Y’all and Welcome to Episode 70 of the Tenn & Two Podcast!
Before we get started into today’s episode, the two of us would like to take a moment and acknowledge what has been going on around us these last few weeks. To go on with our show as normal and pretend that the racial injustice and violence, the protests and riots aren’t going on around us seemed wrong. We aren’t here to talk about politics, but this is about basic human rights. We hope that you join us in taking a moment of silence today for George Floyd, other victims of racial injustice, and everyone that has been affected by this and other senseless acts of violence. Today we are here to pray for peace, love, understanding, and justice in a world that desperately needs it. Here are a few worthy causes that you can donate to in order to assist those in need: Mutual Aid, George Floyd Memorial Fund, Justice for Breonna Taylor, I Run with Maud, really the list goes on. Most importantly, spread love to everyone! Thank you all.
Today’s episode is incredibly fun and we are beyond excited for it. Firstly, we have an intro! 70 episodes and almost a year later, we kind of sound like we know what we are doing. Don’t y’all worry though, we are still equally awkward even without mumbling “hi” to one another as if we hadn’t been hanging out for hours prior to recording. But today, today we are talking about space! More specifically, watches in space!
Wrist Watch Check
Before we dig in and nerd out, let’s get our wrist watch check out of the way. We start with Kat who is wearing the Seiko King Turtle today. We chat about the watch and her love for it for quite some time as it has become what she would consider the perfect weekend watch in her collection. The magic Seiko works on their case design so that it fits a wrist perfectly (even a smaller wrist) is just perfect and a topic we dig a bit more into for next week’s podcast episode. On Katlen’s wrist today, well, she’s being a bit extra for today’s topic. Since the astronauts wear two watches, she decided to do the same. On one wrist, her Speedmaster and the NASA G-Shock on the other. Also, check out this super cool t-shirt from our friends over at Watch Thing, perfect for any Speedmaster fan!
Ok, now let’s talk about space! As many of you all know, May 30th saw the launch of the most recent Space X shuttle to the International Space Station. A huge moment for mankind as we see the beginnings of Elon Musk’s partnership with NASA in transporting astronauts on privately owned rockets. The two of us speak for some time about how awe struck we were watching everything unfold before our very eyes. The excitement and enthusiasm, and the pride for mankind. As well as the thought of the unknown, only imagining what people must’ve felt in the 60s and 70s when all of this was still so new. While the ultimate goal of Space X is to colonize Mars, these first steps are beyond exciting to witness first hand. To mark such a big occasion, we only felt it was right to spend an episode talking about watches in space. Oh, of course we noticed that X-33 being flown on the wrist. And where would the fun be if we didn’t get to pick some of our own…
Watches in Space
Before we have some fun on our own, let’s chat about the history of watches worn in space. Believe it or not, the Speedmaster wasn’t always the moonwatch.
Kat chats about her personal favorite watch that’s been worn in space, the Seiko Pogue 6139, a yellow dialed Pepsi Bezel watch that was worn by Lt. Colonel William Pogue during his Skylab mission. Rumur has it, the crew didn’t get their NASA issued Speedmasters until last minute. Pogue not being comfortable with operating the Speedmaster after such little experience with it, snuck his Seiko onboard by sticking it in his pocket.
Other notable watches include the Strumanski worn by the first man in space Yuri Gargarin in 1961.
The HEUER Pocketwatch that John Glenn wore as the first American to orbit the Earth (which he taped to his wrist).
Scott Carpenter of Mercury Atlas 7 wore a Cosmonaute Breitling 24 hour Navitimer during his flight in 1962.
During the first ever spacewalk in 1965, cosmonaut Alexey Leonov wore a Strella which basically became Russian issued after.
More recently, Ball Watches were also flew to space on the wrist of Brian Binne who wore the Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster.
And there’s even been a NASA certified Timex if you can believe it which leads to a real discussion about the brand’s marketing because neither of us really knew that before.
So How Did OMEGA Become the Moonwatch?
Well, we can’t talk about watches in space without bringing up OMEGA. But how did the moonwatch get it’s start? Katlen gives us a bit of a history lesson on how this all came about. Prior to Gemini missions, astronauts wore whatever watch they wanted as you heard during our previous bit of chats. In fact, the first OMEGA in space was never NASA issues, but was worn on the wrist of Wally Schirra in 1962 on Project Mercury Sigma 7.
It wasn’t until 1964 that NASA began to search for a watch as part of an astronaut’s space equipment. It was at that time that they sent a proposal to 10 watch brands (Benrus, Bulova, Elgin, Gruen, Hamilton, Longines, Luchin Piccard, Mido, Omega, and Rolex), asking for timepieces to be submitted for testing.
- Accuracy +/- 5 sec per day
- Readability in different lighting situations
- Resistance to shock, magnetism, and water (50m)
- Power could be manual or self winding but had to be able to be wound manually
Out of the 10 brands, only four submitted watches for testing. Omega, Rolex, Longines, and Hamilton (who was disqualified because they sent a pocket watch). After all the tests were done, there was only one watch that was able to survive and earn NASA’s certification- the OMEGA Speedmaster. The rest is, well, history…
To this day, the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional remains NASA certified as well as the Speedmaster X-33. Speaking of which, check out this video of an astronaut repairing his watch in space!
What Watches Would We Bring To Space?
Think we are done geeking out, not a chance! Now that we have talked about what watches other people have worn into space, let’s chat about what we would wear! Bear in mind that NASA’s original tests for watches were for high temperature, low temperature, pressure, humidity, oxygen, shock, acceleration, decompression, high pressure, vibration, and acoustic noise. Kat is convinced that watches are so over-engineered now that almost anything could pass the certification, so let’s see what we are bringing up to space with us, and in true astronaut style, we are each picking two watches.
Kat’s first choice, the Grand Seiko Snowflake (SBGA211). While she did say that her choices were unconventional, this one was a surprise to say the least. Kat’s justification is that the spring drive would be more shock resistant due to it’s lack of balance wheel. The titanium case probably wouldn’t bother her as much because there’s zero gravity anyways. But the dial is what she’s especially keen on as it would remind her of the snowy mountain tops of home. Apparently, she may get bored of things like looking out into the vast beauty of space and seeing the Earth, so she wants to have that stunning dial to stare at instead. We’ll just agree to disagree with her there on the reasoning.
Katlen is taking a bit of a different mindset to the watches she would bring to space with her. She know’s she’ll never be an astronaut because math is just not her thing. If she goes to space, it’ll be because she bought her way there. In looking up the cost of going to space, NASA would be charging civilians $50 million just for the travel alone, plus another $35,000 a night on the International Space Shuttle. This means she’s rich! And since she’s so wealthy, damaging or breaking her watch isn’t a concern as she could clearly buy whatever she wants and have it fixed or replaced ($50 million is pocket change for a flight ticket after all right?). So knowing this, what’s her first pick? Y’all will have to check into the podcast to hear this one.
It’s watch number two for Kat as she brings a bit of home to the space shuttle. She picks a solar powered watch that’ll be easy to charge considering the vastness of space and being closer to the sunlight. Her second pick is also practical as it has alarms that she can set with multiple time zones. When we say she’s bringing a bit of home to space, the watch is camouflage. Think you know what she picked, listen in and see if you’re right.
Finally we check back with rich kid Katlen for her final pick, taking wealth to the extreme. Katlen’s second watch, the Richard Mille RM52-05, a 30 piece limited edition watch in partnership with singer Pharrell Williams who is a huge Star Trek fan. The watch features an astronaut on the dial with the Earth and a few planets in the background on an aventurine baseplate. A Mars Rover tire acts as the crown of this manual wound tourbillon. Yea, she’s taking a tourbillon into space. But according to Richard Mille, they can be worn by tennis players and allegedly by football players during the game, so it should be ok. And if not, as she keeps saying, “I’m rich” and can easily replace it.
So here’s what we want to know? What watch would you bring to space with you? Let us know in the comments here or over on Instagram. Honestly this was such a fun episode for the two of us to record and we hope that you enjoyed it! Be sure to leave us a review on whatever podcast platform you’re listening in on.Follow Us:
- Talking State of the Collection and Our Thoughts on Watches Being Genderless – Podcast Episode 123 - February 22, 2021
- Getting to Know Rikki from Scottish Watches – Podcast Episode 122 - February 15, 2021
- Talking Vintage Watches with Expert Eric Wind – Podcast Episode 121 - February 8, 2021