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Space, Omega Speedmaster, Snoopy and of course movies

Space, Omega watches, Snoopy and of course movies

Does anyone remember the brilliant Live in space on Channel 4 with Dermot O’Leary back in March 2014? It made excellent, interesting television. It captured my imagination wondering how amazing it would be to see the planet the way these brave astronauts see it. The sights, colours and the sense of freedom must feel amazing. There were perils which I have never thought possible in space such as drowning! If you have not seen the series then you must! It made me think about how these amazing astronauts rely on each other to stay safe and how vital their equipment is to them. There is one piece of equipment that we are going to look at that has gone through severe tests to make sure it can withstand all types of conditions and pass NASA’s high standards so there is minimal risk of it faltering. It is of course the trusty watch. Only a few brands of watches made it through to be considered for space flight they included Rolex, Breitling and Omega. Only one watch made it through under conditions of zero gravity and magnetic fields, extreme shocks, vibrations and temperatures ranging from -18 to +93 degrees Celsius. This watch was the Omega Speedmaster which passed every single test thrown at it.

 

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The Omega Speedmaster as worn on the moon by Apollo astronauts

On 1st March 1965, the Omega Speedmaster chronograph was flight qualified by NASA for all manned space missions. The watch later became known as the Moonwatch. Its most famous mission being the Apollo 11 spaceflight that saw the first time ever humans walking on the surface of the moon on the 20th July 1969. The landing was watched by an estimated 600 million viewers live on television.

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Buzz Aldrin seen here wear his Omega Speedmaster on his right wrist

SNOOPY

Unbeknownst to many, Snoopy, from the Peanuts comic strip who was created by Charles M Schulz became a very important symbol in space missions. NASA wanted to use a symbol that was well known and would be accepted by the public. The ‘Snoopy award’ was to be awarded to individuals and companies for outstanding contributions to human space flight and mission success. Charles M Schulz who was an avid supporter of the space program, welcomed the idea of using Snoopy for the award and agreed to let NASA use “Snoopy the Astronaut” at no cost and the award is still used today.

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Omega earning the “Snoopy Award” the highest distinction awarded by NASA

Omega watch company received the Snoopy award on 5th October 1970 in recognition of the role their Omega Speedmaster played on the Apollo 13 mission. Omega launched a special Speedmaster ‘Snoopy’ watch, a limited edition of 5441 were made after the elapsed time of 142 hours 54 minutes and 41 seconds. Working here at Hoppers I have been lucky enough to have seen one of these rare, stunning watches in the flesh and just wish I could have had it for my own collection! A good condition pre-owned ‘Snoopy’ watch will cost you £4,500 – £5,000

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Omega ‘Snoopy’ Speedmaster celebrating the Snoopy award made in a limited number of 5441 also shown is the case back design which is engraved with the limited edition number

Another Speedmaster worth noting in our space theme is the Omega Speedmaster Apollo Soyuz 35th Anniversary Chronograph, famous for its meteorite dial. The dial has been created from a meteorite which survived entry into our planet’s atmosphere and the high speed impact with the planet surface. The meteorite’s unusual structure is the result of the very high temperature it reaches when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, followed by it naturally cooling. The dial is a single piece cut from the meteorite and what makes it even more special is that no two pieces of meteorite are exactly alike making each watch absolutely unique. This model normally sells for around £5,000

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The Speedmaster Apollo Soyuz 35th Anniversary Chronograph. The inner dials show the meteorite’s natural colour

As you may have guessed from previous articles not only do I love items to do with the jewellery trade, I also love a visit (or two) to my local cinema. I can’t help but notice what actors and actresses wear in these big blockbusters. As the theme today is space, Omega and the Speedmaster model I’m going to share with you what I’ve noticed over the years. I’ll keep it short but of course interesting!

Film: Apollo 13

As mentioned earlier in the article the Omega Speedmaster played a very important role in life saving time keeping on the Apollo 13 mission. In 1995 the historical docudrama hit movie Apollo 13 depicts astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise aboard Apollo 13 for America’s third Moon landing mission. En route, an on board explosion deprives their spacecraft of most of its oxygen supply and electrical power, forcing NASA’s flight controllers to abort the Moon landing and turning the mission into a struggle to get the three men home safely. Tom Hanks who plays Jim Lovell is shown below before the actual mission doing what we all have done, staring at the moon imagining what it would be like to actually step onto it with feet crunching into all that lovely moon dust! This screen capture shows Tom Hanks wearing his Omega Speedmaster which were given by NASA to each of the Apollo astronauts.

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Tom Hanks measuring the size of the moon with his thumb complete with his Omega Speedmaster

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Bill Paxton who played Fred Haise is shown to be wearing the same model but on an X X long strap!

Film: Minority Report

While watching the 2002 futuristic thriller I couldn’t help but notice Tom Cruise wearing a very futuristic model of Omega, the Omega Speedmaster X-33. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea but for me its such an unusual model for Omega that its a real gem and an antique of the future. It may be a quartz watch but it is a true instrument crammed with many different functions. It’s worth noting that during this scene in the movie the watch changes from being an Omega Speedmaster X-33 to actually morphing into a Bvlgari watch which is another quality prestige make of watch. If I was to guess neither watch company would have appreciated the fact their watch brands shared the same ‘watch’

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The X-33 Speedmaster before it ‘morphs’ into a Bvlgari watch in hit film Minority Report

The X-33 nick named ‘The Mars Watch’ was to follow in the footsteps of the ‘Moonwatch’ and as before the watch has gone under thorough tests and is built for working in harsh environments. It has a lightweight, ultra resistant titanium case. The watch case is reinforced so that the watch can withstand great shocks and at the request of the astronauts the digital display is large to make it clear and easy to read. The watch is still used and in service at NASA but was discontinued in 2006 to the public.

1The Omega Speedmaster X-33 original ‘Mars’ promotional advert

     Film: Gravity

As you’ve learnt from this article the watch of choice in a space setting is the only watch to have been qualified for every NASA piloted flight since 1965 and that watch is the Omega Speedmaster. Perfect even in a science fiction thriller keeping the movie as authentic as possible. So it comes to no surprise that during the 2013 hit movie Gravity the watch is worn by George Clooney who plays Matt Kowalski. Another reason will be due to the fact that George Clooney is an Omega ambassador!

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George Clooney with his Omega Speedmaster Professional in 2013 hit movie Gravity

HOPPERS WE HAVE A PROBLEM…

But fear not! keep an eye on our pre-owned watches section on our website or visit us at the shop as we get stock on a weekly basis, better still if you have a watch/model in mind, get in contact with us and we will do our very best to source your ideal watch for you. All pre-owned prestige watches have to pass Team Hopper’s high standards. Condition is everything and each watch is fully serviced and put in to our shop window and website along with full warranty.

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TEAM HOPPER WILL RETURN…

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