Astronaut Snoopy orbits the moon on new Omega Speedmaster
October 5, 2020
— Snoopy is over the moon with a new timepiece celebrating a Swiss watchmaker's role in saving NASA's Apollo 13 mission half a century ago.
Omega launched its new Speedmaster "Silver Snoopy Award" 50th Anniversary chronograph on Monday (Oct. 5), 50 years to the day after NASA honored the company with the comic strip beagle-adorned lapel pin from which the wristwatch derives its name. Bestowed by the astronauts for contributions to flight safety, the Silver Snoopy was awarded to Omega after a Speedmaster was used on the problem-plagued Apollo 13 spacecraft to time a critical engine burn, ensuring that the astronauts were able to return to Earth.
"When the spacecraft clocks stopped, that's when we required the Speedmaster," Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 commander, said in an interview released by Omega. "Without our normal navigation equipment, we had to view the Earth and use it as a guideline. Then we had to burn the engine for 14 seconds and turn it off, so we used the watch that [Apollo 13 command module pilot] Jack Swigert wore."
"It was Omega that got them back, and for that it was decided that they should receive a Silver Snoopy Award," added astronaut Thomas Stafford, who presented the lapel pin to the company on Oct. 5, 1970. "I thanked ... Omega watches for the wonderful service they'd given us throughout the space program, but particularly on Apollo 13, because the Speedmaster was so critical in helping us get safely back to the Earth."
The 50th anniversary "Silver Snoopy Award" Speedmaster features illustrator Charles Schulz's beagle as his astronaut alter-ego. On the watch face, Snoopy appears as an embossed silver medallion on the subdial at 9 o'clock. He is depicted wearing his "world famous" spacesuit, striking the same pose as on the silver pin that NASA's astronauts give to award recipients.
On the caseback is where Astronaut Snoopy lifts off.
"On this special Speedmaster, we have created something we've never done," Raynald Aeschlimann, Omega's president and CEO, said in a video statement. "I hope you feel it is as special as we do."
When the chronograph's seconds hand is in use, an animated Snoopy, riding aboard an Apollo command and service module, takes a trip around the far side of the moon. The lunar surface is rendered using a micro-structured metallization on a sapphire crystal.
Behind the moon, an Earth disc rotates once per minute, in sync with the Speedmaster's small seconds hand. "Eyes on the Stars" is inscribed above the planet, borrowing the quote from an original NASA Snoopy decal design.
The caseback is also engraved "Silver Snoopy Award Oct. 5, 1970" and "Apollo XIII April 1970."
The included nylon fabric strap matches the other blue elements of the watch and features the trajectory of the Apollo 13 mission embossed on its lining. This strap attaches to a stainless steel case, inspired by the model Speedmaster worn on the moon in 1969.
The "Silver Snoopy Award" 50th Anniversary is the third Speedmaster model to commemorate the NASA honor. Omega previously issued Silver Snoopy watches (of different designs) in 2003 and 2015.
The Omega Speedmaster "Silver Snoopy Award" 50th Anniversary chronograph will be available for $9,600 when sales begin in the company's boutiques later this month. It comes packaged in an Apollo 13 presentation box topped by an embroidered Snoopy patch and includes a microfiber cloth with the same design.
"As you can see we are continuously looking for ways to innovate, to tell our story and to celebrate our space heroes of the past and the future," said Aeschlimann.
The Omega Speedmaster "Silver Snoopy Award" 50th Anniversary chronograph celebrates the role the Swiss watchmaker played in saving Apollo 13 and NASA's comic strip beagle-adorned lapel pin presentation in return. (Omega)
Astronaut Snoopy orbits the moon aboard an Apollo command and service module on the animated caseback of the 50th anniversary "Silver Snoopy Award" Speedmaster chronograph. (Omega)
The Apollo 13 trajectory from Earth to the moon and back appears on the lining of the "Silver Snoopy Award" 50th Anniversary Omega Speedmaster nylon fabric strap. (Omega)