Speedy Tuesday — The first Omega Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award 50 years ago, the Speedmaster saved the Apollo 13 crew by Robert-Jan BroerFebruary 25, 2020 MIN READSpeedy Tuesday — The first Omega Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. It is perhaps the most talked-about mission besides the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The mission that had a rough start, to begin with, and almost ended with a fatal accident in space.
The Speedmaster didn’t fix the issue onboard the Apollo 13 service module at approximately 200,000 miles distance from Earth, but it did play an important role in the safe return of astronauts Haise, Swigert, and Lovell. You can read all about it in the article explaining why there’s a Snoopy on the dial that I wrote a few years back.
Omega was awarded NASA’s Silver Snoopy Award in October 1970 for the role played by the Speedmaster during the Apollo 13 mission. Subsequently, Omega’s design team came up with the idea to put the famous Beagle on the 9 o’clock sub-dial as well as the case back.
Omega Speedmaster Snoopy Award 3578.51
For some weird reason, Omega introduced its first Speedmaster Snoopy in 2003. It wasn’t exactly a specific anniversary for it. The watch was just suddenly there. And remember, in those days watchmakers were in the early stages of understanding how to effectively communicate new releases. There was nothing like the amazing exposure they get these days from social media, magazines like ours, and advertisements. It was completely silent in 2003. Perhaps that was also the reason the Speedmaster Snoopy Award 3578.51 didn’t sell that well in the first few years.
to be brutally honest, I wasn’t a fan at first either. It had something to do with the comic on the dial. But I learned to love the watch after the story about the Apollo 13 was more clear to me. Understanding what Snoopy had to do with it made a big difference. I also like the color scheme of the watch. A bit of blue doesn’t hurt on the dial. The case back is very nice as well. It is perhaps not as spectacular as the later 2015 Silver Snoopy Award version, but it is just as nice. The “Eyes on the stars” medallion on the back is a larger version of the 9 o’clock sub-dial design.
Limited to 5,441 pieces
Omega produced this 2003 Snoopy Award reference 3578.51 as a limited edition (limited to a substantial 5,441 units, but limited nonetheless). Considering Omega’s total production number today (estimated at 750,000 watches), it is roughly two days of the brand’s capacity. It had a production run of no less than 5,441 pieces (referring to the 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds that the mission lasted. A bit of a stretch, but you have to come up with something. 1,970 would have been easier or perhaps even more logical, but at the time Omega decided to go with a larger number.
Acquiring a Speedmaster Snoopy Award
Although the number of 5,441 watches is much larger than most recent Speedmaster limited editions, it is quite difficult to get one (in good condition). Some of them out there have been put together using spare parts for the original Snoopy 3578.51. Be very careful about that. Always make sure everything adds up. The serial number on the case, movement, and warranty cards should match. And when the watch in question comes to the right box(es) and papers, make sure the certificate of authenticity with a number corresponding to what’s on the case back is included.
The box for the Speedmaster Snoopy Award is a bit different from the regular black or red leather box. It is made of this anthracite-colored material that comes close to the white Omega Missions boxes (and the X-33 box). Boxes from that era are known to have some level of deterioration at some point, which is a pity. Best is to preserve them under normal conditions and by using protective paper.
The same mission
I eventually purchased my Speedmaster Snoopy in 2013, together with the Speedmaster Apollo XIII (1995). By sheer coincidence, I bought two watches that commemorate the same mission. I bought these two watches NOS, but I decided to wear them anyway because I think that’s what watches are made for. I have to say it was nice to buy them as NOS because it felt like putting on a new watch, despite one being 10 years old and the other one nearly 20 years old. The watch pictured in this article is not my own watch, to be clear. As you might be able to see, it has never been worn.
Prices are all over the place, but for a complete set it will set you back at least €10,000, and go up rapidly if in unworn condition. Will it go up even more? Let’s hope not, but chances are big that it will if Omega introduces a 50th anniversary model of the Speedmaster Snoopy or Apollo 13.
Is it worth getting one?
When I was in the market for this Snoopy Award from 2003 myself, I had a few difficulties to overcome the premium price tag on it (I think it was like around €5000 in 2013) but decided to do it anyway. The Snoopy was a watch I had been after for quite a while but never ran into a perfect example. Now, almost seven years later, I am happy that I did buy one with a bit of premium. Today, however, prices are different again, but if you find yourself in the same situation, there’s no right or wrong. I just wouldn’t purchase this watch as an ‘investment’ but just to have it in your collection and enjoy it.
You can decide to wear it, which basically leaves you with two options: go for one with some mileage on the escapement or seek for a NOS and make your own history with it. Whether it is Snoopy, Apollo 13 or 2003 commemorating a special year for you, the watch is simply beautiful in my opinion. It is based on the standard Moonwatch reference 3570.50 from that era, but with some details showing it is actually something special. The later Snoopy from 2015 is perhaps even more sought after, but is, in my opinion, a different watch from the standard Moonwatch with black dial.
Brand Omega ModelSpeedmaster Professional 'Snoopy Award'Reference3578.51.00DialBlack with "Eyes on the Stars" patch on the 9 o'clock subdialCase MaterialStainless SteelCase DimensionsDaiemeter: 42mm, Lug-to-lug: 20mmCrystalHesalite (plexi)Case BackScrew-down caseback, "Eyes on the Stars" patch on sapphireMovementCaliber 1861, hand-wound Lémania (1873) based chronograph movement, ticking speed: 21,600vph, power reserve: 48 hoursWater Resistance30 meters / 3 ATMStrapStainless steel braceletFunctionsTime, Chronograph, TachymeterSpecial Note(s)Limited edititon of 5441 pieces from 2003. Watch of the Week
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About the author
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in… read more
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