Breitling revives its iconic, first-in-space Navitimer Cosmonaute for collectors.
We know what you are thinking: aren’t there other watch companies also staking claims on the horological space race? You are not wrong. There are, indeed, brands that have accurately laid claims to being the first in their various astronomical pursuits. To that end, Breitling has heard you too. That is why, in declaring the Navitimer Cosmonaute as the “first Swiss wristwatch in space”, the brand is quick to back up its claim with vital historical information.
On 24 May 1962, American astronaut Scott Carpenter blasted off on the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, in which he orbited the Earth thrice aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft. During the mission, Carpenter had on his wrist the Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute Ref. 809, a choice of wrist accompaniment that effectively cemented the watch’s place in horological history books. Breitling adds that the only other Swiss timepiece to have previously reached orbit in space was a pocket stopwatch equipped with a strap.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the groundbreaking feat, Breitling is rolling out the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute Limited Edition. Like the original Navitimer Cosmonaute, the new release is distinguished by its 24-hour time display, as opposed to the usual 12-hour display. The feature was requested by Carpenter, who felt that a 24-hour indicator was more useful to keep track of day and night timings in space.
An almost identical homage to the original, the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute wears its tool watch DNA proudly. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to discern the difference between the new and original models.
Anchored by the collection’s famous slide rule circling the dial, a feature that allows the wearer to perform all types of flight calculations from speed to the rate of climb and descent, the new Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute boasts the original’s distinctive designs. They include a 41mm case with knurled bezel and an all-black dial with three-chronograph counters. Other details transplanted from the original model that will excite keen-eyed Breitling fans include the brand’s vintage-style winged logo and the watch’s pairing with a black alligator strap or seven-row stainless-steel bracelet.
At the same time, the watch has been subtly enhanced with modern upgrades. A new unidirectional platinum bezel encircles the watch, endowing it with a touch of luxury. Elsewhere, redesigned chronograph counters and pushers, as well as red markers on the slide rule, accentuate the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute’s contemporary disposition.
The biggest improvement comes in the form of the Calibre B02, Breitling’s in-house automatic movement. Besides optimising the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute’s timekeeping precision with anti-magnetic components and extending its power reserve to 70 hours, the new engine features inscriptions that express the watch’s significance and exclusivity.
Visible via an open caseback, the movement’s bridge is engraved with the words ‘Carpenter’, ‘Aurora 7’, and ‘3 orbits around the Earth’, along with the name of the original group of seven astronauts selected for NASA’s first human-crewed spaceflight, ‘Mercury 7’. The caseback itself bears the date of Carpenter’s mission, along with the words ‘One of 362’ and ‘First Swiss wristwatch in space’.
With only 362 pieces available – a figure that references the spacecraft’s circumnavigations of the Earth and the year of Carpenter’s mission – the Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute effectively launches into the stratosphere from the get-go, orbiting among a universe of Breitling’s all-time must-have collectables.
Images courtesy of Breitling, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.