The Story Behind Omega’s Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary

By Montredo in News
October 6, 2020
The Story Behind Omega’s Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary

Snoopy Speedmaster models have become a bit of a tradition at Omega, counting an ever-growing fanbase. But how did the link between a fictional cartoon character and the luxury watch brand Omega come about in the first place?

A watchdog for NASA space missions

In the 1960s, Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz began drawing the popular beagle on the moon. In this golden era of Charlie Brown and his friends, the drawings thus became a blithe expression of a nation’s obsession with space travel. This in turn impressed the US space agency NASA, which promptly promoted Snoopy to the official safety mascot in 1968.

Tom Stafford shortly before the Apollo 10 mission in 1969.

In the same year, NASA created the Silver Snoopy Award, which is still awarded to this day to people or companies that have played a significant role in a successful manned space mission.

Houston, we have a problem!

The story took a really interesting turn in 1970, when the USA was about to celebrate its third lunar landing. Unfortunately, the Apollo 13 mission went anything but smoothly and turned into one of the most dramatic near catastrophes in the history of space travel: More than 300,000 kilometers away from Earth, a tank of the Saturn V rocket suddenly exploded.

Spoiler Alert: Thanks to a superb crisis management, the great catastrophe was averted, also partly to Omega’s credit.

The story told by Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann himself.

Due to the explosion, the astronauts had to move into the rocket’s lunar module, where oxygen was tight, forcing the astronauts to switch off all electronic devices. Another problem was that the capsule went off-course and would only return by means of a perfectly timed thrust. Therefore, the crew had to burn fuel for exactly 14 seconds to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere at the right angle – otherwise the lunar module would burn up upon entry or be catapulted back into space. With electronic timepieces no longer available, the astronauts were left with nothing but the Omega Speedmaster mechanical chronographs, which actually allowed them to precisely time their life-saving final thrust.

As a result, Omega was awarded the Silver Snoopy Award by NASA the same year on October 5th.

50th Anniversary: Silver Snoopy Award

Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary

To mark the 50th anniversary of this award, Omega got very creative and created a truly special new “Snoopy Speedmaster”. Without going into too much detail about the technical specs of the caliber or the dimensions of the case, it is fair to say that the real star of the show is certainly the caseback. Credit where credit is due.

This is where Omega has mounted a so-called NAIAD LOCK system. It not only offers a breathtakingly beautiful representation of the moon and the earth, but is also a treat for the eyes: Being connected to the small second at 9 o’clock, the earth’s disc constantly turns, thus completing one full rotation every 60 seconds.

Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary Caseback
An animated Snoopy in a Command and Service Module (CSM) flies on a “magical hand”.

But the real highlight is yet to come: When activating the chronograph function, Snoopy magically appears inside his Command and Service Module, as he travels along the dark side of the moon, powered by the chronograph seconds hand on the dial’s front. (In the video, this can be observed in minute 2:37.) This is not only a nifty gimmick, but also a feature that pays homage to the three astronauts of 1970.

The Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary at a glance:

  • Reference: 310.
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Winding: Manual
  • Caliber: Co-Axial Master Chronometer 3861
  • Power Reserve: 50h
  • Strap: Coated nylon fabric strap
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Glass: Sapphire
  • Bezel: Blue ceramic [ZrO2]
  • Water resistance: 50m
  • Features: NAIAD LOCK caseback, Enamel tachymeter scale
  • RRP: 9,160.00 €
Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary

Great news: The watch is not a limited edition, as opposed to its predecessors from 2003 and 2015. However, in view of the large Snoopy fan community and the spectacle on the back of the case, the watch is expected to be highly sought-after once it hits the Omega boutiques at the end of October 2020.

Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary

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Previous comments (4)

  1. This is the best one yet, love it!! Snoopy is very subtly integrated into the dial (loosening it up a bit) and that moon is hands-down the most realistic one yet one a watch.

    October 7, 2020
  2. The cow needs to be milked.

    October 9, 2020
  3. Thank goodness it’s not limited!

    October 15, 2020
  4. Call me narrow-minded, but I wouldn’t want to wear a cartoon character on a 9k watch.

    October 19, 2020