How It’s Made: The Ceramic Case Of The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon

With the distinction of being the first Speedmaster with a ceramic case, the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon is actually all - case, bezel, pushers, crown, dial and even the buckle - ceramic.

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.

Case production

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

Dial production

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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