Luxury watchmakers Zenith have set an out-of-this-world record! The company’s El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th was the first watch to break the sound barrier in a near-space environment on Sunday, October 14. The timepiece was worn by skydiver Felix Baumgartner in his record-setting 24-mile jump from the Earth’s stratosphere.
Zenith timepieces have been renowned for their accuracy and reliability as navigational chronometric instruments in aviation since 1865. The Stratos worn by Baumgartner is equipped with the company’s famously accurate 326-component El Primero automatic movement, as well as Striking 10th and Flyback functions. The 30mm-diameter stainless steel case was designed to withstand the intense vibrations and violent accelerations of the voyage, which saw Baumgartner exposed to extreme 9-11G forces.
In a press release, Jean-Frédéric Dufour, CEO of Zenith, explained the company’s desire to take on this incredible challenge; “We have often been forerunners in unexplored domains and we have accompanied people in there most incredible projects. It is this ability to come up with new ideas, and then push through with new technical developments before anyone else that is most fascinating at Zenith. Our watches have participated in some of the grandest human adventures: explorer Roald Amundsen’s discovery of the North and South Poles, Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful fight for India’s independence, the laying of the foundations of ecology by the learned Prince Albert I of Monaco, Louis Blériot’s Channel crossing, John F. Kennedy’s political action, intrepid explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell in various endeavours such as his latest expedition to Nepal, as well as Johan Ernst Nilsson in his daring Pole2Pole mission. Felix Baumgartner is made of the same stuff as these pioneers and we are very excited that the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th will accompany him on his exploit.”
Check out Haute Time’s exclusive photo gallery of Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump. Note the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th strapped on to the right arm of Baumgartner’s space suit!