Monde et Montres...

Monde et Montres...

Watches in Space - 3 : Beginning of the adventure, on US side.

(continuation of Watches in Space - 2 : Begining of the adventure on Soviet's side.)

french version: Les montres dans l'espace - 3 : Le début de l'aventure coté USA.


On occidental side (NASA), the first man to make a jump in space had been Alan B Shepard, on the 5th of may, 1961, on board of Freedom 7. He had been closely followed by Virgil Ivan"Gus" Grissom on the 21st of july, 1961, on board of Liberty-Bell 7. Those two astronautes made only a balistic flight (non orbital). Furthermore, there is no reference about any watch they could have eventually carried.


The first american to make an orbital flight (with an orbit around the Earth, so, and the 3rd american in space) was John Glenn. He took with hil a Stop-watch "Heuer" in his ship Friendship 7, on the 20th of february, 1962.


The John Glenn's stopwatch was a commercial model, from Heuer, reference 2915-A (see on side, it is exposed in the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, located in Washington). It was held in a tissus sheath itself held by an elastic band to allow to be worn above the Flight suit.











Then, Scott Carpenter was the 4th american in space, the 24th of may, 1962, on board of Aurora 7, for ta 5 hour flight and 3 orbits. He took with him his personnal Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute, that he directly asked to Breitling to modify, that had the specificity to show the hour with a 24 hour dial, allowing to know if it is morning or evening, which is not obvious when you are on the orbit! So, on occidental side, this had been the first wrist-watch in space.


2012 reedition of the Breitling. Notice that "Cosmonaute" was the name used on the Soviet side, US using "Astronaute"...


See Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute: étrange ce nom?

 (to be translated)









An error in the trajectory made that the Aurora capsule arrived in the ocean, 400km away from the planned point.  The time that recovery teams arrive, the water flew inside the capsule and drowned also the watch which was not water-proof. Scott Carpenter returned the watch to Breitling to be repared. Breitling send him back a brand new watch of a model they mere planning to commercialise, and the watch who participated to the Space adventure disappeared!


Contiuation: Watches in Space - 4 : Omega begins its adventure...

Back to Introduction: Watches in Space - 1 : Introduction.

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