The idea of leaving the bounds of our planet and visiting the vastness of space for nothing but pleasure is nothing new, but after decades of stagnation, it seems like we’re getting closer (ignoring certain billionaire’s ego jaunts out of the atmosphere for a moment). This resurgence of interest in all things space travel goes a long way towards explaining our newfound frenzy for all cosmos-related products — from NASA-branded goodies to items that could actually be used up there in the great unknown. The latest project from Fortis echoes that trend, as the Swiss watchmaker has developed the very first movement made specifically for space travel, and literally tested in space.
In collaboration with the Swedish Space Corporation and Manufacturer La Joux-Perret, Fortis has completed the new manufacture calibre WERK 17 — a self-winding chronograph with a column wheel and 60 hours of power reserve. To ensure it can function properly in space, 13 movements were mounted on a gondola underneath a helium filled balloon, then the whole system was sent up to the stratosphere for testing. The harsh conditions of the stratosphere, including extreme temperatures, radiation, microgravity, micro-density, and gusty winds of 250 km/h, had no affect on the precision and durability of the WERK 17. Fortis now has the movement approved and will soon reveal watches equipped with the new technology. We’re looking forward to seeing these new space-capable watches in action, even if a spacewalk tourist attraction that anyone can visit still seems a long, long way away.