Fifty years ago after an oxygen tank exploded onboard, the Apollo 13 crew had to abort their moon mission and head home. In the absence of their onboard digital timers (which were shut off to conserve power), these astronauts had to rely on their NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster chronographs to accurately time the 14-second burn of the lunar module’s engine for a maneuver that was vital to their return. In recognition of the part Omega played in their return to earth, the Swiss company was awarded the Silver Snoopy Award – a recognition bestowed by NASA astronauts to people or companies who they believe have contributed significantly to “the success of human space flight missions.”
Omega has used its association with the Apollo program to peddle their chronographs to the fullest – it still sells the Moon Watch (the Speedmaster Professional model worn by the Apollo 11 crew in 1969) and has over the years released a bunch of limited editions to mark various Apollo mission milestones. The Swiss company has now issued a new Speedmaster edition to commemorate the Silver Snoopy Award it was awarded in 1970. The new Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary features the famous cartoon beagle on the dial, this is only the third time Snoopy has appeared on a Speedmaster dial. Snoopy’s association with NASA began in the 1960’s, when Snoopy appeared on the moon in cartoon strips. In 1968, when NASA needed a “face” for its safety programme, it chose Snoopy – he was the safety “watchdog” and represented total mission success.
The watch uses a 42 mm stainless steel case, like the standard Moon Watch models. It has the same twisted lugs as seen on the fourth-generation Speedmaster models that went to the moon. However, unlike the domed Hesalite crystal seen on standard models, this special edition has a domed scratch‑resistant sapphire crystal with anti‑reflective treatment on both sides. It is also fitted with a blue ceramic bezel insert with a tachymeter scale with markings in white enamel, including the “Dot over Ninety” – a subtle detail that collectors of vintage Speedies will recognize, the dot over the 90 marking on the tachymeter bezel was a feature of pre-1970 Speedmasters.
The watch has a silver dial that’s been laser-engraved and a tri-compax layout with blue sub-dials. A spacesuit-wearing Snoopy (in the exact style of the Silver Snoopy Award pin) appears as an embossed silver medallion on the 9 o’ clock sub-dial. The watch’s caseback is novel indeed – it shows Snoopy in a Command Service Module flying around the far side of the moon. In the distance, the earth disc rotates once a minute, in sync with the watch’s running seconds hand at 9 o’ clock. The chronograph seconds hand is in sync with the hand that props up Snoopy’s Command Service Module – so when the chronograph is activated, Snoopy begins his journey around the moon.
The watch is powered by Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861. The METAS-certified movement has a power reserve of 50 hours and is resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. The watch is paired with a blue nylon fabric strap, the underside of which is embossed with the trajectory of the Apollo 13 mission. It is priced at $9,600.