This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of NASA, and to commemorate the event Hong Kong-based watchmaker and design studio Anicorn has partnered with the space agency to create the Anicorn × NASA Automatic Watch – Limited Edition. Restricted to a total run of 60 units, the self-winding mechanical timepiece echoes the design of the wristwatches worn by the Apollo astronauts on their missions to the Moon.
On October 1, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating what we know today as NASA. The new agency was tasked with developing the US civilian space program that would soon see the first American astronauts orbiting the Earth and, in less than 11 years, the first human footprint on the Moon.
As part of the Space Race, NASA took a very keen interest in the wristwatches that the astronauts would wear in space. More than just jewelry, these timepieces were valuable tools and would prove to be literal life savers, such as during the Apollo 13 mission when an Omega Speedmaster was used to time the critical engine burn that brought the crippled spacecraft and its crew back to Earth.
The watches that NASA chose had to meet rigorous requirements as they faced unusually high and low temperatures, the vacuum of space, pure oxygen environments, the vibrations of lift off, and forces of over seven gees. Even the crystal was scrutinized until it was decided that each dial should be sealed under acrylic because mineral glass shattered into fragments that would be dangerous in zero gravity.
In homage to NASA's accomplishments, the Anicorn × NASA doesn't copy the design of the Omegas and others that flew on Apollo, but rather it evokes the cues taken from NASA equipment of the day. Instead of hands, the dial sports three concentric rotating disks – one each for the hours, minutes, and seconds – powered by a 24-jewel, 28,800 vph, Miyota 9015 automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
The caliber is sealed in a 42 mm case made of 316L stainless steel with a white Cerakote ceramic coating and is water resistant to 50 m (110 ft, 5 ATM). The front and reverse crystals are of Plexiglass with an anti-reflective sapphire coating and the watch is secured with white textile straps bearing the embroidered NASA "worm" logo used by the space agency between 1975 and 1992. In addition, the strap has the geographical coordinates of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Each Anicorn × NASA is numbered and comes with a NASA embroidered patch, metal warranty card, and wrapped presentation case.
The Anicorn × NASA sells for US$650, but if you want one, you're out of luck. They've already sold out.
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