Tag Archives: 3578.51.00

Omega Speedmaster Professional: four aficionado’s talk

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3650.50.00 Apollo XI 30th Anniversary

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3650.50.00 Apollo XI 30th Anniversary

This was written for the The Ace List by Ace Jewelers, in which it first appeared

The Omega Speedmaster Professional is a watch we just love to talk about, due to its interesting background. In 1957 Omega introduced this line of chronographs and since then, many different Speedmaster Chronographs have been produced. Rightly so the ‘Moonwatch’ was the first watch worn by an astronaut walking on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. We have asked four of our dear friends to tell something personal about their own Omega Speedmasters.

Tim Koppelman: Ref. 3560.50.00 ‘Apollo XI 30th Anniversary’, limited edition of 9999, 1999 [pictured above]

“When you grow up you notice that fictional heroes are great but actual heroes like the astronauts on the Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969, are even greater. Knowing that the Moonwatch was actually worn in space by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was what made me want a Speedmaster Professional. When I found this special, not so limited (9999 were made), edition I just had to buy it. The inscription on the case back says: “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.” The exact words Armstrong used to announce the 1969 moon landing. The date and exact time of the moon landing are also engraved on the case-back. How cool is that?!”

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3595.52.00 Apollo XIII 25th Anniversaryv

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3595.52.00 Apollo XIII 25th Anniversaryv

Robert-Jan Broer: Ref. 3595.52.00 ‘Apollo XIII 25th Anniversary’, limited edition of 999, 1995

“The Speedmaster (Professional) has a magical appeal; not just because of its real history with links to the NASA Apollo program, but also because it is a timeless design with a perfectly readable dial. Whether you opt for a brand-new Moonwatch or one that is 50 years old, they are all interesting models and often there is a fascinating story behind the watch, explaining what made the owner choose the Speedmaster.”

Fun fact: Robert-Jan is the founder of leading watch blog FratelloWatches.com and every Tuesday they write about Speedmasters. They even named it #SpeedyTuesday.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3578.51.00 Snoopy Award

Omega Speedmaster Professional 3578.51.00 Snoopy Award

Systke Hermans: Ref. 3578.51.00 ‘Snoopy Award’, limited edition of 5441, 2003

“Watches have only been a serious obsession with me for the past two years or so. When my husband bought his first Omega Speedmaster I was sold as well! My first ‘Speedy’ was the 57 Co-Axial with blue dial and red hands. But I already had my eye on the Moonwatch Snoopy Award, too. As a girl I was a fan of Snoopy, so I just had to have it. After a long search I found one, number 2125/5441. In all honesty, I think the case-back on this watch is even more beautiful than the front and I would prefer to wear the ‘Snoopy’ the wrong way round. I was ‘over the moon’ when Omega announced the Silver Snoopy Award at BaselWorld. Of course I ordered it right away, because you can never have enough ‘Snoopys’.”

Omega Speedmaster Professional 311. Racing / TinTin

Omega Speedmaster Professional 311. Racing / TinTin

Gerard Nijenbrinks: Ref. 311. ‘Racing / Tintin’, regular production, 2013-2015

“The design of a watch dial is very important for its attraction to me. It’s the interface with the human wearing and using it. For me the dial of the Omega Speedmaster Professional is simply perfect. There’s a lot of information available, however there’s nothing excessive (luckily not even a date) and the most important function, telling the time, is extremely easy to read in all light conditions. Almost equally important is the presence of the handwound Lemania-based chronograph movement. It’s right up there with the greatest chronograph movements in the world.”

Speedy of the Week: 2013 #39

Omega Speedmaster Professional Eyes on the Stars 3578.51.00

Omega Speedmaster Professional Eyes on the Stars 3578.51.00

First of all – we probably owe you an apology. Last two weeks have been kinda slow on SpeedyWatches.com. Work and other obligations took their toll.. But we’re here now!

Our choice for the Speedmaster of the Week for week 39 is [of course] another one of our favourites: the Eyes on the Stars, a.k.a. the Snoopy. To horological ignoscenti (does that word exist??) probably one of the strangest Speedmasters ever – a cartoon character on a high-end watch? – but to those in the know a token of Omega’s contributions to NASA’s space program.

The ‘Silver Snoopy Award’ is a special honour awarded to NASA employees and contractors for outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success (source). Omega has been a part of the space program since it’s early days – but the Snoopy Award was awarded to Omega for a special occasion:

In April 1970, the OMEGA Speedmaster contributed to the rescue of the Apollo 13 mission from a potential disaster, earning OMEGA the “Snoopy Award”, the highest distinction awarded by the NASA astronauts. (source)

While Omega puts it somewhat more dramatically than NASA (or Wikipedia) does, it is still a mayor achievement – one that was aptly celebrated with this 2003 Speedmaster Professional. It was made as an limited edition of 5441 pieces – but still, it is somewhat hard to find at a decent price nowadays.

You might want to check out the movie about Apollo 13 – IMDB link!

Press Release – Omega Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award

Omega Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award 3578.51.00

Omega Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award 3578.51.00

Since the very beginnings of space exploration, the OMEGA Speedmaster has been the only timepiece flight-qualified by NASA for extra-vehicular use on manned space missions. Snoopy has also been linked with space for over three decades: the Apollo 10 lunar module was called Snoopy and the popular cartoon dog was chosen as the emblem for NASA’s most prestigious award. OMEGA now presents a special limited-edition Speedmaster Professional chronograph in recognition of having itself received the Snoopy Award.

People have always liked to read what Snoopy had to say and his popularity at the time of the Apollo lunar program had already been confirmed by the Apollo 10 crew, who had named their lunar module after him and their command module after Snoopy’s human pal Charlie Brown. Snoopy was therefore chosen as the watchdog for NASA’s prestigious manned flight awareness award because he was a character that everyone could associate with. The “Silver Snoopy” is still awarded today, both to individuals and companies for outstanding efforts that contribute to the success of human space flight missions.

The coveted award comprises a sterling silver pin, which has flown aboard the Space Shuttle, in the form of Snoopy wearing a space helmet and space suit. Recipients are also presented with a certificate and a letter of commendation, personally signed by an astronaut, citing the astronauts’ appreciation of their outstanding performance. OMEGA received its Snoopy Award on 5 October 1970 in recognition of the crucial role that its Speedmaster chronograph played on the Apollo 13 mission. Individually signed by each of the three crew members, the certificate reads as follows:

“For dedication, professionalism and outstanding contributions in support of the first United States Manned Lunar Landing Project Apollo The NASA Astronauts team recognizes the achievements of OMEGA Watch Company Switzerland.”

Apollo 13 was to have been the third mission to land on the Moon, but an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks crippled the spacecraft during flight and the crew were forced to orbit the Moon to place the spacecraft on a free-return trajectory which would take them back to Earth. In order to conserve power for the return to Earth, the module was powered down except for environmental control. As such, the only functioning timing device on board was the OMEGA Speedmaster, which the crew relied on to perform two operations: firstly to time ignition of the rockets to shorten the estimated length of the return to Earth and secondly to time ignition of the rockets to decrease speed and raise the flight path angle for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. This second operation was crucial, since any mistake in the timing could have led to an incorrect entry angle and, as a result, potential disaster for the crew.

At the time OMEGA received the Snoopy Award, a record 450 Speedmaster chronographs were being produced each day. Thanks to its unique space-proven pedigree, the Speedmaster remains as popular today as it did then. The classic Moon Watch retains the same look it had at the time of the Apollo programme – a polished stainless steel case with tapered and facetted lugs, steel bezel with black aluminium ring and tachometer scale and hesalite crystal. The matt black dial is also typical of the Speedmaster, together with the luminous hands and hour markers and 1/5th of a second graduations for the chronograph. As it was originally supposed to fulfil a remit for a “robust and reliable” chronograph, the Speedmaster also has a screw-in case back that ensures it is water resistant to 30 metres.

The movement in the Speedmaster Professional also remains the same, with the exception of certain improvements to bring it in line with the latest technical standards. This is hardly surprising, since the original calibre 861 is one of the masterpieces in watchmaking history. The fact that the Speedmaster Professional is still today flight-qualified by NASA and chosen for the same purpose by the Russian space agency, despite great leaps in progress since the era of the first Speedmasters, is testament enough to the extraordinary reliability of this movement. The current derivative in the Speedmaster Professional is OMEGA calibre 1861, a manual-winding chronograph movement with a power reserve of 45 hours. The hand-wound movement is perfect for use in outer space, since, unlike self-winding movements, it does not rely on the force of gravity (absent in the vacuum of space) for winding.

The limited-edition Snoopy Award version of this watch has the award patch inset in colour into the continuous seconds counter at 9 o’clock on the dial. The same colourful design, with its “Eyes on the Stars” motto, is reproduced on the watch’s special case back. A striking effect is achieved by both etching and painting the emblem on to a sapphire crystal case back, which adds an extra dimension to the colours against the light. This highly collectable timepiece is available exclusively in stainless steel with a stainless steel bracelet and production is limited to 5441 numbered pieces, with the unusual number reflecting the elapsed time of the Apollo 13 mission: 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds.