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Missed opportunity or calculated risk – Understanding the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

Missed opportunity or calculated risk - Understanding the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy that was launched on October 5th 2020

Missed opportunity or calculated risk – Understanding the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

Editor’s note: This is a Mind, Body & Soul review of the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy watch. In addition to our standard long form reviews, we sometimes preview watches in the form of short descriptions, technical specifications and a creative infographic. These short form reviews, or Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) reviews as we like to call them, are meant for those who are in a rush and wish to get their watch fix fast. For our standard reviews, please head to our detailed review section here.  

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

What is it: The new Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary 

Why: To commemorate the 50th anniversary of receiving the award from NASA for Omega’s role in the successful failure of the Apollo 13 Space Mission. You would think Omega would release this to take advantage of the hype and price increase in the secondary market of the 45th Anniversary Silver Snoopy version. 

When released: After intense hype and speculation on social media and forums, on October 6th in Australia, albeit late. But what started it? A single Instagram story in mid-April this year by Omega told us to watch for October 5 2020 date and we have been waiting with bated breath ever since.

Where: Should be available globally by October end, and is NOT a limited edition.

Who is it for: For someone with too much love for a comic character or any grail watch enthusiast or any space enthusiast; at least not for flippers evidently though only time will tell.

How does it do: Let’s be honest; the success that the 45th Anniversary version had was always going to be unbeatable. It is of course too soon to even predict how this watch will behave in the retail and grey markets, but one thing seems to be certain, it’s doesn’t come with the cache that the previous version came with. And that’s perhaps a good thing. 

First Impressions: Too expensive and not a limited edition release

Second Impressions: There is much more to the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy than what meets the eye. 

In a nut shell: 

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy
Lens Position: 6554
  • the mesmerising automated case-back lunar show is a wonderful addition that is always kept upright thanks to the NAIAD LOCK system; 
  • the inclusion of the trajectory of the Apollo 13 mission — that also includes the mission’s famous slingshot around the far side of the moon — that is embossed on the underside of the strap is a nice added detail;
  • the bright blue ceramic ring filled with white enamel tachymeter scale that complements the angled shaped hour markers and hands also in blue
  • the colour of the second’s hand in the 9 O’clock sub-dial is also changed to blue
  • another subtle detail on the tachymeter scale with the inclusion of an off-centered dot on top of ’90’ as a nod to Speedmaster’s history
  • the Ag925 Tiffany style Sterling Silver dial with Snoopy embossed inside the 9 o’clock sub-dial wearing his famous spacesuit, a copy of the actual Silver Snoopy Award pin
  • most importantly, the cost adding feature, the upgraded movement calibre 3861 (more on that in a bit)
Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

Missing: There are a few aspects that really make it difficult for me to fully appreciate this release. I would in fact go on to say that I am personally a bit disappointed. 

  • There is not much in terms of novelty when it comes to the dial. The combination of silver and blue is nothing new, neither for horology and especially not for Omega. The 2016 CK2998 was pretty similar to this release. The recent Tokyo LE is pretty much a reverse of this panda dial colour combination. 
  • The Snoopy medallion while true to history is similar to the one released a few years ago, the Speedmaster Professional Snoopy ref. 3578.51 from 2003. 
  • Then unlike the 2015 version, ref. 311., there is no quirky text and writing on the dial, and the individualised approach of handcrafting the caseback with silver dust and blue enamel is missing. 
  • Also, for an improved movement that comes at a premium, I would expect the power-reserve of about 70-hours or more.
  • On the case-back, the Earth disc, which rotates once per minute in sync with the watch’s small seconds hand, along with the moon, are excellently depicted. However, when the chronograph seconds hand is used, Snoopy takes a trip around the far side of the moon, and this Snoopy movement on the case back appears to be a bit too childish and tacky. 
  • No deployant buckle or premium leather strap or a steel bracelet for this price
  • Last but not least, no lume show; come on, one of the charming aspects of the  2015 version was the excessive use of lume, including on the Snoopy. 
  • And when you consider every thing else, including the fact that an important anniversary is not being marked by a limited edition release, the price premium — retails for $14’700 AUD — seems a bit unjustified. Last year’s Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Apollo 11 50th Anniversary stainless steel watch ref. 310. which was limited in numbers and had a bit of gold in it, was still cheaper.
Then there’s this, for less than 10k AUD – TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

The Mind 

The new Omega Speedmaster reference 310. features an in-house manual winding calibre 3861 with a base of Lemania 1873 which unlike the previous versions is driven by this new Co-Axial Master Chronometer METAS certified movement. It is an updated version of caliber 861/1861. The 27mm diameter movement comprises of 26 jewels, beats at the frequency of 3Hz (21,600 Vph), and offers a decent 50-hour power reserve. Featuring a free-sprung balance with silicon balance spring, rhodium-plated finish, and bridges with straight Geneva waves, the calibre 3861 is also resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15’000 gauss. The same movement was also used in last year’s Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Apollo 11 50th Anniversary watch.

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

The new movement is a bit different from the calibre 1861 used in Moon watches until now. For example, the similar-looking  CK2998 form 2016 features the earlier calibre 1861 — based on Lemania 861 — which is a manual-winding chronograph movement featuring a Delrin (a plastic polymer material) chronograph brake and rhodium-plated finish (instead of the copper-plated of the original’s 321 calibre). 

We have discussed the timeline before in our review of the CK2998 that can be read here, but here’s listing it again for ease of reference:

1957 – Speedmaster introduced for the first time. This was intended for racing or sports as the space program involvement wasn’t a reality then. This also validates the new CK 2998’s race inspired aesthetics. The first generation, the 1957 Speedmaster used the reference 2915. This predates 2998. This reference had a few variants over the next couple of years including another collectors’ favourite, defined by the stainless steel bezel and the characteristic broad arrow hands. 

1957 to 1965 – Speedmasters use the Lemania CH 27 calibre. It was a column-wheel controlled, lateral-clutch chronograph movement. Calibre 321 is a derivative of this Lemania CH 27 movement.

1959 – The version CK2915-3 was produced changing the stainless steel bezel to a black aluminium base 1000 bezel and broad arrow hands were changed to alpha hands. Second generation of Speedmasters introduced, based on CK2915-3. These were called CK 2998 and also featured a new movement, calibre 321 that was derived from the existing movement. It was one of these that Walter “Wally” Schirra acquired and wore it during the “Sigma 7” mission in space. 

1959 to 1962/63 – The original Omega Speedmaster CK2998 was in production, eventually replaced by reference ST 105.002.

1959 to 1967 – Calibre 321 used. The moon watch from 1969 Apollo 11 mission used this movement even though by 1969 calibre 321 had been replaced.

1968 – Caliber 861 took over from calibre 321 in mainstream production and was used in subsequent moonwatches after Apollo 11. It increased the frequency from 2.5 to 3Hz, and is the same frequency used in the current watch. 

1996 – Calibre 1861 took over from 861. This is the calibre used in the current CK 2998s.

2016 to 2020 – Calibre 1861 uses for its bas the same Lemania 1873 as the new calibre 3861. Calibre 1861 comprises of 18 jewels, beats at the frequency of 3Hz (21’600 A/h) and is encased inside a 39.7mm diameter and ~14mm thick polished and brushed stainless steel case with a scratch‑resistant sapphire crystal with anti‑reflective treatment. The watch offers a decent 48-hour power reserve though our tests ran it to a slightly lower range, and a water resistance of 50m (5 ATM). 

May 2020 onwards – The new calibre 3861 to be used.

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

The Body 

Same as always.

The movement is encased inside a 42mm diameter stainless steel case with a mixture of polished and satin finishes and a 20mm interhorn spacing. 

The case offers an okay 50m water-resistance, and its most strikingly feature is the blued bezel. A blue nylon fabric strap completes the look. 

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

The new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy watch comes in its own Apollo 13 presentation box, with a micro-fiber cleaning cloth, a brochure, and a magnifying glass to help you get up close to the details. 

The Soul 

After much anxiety ridden suspense filled wait for the Omega watch enthusiasts, Omega finally unveiled the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy in stainless steel, a watch that was supposed (as far as I know) to be released earlier this year in April but was delayed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is released extremely hot on the heels of the last Silver Snoopy from 2015 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the successful failure of the NASA Apollo 13 space mission.

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

Since being part of NASA’s moon expedition some 51 years ago Omega has been close to the hearts of all space and horology enthusiasts, but unlike the last Silver Snoopy, Omega manages to release a watch that could go either way in terms of success or failure.

I’m sure this is not news to anyone reading this but for the brand the last Silver Snoopy made a record of sorts. Retailing for less that $10,000 AUD it saw an increase of 2.5 times within the first 3 years of its release on the grey market. But after it was revealed that Omega will be releasing another Snoopy the prices skyrocketed with the watches being sold on sites such as Chrono24 and Revolution e-shop for around the 55k AUD mark. Mind you, these were used watches. As of writing this article there is a brand new version of the previous Silver Snoopy watch for as high as 78k AUD on Chrono24.

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

This is something even the famed and most lusted after Rolex steel sports watches cannot even command. Such has been the power of the Omega Snoopy watch. It was then no surprise that Omega capitalised on this.

If Omega had done the case-back animation on front, and the strap embossing on top, I would have been all over this release. While I honestly do appreciate these elements, not having them visible is kind of a moot point for the added price. I do appreciate that the dial is actual silver and not silver plated, and that adds the hope of it receiving a nice patina over time. Overall, it’s an excellent release that hopefully the flippers will not want and real enthusiasts can finally have a piece of Omega’s Snoopy; as for me, as sad as I am, I will be passing on this, especially given I already own a CK2998. 

I reckon with this release, Omega was shooting for the moon, and while the effort is excellent and commendable, it slightly falls short. Is this a missed opportunity or a calculated risk? Only time will tell. If this release existed without the past context of the 2015 Silver Snoopy, it would have been one of the most cherished and desired watches of the past few years. It has the elements to make it so, but it just doesn’t surpass the expectations — at least mine — of the previous Snoopy. 

I think there is a quote by the American author of the best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, that summarises this release very well: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy
That’s a nice added detail

Please stay tuned for our hands on detailed review (hopefully) landing here soon.

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy

To find out more about the new Omega Speedmaster Snoopy and other Omega timepieces, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©Copyright OMEGA SA. All rights reserved.

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