There is seemingly no end to the amount of Speedmaster Limited Editions Omega can come up with - but to paraphrase George Orwell "All Speedmasters are equal, but some Speedmasters are more equal than others". Enter the Apollo 13 45th Anniversary 'Silver Snoopy Award' Limited Edition.
There is perhaps no other contemporary Speedmaster as beloved in the collector community as this playful expression from 2015 - paying homage to the 'Snoopy Award' designation bestowed on contractors and suppliers directly by astronauts for outstanding performance contributing to flight safety and mission success during the Apollo program.
Legendary Peanuts comic creator (and fan of the space program) Charles Shultz licensed the Snoopy name and image to NASA for this usage, and this fun Speedmaster features the likeness of everyone's favorite flying ace on the dial and case back, adding a touch of whimsy to professional-grade chronograph. With copious amounts of luminous material on the dial, handset and bezel and a solid silver Snoopy clad in a spacesuit emblazoned on the backside, this hefty Speedmaster was a runaway success when it launched in 2015 and continues to rise in value and popularity today.
This particular example, number 331/1970, remains in near mint condition showing only faint signs of wear from careful handling. It also comes complete with its full set of boxes, books, papers, and cards - a collector grade example!
The Speedmaster Story
After touching the lander down on the lunar surface, Buzz Aldrin transmitted to Houston control these words, nary more than a whisper, the first communication between human beings not concurrently on the same planet.
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon for the first time, his Omega Speedmaster was in the module serving as a backup for its electric timer that had malfunctioned. It was Aldrin who, following Armstrong to become the second human to walk on the moon, introduced the Speedmaster to the lunar surface.
Today, Omega has become synonymous with the Apollo missions, the moon landing and space exploration in general. The provenance of the brand, driven by the incredible reliability and functionality of the watches that they produced throughout the space era is second to none. But at the heart of the moon missions, at the core of their objective, was the intrinsic human desire to explore, to crest the horizon and, undaunted, step forth into the unknown.
NASA approved the Speedmaster for its space missions because it was the best, most accurate timepiece they could find, and testing revealed that it needed no modification in order to remain functional under the duress of space flight. NASA was concerned with accuracy, durability and usability; they didn't care about Omega's history, they needed a tool that could accompany humans on a mission to the moon and help them get back safely. They exposed the Speedmaster to high and low temperatures, blasted it with vibrations, challenged it with g-force extremes and submitted it to high and low pressure. Through it all, the Speedmaster ticked on, proving that it could go where no watch had ever gone before.
Today the Omega Speedmaster is often regarded by collectors and enthusiasts to be the single most important wristwatch ever made, if for no other reason than that it accompanied us on mankind’s greatest feat – touching down on and exploring a heavenly body.
While most of the Omega Speedmasters in circulation haven’t left Earth’s atmosphere, we can all take a certain amount of pride in knowing that they could – and would continue to perform just as they would down here on the ground. When you stop and think about all that entails, that’s really saying something.