There’s no better time to be alive if you’re an avid space enthusiast. Elon Musk’s recently published article entitled, “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” brings consumer travel to space tantalisingly closer by the day. If like me, you dream of a life out of this world, helping mankind explore the universe, you’ll need a space watch that can survive the journey with you. Despite the rigours of space, you’ll be surprised to find that you can have a NASA, ESA, or ROSCOSMOS certified watch regardless of budget.
Timex DataLink 150S – $300
A great entry level space watch is the NASA certified Timex Datalink, better known as the 150. It also has the claim to fame as being the first smart watch with a whopping 3-year battery life. It was released the year Bluetooth was invented and is programmed, remarkably, through a rapidly flashing series of barcodes on your computer’s screen. It can hold 150 contacts, has 12 apps, 5 alarms and can sync with your calendar appointments and to-do lists. Not bad for a watch released in ’94.
Honourable mention: Gshock DW-6900 – $150
Fortis: Official Cosmonauts Chronograph – $1650
For those more inclined to be a cosmonaut than an astronaut, there is the Russian Fortis 638.10.11 The Official Cosmonauts Chronograph. This watch was issued by ROSCOSMOS as a part of the basic kit for all Russian cosmonauts. It features an ETA-Valjoux Caliber 7750 which is an automatic movement with a 44-hour power reserve, chronograph, day, and date.
While the spotlight is typically on the watch below, it should be remembered that the first person in space was Yuri Gargarin, wearing a Sturmanskie, and the first man on a spacewalk was Alexi Leonov, wearing a Strela, both Soviets, wearing Soviet watches. These are feats that should not be forgotten by space or watch enthusiasts alike.
Speedmaster Professional – $7550 & Speedmaster X33 – $7100
The quintessential Spacewatch needs no article to be discovered, it is, of course, the Omega Speedmaster Professional which James covered years ago after Neil Armstrong’s passing. This is the only watch that is certified by NASA for Extravehicular Activities (such as spacewalks). However, if you’re looking for something more original, and in my eyes practical, I would highly recommend the digital-analog Speedmaster X-33 which was produced in 1998. This watch was designed specifically for space and has numerous features such as Mission Elapsed time and Phase Elapsed time. Most will be shocked to know that the Speedmaster was not designed for space by Omega, despite popular belief, but rather certified for space by NASA. The X33, while sadly using a quartz movement, features a plethora of functions. Whether it is used for helping its user check flight systems, ensure their punctuality for communications briefs, or for timing multiple experiments, the X33 is used by astronauts day in day out.
However, at this end of the budget spectrum why not just get both, one for the gym and the other for the office? A luxury I know I might pass on, as I save for my ticket aboard the Heart of Gold, Elon’s debut mission to Mars.
You can follow Adam’s horological hypothesis’ on Instagram @watchrally.