In the history of watchmaking, there are truly only a handful of mythical watch designs. Among a chosen few, the Speedmaster is without a doubt one of this market's pillars, but also one of the most important in space exploration.
While most people are familiar with the relationship between NASA and watchmaker Omega, it is rare to take the time to admire the fruits of their collaboration.
At 41Watch, we were lucky enough to get our hands on what is perhaps the most sought-after of all Moonwatches: the Speedmaster "Silver Snoopy Award".
Marketed in 2015 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, this special watch series was produced in only 1,970 units. The model was a runaway success and immediately became overnight, a victim of its own success worldwide. It has become rare to see such a watch like this on the market again, especially with a complete set including its special case, documents, and numerous components.
Between April 11th and 17th 1970, the entire planet held its breath watching the unfortunate events of the astronauts aboard the Apollo 13 mission. 48 hours after lift-off, one of the two oxygen tanks exploded in space, forcing the crew to abandon their journey to the moon and begin an emergency re-entry to Earth.
Of the rare images taken right after the explosion inside Apollo 13 - ©NASA
Right after the accident of Apollo 13, inside the control room - ©NASA
The on-board instruments were for the most part turned off and the entry into the Earth's atmosphere requires precisely 14 seconds of igniting the engine in time to correct the capsule's trajectory. Commander James Lovell is piloting under the orders of Jack Swigert, who times the exact duration of the maneuver on his Speedmaster. The landing was successful and the three astronauts return home unscathed.
On October 5th, 1970, astronaut Thomas Stafford presented Omega's technical director with the Snoopy Award, a sort of "special merit" given to companies that have greatly contributed to the success of space flights. This distinction was awarded in the form of a diploma with a badge depicting NASA's mascot in astronaut attire, inscribed with the motto "Eyes on the Stars".
The first version of the watch was released in 2003. Marketed under model number 3578.51, this series was limited to 5 441 441 pieces, a number that reflects the duration of the Apollo 13 mission, which lasted 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds. A colored version of Snoopy is displayed on the counter at 9 o'clock, a trademark that will be found on every special edition bearing the beagle's name.
2021 will mark the beginning of the third and last generation, under model number 310.32.42.50.02.001. Even though it is per se, an unnumbered version, it is still a hard-to-find and sought-after edition. Worldwide, it is hard to be put on a waiting list in stores.
La Speedmaster "Silver Snoopy Award" from 2021 sold by 41Watch
A real cartoon displayed on the caseback
A rare version with specific features that are detailed on the last piece sold on our website (available here)
In 2015, in-between these two anniversary collections, Omega marketed 1,970 pieces of model 3220.127.116.11.04.003. The nomenclature can be read as follows:
Fitted with the caliber 1861 with rhodium-plated finishes, it provides its wearer with a 48-hour power reserve. This mechanical movement with manual winding can be considered as a successor to the caliber 861 worn on the moon.
In terms of design, the model features a special counter at 9 o'clock as well as an exceptional case back, this time in midnight blue enamel and silver.
The sub-dial displaying Snoopy in Super-Luminova
Image of the caseback
Great care has been made to place the silver emblem on the back of the watches, in a color that evokes the infinity of space.
Designed on the basis of a Speedmaster, the watch has the traditional "Moonwatch" hands, the classic typeface and the emblematic tachometric bezel. We are pleased to discover a special emphasis made on the dial's first 14 seconds, with a comic-book style cutout, with the inscription "What could you do in 14 seconds?". Since you've been paying attention since the beginning of this article, you'll recall what the Apollo 13 commander managed to do in such a brief amount of time...
There are numerous references to the world of comic books, be it the cartoon character's design, the back of the case or even on the first chronograph markers. However, the link with NASA remains prominent through several aspects, especially with the inscription of the director of NASA's famous coined phrase "Failure is not an option" in the bubble made out of Super-luminova above the dog’s head.
This 45th anniversary edition is the only one of the three "Snoopy" editions to feature an all-black and white dial, and whose value has steadily started to rise on the watch collector's market. A pristine condition piece with its complete set is bound to continue its ascent to the top in the coming years, like a rocket shooting up to the stars.
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