We take a closer look at one of the rarer 'Snoopy' editions, which happens to also be up for auction!
The world of Swiss watchmaking is generally considered to be quite a sober and serious one, with not much space for overt levity: especially when we’re dealing with the very icons of the industry. Like the Omega Speedmaster, for instance. But you know what? That isn’t actually true.
The very first living being in space was an unfortunate Russian dog named Laika, who inadvertently gained a one-way ticket aboard Sputnik in 1957. Now, there’s another, even cuter canine associated with the space programme – and this time, there’s definitely a happy ending.
The ‘Snoopy’ Speedmasters are amongst the most collectable of the lot, released to mark significant anniversaries of the ‘Silver Snoopy’ award that Omega received from NASA astronauts to mark the brand’s contribution to space exploration.
The Silver Snoopy award itself is a small solid silver Snoopy pin badge that has actually been flown during a NASA mission, which comes complete with a certificate of authenticity.
Omega was so delighted with this award – a rare privilege handed out to very few people or organisations – that it decided to create a series of Speedmaster watches to commemorate the honour. The most recent one is the 50th anniversary watch released last year, which had everyone in raptures as a special complication sent Snoopy ‘flying’ to the far side of the moon across the display case back, whenever the chronograph was engaged.
But this 'Snoopy', offered for sale by our favourite auction site, www.watchcollecting.com, is the Apollo XIII 45th Anniversary edition, which came out in 2015. It commemorates the 45th anniversary of Apollo 13 and Omega’s Silver Snoopy award, and it’s instantly recognisable with the small Snoopy nestling in the subdial at 9 o’clock. You normally think of Speedmasters as having a black dial, but this one is a brilliant white, making it so distinctive. The hands are black, as are the applied indices, which provide perfect contrast: a bit like the traditional black and white format of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip of which Snoopy is the key protagonist.
But the real history behind this watch is echoed in the inscriptions you find all over it. Right in the middle of the dial is written: “Failure is not an option!” That’s not only a great motto for life, but also a very real reflection of the situation aboard Apollo 13, with the astronauts risking the same fate as Laika if they got it wrong. Then, there’s another inscription between zero and 14 seconds that reads: “what could you do In 14 seconds?” Quite a lot, as it turns out, because this is a direct reference to one of the many improvised course corrections carried out by the Apollo 13 astronauts (and timed by Speedmaster) in order to save their skins.
The rest is pretty familiar: you don’t gratuitously meddle with a winning Speedmaster recipe, after all. The case is the usual 42 millimetres, featuring a black ceramic bezel complete with luminescent tachymeter scale.
But the best bit is saved to last, when you turn the watch over. The case back consists of a Snoopy medallion made from sterling silver, instantly calling the prized Silver Snoopy award to mind. You’ll find hand-sprinkled silver powder on the blue enamel base, which gives the impression that Snoopy is floating in space in his space suit. And engraved above him is the motto: “eyes on the stars” – which is what we would all do well to keep in mind (avoiding the “head in the gutter” part).
The watch that’s up for auction now on Watch Collecting is numbered 1771 of 1970 (naturally) and comes with its box and papers. It’s described as being in excellent condition, with just some minor signs of wear on the case. With many being currently offered for sale circa £40k, auction may well prove to be the best way to grab yourself something that’s out of this world right now!