Whenever Omega releases a new limited/special edition Speedmaster, you can be sure it will create noise in the collecting community. And if this watch is related to Space exploration or one of the Apollo missions, this will only increase the interest of the aficionados – and rightfully so, since Omega still owns true legitimacy in this context and the Speedy is, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic watches ever. And if this new model bears a Snoopy, well, expect great enthusiasm from the crowd. A couple of weeks ago, Omega did just that, by presenting the Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary. And today, we have it on the wrist and we tell you all about it.
Today, we’ll focus on the watch only. If you’re still wondering what Snoopy is doing on the dial of a chronograph watch, we have you covered with an in-depth article explaining all about the Apollo 13 mission, the incident (“Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here“), how the Omega Speedmaster worn by the astronauts helped them to come back safe and sound to Earth, what the Silver Snoopy Award is, why Omega received it and why Snoopy ended up on the dial of the watch.
The first two Snoopy-related Speedmasters
There have been quite a few Speedmaster watches related to Apollo missions and space exploration in general in the past. More than we could count here, actually. However, watches to celebrate the Silver Snoopy Award received by Omega in 1970 to acknowledge the crucial role played by the Speedmaster are rare items. In fact, only two models existed until this year and Omega waited until 2003 to release its first Snoopy-related watch… Why 33 years? This will remain a question without an answer.
Early commemorative Omega Speedmasters were often relatively simple in their execution, only differentiated from the classic Professional model – the Moonwatch – by a patch in the small seconds counter and a specific decoration on the caseback. Dial, hands, case and functions almost always remain identical. However, as the brand launched multiple models to celebrate successive anniversaries of the same event, they had to innovate and create watches with more personality and more differences from the classic model. This is perfectly shown with the first two “Snoopy Award” Speedmasters.
The first Snoopy-related Speedmaster was released in 2003. Why this date? The reason why the brand waited 33 years to launch this model, on a year that had nothing to do with an anniversary, is still a mystery. This first model was a slight evolution of the regular Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. The main difference was the Snoopy award’s logo printed in the small seconds counter and a specific caseback, once again decorated with NASA’s Snoopy emblem on a blue background. This 2003 Speedy-Snoopy, with the reference 3578.51, was made in an impressively large batch of 5,441 pieces. There’s a reason behind this odd number, as Robert-Jan Broer explains: “The number has to do with the 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds that the mission lasted. A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but a nice idea.” Knowing the interest of collectors for Snoopy and space-related watches, prices are on the rise and a nice example will easily fetch 10k euros or more.
In 2015, Omega launched a second watch inspired by Apollo 13 and the Snoopy Award, this time for the 45th anniversary of the Mission. This model, limited to 1,970 pieces, a reference to the year Omega was presented with its award by the crew members, was a more drastic departure from the regular Moonwatch. While the case and movement are identical, the white dial is unique to this watch and features several nice details: there is Snoopy in a prone position; a thought bubble with the words spoken by Ed Harris as NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz in Apollo 13 movie “Failure is not an option”; as well as a luminous 14-second track with the words “What could you do in 14 seconds?” as a reference to the 14-second course correction engine burn the Speedmaster timed during the mission. It also features a ceramic tachymeter bezel and a caseback with a silver Snoopy emblem. The demand for this watch, a rare model considering Omega’s production level, is extremely high. A quick check on Chrono24 shows watches in the 35-40k euros range.
The Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary
So here’s the third Snoopy-related watch created by Omega, a watch that was pretty easy to predict given that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission… Omega couldn’t miss such an opportunity. Once again, this new Silver Snoopy Award is based on the Professional model, so the basics of the watch are unsurprising (in a good way) with a typical asymmetrical 42mm case, a hand-wound movement and a tri-compax layout. Still, Omega has worked hard to give this new Speedy-Snoopy its own personality and more than just one cool feature to create enthusiasm. The Beagle has landed and we take a closer look.
Speedmaster Professional traits
No possible mistake here, the new “Silver Snoopy Award” model is clearly a Speedmaster. Like most of the Apollo-related special/limited editions, this new Speedy-Snoopy boasts the classic Professional case, a shape introduced to the collection back in the late 1960s – with the reference ST105.012. The ‘asymmetrical’ design of the Professional case, with the crown and pushers slightly recessed in a protective band located on the right side, was created to give the watch better protection against shocks.
Made of stainless steel, it retains its original twisted “lyre” lugs and the combination of brushed and polished surfaces. Dimensions are also well-known, with a diameter of 42mm. This might sound large but the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, and incidentally this “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary, is a rather compact watch, comfortable even on smaller wrists. The lug-to-lug dimension is just under 48mm. Being the owner of a classic Moonwatch myself, it fits perfectly on my 16.5cm wrist. Photographed here on Xavier’s 18cm wrist, it feels really well proportioned. Specific to this Snoopy edition – this has to do with what’s on the caseback – the height is 14.50mm, half a millimetre more than a standard Moonwatch. Yet, this added thickness is only located on the caseback element, the centre case itself remaining identical.
A Speedmaster without an external tachymeter bezel wouldn’t be a Speedmaster… Remember that in 1957 this was the first watch to ever place its calculation tracks externally. The new Silver Snoopy Award retains its thin and angled stainless steel bezel, with an insert that is made of ceramic. The white scale is obtained from resilient enamel, the “tachymètre” shows the classic 1960s design, with the famous DON or “dot over 90”. An insignificant detail for some, an important element for seasoned Speedmaster collectors.
Crown and pushers need to no specific explanation since these are identical to the classic Moonwatch – meaning that the crown is still not the most practical to actuate when winding the movement. A difference with the Professional model is that this Speedy-Snoopy is not equipped with the Hesalite crystal but instead is protected by a modern sapphire. This has a certain incidence on the look of the watch, as the box sapphire used here (and in all sapphire-equipped Speedys) has a chimney-like shape, instead of the rounded and highly domed Hesalite crystal. Reflections and distortions are also different, the Hesalite crystal offering a warmer look. On the other hand, sapphire enhances the durability of the watch and can make sense in this commemorative context.
Silver and blue Snoopy theme
This Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary dislays a quite attractive and striking new silver and blue colour scheme. Two obvious colours for a Silver Snoopy Award model…
The dial of this new edition is made of solid silver (note the “Ag925” engraved above the central axis), which has a nice matte finish with discreet metallic reflections. Its surface has been laser-ablated to reveal the sub-dials and the Snoopy-themed patch at 9 o’clock, and both are coloured in blue to create contrast. Inscriptions, tracks and logos are also printed in that same colour, while silvered on blue surfaces.
The central hands, applied indexes and applied logo are all a deep blue colour, obtained by a PVD coating. The hands for the chronograph sub-counters are, on the other hand, silvery-white coloured. Other than these changes in colours and finishing, all elements are identical to the classic Moonwatch, with the signature diamond-tipped seconds hand or the baton hours/minutes hands. To match with the dial’s elements, the bezel is also dark blue.
Other than these materials and colours, the main difference with a Speedmaster Professional and the only reference to the Silver Snoopy Award is the patch at 9 o’clock, a tribute to the first limited edition of 2003. The dial steers clear of other commemorative elements preventing the watch from becoming too gimmicky and ensuring its collector’s status over the years.
The silver-and-blue theme continues on the strap, which is made of blue nylon fabric with silver stitchings. Supple and comfortable, it is closed by a steel pin buckle and complements the look of the watch. Also, since the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary has a Professional case, you can easily swap the strap for a 20mm stainless steel bracelet, which you’ll take from your classic Moonwatch or acquire from an Omega boutique as an accessory. No doubt that with its silver dial, a steel bracelet will make for a cool watch.
While the dial of the new Speedy-Snoopy remains relatively discreet concerning commemorative elements, the caseback is far more demonstrative and not only has specific decorations but also mechanical animations on display. This is where space-magic happens. This is a rather surprising move from Omega, which isn’t used to automatons (even though these are simple automatons). This will probably create some debate in the collecting community, whether people love the references and animations or whether they find it overdone…
The “Naiad Lock” caseback, which permits the inscriptions to always appear in the upright position, is a stainless ring with a sapphire crystal insert. The latter is decorated with a metallization process to create a photorealistic lunar surface, which covers about half of the caseback. The movement is covered by a night blue plate with white dots, representing the sky and the iconic “Eyes on the Stars” caption is printed.
The most interesting part, as you can see in the video below, is that the caseback is punctuated by two mechanical animations. The first one, a rotating representation of the Earth as seen from the Moon, is constantly running. As said, this a simple animation, since it is actually linked to the small seconds wheel using the opposite side of the pinion to drive the animation.
The second animation is only visible when the chronograph function is engaged. Attached to the tip of a transparent section is Snoopy inside the CMS (Command and Service Module), travelling around the caseback and taking a trip around the mysterious far side of the Moon – just like the Apollo 13 crew did in 1970. This animation is driven by the central chronograph seconds and when the function is stopped, Snoppy is hidden behind the Moon.
Master Chronometer calibre 3861
A great evolution compared to the classic Moonwatch is to be seen inside the case. Indeed, just like the Apollo 11 50th anniversary edition before, this new Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary is equipped with a modernized version of the iconic hand-wound chronograph movement, the calibre 3861. While the overall architecture is identical to the calibre 1861, including its cam-lever mechanism and its horizontal clutch, multiple elements have been upgraded – the fact that it has 26 jewels and not 18 anymore is already a great demonstration of the evolution.
The main evolution concerns the regulating organ, which now features a silicon hairspring and the brand’s co-axial escapement. This allows this movement to meet with the Master Chronometer standards (0/+5 seconds precision, anti-magnetism up to 15,000-gauss). Also, the mainspring has been updated to now offer 50 hours of power reserve.
One of the important things to note with this Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary is that it is a “special” edition and won’t be limited in production – at least, no numerus clausus is announced and the production isn’t scheduled for a certain period of time. Will this make it widely available? Well probably not, as demand will be high. No doubt about it. But, at least, most collectors will have a chance to get one, sooner or later.
So, what to make of this new Speedy-Snoopy? Well, first of all, no comments regarding the execution. Overall quality, details of the dial, materials and movement are all to Omega’s superior standards. It’s clean, precise, robust, detailed. The addition of the new calibre 3861 is certainly a big advantage over the classic Moonwatch and the previous Snoopy edition, mostly because the Speedmaster is finally part of the co-axial and chronometer range.
Also, I have to admit that the colour scheme chosen by Omega is really pleasant. The combination of this solid silver dial with contrasting blue elements gives this piece its own identity and does look quite stunning in the metal. It’s fresh, lighter but still has this certain “professionalism” that you expect from a Speedmaster. The Snoopy mentions are relatively restrained dial-side, which only adds to the desirability of the watch and its appeal over the years. The animations on the caseback are another story. Far more playful, but the good point is that it remains hidden when the watch is worn, so no gimmicky effect in perspective. If those were on the dial, my reaction would have been different.
As for the price, at around 9.5k in euros and dollars, it makes quite a difference with a regular sapphire Speedmaster Moonwatch – priced at EUR 5,800. This can be explained by the use of high-tech or more precious materials (ceramic with enamel, solid silver), the decorations, the animations on the caseback and the use of the more innovative calibre 3861. I still think that a price in the 8k region would be more appropriate, but the exclusivity and, mostly, the coolness of this watch will definitely help.
Availability and price
The Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary reference 310.32.42.50.02.001 won’t be limited in production. It comes with a full 5-year warranty. It is presented in its own Apollo 13 presentation box, with a microfibre cleaning cloth, a brochure, and a magnifying glass for a close-up of all the details. It will be available in stores soon – end of October 2020 – and priced at EUR 9,500.
More details at www.omegawatches.com.