Omega did not surprise us with the introduction of a new Speedmaster Snoopy, but they surely did so with the watch itself. Although we already brought you the initial news about the Speedmaster Snoopy in BaselWorld, we now show you the watch again using our own photos instead of press pictures and some additional information we received.
I thought it would also be nice to have the new Omega Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award pictured side-by-side with the Snoopy Award model of 2003. Just to be sure, I’ll also throw in the ‘real’ Apollo XIII commemorative model that Omega released in 1995, as a so-called ‘mission patch model’.
However, let’s start with the new Omega Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award. Luckily, I was able to discuss the new piece not only with Omega’s Head of Product Management, but also with the person at Omega who actually designed the new Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award. This means that I can explain certain design elements from first hand.
Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy
I surely did not expect to see a white dialed Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award, but as you probably know some of the most collectable and sought-after Speedmaster models from the past had white dials. Although I’ve heard a lot of criticism towards the dial because of the printing, I will get back to that later on. The Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award has a white dial because of Charles Schulz’ Snoopy drawing, black and white. The designer of this limited edition Speedmaster wanted to embed the same color scheme that the Snoopy character has into the watch. This resulted in a white dial, black hands and hour markers and a black (ceramic) bezel.
With regards to the printing on the dial; the Snoopy, the text balloon and the ‘What could you do in 14 seconds?” between 00:00 and 00:14, this needs some more explanation. Without going into detail about the 14 seconds, apart from the fact that this was the duration of the mid-course correction the Apollo 13 needed in order to safely return into the atmosphere, it is quite a sentence to be printed on a dial. To be frank, this sentence is where most-heard criticism is about. However, those 14 seconds were crucial to be timed correctly and that’s where the Speedmaster came into the story in 1970. You could say these 14 seconds are of essence for the whole Snoopy Award thing. Just above this sentence, there are 14 printed squares or frames. These frames refer to the Peanuts (feat. Snoopy) comic strip. Snoopy, doing his thing on the 9 o’clock sub-dial, has a little text-balloon that is positioned just above the centre-pinion. It says “Failure is not an option!”. This line was used by actor Ed Harris who played Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz in the 1995 film about the historic mission, Apollo 13. Now, according to my conversation with the designer of this Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award, Gene Kranz indeed didn’t use these words himself at the time of the Apollo 13 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.
Well, all can be explained as you can see, but what does it do to the watch? Well, having tried the new Omega Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award, I can say that it did not bother me at all. The printing of the sentence is quite small and the same goes for the ‘Failure is not an option!’ text-balloon in the center.
Last note on the dial is the lume. Omega did a very nice job on getting this right. The hour markers and hands on the dial and tachymeter scale on the bezel will lume nicely, but also Snoopy itself will be visible in the dark.
The Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award has a sapphire crystal on top, which makes it a nice piece for every day wear, but I can also imagine people (collectors) want to cherish it and try to keep it as mint as possible. It also makes the watch a bit heavier than the previous Speedmaster Snoopy Award, when worn on a leather strap (or at least not in combination with the stainless steel bracelet). The Silver Snoopy Award Speedy is delivered on a black coated nylon fabric strap with white stitching and a foldover clasp. Again, some complained a bit about the fact that it does not come with a stainless steel bracelet, but ordering a spare bracelet (if you are a Speedmaster fan or collector you probably have a few anyway) is no big deal.
For most Speedmaster enthusiasts however, including myself, the biggest treat is on the back side of the watch. Where the original Speedmaster Pro Snoopy Award already has one of the most beautiful case backs as seen on (limited edition) Speedmaster watches in my opinion, the Silver Snoopy Award is even more attractive.
Let me start by saying that none of the 1970 pieces will have the exact same case back. This is due to the use of enamel and the sprinkled silver powder (by hand!) on top of it. In the center of the dark blue enamel is a sterling silver (925) Snoopy, that appears to be floating. The Snoopy on top of the blue enamel plate gives it quite a bit of depth which makes it very interesting to look at. Around the medallion, there is the stainless steel case back bezel with all the necessary engravings.
Below a case back photo of the new Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award and the 2003 Snoopy Award watch side-by-side. As you can see Omega used the exact same Snoopy cartoon for the case back. The (silver) Snoopy is very similar to the official flown Snoopy lapel pins that were handed out to NASA’s suppliers and staff that contributed in a meaningful way to them. A very nice overview of the official flown silver Snoopy lapel pins can be found here.
To me personally, this Omega Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award belongs to my favourite BaselWorld 2015 watches. Not only because of the Snoopy relationship or the fact that it is a Speedmaster Professional, but also because I think it is a pretty watch. Despite all the printing on the dial, which – admitted – is a bit excessive, it has meaning to the entire Apollo 13 or Snoopy Award story in the end.
The Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award comes in a very nice presentation box, including a sterling silver Snoopy lapel pin (not flown, mind you).
The price of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award reference 318.104.22.168.04.003 will be approx. CHF 6100 Swiss Francs / € 5800 Euro. This is of course a bit more than the € 4200 Euro / CHF 5000 Swiss Francs for the regular Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’, but keep in mind that the watch comes with a sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel and enamel caseback with sterling silver Snoopy on there. As the production number will be only 1970 pieces, there is little chance in waiting till the price will come down. It simply won’t, as we’ve seen with last year’s Apollo XI 45th anniversary model. In fact, the market price of that Apollo XI edition is currently above list price.
As a dedicated Speedmaster fan with a weak spot for the Apollo 13 mission story, you actually will need all three related pieces of course.
All photos can be clicked for larger versions. An overview of all used images, plus some extras, can be found below in the photo gallery. Any opinions on this watch? Share them with us in the comments field below.
More information on www.omegawatches.com