Last year I made a mistake. When the Omega Speedmaster Pro Apollo XI 45th Anniversary came out, with the titanium case and Sedna gold bezel, I didn’t order it straight-away. What followed, was a search for a decent priced (which means – not over list price) Apollo XI watch. In the end I was offered a couple of them, but all way over the initial list price in Euro currency. So, I decided to prevent that from happening again and I ordered the new Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award even before I saw it in the flesh in Basel.
My luck was that I was super fast with ordering an Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award, so I could pick an individual number that has a special meaning to me. Like most people have when requesting a specific number. However, it was up to Omega whether to grant this number to me, of course.
When we had our appointment in BaselWorld with Omega, the Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award got full attention from most of us (see this article, with 5x our Top 5 BaselWorld watches + 5 bummer watches). Happy that I ordered one, as it would be a great addition to my Apollo XIII Mission patch model and my 2004 Snoopy Award Speedmasters. Furthermore, it would be my first Speedmaster Professional with a white dial. Not something I’ve specifically been looking for, but it is a nice variation.
So after waiting patiently for 7 months, I received an e-mail and that my watch was on its way to the Tourbillon Boutique in Amsterdam. Omega started the delivery of the Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award in October, but I can’t seem to find out what the exact order is in delivering. Also, not everyone has his or hers yet, from what I understood. My assumption is that the hand-engraved casebacks take more time that initially planned, but this is only a wild guess.
Although we already covered the new Speedmaster Professional Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award in this article, I thought it would be interesting to do a more hands-on review based on some everyday wearing. As I’ve experienced in the last weeks, is that the watch definitely wears a bit different than the regular Moonwatch.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award
I won’t go into detail about the Snoopy and the relationship with the Speedmaster. We’ve covered that many times here and I did a full article on just that subject for our sister-publication WatchTime (How Snoopy ended up on a Speedmaster dial).
However, one of the things that worried me a bit was the printing on the the dial. There is a lot going on there. “What could you do in 14 seconds?” is printed together with 14 small comic frames in the minute track on the dial and refers to the exact timing of 14 crucial seconds during the return of the Apollo 13 Command Module in 1970. Then, there is our favorite Beagle in the sub dial at 9 o’clock with a little text balloon above the center pinion saying “Failure is not an option!”. Words that were spoken in the 1995 Apollo 13 movie by the actor in the role of Flight Director Gene Kranz (he never used this line during the actual mission, but later on used words of similar kind during an interview with the script-writers. After the sentence was used in the 1995 movie, Gene Kranz used ‘Failure is not an option’ as a title for his autobiography that appeared in 2000.
Details on the Dial
Then there are some details that I didn’t really noticed during our 1 hour BaselWorld appointment, but during the last couple of weeks while wearing the watch.
One of those details is that the hand on the 9 o’clock sub dial (for the regular seconds) is all-white, while the other hands are black. I needed to check our BaselWorld photos to see if that was the case with the sales representative versions of the watch (0000/1970 numbers), but they were white then as well. A bit silly perhaps that I didn’t notice it back then, but the minute I put it on my wrist it just seemed to “pop”. I imagined how a small black second hand would look on the dial, but I think they made the right decision by using a white hand. Another detail is that the numerals on the three sub dials look a bit different compared to the regular black dial Moonwatch: they aren’t filled.
The hands, hour markers and the Snoopy at 9 o’clock are painted with Super-LumiNova. Besides the fact that it enables you to read the time under low-light conditions, it also looks very nice, especially the glowing beagle at 9 o’clock.
I’ve had two Speedmaster Professional watches with a sapphire crystal in the past (the sapphire sandwich model and the Broad Arrow Moonphase model) which I traded for other watches along the road, but I always liked the look & feel of the sapphire. I write ‘feel’, as the watch will gain some weight due to the sapphire crystal. The downside of the sapphire crystal – versus the Hesalite plexi crystal – is that it doesn’t give the watch the effect of a magnified dial. This effect is a result of the domed plexi crystal.
The Case and Bezel
The case has the same dimension as the normal Omega Speedmaster Pro Moonwatch, which is 42mm. However, the watch has a bit different proportions and therefore a slightly different appearance on the wrist from the normal Moonwatch in my opinion. This has to do with the thickness of the case band, it is slightly thicker than the normal version. That, combined with the ceramic bezel, makes the watch look a bit different when worn on the wrist than the Moonwatch. Perhaps that the sapphire crystal also plays a role in this slight difference in appearance. The ceramic bezel has a tachymetre scale that has been filled with Super0-LumiNova.
The snap caseback (not screw-down) features a silver Snoopy medallion mounted on a silver plate and filled with blue enamel. Silver powder is sprinkled by hand on the enamel, giving each watch a unique look. Of course, the silver Snoopy resembles the official Snoopy lapel pin that was given by NASA to Omega for the role of the Speedmaster during Apollo 13. In the stainless steel caseback, you’ll also find the number of the watch engraved (of 1970 pieces, the year of the Apollo 13 mission), as well as the Apollo XIII 45th Anniversary and the Eyes on the Stars line. See below.
Just like the regular Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’, the Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award has the hand-wound Lemania based caliber 1861 inside. It has a rhodium plated finish and a power reserve of 48 hours. The chronograph uses a shuttle cam mechanism instead of a column-wheel. On the official Omega website, we see that they claim that the caliber 1861 movement was worn on the Moon, which isn’t the case as far as I know. Actually, I am not even certain that there was a caliber 861 (its predecessor) on the Moon, besides the watch I discussed from Ron Evans (in this article) that was used in the Apollo 17 CM, but not on the Moon. I don’t know where this claim comes from on the Omega website, but caliber 1861 (1997) has not been on the Moon for sure. Perhaps they refer to a hand-wound Lemania movement in general (caliber 321 was worn on the Moon).
Strap and Folding Clasp
The strap is coated nylon and has a leather lining. It is remarkably comfortable and the stainless steel folding clasp makes it easy to adjust to the right size. I guess I could put a stainless steel bracelet on this watch, any of the modern 20mm Speedmaster bracelets would do, but actually prefer wearing it on the soft strap. The strap tapers from 20mm between the lugs to 18mm at the folding clasp. The strap is a bit padded near the case, but gets flat towards the two ends. As said, a very comfortable combination.
The Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award comes in a nice wooden black box. Not the same one as the regular Moonwatch, but a tad bit smaller and higher. You will find a special newspaper concerning the Apollo 13 mission in the package, as well as a polishing cloth, traveling pouch, leather card holder for the two credit card sized cards and a silver Snoopy lapel pin.
Price, Availability and Verdict
The Omega Speedmaster Pro Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award is limited to 1970 pieces only and from what I know, is that Omega sold every piece to their retailers and boutiques. You might be able to source one from a boutique or retailer still, even though some of them have quite long waiting lists. The retail price is €6000 Euro but on the market (Chrono24 and eBay) I’ve seen them for €11.000 and €15.000 Euro already. For those who are unable to source one, this might be an option, if money is of less importance. However, I would make a round of calls and e-mails first. Even though people ordered them, some of them might not actually claim theirs for whatever reason.
I am a Speedmaster guy so it is difficult to give an unbiased verdict on the watch. However, from a Speedmaster collector’s perspective I have to say that – together with the Apollo 11 45th Anniversary model of last year – the Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award watch reference 3184.108.40.206.04.003 is an awesome limited edition. Although the dial had me a bit worried in advance and made me prefer the old 2004 Snoopy Award dial, I have to review my opinion on that. The new white dial is brilliant and all the writing and images on the dial do not distract to be honest. Would I buy it as my only Speedmaster watch? Probably not, as I feel you need to go proper ‘Moonwatch’ (new or vintage) if you only want to have one Speedmaster. If you are a collector or already have the 2004 Snoopy (and Apollo XIII Mission patch model), you want this one as well, at some point.