‘The cosmic universe beyond our world has influenced and inspired watchmakers for decades. Here, we’ll take a look at five of the best space inspired watches ever made.’
What comes to mind when you first think of watches and space? Is it Omega’s iconic Moonwatch, or one of your favourite models with a moonphase complication? The cosmic universe beyond our world has influenced and inspired watchmakers for decades. Here, we’ll take a look at five of the best space inspired watches ever made.
Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space Limited Edition
Before the Speedmaster became the Moonwatch, it made its first trip to space in 1962. Astronaut Wally Schirra wore the Reference 2998 on the Mercury Atlas 8 mission. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mission, Omega released the Speedmaster First Omega in Space Limited Edition in 2012. The commemorative model pays homage to the original first watch in space through its nearly identical design. It’s modestly sized at 39.7mm and, it’s crown guards are notably missing. This is a distinctive characteristic of early Speedmaster models, like the Reference 2998. The 2012 edition also got some modern updates. It features a sapphire crystal and a manually wound Calibre 1861 movement. Omega aptly produced this special anniversary model in a limited edition run of 1962 pieces.
Graham Geo. Graham Orrery Tourbillon
The Geo. Graham Orrey Tourbillon is not only one of the brand’s space-inspired watches but also one of its most complex. Graham first introduced the model in a limited run in 2013. Then, they released a newly updated version just a few years later in 2017. The complicated astronomical watch features a central tourbillon function and a mechanical orrery. The word “orrery” comes from the fourth Earl of Orrery. He was known for his mechanical planetariums in the early 1700’s. On the Graham watch, the mechanical orrey functions as a working model. It showcases the orbital relationships between the Earth, Moon, and Mars with respect to the Sun. Thus, the timepiece is known as one of the few wristwatch planetariums in existence.
Seiko Spacewalk Spring Drive Limited Edition
Seiko created its Spacewalk Spring Drive Limited Edition in collaboration with video game designer Richard Garriot. Garriot’s father, Owen Garriot, was an astronaut, and he always had aspirations of following in his father’s footsteps. His life ultimately led him down a different path as a developer of video games, many of which were space-inspired. He sold his company in the early 1990’s for a lofty profit, and nearly fifteen years later, he finally realized his dream of going to space. In 2008, Garriot became the sixth citizen to travel into space. When he did, he was wearing the Seiko Spacewalk Spring Drive Limited Edition. This lightweight, airtight chronograph watch measures a hefty 53mm and features a highly legible dial layout. It also comes equipped with a sophisticated Spring Drive movement.
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 SpaceX Chronograph Limited Edition
Before Omega became the official partner of NASA and the US space programme, Heuer worked closely with NASA. In 2012, the brand reignited their work with space exploration. They partnered with Elon Musk’s SpaceX programme. Together, they created the Carrera Calibre 1887 SpaceX Chronograph in a limited edition of 2,012 pieces. The release of this space-inspired timepiece also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Heuer’s first venture into space. In 1962, John Glenn wore a Heuer stopwatch aboard the Friendship 7 mission when he became the first American to orbit planet earth. The design of the SpaceX Chronograph has a bit of vintage flair, but it also has some contemporary updates. It boasts a 43mm oversized case and the brand’s in-house Calibre 1887 movement.
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon Tourbillon
Similar to Graham’s space-inspired tourbillon, Cartier developed their own complex, cosmic timepiece. The Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon uses the tourbillon complication along with a moving Lapis Lazuli disc to display the moon phase on demand. It boasts a modern, over sized 47mm case and comes equipped with the brand’s all-new Calibre 9440 MC movement, which is visible through the case back. An astounding 362 total components make up this magnificent watch. It was produced in a limited edition of only 50 numbered pieces in addition to ten other pieces with diamond set bezels.
The watch industry and space exploration have a long and colourful history. If you’ve enjoyed reading about some of these space inspired timepieces, you might be interested to learn more. Check out a previous article on our blog detailing the history of watches and space exploration. Here, you’ll take a deeper look at the first space inspired watches that influenced some of the models you see here.