There’s room for more than one watch in space, isn’t there? Of course, you know Omega’s Moonwatch – everyone knows that. But there are more than a handful of other watches with big space stories. Breitling invited us to go to Zurich to meet one of them.
In 1962, NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a Breitling Navitimer as he circled the Earth three times aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft. That was 60 years ago, and Breitling is celebrating the anniversary with a limited edition watch, the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute. .
Carpenter viewed watches not only as a stylish accessory, but also as a tool, especially for traveling through the stratosphere and seeing the world from the great unknown. Before NASA designated the Omega Speedmaster as the watch of choice for the 1964 space program, Carpenter was able to choose his own space watch, keeping an eye on Breitling’s iconic Navitimer.
Carpenter believed the Navitimer would be perfect for space travel, but asked the Swiss watchmaker to make three specific tweaks: a 24-hour dial so he could see the time in space, a ruler simplified calculation for fast navigation calculations and a larger bezel for ease of use while wearing thick gloves. Breitling did, and Carpenter wore the new Navitimer, nicknamed the Cosmonaut, for its entire flight, from launch in its triple orbit to landing in the Atlantic, making it the first Swiss watch to surrender to the “Final Frontier”.
As for the original Carpenter wristwatch he wore on that historic day, Breitling has just unveiled it for the first time since 1962. After the watch was recovered from the landing site, it showed understandable signs of water damage. and wear. We saw it with our own eyes in Switzerland, next to the new Cosmonaut. Impressive.
What’s so cool about this particular watch, other than it’s been in space and is simply a version of the already iconic Navitimer? Different things.
The first is that it has a 24-hour dial – that is, it displays the time in a 24-hour format rather than the typical 12-hour format. Naturally, astronauts may lose sight of the time when separated from the known rotation of the earth and its relation to the sun.
The world premiere?
Then, of course, there is the watch’s role in the story. It was at the start of the space race, Yuri Gagarin had become the first person in space (with a Sturmanskie on his wrist) until the previous year, and Carpenter was one of the first humans to orbit around the Earth.
Not the first watch, but the first Swiss wristwatch. A (Swiss) Heuer chronometer (without timekeeping) had come out of the atmosphere a few months earlier. So it’s very technical firstbut the history and meaning of the watch stand on their own.
Besides the 24 hour dial functionality and the commemorative mark on the case back, this new Navitimer has a number of other special features. The signature bezel is presented here in platinum, and the caseback features a sapphire crystal window to view Breitling’s hand-wound B02 watch inside.
The timepiece is also engraved with “Mercury 7”, the names of the first seven Americans chosen by NASA to go into space. “Aurora 7”, the name of Carpenter’s spacecraft and Carpenter’s own name.
In many other respects, however, it is a faithful reproduction of the original watch and easily recognizable as a Navitimer. The 41mm size is doable. The Breitling Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaut-watch is limited to 362 pieces and can be pre-ordered now for €10,550.
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