlighted on the sub-dial at 6 o’clock on a sandblasted and anodized aluminum disc in red. Inspired by the letter “a”, transformed to look like two boats swirling around each other at sea, the logo rotates when the chronograph is activated. The stop/start pusher for the function is also decorated with the logo in red.
All in all, the collaborative nods were wisely kept subtle while the technical details have been highlighted, so this watch can be appreciated beyond the niche world of yachting enthusiasts. And Dark Side of the Moon or not, the speedster was invented before America’s golden age in space, so bringing it back down to earth isn’t totally off course.