Lunar Grande
by JASON HEATON
OMEGA SPEEDMASTER
DARK OF THE MOON
It’s difficult to reinvent a classic. A brand tinkers with an icon at its own risk, potentially infuriating die-hard fans and losing hard-won prestige. Consider OMEGA's vaunted Speedmaster. There have been countless iterations of the Speedmaster, including the version approved by NASA as standard equipment for manned space travel -- the "Moonwatch". Out of the entire Speedmaster lineage, that Moonwatch -- the Speedmaster Professional -- is still the one to own, and OMEGA has been wise not meddle with it since 1969.  Still, if there’s one modern Speedmaster that represents, ahem, “a giant leap” for OMEGA, it’s the new Dark Side of the Moon, which debuted at BaselWorld in April to unanimous applause. 



The Dark Side of the Moon Speedmaster bristles with technology inside and out. Foregoing the quaint but durable hand wound Lemania movement that’s been around in some form since the 1950s, OMEGA outfits this new dark lord with its excellent calibre 9300. This movement, wholly developed in-house at OMEGA, may be the finest self-winding chronograph motor available today and represents the culmination of the brand’s dream to implement George Daniels’ revolutionary co-axial escapement. In earlier uses, the co-axial bits were either shoved into a too-small movement running at less-than-optimum frequencies, or were sandwiched together with off-the-shelf chronograph modules that proved unreliable. Instead, the 9300 was designed from the ground up to be a co-axial movement and given room to breathe. With its massive balance wheel, twin barrels that yield over 60 hours of power and an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring, it's nothing short of a tour de force.




CONTINUES BELOW 




While the innards are impressive in their own right, the Dark Side of the Moon's main attraction is its outward appearance. Even those who don’t appreciate the nuances under the hood will be thankful for the way in which the calibre 9300 displays elapsed time. Parting from the Speedmaster’s iconic tri-compax arrangement, the Dark Side of the Moon makes excellent use of only two. The left subdial merely shows the running seconds, while the left counter totalizes elapsed minutes and hours and is read like a clock (i.e. if it looks like 10:10, then 10 hours and 10 minutes have elapsed) and the big central sweep hand counts out the chrono seconds. The whole thing is so easy to read that it's a wonder more chronographs don't use the layout.


Ceramic is a hot material for watches these days, but, other than a few high-end pieces, it's typically confined to dive watch bezel inserts. However, OMEGA built the entire watch, from case to bezel -- and even the dial -- out of the super-hard and virtually scratch-proof material. The result is an extremely lightweight, durable and, dare we say, sinister-looking piece of mechanical art. Paired with the black-on-black stitched nylon strap and a few red accents, this is one stealthy timepiece. 


OMEGA cleverly dubbed this latest Speedmaster the Dark Side of the Moon, an obvious reference not only to its inky appearance but also its Moonwatch heritage. Says OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart, "The name always makes me recall that all the human beings who have ever seen the dark side of the Moon with their own eyes -- the astronauts on the Apollo missions -- were wearing OMEGA Speedmaster Professionals. This watch encompasses what the brand is about and indicates that in terms of materials, design and movement technology, we are still a pioneer in the watchmaking world." We couldn’t agree more. 


$12,000, omegawatches.com




BEST DESKTOP SPEAKERS
7 DRESS WATCHES SURE TO SNAP
BEST MIRRORLESS CAMERAS
THE GP100 WATCH INDUCTEES

STATEMENT

Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope. 


The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.



METHODOLOGY


The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.


THE CATEGORIES


Motoring   Watches   Style   Technology   Sports   Outdoors   Home   Spirits

WRITERS


Jeremy Berger

Ben Bowers
Alex Bracetti
Nick Caruso
Ed Estlow
Jon Gaffney
Jonathan Gallegos
K.B. Gould
Bradley Hasemeyer
Jason Heaton
Mike Henson
Amos Kwon
Matt Neundorf
Scott Packard
Austin Parker
Henry Phillips
Peter Saltsman
Chris Wright
Eric Yang


CREDITS

Produced by Ben Bowers, Chris Wright, Eric Yang
Designed by Eric Yang
Edited by Chris Wright
Photography by Henry Phillips, Eric Yang
Special Thanks to BraunScroll Kit and Say Media

RESOURCES

Inquiries, Corrections  support@gearpatrol.com
2014 Submissions  100@gearpatrol.com