I would like to use this week’s Fratello Friday to make an educated guess on a new watch that Omega is likely to present during Baselworld 2015 later this month. Almost every year, Omega Replica Seamaster Watches introduces a limited or special-edition Omega Speedmaster to commemorate historical achievements by NASA in which a Speedmaster was involved.
For example, every five years, Omega introduces a Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI limited anniversary edition to commemorate the moon landing in 1969. Last year, it was the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI 45th Anniversary edition (we covered it here), limited to (naturally) 1,969 pieces.
So, going through the list of Apollo missions, we see that Omega would have only a few milestones to commemorate in 2015. There are the 1970 Apollo XIII mission and the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. I also had a look at Space Shuttle missions, (for which the Omega Speedmaster got re-certified; (remember we’ve found one of 56 pieces here?), but it wasn’t until 1981 that the first Space Shuttle (STS-1) mission took place.
Since Omega did an Apollo-Soyuz limited edition in 2009, with a beautiful meteorite dial (we reviewed it here and here) — and in fact had already done others in 1975 (500 pieces only, we talked about it here), and gold versions in 1995 (250 pieces) and 2000 (50 pieces), I think Omega will drop a new Apollo 13 mission limited edition on us this year.
Now, officially,Replica Omega Speedmaster Watches released a limited edition to commemorate the Apollo XIII mission in 1995, and used the same watch for the famous white mission cases (50 pieces in total). The model from 1995 was limited (and numbered) to 999 pieces only. I say officially, because an unofficial, but very much Apollo XIII-related, model came out in 2003: the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award.” I am a bit in the dark as to why Omega chose that year to introduce this watch, but I will make sure to ask Omega in Basel.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Snoopy’ is a much sought-after modern Speedmaster. I did a write-up on how Snoopy ended up on the dial of a Speedmaster in an article for WatchTime.com, which can be found here.
I actually own both the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XIII and the Snoopy Award model, and cherish them both. While the Snoopy watch tells us the story of the accident during the Apollo XIII mission in 1970 in which a Speedmaster came to the rescue, the 1995 Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XIII simply shows a (beautiful) mission patch on the subdial.
Until now, if we look at the Apollo XI mission models, we only saw a mission patch at 3 o’clock, on the Missions Suit Case version of 1998 (here is one that was sold separately, though). We also have Apollo XI models with an inscription in the case band, only on the caseback or using silver or even gold medallions on the subdial. The 45th anniversary Apollo XI model didn’t have anything referring to the mission on the dial, it was just an entirely different execution of the famous “Moonwatch,” with its titanium case and Sedna gold bezel.
So, in other words, chances are pretty slim that Omega Replica Constellation Watches will simply use the official NASA Apollo XIII mission patch again. One of the possibilities is that Omega will use the Snoopy Award again as the commemorative aspect. This would either make it “only” an Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XIII 45th anniversary or an Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award,” version 2. I can’t imagine the latter, as it confuses people. My best guess would be that it will become the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XIII 45th Anniversary edition, hopefully with a Snoopy image somewhere. If Omega indeed decides to include Snoopy somewhere, I hope the company will do it as tastefully as it did with the 2003 Snoopy Award edition. This particular limited edition is a watch from my personal collection that I really cherish.
Also, given the fact that the number of limited-edition Apollo models available has gone down drastically in the last few years, I think you need to act quickly, and as soon as you like what you see, order it. The Apollo XI 45th edition was limited to “just” 1,969 pieces and those skyrocketed out of the boutiques. Now, since Omega knows about the demand for these limited editions, especially the demand for the Snoopy (and the 1995 Apollo XIII model, for that matter), it just may make a few more than 1,970 pieces this time around. That is my hope, anyway. Either that or I’m able to snag one of the 1,970 pieces in time.
Obviously, we’ll have to wait until March 19th to be sure, but I am convinced the parameters for such a watch (i.e, 1970, Apollo XIII) are clear.