When we talk about space exploration and watches, the conversation quickly leads to the Apollo Program and the Omega Speedmaster. However, we do know of watches and indeed men that made it to space earlier. One such man, Mr. John Glenn, passed away today at the age of 95 after a lifetime of achievements, including becoming the first American to orbit the earth.Â
What many may not know is that he did so with a watch strapped to his wrist â but that doesn’t mean it was a wristwatch. No, John Glenn orbited the earth accompanied by a Heuer stopwatch, on his landmark flight on Mercury-Atlas 6, in a vessel dubbed Friendship 7, in 1962. The previous two Mercury flights were sub-orbital, and Glenn was the first astronaut to actually achieve earth orbit.
Indeed, the first Swiss watch to make it into space was not an Omega or even a Breitling, it was a Heuer â model 2915A, a stopwatch. This was not a known fact for many years after Glenn returned to earth and the details of its uncovering can be read here.Â
As a personal aside, our thoughts are with the family of Mr. Glenn and we wish them nothing but the warmest in knowing what an accomplished life he led.Â