How Snoopy Ended Up On An Omega Speedmaster Dial
Omega has produced a number of limited editions through the years based on the original Speedmaster Professional. It is wise to start with perfection and see how you can create collector timepieces that commemorate something amazing. One of these timepieces is the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award”. While many folks might not appreciate this timepiece because of the cartoon aspect, limited editions appreciate in market value, as well this one does signify a major historical event. If you have ever wondered how Snoopy ended up on the Omega Speedmaster Dial, here is the story. NASA chose the famous beagle in 1968 to become the mascot over its missions, as well they also used a sterling silver Snoopy pin as a appreciation gift to NASA employees and contractors, along with a commendation letter and signed framed Snoopy certificate. Also each of the label pins has been flown during a NASA mission. The creator of the Peanuts character, Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, gave permission to NASA to use the figure at no cost, and even drew the figure for them to use. In preparation for the Apollo11 Moon landing mission, Apollo 10 flew to the moon to do final checks in May of 1969. The mission required the lunar module to check the surface and basically ‘snoop’ around for best landing site, and the crew consisting of Gene Cernan, John Young, and Thomas Stafford nicknamed the LM ‘Snoopy’. Time passed, we had walked on the moon and in 1970 the Apollo 13 mission was being designed. NASA astronauts, Lovell, Swigert and Haise were assigned to the mission and they were supposed to explore the Fra Mauro formation area of the moon. The crew didn’t make it that far as there was an explosion on board about 200,000 miles from Earth and the ground control had to find a solution for them to repair the module. Using material on board, they made repairs and began their journey back to Earth. For anyone who is not familiar with this story, you should take time to watch the 1995 movie titled, ‘Apollo 13’ starring Tom Hanks. You might be wondering what this has to do with the Omega Speedmaster timepiece, and surprised to find out the critical role it played in this story. The Apollo 13 crew first used the watch to time ignition of the rockets to shorten the estimated length of return to earth and second they used it to time the ignition of the rockets to decrease speed and raise the flight path angle for re-entry into the atmosphere. While this might seem insignificant, this was crucial in survival. Any mistake in the timing could have shifted the entry angle and resulted in potential disaster for the crew. Since NASA used the Snoopy award for outstanding efforts or contributions it was not a surprise that on October 5, 1970 this award was presented to Omega Speedmaster to acknowledge the role that timepiece played in the Apollo 13 mission. Omega introduced the Speedmaster Snoopy to commemorate this milestone, along with limited and numbered edition, 5,441 pieces. They didn’t just make up that number, it also had meaning, representing the 142 hours, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds the mission lasted. Introducing this timepiece 33 years after the Apollo 13 mission has no significance that we can find. Most of the limited editions have been related to an anniversary or specific date, like a 30th or 35th but not this one. You might think that producing 5,441 would make them easy to find but that is not the case. Finding an original with the anthracite (Snoopy) box, certificate of authenticity with the matching number on caseback, and of course the original Snoopy appreciation certificate can be a challenge, as well as pricey. So now you know the history of how Snoopy became an astronaut and have more appreciation for the Omega Speedmaster Snoopy Dial. You certainly don’t have to be a horological expert or a collector to love this piece, you simply have to love Charlie Brown and the gang, especially Snoopy!