The Ultimate Omega Speedmaster Snoopy — Which One Is The Best Of The Three?
When the Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary debuted on October 5th, 2020, the Speedmaster enthusiasts went crazy. That included me, of course, as I am a fan of the Snoopy/Apollo 13 story. So, I decided that I needed to add one to my collection.
The Snoopy 50th Anniversary, or “Snoopy 3”, is the fourth watch that commemorates the Apollo 13 mission of 1970 and the role that the Speedmaster played in it. I explained the story in detail here, but in (very) short:
An explosion on the Apollo 13 spacecraft caused the crew (and the command center in Houston) to abort the mission and put all energy into ensuring the astronauts returned safely. To make a safe entry into the atmosphere at the correct angle, the rockets needed a boost of exactly 14 seconds. And as you’ve guessed already, the astronauts used the Omega Speedmaster Professional to time it. The wrong angle of entry would have meant the astronauts wouldn’t come back, so it was a crucial timing exercise. You could debate whether practically any other watch could have timed those 14 seconds just as well. Remember, though, that the Speedmaster was the only watch that survived all of NASA’s testing procedures. Other watches might have not made it that far in the first place during the Apollo 13 mission.
The Omega Speedmaster Snoopy watches
In 1995, Omega introduced an “Apollo 13” mission-patch model to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the mission. The brand only produced 999 pieces initially, with another 50 pieces later on for the special 23-watch mission cases. In those days (if you can believe it), it took a while to sell 999 watches. This is why you’ll find these models with the old-style bracelet (reference 1479) as well as the later one (1498). Omega introduced the new bracelet in 1996, so it certainly took over a year for these watches to sell out.
Then, in 2003, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Snoopy Award, a limited edition of no less than 5,441 pieces in total. The number corresponds to the time spent in space (142 hours, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds). A fun fact is that this watch didn’t sell well at first. Omega’s communication and marketing teams didn’t put as much effort into clarifying the Apollo 13 story as they did later. As a result, some were in stock at dealers for a long time — even years!
What could you do in 14 seconds?
In 2015, Omega made a bigger fuss about the Apollo 13 mission and the role the Speedmaster played. Omega also decided to go all-in when it came to the design. The 2003 edition had been basically a regular Moonwatch with a small patch on the 9-o’clock sub-dial and a special case back. The 2015 model, however, had an all-white dial and a beautiful case back. The case back showed a silver Snoopy figure on a dark blue enamel background with silver powder as “stars”. On the dial side, there’s the Snoopy figure at 9 o’clock and “What could you do in 14 seconds?” on the outer track. You will also find the text balloon with “Failure is not an option” in the center of the dial.
To some, it was a bit gimmicky, but others loved it, and it was the first time I saw an Omega Speedmaster sell out so quickly. This watch was a limited edition of 1970 pieces, referring to the year of the Apollo 13 mission.
A brilliant surprise in the Snoopy 3
Even before the official launch on October 5th, 2020, collectors and enthusiasts were awaiting the introduction of the 50th-anniversary Snoopy watch. Compared to the 45th-anniversary Snoopy Speedmaster from 2015, the design department at Omega went a few steps further. This time, the watch received a new technical feature/complication. Aside from the beautiful silver-and-blue dial, there’s an automaton on the case back. If you start the chronograph, you will see Snoopy orbiting the Moon in his spacecraft. The Earth disc is constantly moving, as it links to the small seconds. The chronograph hand connects to the automaton on the case back with an invisible hand that holds the white spacecraft. In order to make it work, Omega used lightweight aluminum hands for the chronograph. Otherwise, the extra “weight” would make it impossible for the automaton to function properly.
Assuming that you’re already familiar with the Omega Speedmaster Snoopy 50th Anniversary, I will refrain from making this an overview of all details and design elements. We covered the watch in-depth here and here in case you want to know more about it.
Getting your hands on the latest Speedmaster Snoopy
Even today, I am receiving emails and messages from readers and followers asking whether this watch is a limited edition or not. It’s not, and it will remain in the collection for an unspecified amount of time. Obtaining one is a matter of having patience, and that can mean quite a long wait. In fact, I only received mine earlier this year. I also know of people who ordered one on the day it came out who still haven’t gotten the call.
Overpromising authorized dealers
From what I see and hear, your best chance of getting one is to get in touch with a boutique rather than an authorized dealer. Boutiques actually have a priority when it comes to deliveries. All the waitlists are well-meant, but they don’t mean much. There are readers telling me they are number 5 on the waitlist, for example, but since it is some authorized dealer in the middle of nowhere, I find it hard to believe they will receive number 5 anytime soon (or even number 1 or 2, for that matter). The problem here is that it seems authorized dealers are promising things to their clients that they can’t realize. They want to keep their loyal customers happy and promise them a sweet spot on the waitlist. Meanwhile, Omega has not even allocated Speedmaster Snoopy watches to them, or at least not yet.
The end of Speedmaster limited editions
The introduction of the Snoopy 50th Anniversary also meant the end of limited-edition Speedmasters. The Calibre 321 and Snoopy 50th Anniversary models are in the catalog and are not numbered or limited to a certain number. On the one hand, ordering a limited edition (like the Speedy Tuesday models in 2017 and 2018) would enable you to know in a relatively timely manner whether one was allocated to you or not. On the other hand, the number of Speedmaster limited editions got a bit out of hand at some point. The Snoopy and Calibre 321 are now the “extras” in the Speedmaster collection. They target the enthusiasts who already have their Moonwatch(es).
The Snoopy 50th Anniversary on a bracelet
Anyway, one of the first things you notice about the newest Speedmaster Snoopy is that the strap is rather stiff. I do love the design of the blue nylon strap, and it looks like the black strap with white stitching that Omega used for the Speedmaster Snoopy from 2015. The inside of the strap also has incredible detail, showing the trajectory of the Apollo 13 mission. Luckily for me, this new blue one comes on a buckle instead of a folding clasp. I am not a fan of folding clasps in general, as I find that they’re often a bit too thick.
When I had just received the watch, I put a picture of it in a WhatsApp group of like-minded watch friends. Some of the guys who already owned one advised me to change the strap, as they found the blue nylon strap quite stiff. I ignored it a bit at first because I thought that the strap would break-in, but, unfortunately, it didn’t. It’s simply too stiff to be comfortable for me, so I’ve considered having a custom strap made. A matte blue alligator strap, for example, would be nice, but I haven’t found the perfect one just yet. I noticed others are a fan of putting this watch on a bracelet. With the new generation of Speedmaster bracelets, I thought that this was perhaps the best option indeed.
I already have the new Speedmaster Professional with the Hesalite crystal and thus the all-brushed bracelet in my collection. As such, I thought it would be nice to add the bracelet with polished intermediate links from the “Sapphire Sandwich” Moonwatch to my Snoopy 3. I bought the bracelet at the Omega boutique for CHF 680, and I couldn’t be happier (while it’s not a given that the boutiques all have them in stock, if your boutique doesn’t, you can order it). At first, I was afraid that the bracelet would obstruct the view of the case back a bit too much. But I was pleased to see that if you open the clasp, you can still properly admire the automaton. It’s not a watch I want per definition on a bracelet, but if I don’t find a comfortable alternative to the blue nylon strap, I will keep using it.
Picking my favorite Speedmaster Snoopy
Now that I have all four Apollo 13 watches (or all three Speedmaster Snoopy watches) in my collection, I am often asked which one I like best. At first, I wasn’t convinced that the Snoopy 50th Anniversary was nicer than the Snoopy 45th Anniversary edition. Now, though, I am leaning slightly towards the current Snoopy watch. The first Snoopy is only a small modification to the regular Speedmaster of that time (reference 3570.50). Still, it’s a fun watch to own and wear. The Apollo 13 edition from 1995 is also a variation on the 3950.50 reference. On the Apollo 13, the use of orange and red in the mission patch works very nicely. These 1990s Speedmaster watches also use tritium, which, as you likely know, turns yellow at some point. It creates this vintage vibe that I enjoy very much.
The 2015 edition, however, is really a piece of art, especially the case back with its silver rendition of the Snoopy lapel pin. The white dial is a nice variation on the typically black-dialed Speedmaster Moonwatch models, and it is, in fact, whiter than the much-praised Speedmaster 40th anniversary “Albino” for the Italian market from 1997. Many consider all the Snoopy-related graphics on the dial a downside, but I beg to differ. On a close-up, they can be a bit much indeed. On the wrist, however, and with the naked eye, they’re not bad at all. You will only notice them when you keep the watch close to you. The black-and-white theme on this watch is befitting of the famous beagle, and when the Super-LumiNova is properly charged, you’re in for something special when it’s dark. The Snoopy cartoon at 9 o’clock stays luminescent for a while.
Blue and silver
For a long time, the 2015 edition was one of my favorite variations of the Speedmaster Professional. For a few weeks, though, I must admit that the Speedmaster Snoopy 50th Anniversary quickly became my everyday wearer. The silver dial works incredibly well combined with the tone of blue that Omega used for this watch. I am also a fan of the case that Omega chose for this model. It’s just like the case of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary and the current Moonwatch, which are based on the fourth generation of Speedmasters (reference 105.012). Last but certainly not least, Omega’s caliber 3861 certainly does not disappoint. Not only does it “host” the automaton on the case back, but it’s also incredibly accurate.
The waitlist game
Now, I don’t understand why people are willing to pay three times the retail price for the Snoopy 50th Anniversary, but it does show that the demand is high for this watch. I’ve already given my advice above to just patiently wait for one through the Omega boutique. You must understand, however, that it’s still all very niche and that Omega also must fulfill the demand for the more bread-and-butter pieces, whether these are the Seamaster 300 Ms and Speedmaster Professional watches or the Constellations and De Ville Prestige models. As such, it is in Omega’s interest to have these watches on the production lines as much as possible. The demand for them is, in total, much greater than the demand for the Speedmaster Snoopy watch.
With a limited edition, when being discontinued, I get the game of paying over retail to get one. I have done so myself in the past as well. But the Speedmaster Snoopy 50th Anniversary is in the catalog and currently in production, so patience is of the essence here, however tough that may be when you want something badly. For this model, I also played the waiting game and was incredibly happy when I received the message that mine was ready to be picked up.
The retail price of the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary is €10,200. Click here for the price in your local currency.
Omega has set the bar incredibly high after introducing the Snoopy 50th Anniversary in 2020. What will the brand do for the next special edition for the Snoopy or Apollo 11? Is there anything in particular that you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments below.