Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Early astronaut and cosmonaut watches (Page 2)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search


This topic is 2 pages long:   1  2 
next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Early astronaut and cosmonaut watches
JakeE
New Member

Posts: 5
From: San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Registered: Oct 2008

posted 10-17-2008 01:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JakeE     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kevin, thank you for your detailed response.

As I mentioned, I plan to write a super-detailed article on the watch space race in the future. I intend to cover every watch I know of in this article and I am excited to see the documents you speak of so I may incorporate the information from them into the story.

Please seek to understand a few things. First is that I am a Rolex watch historian which means I try to dig up as much meaningful true history as possible. Sometimes I hit a dead end and other times I hit it out of the park.

The person I did the podcast interview with seems to be a very credible witness but also understand this is an extremely sensitive subject for them. After I mentioned how significant this story was, after I recorded the podcast, they got really uneasy with me.

This is purely speculative conjecture on my behalf, but if I understand it, they seemed to be saying that somebody from Omega paid somebody at NASA to make the choice.

From their tone and lack of specific detail, it would appear this was NOT documented and I agree that if it can not be documented that it is just a story.

Since you interviewed many NASA pioneers, you know building trust and rapport is very time consuming and challenging. I don't want to do anything to alienate my source and once my article that will accompany the podcast is done, I will release them.

With all the people I interview, I give them editorial review because I want them to feel 100% comfortable with what I publish. As a matter of fact, I tell people before our interview that I am only here to document and celebrate their life, which is why I think people feel so comfortable with me. I don't dive bomb my interviewees or try to trick or embarrass them. In the final analysis I am simply telling their story.

I will say that the person was NOT an astronaut.

Thank you for your kind understanding in this matter.

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 1294
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 12-20-2008 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had a conversation with Gordo Cooper about just this subject. It was in the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Fla. Gordo was really into it, we talked for about 10 minutes.

Cooper felt the "G" forces had a definite effect on the mechanical wind-up movement. He hit the start button right at 20 seconds and checked it at about T+7 minutes it was a little bit slow, the Bulova was right on.

Gordo looked at both watches again about 20 minutes into the flight going by just the time of day - not the mission time. Again he found the Omega a few seconds slow. He wished he carried Carpenter's Breitling aloft for a comparison but the idea was soon lost to a busy flight plan.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1011
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 01-05-2009 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I heard a charming Breitling story yesterday that also happens to capture Carpenter's sense of humor ca. 1964. Elite master diver Bob Barth tells the story. He was aquanaut for Sealabs I, II, and III.

So Bob and Scott meet during training for Sealab I in Florida ca. late 1963. Naturally, conversation soon turned to hardware, specifically, Scott's fancy Breitling (the replacement Breitling). He obliged Bob's curiosity about what Bob called "the astronaut watch" and took it off his wrist for Barth to inspect (and admire) more closely.

"What's this?" Barth asked, poking at a kind of bulge on the caseback. It was kind of a button that provided a little give if you pressed down on it fairly hard.

"Oh, that," Carpenter replied gravely. "Breitling made that especially for Mercury astronauts since they knew that we might be lonely, up there in space all alone." He's stringing Bob along, who is still listening earnestly. "And so Breitling decided to install a special button for us Mercury astronauts."

"We could press the button if the solitude got to be too much for some of the guys," he explained. "And Breitling designed it to push back. It was like having a buddy right there inside the spacecraft."

By now, Bob's awe began to wear off a little. He realized Scott was pulling his leg. They had a good laugh.

The little button? Access to the battery, Bob recalled.

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 01-06-2009 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's nice to see an example of one of the guys besides Wally Schirra as having a sense of humor.

I think the Bob's conclusion is a little muddied by time, however. The watch Breitling gave to Carpenter was certainly a mechanical movement (the Venus 178), not an electronic one, thus didn't have a battery. It was hand-wound. I suspect the bulge was just the typical slightly domed caseback that's typical of Breitlings with a chrono (the thicker movements need more room). Perhaps Bob was used to seeing the very thin, non-chrono watches fashionable in that period that typically had flat casebacks?

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1011
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 01-06-2009 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Kevin. I don't know much about these elite watches but I was surprised nevertheless to hear that the Breitling would have a battery case. Let me run down this detail and post what I learn from the Breitling owner himself ;-)

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 01-07-2009 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always eagerly anticipate what "the man himself" has to say about any of these topics and find it personally very flattering that someone of his stature bothers to engage with the enthusiasts like us... even when prompted by his daughter!

Sigh, if only it were possible to get a watch autographed, I'd grab the first Cosmonaut I could find for the next time Mr. Carpenter does a signing. My buddy and I did engage Tom Stafford in a discussion about Omegas a couple of years ago at a signing, since he's closely linked with that company in a formal way, but I'm still partial to Breitlings...

mercsim
Member

Posts: 208
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 01-07-2009 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"The man himself" is ALWAYS gracious and eager to talk to enthusiast. I met him at a signing once but didn't ask him to sign anything. He asked why and I told him I prefer not to put value on those kinds of things. I would always remember meeting him so why did I need an autograph that someone would just dispute over one day. He laughed...

We talked about our watches and it was great to hear him relive the details of his Breitlings. He sent his flown one back after it got water in it and never saw it again. He did a "Hmmm..." and said he should call Breitling and track it down one day (Kris?, Kris?)

Meeting him and spending 10 minutes talking to him is my greatest space history memory!

The following X-mas my wife gave me his book, autographed.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1011
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 01-10-2009 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a nice story, Scott. Thanks.

About the replacement Breitling and its mysterious caseback, Carpenter had this to add today. "Bob forgot the punchline!" which was, when the button "pushed back, it made you feel wanted."

And then he explained that the joke really belonged to Bill Dana, who concocted the wide-eyed anecdote to all "the big astronaut watches" worn by the guys.

So, what about the "button" Bob says he saw on the caseback? The button that he thought was the battery case, I asked my dad.

"An invisible soft spot," he replied, channeling Bill Dana.

That pushed back?

Well, everything hard "pushes back" he explained patiently--especially if you suggest it to the suggestible.

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 1294
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 01-11-2009 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ha-Ha-Ha! Great story, Kris.

It reminds me of Pete Conrad telling one reporter(he had this guy hook line & sinker) about the secret compartment for the cyanide pill, in the watch.

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 01-12-2009 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the story and clarification, Kris. You gotta love the irreverance with which those guys take/took this stuff that occasionally seems greatly importance to some of us!

Out of curiosity, what watch does does the esteemed aquanaut/astronaut wear these days?I wonder if it's considered gauche to wear one with your own name on it, a la the Scott Carpenter edition of the Cosmonaut? On the other hand, I could see his colleagues giving him a hard time about it either way.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1011
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 03-13-2009 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kevin, sorry for neglecting this good question.

Carpenter wears a Breitling Navitimer for everyday, and sometimes one of his Omegas.

Liembo
Member

Posts: 459
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 08-14-2014 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I noticed something the other day when looking at an Apollo 1 crew photo, and this is probably completely irrelevant, but the time on Chaffee's and White's watches are an hour apart:

Wikipedia photo (There's a link to click to the full resolution version there).

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 08-14-2014 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably one of them just left his watch on Houston (Central) time, while the other had his on Florida (Eastern) time.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 12-21-2017 04:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
1971 Soyuz 10 crew training photos show cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov wearing a Rolex GMT while his colleagues Aleksei Yeliseyev and Nikolay Rukavishnikov wore Strela watches.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-21-2018 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe Gordo Cooper's CK2998 Speedmaster (and SeaMaster) are in the Omega Museum. Do we know where Cooper's Accutron Astronaut ended up? The National Air and Space Museum?

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-24-2018 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Same question for the current whereabouts of the wristwatch worn by Neil Armstrong on Gemini VIII in March 1966.

Armstrong decided to wear a wristwatch which belonged to his childhood hero aviator James "Jimmie" Mattern (1905-1988). It's a Longines-Wittnauer Weems, a wonderful vintage watch!

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 1162
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 01-24-2018 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Funny, I was talking with Dave Scott about the watch and Jimmy Mattern. We both were wondering where that watch is today.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-27-2018 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry, probably donated to the Frontiers of Flight Museum located in Dallas, Texas, with most of Mattern's papers and items?

I'm also wondering if, in June 1983 on STS-7 Challenger, Norman Thagard had chosen to wear an Accutron Astronaut on his right wrist and an Omega Speedmaster on his left to commemorate the 20th anniversary of MA-9 "Faith 7"?

utahraptor
Member

Posts: 30
From: u.k.
Registered: Apr 2007

posted 02-20-2018 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for utahraptor   Click Here to Email utahraptor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently bought the excellent book, "A Man and His Watch" by Matt Hranek. In it, it's claimed that Wally Schirra wore the first flown watch by an American, an Omega Speedmaster.

But on the British GQ website, under the heading "Lift off! A History of Watches in Space," it says that Scott Carpenter was the first, wearing a Breitling 24 hour Navitimer. Which is right?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Panther494
Member

Posts: 307
From: London UK
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 02-20-2018 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Panther494   Click Here to Email Panther494     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Breitling was first, 24th May 1962, worn by Scott Carpenter, Aurora 7.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-21-2018 04:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed the Breitling Cosmonaut worn by Scott Carpenter aboard MA-7 in May 1962 was the first real wristwatch worn by an American astronaut as John Glenn wore a TAG Heuer "stopwatch" strapped to his right arm on MA-6 in February 1962.

Another interesting thought is the fact that the X-15 pilots wore the (Bulova) Accutron Astronaut wristwatch on several hypersonic research flights and I'm currently going through lots of time-period photos to find out if the Accutron TuningFork wristwatch was worn on missions above 80 Km (USAF astronaut wings) and aboard the two above 105 kilometer flown by Joseph Walker.

utahraptor
Member

Posts: 30
From: u.k.
Registered: Apr 2007

posted 02-21-2018 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for utahraptor   Click Here to Email utahraptor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you all for your replies. It was most helpful. I wondered if any of you out there had a copy of the book "Moonwatch Only: 60 Years of OMEGA Speedmaster." The book is expensive and I wondered if any of you thought it was any good and worth the price? Thank you.

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 1162
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-21-2018 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have the first edition of the Moonwatch Only. If you want to know every variation of every edition of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch since its inception, then it is the book for you.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-22-2018 07:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The book is superb and the true well-documented bible/reference for the Speedmaster chronograph. Hint: May I suggest you wait for the upcoming 2019 edition (50th anniversary Apollo 11 and Alaska Project).

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 08-11-2018 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Check these recent British Interplanetary Society Spaceflight magazines for articles on space watches:
  • May 2017: "Speedmaster for Space!"
  • April 2018: "Time to Fly"
  • August 2018: "To Russia with Love" or how Omega's Alaska Project researched for Apollo ended up with the Russians...

Rocket Chris
Member

Posts: 310
From:
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 08-21-2018 12:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rocket Chris   Click Here to Email Rocket Chris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A very robust watch from the old Soviet times: Poljot Sturmanskie Civil 3133, flown on Saljut 7 in 1982.

There are several versions with white and black dial as well as in Cyrillic or international inscription.

You can find these gems on eBay quite easily. Many of them are in NOS quality and in the meantime I have my third one and these are undestructable. For more information see Poljot Guide.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5779
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 11-01-2018 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since the 1990s Fortis has been announced as the official watch of the Russian space program and sometimes the make claims the distinction of being the first watch worn in open space after a Fortis watch was worn on an early Russian spacewalk.

I have questions about this claim and so far could find out when a Fortis was worn for the first time on an EVA... who can help?


This topic is 2 pages long:   1  2 

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2018 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement