The Breitling Watch That Went to Space Is Back

One of the most iconic watches ever is even cooler with astronaut endorsement.

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There's room for more than one watch in space, right? You know about Omega's Moonwatch, of course — everybody does. But there's more than a handful of other watches with stellar stories to tell.

In 1962, NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a Breitling Navitimer when he circled the Earth three times aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft. That was 60 years ago, and Breitling is marking the anniversary with a limited edition watch called the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute.

What's cool about this particular watch aside from it having been in space and just being a version of the already iconic Navitimer? Several things.

First is that it features a 24-hour dial — that is, it displays time in a 24-hour format rather than the typical 12. Understandably, astronauts can lose perspective of time when separated from the Earth's familiar rotation and its relationship to the sun, and Carpenter had specially requested this feature from the brand.

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The watch Scott Carpenter wore in orbit (right) was damaged and heavily corroded by seawater during the three-hour recovery operation after the space capsule splashed down in the Atlantic. The watch has been nearly unknown for 60 years, and Breitling unveiled it for the first time alongside its new release.
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Then, of course, there's the watch's role in history. This was early on in the space race, Yuri Gagarin having only become the first person in space the previous year, and Carpenter was one of the first people to orbit the earth. From a horological perspective, Breitling calls this watch "the first Swiss wristwatch in space."

Not the first watch, but the first Swiss wristwatch. And a (Swiss) Heuer stopwatch (non-time-telling) made it beyond the atmosphere a couple months prior. So this is a very technical "first," but the watch's story, significance and cool factor easily stand on their own.

Aside from its 24-hour dial/functionality and commemorative branding on its caseback, this Navitimer has several other special features. Its distinctive bezel here is rendered in platinum, and its caseback features a sapphire crystal window for viewing Breitling's manually wound, in-house B02 movement inside.

In most other ways, however, this is a faithful reproduction of the original watch and easily recognizable as a Navitimer. Its 41mm sizing is perfect, if you ask us. The Breitling Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute watch is limited to 362 examples and available for preorder now at a price of $11,200.

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