The new Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary is all about celebrations. The watch pays tribute to NASA, the Apollo 13 mission, and most importantly, the Silver Snoopy Award presented to Omega by NASA.
A History Lesson
Snoopy, the white beagle ended up on the Omega Speedmaster thanks to one of the most popular incidents in the history of manned space missions that took place a little over 50 years ago. The story of Snoopy being associated with NASA space missions began during the Apollo 10 mission. The Apollo 10 was essentially a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 mission.
The Command Module of the Apollo 10 mission was named “Charlie Brown” and the Lunar Excursion Module was named “Snoopy”. These were not mock names. In fact, these were the actual names of the space vehicles. The “Snoopy” name was chosen as the Lunar Excursion Module was meant to ‘snoop around’ the moon to discover good landing spots for the Apollo 11. Quite witty, I would say.
For those who do not know, the Peanuts comic strip, of which characters such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy were a part of, was a mega hit in 1969.
The Silver Snoopy Award
the story behind the Silver Snoopy Award is simple yet fascinating. In order to appreciate the efforts and hard work put in by the support staff of all the space missions, NASA came up with the glorious and noble idea of the Silver Snoopy Award. The award is presented by astronauts and it says the following words – “In Appreciation’ For professionalism, dedication, and outstanding support that greatly enhanced space flight safety and mission success.”
The Story Of Apollo 13
What exactly happened during the Apollo 13 mission? Read on. The mission took place during an era when the overall interest in lunar missions had begun to somewhat fade away, but something very interesting happened at 55:54:53 or at the fifty-five hours – fifty-four minutes – 53 seconds time mark. There were two oxygen tanks in the Service Module and one of them exploded during routine maintenance.
The astronauts as well as the ground support crew were forced to think of various creative ideas to get the astronauts back home safe and sound. This included an idea of using the Lunar Excursion Module as if it was a lifeboat. The Lunar Excursion Module and the Command Module remained connected to each other as both the spacecraft looped around the Moon and were set to a trajectory that led them back to Earth. Nobody knew at that point in time that this will become the single most talked-about use of a wristwatch chronograph in the history of wristwatches.
The astronauts used their Omega Speedmasters to time a crucial and life-saving 14-second mid-course firing of the Lunar Excursion Module’s engine to correct their trajectory back to Earth. This was a huge deal as the rocket engine of the LEM was not meant to do such a thing. It was meant to control the descent on the moon’s surface.
The Apollo 13’s command module along with the whole mission crew landed merely a mile from the intended destination point and just a little over three nautical miles from the recovery ship named ‘Iwo Jima’.
In 1970, in order to acknowledge Omega’s role in this daredevil rescue operation, NASA astronauts who were in the Apollo 13 mission awarded the watchmaker the Silver Snoopy Award.
The All-New Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ 50th Anniversary
The new 50th anniversary watch is launched in a rather classic Speedmaster-esque stainless steel 42 mm case. There are blue accents to be found on the bezel, hands, hour markers, and of course, the Omega insignia. Oh, and the strap is also blue.
A closer look will also let you spot the iconic Snoopy illustration in the small seconds sub dial of the new watch. However, the most interesting feature of this launch is that unlike the previous Silver Snoopy watches, this one here is not a limited edition. Yes, you read that right.
The last Silver Snoopy watch released was a limited edition back in the year 2015. It featured a white dial with a luminous Snoopy in an iconic “sleeping on top of the doghouse” posture. Viewers coiuld see a thought bubble sprouting from Snoopy’s head that echoed the famous line from the 1995 blockbuster film, ‘Apollo 13’, “Failure is not an option!” Furthermore, it contained text reading “What could you do in 14 seconds?”, a direct reference to the 14-second last minute tactical move made by the astronauts of Apollo 13 mission to use the lunar module’s rocket engine to get back to Earth.
The dial of the new Omega Speedy is silver and is laser-engraved with Ag925. Ag925 is essentially Sterling Silver, which is, by definition 92.5% pure silver. The dial includes three more blue sub dials. The sub dial at the nine o’clock position features a ‘Snoopy’ in the form of an embossed silver medallion that carries the words “50th Anniversary”.
In a way, this is the most direct tribute the watch offers to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. Snoopy is presented in the exact same style as it is in the silver pin that NASA astronauts present to award recipients.
The watch also offers blue PVD hour markers as well as hands. The case back is something that is completely new and rather cool looking. It features an animation of the earth, the moon, and lastly, Snoopy himself who is inside a white Command and Service Module or CSM.
The Magic Of The Case Back
Omega has created something truly magical and fascinating. They are calling it the ‘magic hand’. This essentially allows Snoopy and CSM to ‘move’. How? When the chronograph is activated, Snoopy and his CSM travel over to the far end of the moon. This is, once again, a direct reference to the trip taken by the Apollo 13 astronauts.
The Earth disk rotates once every minute. This is in coordination with the timepiece’s small seconds hand which symbolizes the rotation of the Earth itself. Those with keen eyes will also find the quote, “Eyes on the Stars.”
The new Omega timepiece is backed up by the METAS-certified Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861 by Omega. It features a blue ceramic or zirconium dioxide bezel. Just like the earlier 2015 Silver Snoopy watch, this watch comes fitted to a nylon fabric strap, only this time in blue along with white stitching on the sides.
It is hard to believe that it has already been 50 years since NASA awarded Omega with the Silver Snoopy Award. This watch not only does absolute justice to the Silver Snoopy Award, but it also upholds the playfulness of the very idea of putting a cartoon beagle on such a prestigious award itself.