An adventure in space and time: Omega celebrates its NASA legacy by redesigning the Speedmaster

Celebrating 45 years
Celebrating 45 years since Apollo 13, Omega has redesigned the Speedmaster, the watch chosen by NASA for the astronauts on the space mission. The Speedmaster subsequently won the watchmaker NASA's Silver Snoopy Award
(Image credit: press)

From Olympic timekeeping to being 007's timepiece of choice, Omega (opens in new tab)'s reputation for precision and adventure runs far and deep. Being selected by NASA as its official watch (opens in new tab) in 1965 proves just how great a distance Omega has travelled. Whilst searching for a durable and accurate chronograph to accompany astronauts on its Gemini and Apollo missions, NASA issued a call to watch brands for suitable submissions in 1964. Of the four brands that did respond, only one specimen was able to withstand the rigorous temperature, pressure and vibration tests - Omega's Speedmaster was declared 'flight qualified for all manned space missions' the following year.

Last week, Omega celebrated the 45th anniversary of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission, which, despite going awry, was feted for the ingenuity and courage of its commander Jim Lovell and pilots Jack Swigert and Fred Haise. In fact, it was on Omega's Speedmaster chronograph, strapped on with Velcro on top of the astronauts' suits, that Jim Lovell counted those crucial 14 seconds before firing the space module's engines to redirect the ship's return course to earth. Omega was subsequently honoured with the Silver Snoopy Award later in the year - an accolade that's bestowed on NASA employees or contractors for outstanding achievements in flight safety and mission success.

To do this legacy justice, Omega has released a new, redesigned version of its Speedmaster featuring Charles Schulz's lovable canine character on its dial and caseback. Snoopy's image was selected as the face of the award as the cartoons were printed in newspapers and widely recognisable by young and old alike. On the watch, which boasts a white dial, black varnished hands and a polished black ceramic bezel, Snoopy can be found on the small seconds sub-dial at the 9 o'clock marker dreaming - possibly of space travel. He also cheerfully adorns the watch's caseback in full astronaut gear, as he appears in Silver Snoopy Award imagery and on the lapel pin that is bestowed as part of the award. Realised by hand as a silver medallion, no two are alike.

The space references don't stop there. The watch is inscribed with the words, 'What could you do in 14 seconds?' along the first 14 seconds of the dial, while the famous line, 'Failure is not an option', appears in the centre of the watch face. (These words were immortalised by Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz, who was integral in bringing the mission safely back to earth.) With only 1,970 of the watches in production, each is a true collector's piece for the space age and beyond.

Watch for space

In 1964, NASA issued a call to watch brands for a suitably durable and accurate watch for space travel. The Speedmaster was the only watch that survived NASA's rigorous tests (pictured)

(Image credit: press)

Temperature test

The Speedmaster undergoes NASA's temperature test

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The watch was attached to the astronauts' arms

The watch was attached to the astronauts' arms using a Velcro strap on top of their spacesuits

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Apollo 13 mission

On board the Apollo 13 mission

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Omega wins award

Omega wins the Silver Snoopy Award in 1970

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The new speedmaster

The new Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award features Charles Schulz's lovable canine character in the small seconds sub-dial at the 9 o'clock marker, dreaming - possibly of space travel

(Image credit: press)

Omega watch

The celebratory timepiece boasts a white dial, black varnished hands and a polished ceramic bezel

(Image credit: press)

Snoopy award imaginary

Snoopy cheerfully adorns the watch's caseback in full astronaut gear, as he appears in Silver Snoopy Award imagery. Each medallion is handmade and therefore one-of-a-kind

(Image credit: press)

Omega's Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award

Omega's Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award joins the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon edition, which was launched at Baselworld in April, and continues Omega's longstanding space connections

(Image credit: press)

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.