It's not really nerdy to be enthusiastic about the NASA space program's history: carry around an official Space Pen and get a Snoopy pin for your lapel and hipsters will glance sideways in knowing approval — but watches in particular are a great way for fans to show their passion and feel connected to the story, and there seems to be a full-blown trend of NASA watches that's emerged in recent years.
It makes sense, too: the space program is compelling for its mix of science, adventure, nostalgia and now-retro technology, and watches themselves share some of the same attraction. Of course, for authenticity it's hard to beat the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch that NASA tested and selected as official gear for its many space missions, but more and more watchmakers are getting in on the action for less than the Moonwatch's $6,000+ price tag.
The watches that today carry the NASA logo aren't necessarily affiliated with the US government agency like the Speedmaster is. There are regulations for using the NASA logo, but brands can apply for permission in a process that doesn't seem overly stringent — similar to the way many watchmakers have gotten permission to use the British Ministry of Defense's "Broad Arrow" symbol. The watches below shouldn't be thought of as some collaboration with NASA, but the agency has probably given approval for the use of its branding.
Some of the watches below are limited editions that sold out quickly and can even be hard to find on the secondhand market, another testament to their popularity. They might be worth hunting for, but they also suggest a trend that'll surely see more such watches in the future — and you're advised to act fast when you do see one you love.
Timex has made more than one NASA-branded watch, but this is the latest — and, yeah, it sold out. If you can find it, though, it's about the cheapest way to get that logo on your wrist or that of a young space enthusiast.
Swatch recently announced a whole Space Collection of five NASA watches that use their "Bioceramic" material. Each watch features the agency's logo on the strap and colorways to match. The simple, monochromatic Space Race model is our favorite.
G-Shock's first NASA watch announced in 2020 was one of most sought-after watches of the year. This followup to it offers a similar aesthetic but trades the all-white design for a black and white colorway that suggests the look of the shuttles, spacesuits and other NASA gear.
Divided by Zero offers a fun, design-forward and crowdfunded approach to watches. With an aesthetic that should appeal to any science or sci-fi fan, the four watches in its NASA collection feature a white and blue theme that makes the connection instantly recognizable.
Movement: Miyota 1S13 quartz
Xeric always has a creative Trappist-1 NASA Edition uses two large, glowing circles to indicate the hours and minutes. The dial features an also-glowing starscape with a frame over the dial that makes you feel like you're viewing the universe from a spacecraft porthole. It comes in multiple variations.
Movement: Seiko VH31 quartz (automatic also available)
When an ultra-hip brand like Unimatic makes a NASA watch, you know it's gonna sell out in no time. They've made more than one, in fact — the latest is a version of their mecaquartz chronograph — but the U1-SP captures the spirit best, in our opinion.
Movement: Seiko NH35A automatic
That iconic curvy NASA logo? It's known as "the Worm," and it was designed by one Richard Danne. He's NASA and for many other projects in his life, one bring this watch. It's said to be "inspired by space itself," features a solid automatic movement and comes in two variations.
Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic
This special edition-Speedy doesn't have the NASA logo, but it does feature branding in the form of the agency mascot, Snoopy, here seen on a spacewalk in one of the subdials. The watches are based on the Silver Snoopy Award that was given to NASA employees and contractors for outstanding service — giving the motif a suddenly much more serious presence than just that of a cute cartoon character.
Movement: Omega 3861 hand-wound