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Space Mission Watches

by Michael Weare
23 June, 2011
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Buzz Aldrin on the moon

With the space shuttle Atlantis preparing for the final mission of the U.S. shuttle program on July 8th it’s a time for reflection. During its 30-year history the shuttle fleet – Columbia, Atlantis, Challenger, Discovery, and Endeavour – has logged more than 825 million kilometres of space travel.

The space age – which actually turned into a space race between America and Russia – officially began 50 years ago when Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space. As a tribute, Naveen Kumar has listed some of the watches that made their way into space.

Omega Speedmaster

Buzz Aldrin Omega Speedmaster

The manual winding Omega Speedmaster was worn during the first American spacewalk aboard Gemini 4 and it was also the first watch worn on the moon during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. The Omega Speedmaster was strapped to Buzz Aldrin’s spacesuit when he landed on the moon.

TAG Heuer stopwatch

TAG Heuer stopwatch

When U.S. astronaut John Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 “Friendship 7″ spacecraft on the first manned U.S. orbital mission in 1962, he was wearing a Heuer stopwatch Reference 2915A. To make it fit over the spacesuit, there were elastic bands attached to it. As a result TAG Heuer became the first Swiss watchmaker in space.

Breitling Navitimer

Breitling Navitimer

This is the first watch worn by an American in space. Scott Carpenter wore his Breitling Navitimer on the Aurora 7 Mission on May 24, 1962. Moreover, it’s the first space watch featuring a 24-hour display. The company, at that time, decided to continue with the production of this model and named it Cosmonaute Navitimer.

Sturmanskie Sputnik

Yuri Gagarin Sturmanskie Sputnik Limited Edition

While the first watch on the moon was an Omega Speedmaster, the very first watch worn in space was the Poljot Sturmanskie Sputnik, whose specially extended strap was on the wrist of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin when he became the first human to journey into outer space. His Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961.

Strela chronograph

Alexei Leonov Strela Watch

In 1965, when cosmonaut Alexi Leonov became the first astronaut to walk in space, he was wearing the Strela chronograph. He spent 12 minutes and 9 seconds outside the spacecraft. The watch was discontinued in 1979.

So is the American space program completely over? Apparently not. NASA expects to start testing the shuttle’s replacement, the Orion spacecraft, with astronauts on board sometime in 2013. Maybe we will see some more commemorative watches in time to come.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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