The story between Omega and Snoopy dates back to 1970 when the watchmaker received the Silver Snoopy Award from NASA for its contribution to space exploration and the Speedmaster’s crucial support during the rescue of Apollo 13.
And ever since, Omega has an indivisible bond with outer space and Snoopy.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of this extraordinary occasion, Omega unveils the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary.
Bringing together animation with watchmaking, the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861 driven Snoopy tribute showcases the new realms of design and craftsmanship at Omega.
On the dial, we see Snoopy dressed in his iconic spacesuit, is appeared as an embossed silver medallion on the blue subdial at 9 o’clock. Here, the protagonist, Snoopy, is in the exact style of the prestigious silver pin presented by NASA astronauts to awards recipients. And if you think that’s all, you’re in for a greater wonder.
On the case back, Snoopy goes into the orbit. As the chronograph seconds hand is in use, Snoopy takes a trip around the mysterious far side of the moon just like the Apollo 13 crew.
Showing Omega’s divine attention to detail, the moon is ingeniously accompanied by our mother Earth and the quote “Eyes on the Stars” on the sapphire crystal.
Here, NASA astronauts James Lovell and Thomas Stafford reminisce the moments with Apollo 13 and Omega:
This year marks 50 years since the safe return of Apollo 13. What emotions or memories has the milestone brought back?
James Lovell: Over the years, I’ve kept on thinking about Apollo 13 as a great example of teamwork, particularly between Mission Control and the flight crew. I can still remember the sudden explosion on board, and that feeling of successfully landing in the ocean.
Thomas Stafford: I remember presenting the Snoopy award to Dr. Widmer from OMEGA at a little ceremony in my office. I thanked him and OMEGA watches for the wonderful service they’d given us throughout the space programme, but particularly on Apollo 13, because the Speedmaster was so critical in helping us get safely back to the Earth.
How important was the OMEGA Speedmaster to the Apollo 13 mission?
James Lovell: When the spacecraft clocks stopped, that’s when we required the Speedmaster. 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 Jack Swigert wore.
Thomas Stafford: The Speedmaster meant mission failure or success, because we didn’t have electrical power to turn on timers or computers. So all we had was just the watch. For so many seconds, they would thrust on that descent engine. It was OMEGA that got them back, and for that it was decided that they should receive a Silver Snoopy Award.
What are your memories of Snoopy at NASA? Was he a favourite mascot amongst the astronauts?
James Lovell: Snoopy was real a cartoon favorite who kept showing up in the comic strips wearing a spacesuit. I think the astronauts adopted him because he just did everything right.
Thomas Stafford: Charles Schulz had a great understanding of human nature, and so everybody just loved Snoopy. He was always doing something. And Charlie Brown was always doing something. Snoopy just looked so loveable.
What did the “Silver Snoopy Award” come to represent, and how special is it?
James Lovell: The astronauts adopted the award as a way to really recognise the events and actions that worked well.
Thomas Stafford: If somebody really did something outstanding, really helped in the safety of the overall mission, they would possibly be awarded a little Silver Snoopy pin. They weren’t handed out very often. It was a rare thing. So if you had a Silver Snoopy, it meant that you had done something really outstanding to help the programme. Usually an astronaut awards it, because it’s their life that’s on the line.
Looking back, how important has OMEGA’s contribution to the space programme been?
James Lovell: Quite simply, OMEGA was an essential part to a successful mission.
Thomas Stafford: OMEGA was just an integral part of our total effort in space. When you’re in space, your baseline is time. Everything is based on time. We loved the professional Speedmaster. It worked good. Never failed. It was always just there ready to go.