In 1970, OMEGA received the prestigious “Silver Snoopy Award” from the astronauts at NASA. The prize recognised OMEGA’s unique contributions to space exploration, as well as the Speedmaster’s role in saving Apollo 13.
To commemorate the 45th anniversary of the momentous Apollo 13 mission, Omega released the hottest watch they have ever produced, coined the “Snoopy 2”. Now, in 2020, 50 years after the Apollo 13 mission, Omega reintroduced Charles Schulz’ legendary pooch, with the launch of the Silver Snoopy Speedmaster.
But which is best? Snoopy 2, or the Silver Snoopy?
The biggest draw of 2015, Snoopy 2, was the whimsical approach Omega took when designing the dial of the watch. Leaning heavily on the comic strip origins of the Snoopy character, the watch featured a monochromatic design language, seldom seen on a Speedmaster previously.
The sub-dials playfully featuring a snoozing Snoopy, in what became a trademark characteristic of the dog, seen here dreaming the famous line “Failure is not an option.” The minutes track of the piece segmented for the first 14 marks, in a throwback to comic book style page layouts, asks the question, what can you do in 14 seconds? A reference to the teamwork, quick thinking, ingenuity and courage that brought Commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise home safely.
The Easter eggs don’t end there with the dial of the 45th-anniversary model, the Snoopy 2 also features a fully lumed Snoopy as well as cleverly lumed indexes which shine from their borders as opposed to the traditional setup for Speedmaster watches.
The newer model, the Silver Snoopy anniversary edition, features a more traditionally designed dial. Of course, Snoopy is a prominent figure, and he remains at 9 O’clock, although seen here donning a space suit and floating amongst the stars. Gone are the days of black and white, Snoopy has embraced the blue dial trend some would suggest has been plaguing the industry, although the shade employed here is very tasteful take on the fashion. The dial is comprised of silver and is laser engraved with “Ag925” just above the centre pinion, with Snoopy also being comprised of the precious metal.
The dial of the Silver Snoopy is not quite so jammed packed with cute nods to history as the previous model, but when you turn it over, the fun really begins.
Flipping over the Snoopy 2, the wearer is treated to a large silver medallion, depicting Snoopy in the same fashion as the Nasa Snoopy award pin. This large medallion is protected by a gently domed sapphire covering the case back, an unnecessary but none the less welcome addition.
Snoopy is seen floating in the void, which is constructed with blue enamel and hand-applied silver flakes representing the stars above. Omega has a proven flare for case backs, and as solid case backs go, this one isn’t half bad.
However, when it comes to case backs, the Silver Snoopy reaches the final frontier in style.
On the NAIAD LOCK case back, a vision of the far side of the moon has been decorated on the sapphire crystal using micro-structured metallisation. Here, Snoopy really does enter orbit inside his Command and Service Module (CSM) on a magical hand. When the chronograph seconds hand is used, Snoopy takes a trip around the far side of the moon, which has been decorated on the sapphire crystal using a unique micro-structured metallisation. There is also an Earth disc, which rotates once per minute in sync with the watch’s small seconds’ hand.
The case back of the Silver Snoopy anniversary edition might be the best closed case back ever created. Its ingenuity and creativity are thoroughly deserving of both the Apollo and Schulz legacies.
The Snoopy 2 is powered by the Omega calibre 1861, an at the time modern interpretation of the calibre that flew in the Apollo 13 mission. The hand wound chronograph calibre provides 48 hours of power reserve, and was the mainstay movement for all mainline Speedmasters from 1996.
That does mean however, that by the introduction of the Snoopy 2, the calibre was broaching some 20 years of service, with little to no adjustments or improvements during that time.
Whilst the calibre 1861 can certainly be regarded as a workhorse chronograph movement, Omega significantly upgraded the internals of the Silver Snoopy, opting for the modern calibre 3861.
A Manual-winding chronograph movement with Co-Axial escapement. Certified Master Chronometer, approved by METAS, resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. Free-sprung balance with silicon balance spring. Rhodium-plated finish, bridges with straight Geneva waves.
This is Omega once again flexing its Swatch group power, few brands are able to consistently produce such exceptional calibres, almost none at the scale in which Omega is able to.
Let’s face it, if you are seriously considering which of the two Snoopy watches to purchase, you are in a genuinely enviable dilemma, and one that realistically has no wrong option.
When it comes to these two watches, Omega showcases what collectors love about the brand and the hobby at large. Omega presents a playfulness dial side of the Snoopy 2, a watch that will bring a sense of almost childlike fantasy to the wearer each time they check their wrist.
With the new Silver Snoopy, that fantasy is reserved to the case back, and whilst it is an extraordinary showcase of just what can be achieved with an often forgotten part of a watch, you can’t help but wonder just how often its magic will go forgotten simply due to it being on the back of the watch.
Although the Snoopy 2 is significantly less technically impressive, with a now outdated movement and without the tricks of the latest interpretation, the joyful expression and honesty to both the legacies of the Snoopy character, and the Apollo missions cannot be understated. The Snoopy 2 is a special watch, and has stood the test of time. That is why if it were up to me, the Snoopy 2 would be in my watch box tomorrow given the choice.