Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary
The Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary recalls the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission and its role in helping the crew return safely to earth. Moreover, this model also celebrates the moment in the same year, 1970, when NASA recognised the Swiss brand’s contribution to its Apollo Missions, presenting the brand with a Silver Snoopy Award.
In the early 1960s, NASA procured several watches and subjected them to exhaustive testing. Only one watch passed the scrutiny of the space agency, the Omega Speedmaster. Interestingly, the brand was unaware of NASA’s evaluation process until it saw astronaut Edward White wearing one of the watches while undertaking America’s first spacewalk in 1965.
In 1969, the Omega Speedmaster was worn by the crew of the Apollo 11 mission, albeit in different forms. The mission saw Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin famously walk on the moon. However, it is believed that Buzz Aldrin’s Speedmaster ST 105.012 was the only watch that was actually worn on the moon’s surface.
Most notable of all, was the Apollo 13 mission, where the Omega Speedmaster proved instrumental in the safe passage of the crew back to earth. An explosion onboard the spacecraft caused the navigation instruments, including the spacecraft clocks, to fail. The crew had to move to the Lunar Module, however, it was not intended for prolonged habitation. In order, to conserve energy, the astronauts shut down virtually all power, rendering their digital timers inoperable.
The men had to manoeuvre the module so that it would re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere at the correct angle. The crew had to manually adjust the course of the spacecraft by executing a 14-second burn of the engine. They had just one chance to realign the spacecraft or bounce back into space for perpetuity. The crew timed the 14 seconds on their Omega Speedmasters and ultimately returned to earth safely. The legend was born.
During the 1960s Charles M Schulz, the creator of Snoopy began portraying the dog living on the moon. Later, NASA selected the cartoon character for its safety programme. As a result, Charles M. Schulz designed NASA’s Silver Snoopy Award, depicting the beagle in a spacesuit with his Flying Ace Scarf.
Omega were awarded the Silver Snoopy Award on 5th October 1970 in recognition of its contribution to NASA’s Apollo Missions.
The Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary marks the moment when the Swiss marque played a pivotal role in the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew. The silver dial features snailed registers at 3 and 6 o’clock. A playful depiction of the famous beagle is located at 9 o’clock and includes a small seconds display.
To the rear of the 42mm case is a lunar scene with Snoopy aboard his spacecraft in flight. When the chronograph is actuated, the spacecraft moves, no doubt evoking a smile even on the dourest face. The watch incorporates a serious movement, the Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. And that’s the point, Omega has shown a degree of fun but it has once again shown it remains very serious about watchmaking, something NASA identified in the 1960s.
Price: £8,250 (RRP as at 5.10.2020)
The brand’s press release
In 1970, OMEGA received the coveted “Silver Snoopy Award” from the astronauts at NASA, recognising the brand’s unique contributions to space exploration, as well as the Speedmaster’s vital support during the rescue of Apollo 13.
Exactly 50 years later, a special timepiece has been created in the occasion’s honour. Combining animation with watchmaking art, this incredible Snoopy tribute has taken the OMEGA Speedmaster to new realms of design.
Our favourite beagle plays a prominent role within the timepiece, first appearing as an embossed silver medallion on the blue subdial at 9 o’clock. Here, he is shown wearing his famous spacesuit, in the exact style of the silver pin that NASA astronauts give to award recipients.
The dial itself is also silver and laser-engraved with Ag925. It includes two more blue subdials, as well as blue PVD angle-shaped hour markers and hands.
On the caseback, the fun really begins! This time, Snoopy has gone into orbit, thanks to his animated black and white Command and Service Module (CSM) on a magical hand. When the chronograph seconds hand is in use, Snoopy takes a trip around the mysterious far side of the moon – just like the Apollo 13 crew – with the lunar surface being decorated on the sapphire crystal using a unique micro-structured metallisation.
In the distance, a vision of our home is included. This Earth disc rotates once per minute, in sync with the watch’s small seconds hand, and symbolises the precise rotation of the Earth. The iconic quote, “Eyes on the Stars”, is included within the black universe.
The NAIAD LOCK keeps all caseback engravings in the correct, upright position, including the date in 1970 that OMEGA received the Silver Snoopy Award, as well as a tribute to the imperilled Apollo 13 mission that same year.
Showing OMEGA’s superb attention to detail, the watch’s blue nylon fabric strap matches the other blue elements of the watch, and even features the trajectory of the Apollo 13 mission, embossed on the lining. This strap is attached to a 42 mm case in stainless steel, which is inspired by the 4th generation Speedmaster style (the first watch worn on the moon in 1969). The tachymeter scale, with the iconic “Dot over Ninety”, is shown in white enamel on a blue ceramic [ZrO2] bezel ring.
In a superb display of watchmaking skill, the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary watch is driven by the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. This ground-breaking movement has taken the legendary Moonwatch calibre to new standards of excellence, with anti-magnetic innovation, as well as Master Chronometer certification from the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).
The timepiece comes with OMEGA’s full 5-year warranty, and will not be a limited production. Eager fans will receive the watch in its own Apollo 13 presentation box, with a microfiber cleaning cloth, a brochure, and a magnifying glass to help you get up close to the details.