One of the more memorable highlights of the 2014 BaselWorld watch fair for us was Omega’s Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award paying tribute to NASA’s Apollo 13 Space Mission.
This new Speedmaster “Snoopy” watch is very different from the 2003 Omega Speedmaster Snoopy Award (which also pays tribute to the Apollo 13 mission). First of all, it has a white dial and features the lovable beagle Snoopy from the “Peanuts” comic strip created by Charles Monroe Schultz (1922 to 2000).
The black-and-white Snoopy is sleeping, lying on its front with eyes closed with the thought bubble caption: “Failure is not an option.”
The phrase in the thought bubble is from one of the lines of the 1995 “Apollo 13” movie whereby Hollywood actor Ed Harris who plays Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz mentions: “We’ve never lost an American in Space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch. Failure is not an option!”
This is very much unlike the Omega 2003 Speedmaster Snoopy Award version with a black dial where the more lively Snoopy is in colour (mainly in blue with a red scarf and red armbands) and appears to be performing what we term “the dance of joy” in a spacesuit with the caption “Eyes on the Stars”.
However, Snoopy comes alive once the case back is viewed in Omega’s 2015 Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award. The dancing Snoopy astronaut seen on the continuous sweep seconds sub-dial of the 2003 Speedmaster is on the rear of the 2015 version. This time, Snoopy is in 925 silver on a silver plate coated with dark blue enamel and “925 silver pallions” that represent the stars.
The Silver Snoopy Award is actually what Omega received from NASA in 1970. This is because the Omega Speedmaster was the on-board back-up timing device for the crew of Apollo 13 which thankfully, managed to return safely back to Earth despite the dangerous life-threatening situation due to the damage suffered from an explosion that ruptured their fuel cell system.
What is worth noting is that owners of this 2015 Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award won’t lose sight of Snoopy easily as this world-famous beagle has luminescence, a feature we just adore.
At the edge of the dial between one and three o’clock is the inscribed question: “What could you do in 14 seconds?”
This is the reference to the crucial 14-second mid-course correction taken by John Swigert, the command module pilot of Apollo 13. It was a much-needed manual engine burn, timed by Swigert’s Omega Speedmaster, that would place them in a free return trajectory using the Moon’s gravity to help “throw” the spacecraft back towards Earth thereby avoiding a long engine burn. [Source: Spaceflight by Giles Sparrow.]
It also explains why this question is spread over the first 14 seconds or minute boxes between one and three o’clock on the white dial.
What is obviously common between the 2003 Speedmaster Snoopy Award and the 2015 Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award is the relative simplicity of the Speedmaster Snoopy dials. This is what we believe is in line with Schulz’s comic strips. As highlighted by Brian Walker in “The Comics: The Complete Collection”, Schulz was “a master of minimalism”.
For watch collectors who are also fans of “Peanuts”, especially the lovable Snoopy character, Omega’s 2015 Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award, is one timepiece worth serious consideration as a collectible.