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Top 10 Best Space Watches All Worn In Outer Space

Have you ever thought about what watches have been worn in space? We have, and that’s why we researched just that.

In this blog post we will explore the history of space watches, giving you an insight into watches specifically made for use in outer space.

We’ll give you our top 10 best space watches that have made it into space.

From the first Soviet space watches, to NASA certified Omega space watches. Even Seiko is included on this list of the top space watches.

Learn all about some of the most popular and iconic timepieces worn by cosmonauts, astronauts, and taikonauts too.

Space Shuttle Columbia’s STS-4 mission June, 1982

Top 10 Best Space Watches

  1. Sturmanskie
  2. Heuer Stopwatch
  3. Breitling Cosmonaute
  4. Omega Speedmaster (Moonwatch)
  5. Poljot Strela
  6. Bulova Lunar Chronograph
  7. Seiko 6139 (Seiko Pogue)
  8. Sinn 140
  9. Fortis
  10. FIYTA Spacemaster

Space Watches Timeline

If you’ve been wondering which watches made it into outer space. Then check out our handy timeline of the most iconic space watches since the space age began.

Space WatchMissionWorn byWhen
Sturmanskie
Vostok 1

First human in space
Cosmonaut Yuri GagarinApril 12, 1961
Heuer Stopwatch
Mercury-Atlas 6

First American to orbit the earth

First Swiss watch in space
Astronaut John GlennFebruary 20, 1962
Breitling Cosmonaute
Mercury-Atlas 7
Astronaut Scott Carpenter May 24, 1962
Omega Speedmaster

(The Moonwatch)
Mercury-Atlas 8

Apollo space missions

First watch on the moon

Astronaut Walter Schirra

Astronauts
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin + Michael Collins

First worn
October 3, 1962

On the moon
July 24, 1969

Still issued by NASA today
Poljot Strela
Voskhod 2

First human to walk in space

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov
March 18, 1965

Bulova Lunar Chronograph

Apollo 15
Astronaut Colonel Dave ScottAugust 2, 1971

Seiko 6139

(Seiko Pogue)
SkylabAstronaut William Pogue1973
Sinn 140
Space Shuttle Challenger
Astronaut Reinhard Furrer1985

Fortis
Shuttle-Mir program
Cosmonauts of the Gagarin Center

Official cosmonauts space watch
1994
FIYTA Spacemaster
Shenzhou 7

China’s first space walk
Taikonaut Zhai ZhigangOctober 15, 2003

What is a space watch?

A space watch is a watch that can handle the extreme conditions of space.

The difference between space watches and regular watches is that some space watches are designed with different materials to be able to withstand extreme conditions.

Buzz Aldrin wearing his Omega space watch

Difference between Cosmonaut vs Astronaut

The difference between Cosmonauts and Astronauts is simple.

Cosmonauts are people who have been trained and certified by the Russian Space Agency to work in space.

Whereas Astronauts are others who’ve been trained and certified by NASA, CSA, ESA, or JAXA, to work in space.

Simply going into space does not make you a cosmonaut or an astronaut. The level of training you need to complete at any of the above space agencies to be certified is grueling.

Space Watches

Here are our top 10 most iconic and best space watches. Every one of these watches have made it to outer space, and some of these watches have made it to the moon.

From Omega watches, to Russian watches, and watches from the Soviet era. We’ve also included German and Chinese space watches too.

  1. Sturmanskie
  2. Heuer Stopwatch
  3. Breitling Cosmonaute
  4. Omega Speedmaster (Moonwatch)
  5. Poljot Strela
  6. Bulova Lunar Chronograph
  7. Seiko 6139 (Seiko Pogue)
  8. Sinn 140
  9. Fortis
  10. FIYTA Spacemaster

1. Sturmanskie

The first watch to make it to space was worn by Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

On April 12, 1961, Cosmonaut Yuri Gargin completed the world’s first space flight in the Vostok 3KA-3 spacecraft (Vostok 1). This huge accomplishment launched the start of the space age.

No person had ever made it to space. So Gargin’s journey into space, and his 108 minute single orbit of the earth, was truly groundbreaking. As no one knew how space flight would affect the human body.

Learn about this momentous mission in the video below.

Gargin wore a Soviet made watch on his wrist. It was built by Sturmanskie and was produced at the First Moscow Watch Factory.

No one had ever made a space watch. So Sturmanskie made the world’s first space watch.

Yet, the first space watch was simply a mechanical pilot watch that was built first for the Russian Air Force. It had zero upgrades for space. Probably because no one knew how space would affect a watch.

The watch is an iconic Russian, Soviet era watch. The style looks very classic, and it’s got a simple uncluttered dial. Large, easy to read Arabic numerals perfect for a pilot watch.

Today the Sturmanskie watch can still be bought. The watchmaker has released many versions of this watch. 

The world’s first space watch is even for sale on Amazon. You can purchase a commemorative timepiece made famous by Yuri Gargin.

Yuri Gargin is a Russian hero, yet he sadly died at the young age of 34. He was killed in 1968 when his plane crashed near the town of Kirzhach, in Russia. 

We salute you Yuri Gargin, he was a true pioneer for humankind. Check out his launch from Earth below.

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2. Heuer Stopwatch

Today Heuer has evolved into TAG Heuer. However, Heuer was started by Edourad Heuer in 1860 in Switzerland.

From the 1930s onwards, Heuer became a world leader in the production of chronographs. A chronograph is a watch that has a stopwatch function. Learn more about them here.

One of their stopwatches was used in space in 1962, by Astronaut John Glenn. This mission made them the first Swiss watchmaker to put a watch in outer space.

Astronaut Glenn also became the first American to orbit the earth on this mission.

Glenn spent a total of 4 hours and 55 minutes in space, and orbited the earth three times.

During these earlier NASA missions, the astronauts were not supplied with watches by NASA. Instead the astronauts were given the freedom to choose their own watch for their mission.

Astronaut John Glenn wearing the Heuer Stopwatch

Glenn chose the Heuer stopwatch for his flight into space. The Heuer stopwatch was fitted with a wide watch strap, so that the stopwatch could fit on the outside of Glenn’s spacesuit.

The Heuer stopwatch worn in space is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space museum.

3. Breitling Cosmonaute

Breitling Cosmonaute

The next space watch was another watch from a Swiss watchmaker. It was from Breitling and called the Cosmonaute. 

This space watch was especially designed for Astronaut Scott Carpenter. It’s believed that Scott Carpenter was a fan of the Breitling Navitimer watch. He wanted a modified version for his mission into space.

This was still a time when NASA didn’t supply space watches. So astronauts needed to get their own.

Astronaut Scott Carpenter did a similar mission to Astronaut John Glenn. He took part in the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, and Carpenter completed 3 orbits of the earth.

He spent around 4 hours and 40 minutes in outer space.

The landing of Carpenter’s spaceship was not a smooth one. As it landed 250 miles away from the planned landing site. The spacecraft landed in the Caribbean sea.

This landing caused the Breitling Cosmonaute to be submerged in water. This unfortunately caused the modified Breitling space watch to stop working.

This wasn’t a great reflection on the watchmaker. However, we need to remember that it still managed to survive outer space.

The Breitling Cosmonautes were, and still are, often referred to as the Scott Carpenter Cosmonautes. However, many of the Mercury astronauts wore these space watches too.

4. Omega Speedmaster (Moonwatch)

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon

Omega is probably the brand that everyone thinks of when space watches are mentioned. They are the watchmaker known for creating the iconic Moonwatch after all.

This luxury Swiss watchmaker holds the title for the first watch ever worn on the surface of the moon. The Omega Moonwatches were most famously worn by the Apollo 11 crew.

Buzz Aldrin wearing his Omega Moonwatch

Apollo 11 was the mission to land on the first men on the moon, and involved the NASA Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.

On July 24, 1969 both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to ever land on the surface of the moon.

Astronauts; Armstrong (left), Collins (middle), Aldrin (right)

However, the first NASA mission that included an Omega space watch took place 7 years before. It was the Mercury-Atlas 8 (MA-8) mission.

On this mission, Astronaut Walter Shirra (nicknamed Wally Shirra) orbited the earth six times on October 3, 1962. He completed his mission in the Sigma 7 spacecraft.

Astronaut Wally Shirra (left), First Omega in space (right)

However, the first Omega space watch worn by Wally Shirra wasn’t picked by NASA. Instead it was Schirra’s own personal Omega Speedmaster Ref. CK 2998 watch.

To this day, the Omega Moonwatch still remains the watch for NASA astronauts today. The Omega Speedmaster remains only one of the few watches certified by NASA for space flight.

Plus the Moonwatch can still be purchased by space enthusiasts today too.

The Omega Speedmaster is to this day still one of the most recognizable space watches in the world.

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5. Poljot Strela

The Strela space watch is a Russian space watch, or more specifically a Soviet space watch. It was a chronograph specifically built for the harsh atmosphere of outer space.

The Strela space watch was built using a Soviet made movement. From the 1st Moscow Watch Factory, which was then renamed Poljot in 1964.

Caliber 3017 Strela space watch

The Caliber 3017 movement was one of the very first chronograph movements made in the Soviet Union.

And the Strela space watch was the first Soviet space watch that made it into outer space. As it was worn on the wrist of Cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov in 1965.

On March 18, 1965 Leonov became the very first human to do a space walk. Check out the footage below, and see the historic feat.

He stayed outside of his spacecraft, the Voskhod 2, for a total of 12 minutes and 9 seconds.

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The Strela space watch was a good looking space watch. With gold indices and gold hands, which stood out nicely against the white dial.

The Strela watch was the standard watch for Soviet Air Force pilots from 1959 till 1979

You can still find one of these Russian space watches today from Poljot.

6. Bulova Lunar Chronograph

You might be surprised to learn that a total of six manned space missions landed men on the moon. Many only know of the first one, the famous Apollo 11 mission.

However, the American watchmaker Bulova is famous for producing what’s called the other Moonwatch. Also named the Bulova Lunar chronograph, a pilot watch that made it to the moon.

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NASA Astronaut Dave Scott is the man who brought his Bulova Lunar chronograph with him to space, along with his NASA issued Omega Speedmaster. He was part of the Apollo 15 mission which left for the moon in 1971.

Luckily he did bring another watch, since the crystal popped on his Speedmaster. So he had to resort to using his own personal Bulova.

That meant the Bulova Lunar Chronograph made it to the surface of the moon on July 26, 1971. When Scott wore it on his wrist after his Speedmaster broke.

Astronaut Dave Scott on the moon, 1971

The Bulova Lunar was only produced as a prototype back then, so vintage ones are exceptionally rare. However, Bulova still produces this chronograph.

Plus you can purchase this space watch for a surprisingly affordable price.

Today the Bulova Moonwatch is considered one of the best affordable chronographs available.

7. Seiko 6139 (Seiko Pogue)

Seiko holds the title for the first automatic chronograph in space. When Astronaut William Pogue brought his own personal Seiko 6139 into space.

The Seiko automatic chronograph proved that a self-winding mechanical watch worked fine in zero-G.

Astronaut Col. William Pogue took two watches on his mission into space in 1973. He brought his NASA issued Omega Speedmaster, and he also took his personal Seiko 6139.

Pogue said he preferred to use his Seiko to time the speed of engine burn. Thanks to the watch’s speed timer feature.

This space watch later got the nickname Seiko Pogue from Seiko fans.

The original Seiko Pogue space watch sold at auction for $6,000 in 2008.

The Seiko Pogue has the style of a chronograph of the 1970s. With the cushion-shaped case, and has a real space age look to it. Plus the watch is very colorful, with the bright yellow sunburst dial, coupled with the Pepsi bezel.

It’s the stand out space watch on this list.

Sadly Seiko no longer produces the Seiko 6139, however you can still find these retro looking space watches.

Also the Seiko 6139 space watch is a surprisingly affordable vintage watch. You can usually source one of them on eBay.

8. Sinn 140

The German Astronaut Prof. Reinhard Furrer brought his own Sinn 140 chronograph into space with him.

Furrer took part in the D1 Spacelab Mission STS-61, which launched on October 10, 1985. The mission lasted until November 6. 

Astronaut Reinhard Furrer wearing his Sinn 140S

Prof. Reinhard Furrer was an astronaut and physicist. He brought the Sinn 140 chronograph with him as he wanted to show that a watch with an automatic movement could function in space. That the movement could work even under zero-G.

At the time, no one knew that Astronaut Col. William Pogue had already tested this with his Seiko 6139 twelve years earlier. 

So for a while Sinn held the title for the first automatic chronograph in space.

Sinn 140 space watch

9. Fortis

Fortis – Official Cosmonauts Chronograph

Since 1992, Fortis space watches have been built for cosmonauts and have been used on their missions to space. 

Today these Russian space watches are the official chronographs for cosmonauts.

The Fortis Cosmonaut chronograph first went into outer space on the Shuttle-Mir program in 1994. It was a collaborative mission between Russia and the US, which lasted from 1993 till 1998.

Space Shuttle Atlantis docked to Mir
Space Shuttle Atlantis docked to Mir

The Fortis is often compared to the famous Speedmaster. They both have many similarities. They both are chronographs, and both come with a tachymeter scale on the bezel.

However, they are different when we compare the movements of both space watches.

The Fortis space watch has an automatic movement. Whereas the Omega Moonwatch comes with a hand wound movement. NASA seems to think that a hand winding mechanism is more reliable than an automatic.

Yet, as the other automatic space watches, like the Sinn 140 and the Seiko Pogue. They have proven that automatic chronographs can work fine in space.

You can purchase this space watch on the Fortis website. It’s a more reasonable price compared to Omega and other space watches on this list.

10. FIYTA Spacemaster

FIYTA Spacemaster

FIYTA is a very popular Chinese watch brand. They’re known for making many affordable watches, and yet they are also known for making watches for the Chinese Space Agency.

The FIYTA Spacemaster watch was one of the first space watches built for taikonauts. A Taikonaut is a Chinese astronaut.

China became the third country to build its own independent space agency. And on October 15, 2003, China launched the Shenzhou 5. This was the first manned mission of the Chinese space program.

The most memorable FIYTA space watch was the FIYTA Spacemaster that was worn in 2008. When Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang completed a 15 minute space walk on September 27, 2008. With the watch seen on the outside of his spacesuit.

The FIYTA Spacemaster space watch was huge. It came in at a 54mm case size, and it was made from super tough titanium. It’s a beast of a space watch.

This was China’s first ever space walk, a defining moment for the nation. See the video below of Zhigang waving to the camera from space!

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Finally

As humankind has ventured into outer space, watches have helped them on their momentous journeys. This review sums up the top 10 best space watches so far. From the Omega Moonwatch, to the many Soviet made watches from the space era.

As humans travel further into space, there will be many more space watches to come.

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, then why not discover the iconic watches from James Bond. We’ve compiled the full list of every watch that the 007 agent wore.

Check it out.

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