Last Updated on August 19, 2020 by Calibre 11
Here is the first look at the production version of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 SpaceX, A new limited edition chronograph released to mark the 50th anniversary of (TAG) Heuer being the first Swiss timepiece to be worn in space.
While there have been photos of the prototype version of this watch floating around the internet for a while, the watch below is the finished production model that will go on sale in the next few weeks.
There is a cool story to go with the new Carrera, with TAG Heuer sending the watch into Space as part of its association with a US company called SpaceX…a reassuring test for those planning a trip to the stars.
Heuer: First Swiss Watch in Space
In February 1962, US Astronaut John Glenn piloted the Friendship 7 craft into Space, where it completed three orbits of the earth before returning safely. This was the first time that NASA had orbited the earth, matching the feat achieved by Yuri Gagarin the previous year.
As a back-up to the on-board timing equipment, John Glenn wore a modified Heuer 2915A stopwatch, which you can see strapped to his left arm in the photo above. The actual watch worn by Glenn sits in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC, with a replica on show at TAG Heuer’s Museum.
The Heuer 2915A is a modestly sized stopwatch, meaning oversized by wristwatch standards, that offers a very clear and legible display.
The watch is manually wound via the crown on top of the case and measures seconds on the outer dial, elapsed minutes on the 12 o’clock sub-dial and elapsed hours on the 6 o’clock sub-dial. The timer is started and stopped by pressing the large crown and then re-set by pressing the smaller pusher.
Watch fans will know that Omega promote heavily their association with Space travel, thanks to its Speedmaster being worn by the Apollo 11 Astronauts in 1969- the first Swiss wristwatch in Space and the first on the Moon. Heuer/ TAG Heuer’s claim is that of being the first Swiss timepiece in Space, and more specifically, the first stopwatch.
Carrera 1887 SpaceX
The TAG Heuer Carrera SpaceX is based on the large 43mm Carrera 1887, but with bespoke hands, dial and vintage-look leather strap.
The design of the dial is faithful to that of the Heuer 2915A- large arabic numerals marking out 5-minute increments, and with a triangle marker at both the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock points. It’s an attractive design that gives the watch a unique look in the Carrera 1887 family.
The Anthracite hands match the colour of the minute markers, with the chronograph second hand shaped to reflect the original Heuer watch.
The watch is complemented by a great looking “vintage” brown leather strap, and is also available with the standard Carrera bracelet.
The link with Space travel is marked at two places on the dial. At 9 o’clock is the text “1962-2012” and below that an image of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft more on SpaceX shortly.
At the 3 o’clock position is the text “First Swiss Watch in Space”.
Movement and Caseback
Powering the new watch is TAG Heuer’s Calibre 1887 movement, which sits behind a smoked sapphire crystal caseback which also has the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft and the SpaceX logo.
Testing in Space
Prototype Carrera SpaceX
The prototype Carrera SpaceX differs only slightly from the production watch, with the central hands on the prototype (above) being a bright metallic blue, with silver sub-dial hands.
Who is SpaceX?
SpaceX is a Californian “Space Transport” company, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. That name may sound familiar to you, because Elon Musk is also the man behind Pay-Pal…and TAG Heuer partner Tesla Motors.
There are two SpaceX craft shown on the Carrera- The “Falcon 9” is a launch vessel (rocket), while the “Dragon” is a pressurised spacecraft that detaches from the rocket once the craft is in orbit.
SpaceX is the first commercial entity to be charged with designing and manufacturing a space craft capable of supplying the International Space Station (“ISS”), a feat achieved on 31 May 2012…and with a Carrera SpaceX watch on board.
Preparing for Take Off
Above is a package containing a Carrera SpaceX being brought on-board the Dragon on 20 May 2012.
The watch was then unwrapped and installed in the hatch before liftoff.
Below you see the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft preparing for launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The fantastic shot above (25 May 2012) shows the view from the ISS, with the robotic arm moving the Dragon into place for docking.
Return to Earth
After the mission was completed, the Dragon 9 returned to earth, or more precisely, the Pacific Ocean.
Above is the Dragon safely back on the SpaceX barge on 12 June 2012.
The Carrera SpaceX was then removed from the hatch and tested….despite the G-forces, the chronograph was in perfect working condition.
And lastly, the Carrera SpaceX that went to Space returns to TAG Heuer HQ in La Chaux de Fonds where it joined the replica of the John Glenn Heuer 2915A.
Availability- Carrera Space-X (Ref. CAR2015)
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 SpaceX (Ref. CAR2015) will be available in the next few weeks and is a Limited Edition of 2, 012 watches at a price of around USD5,800 in the US.
Regular readers will know that we’re a fan of the 43mm Carrera Calibre 1887, a watch with a different look and feel to this model thanks to its Rose Gold highlights. Those who are not a fan of the Gold numerals on the dial of the standard model will like the bespoke dial of the Carrera SpaceX and the visual link to an important part of Heuer and TAG Heuer’s history.
Photos used by permission: TAG Heuer and SpaceX