Folks, it’s that time of year. A time where we see family, eat fantastic food, share time with our loved ones, make some delicious holiday cocktails and drinks, and watch some holiday classic movies and shows. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Christmas is the Peanuts Gang, specifically Snoopy. To tie in the holiday season, I’ve decided to take a deep dive into the horological history of our favourite cartoon beagle. Yes, the best dog in the world has an extensive and vital record in the watch industry.
Timepieces have such an unknown, pivotal role in the modern evolution of humanity. From aviation and motor vehicles to space exploration and mountaineering, a watch has been on the wrists of many innovators and big thinkers for generations. One of the most popular innovative exploration partnerships is Omega’s relationship with space exploration and NASA.
Omega watches have been on the wrists of astronauts and engineers since they qualified for space missions back in 1965 and would later be the first watch on the moon in July of 1969. There are many variations of the Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch,” but one version less often discussed is the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy.” At first, the thought of a wildly imaginative cartoon dog being the representation on a watch is a bit strange, but once you pull back the curtain, it all makes sense.
Snoopy’s first foray with NASA was during the Apollo 10 mission in 1969. The crew named the lunar modules “Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy.” The Peanuts character’s mission started just a year earlier when NASA approached Charles Schulz (the creator of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang) to use Snoopy as their safety mascot. The creation of the “Silver Snoopy Award” was put in place shortly after to instill more significant safety measures and precautions.
The Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy” pays tribute to the award that Omega received in 1970 for their assistance and contributions to space exploration and the efforts to build on their innovative ideas–specifically with their service in the Apollo 13 mission. The Apollo 13 mission was yet another chance to explore the moon. However, it was quickly interrupted when an oxygen tank on the spacecraft exploded, causing many mechanical and electrical issues onboard. After several attempts to make changes and repairs, ground control recommended that astronauts use materials available to return home safely.
So what does Omega have to do with this?
When the Apollo 13 incident occurred, astronauts James Lovell Jr, John Swigert and Fred Haise had to decide how to get the spacecraft safely back into the Earth’s atmosphere and on the ground quickly. Many minutes went by, but what ended up being the very thing that saved them was the Omega Speedmaster worn by all three men on board. The Speedmaster was used to time the ignition of the rockets for the return to earth, and again to time the ignition of the rockets to decrease velocity and speed during re-entry. Accuracy was crucial as one wrong calculation or timing error could have led to an incorrect angle on re-entry and caused a catastrophic end for the crew on board. Thanks to the Omega Speedmaster’s precision, the crew was able to get the perfect angle using the watch and short bursts of the thrusters to make it home safe and sound.
Apollo 13 is an ideal example of the tie-in between the evolution of humanity and horology. From this, Omega has been able to create beautiful tributes to their space exploration history and pay a fantastic tribute to a prestigious award and our favourite cartoon beagle, Snoopy.
Thank you for reading my article, and Happy Holidays.
About the author
Born into a family obsessed with motorsport, Tyler Frederick became enamoured with speed and beautiful cars at a young age. His love of Formula 1–and all things mechanical–eventually lead him to horology. Tyler also writes for Montres Publiques. You can follow him on Instagram.
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