Thursday, July 13, 2006

Long Time No See - New Additions

Alexei Leonov wearing his 70's Omega Flightmaster, back when the good ole USSR still existed. Surprisingly well dressed for a tool of the Breshnev-era Bolsheviks.

Okay, okay, I admit it. It's been donkey's years since I've written an entry. Besides being very busy at work, I kept meaning to make an entry for the 6139 I've acquired, but never seemed to get around to it due to not finding the time to take photos.

So I've decided to create a lower effort post, inspired in part by the June, 2006 issue of Watch Time, which featured an article on "Watches in Space." I highly recommend you pick up a copy and keep it for long term reference.

Based upon that article, I think the following warrant inclusion in the Famous Watches list. Some of the information is also based upon my own research that is separate from the "Watches in Space" article.

--Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute

This isn't so much a new addition as a refinement/correction of a September, 2005 entry. Yes, a Navitimer was the first watch worn by an American in space by Scott Carpenter in May 24, 1962. However, it wasn't a "regular" Navitimer, but the Navitimer Cosmonaute version. The Cosmonaute has a 24-hour display, as contrasted with the 12-hour display in the more commonplace Navitimer.

--Omega Flightmaster

A cousin of the Speedmaster, the Flightmaster was worn by Alexei Leonov on the Apollo-Soyuz missions of the 1970s. And, suitable, it has a cool 70's retro look to it.

--Sinn Model 142 S

The first automatic watch in space, worn by Reinhard Furrer. This chronograph uses a Lemania Caliber 5100. Yes, amazingly enough, people weren't so sure automatic watches would work in a weightless environment. Guess they forgot about Newton's First Law. Then again, at first, people weren't so sure rockets would work in a vacuum without air, either.

--Fortis Official Cosmonaut Chronograph

Okay, according to this article, the regular chronograph was certified for cosmonauts first on numerous Russian missions, in collaboration the Rosaviacosmos, the Russian space agency. The B-42 version was certified for the International Space Station missions at a later date.

Interestingly enough, apparently only mechanical watches are rated for EVA ("space walk") activities. I'm guessing because the cold of space causes a quartz to stop working? If anyone knows for sure, definitely let me know.



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Watches in extra-vehicular activities must withstand cosmic radiation. I imagine radiation will degrade electronic components. Therefore mechanical watches are more suitable for EVA.

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