The particular type of ceramic used for the Dark Side of the Moon is zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). Though the case is ceramic, it is finished just like a metal alloy case, with both polished and brushed surfaces. And the dial is made from the same material, but is mirror finished, resulting in a deep, glossy black.
These photos from Omega illustrate the step-by-step processes necessary to make each of the ceramic components of the Dark Side of the Moon.
|The process starts with raw zirconium dioxide pellets|
|The large disc-shaped initial case form is then sintered: baked in several stages inside an oven at 1400 degrees Celsius, shrinking it to the correct size|
|The case is then milled with diamond-tipped tools to create the case details|
|Subsequently it is tumble polished with alumina granules|
|A polishing wheel with diamond paste is then used to get the brushed finish on the case side and lugs|
|Finally each case is inspected manually|
|The bezel, produced in a process just like the case, is also laser engraved with the tachymetre scale; the same is done for the case back|
|The engraved text on the bezel and back is then metallised, giving it a silver tone which contrasts with the black ceramic|
|The dial is made of a thin ceramic plate which has to be the exact same shade of black as the ceramic case|
|The ink for the dial printing is transferred into an image carrier|
|The tampon picks up the ink and prints it on the dial|
|The 18k white gold indices are attached by hand|
|Each index is then filled with Super Luminova by hand, using a small syringe-like device|
Remember to check out our hands-on with the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon for close-ups of the timepiece.
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