The new Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute


The new Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute

The new Navitimer Cosmonaute

only Breitling can call itself the “first Swiss wristwatch in space”
La Cote des Montres - May 24th, 2022

At the launch of the new Navitimer Cosmonaute, Breitling reveals the original “first swiss wristwatch in space” for the first time since its 1962 mission.

Historical Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute from 1962 and the new Navitimer Cosmonaute Limited Edition (left to right)
On the 60th anniversary of its journey aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft, the mythic watch with the 24-hour dial is set to lift off once again in a new release that pays tribute to the historic mission. To mark the occasion, Breitling offered the first-ever public viewing of the original Cosmonaute since 1962—and revealed the watch’s incredible story.

The Navitimer Cosmonaute Limited Edition, the first Swiss wristwatch in space and a historical Cosmonaute from 1962 (left to right)
In the 1960s, Breitling’s Navitimer was the undisputed pilot’s watch. But the world’s attention was rapidly advancing beyond air travel and into space exploration, and that meant a different kind of Space Race was quietly underway. This time, between watchmakers vying to be the first on astronauts’ wrists.

Historical Navitimer Cosmonaute from 1962 & the first Swiss wristwatch in space worn by Scott Carpenter during his MA 7 mission
Breitling’s expertise in aviation watches shot the brand to the head of the pack. On 24 May 1962, Breitling officially claimed the title “first Swiss wristwatch in space” after astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times while wearing the Navitimer Cosmonaute during his Mercury-Atlas 7 mission. The watch had been Carpenter’s personal request, a variation on the iconic aviator’s watch he’d encountered in his flight days, but with a 24-hour dial to tell day from night in space.

The first Swiss wristwatch in space - Scott Carpenter’s original Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute worn during his MA 7 mission in 1962
Today—on the 60th anniversary of that mission—Breitling not only unveiled Carpenter’s original Navitimer Cosmonaute, but also launched a modern tribute to it. This special release is limited to 362 numbered pieces that recognize both the spacecraft’s circumnavigations of the Earth and the year the mission made history, marking a crucial step in manned spaceflight.

Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling, says: “When we introduced the redesigned Navitimer earlier this year, a question on everybody’s lips was, ‘What about the Cosmonaute?’ Today, I’m thrilled to finally announce two Cosmonaute reveals: the first-ever public viewing of the watch Scott Carpenter wore into space, and a 60th-anniversary limited-edition timepiece that pays tribute to its history-making forerunner.”

Breitling advertisement from the 1964 Breitling Catalogue for the Navitimer and the Navitimer Cosmonaute

A piece
of space history

in a first-time public viewing  

Navitimer Cosmonaute advertisement from ca. 1963 for the first Swiss wrist chronograph to travel in space in 1962
On 24 May 1962, five hours after launch, the Aurora 7 space capsule with Carpenter aboard splashed down safely in the Atlantic. The recovery operation lasted three hours, with the long exposure to seawater resulting in irreparable damage to Carpenter’s Cosmonaute. Breitling immediately replaced Carpenter’s watch, but that battered and corroded piece of space history remained in the Breitling family archives—unrestored and widely unknown. That is, until today.

John Glenn (left) with Scott Carpenter prior to the flight of MA-7. Scott wears his Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute
Now, exactly 60 years after its historic flight, that great space watch was exhibited for the first time to select collectors, journalists, and watch enthusiasts at a space-themed event in Zurich. It was an afternoon of lively interaction, co-hosted by Georges Kern and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, and featuring an impressive lineup of guest speakers that included members of the Carpenter family, Gregory Breitling, and historian and collector Fred Mandelbaum. The panelists reflected on the Cosmonaute’s creation, the significance of Carpenter’s mission, and how both fit into the wider context of the space program at the time.

Scott Carpenter’s Aurora 7 Mercury Atlas rocket lifts off on May 24, 1962
Also exhibited was a Cosmonaute once owned by astronaut John Glenn and acquired at auction in 2019 by Gregory Breitling.

Scott Carpenter dons the Project Mercury suit he will wear on his MA-7 orbital flight

The 24-hour watch

Commemorative and refreshed  

Astronaut Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, goes through a water egress training session. Photo credit NASA
The Cosmonaute is a true Navitimer, meaning it has all the hallmarks of Breitling’s aviation icon: the circular slide rule for performing mathematical calculations, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association “wings” logo, and the trio of chronograph subdials.

What separates the Cosmonaute from the rest of its family is its ability to tell 24-hour time. The Breitling Manufacture Caliber B02 was specifically designed for this task.

Astronaut Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, goes through a water egress training session. Photo credit NASA
At first glance, the new Cosmonaute is a faithful reproduction of the original, made timeless with an all-black dial and black alligator strap or seven-row stainless-steel bracelet. On closer inspection, though, the elegantly proportioned 41 mm watch is packed with new features. One is its platinum bezel, a premium touch that makes this numbered edition even more of a collector’s piece.

Astronaut Scott Carpenter in front of an F-106 - Jan. 1961. Photo credit NASA
Another is its open sapphire crystal caseback that provides a window on the B02 movement with its special bridge engravings to mark the occasion: the words “Carpenter,” “Aurora 7”, and “3 orbits around the Earth”, along with the name of the original group of seven astronauts chosen for NASA’s first human-crewed spaceflights, Mercury 7.

May 1962 - Scott Carpenter stands in front of the NASA Mercury Control Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo by NASA
While other watch brands have claims to space firsts, only Breitling can call itself the “first Swiss wristwatch in space”. The only other Swiss timepiece to have reached orbit previously was a pocket stopwatch equipped with a strap. The Cosmonaute, meanwhile—a wristwatch worn in space and designed according to an astronaut’s specifications—was kept precisely to those specs when it became available for purchase in 1962. Not only did the 24-hour timepiece go on to become a hit amongst collectors, it was frequently spotted on other astronauts’ wrists.

Scott Carpenter undergoes a simulated mission in the procedures trainer at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Photo credit NASA
Today’s Cosmonaute takes us back to the origins of space travel, when the race was on, stakes were high, and every mission was a triumph of human ingenuity. This new watch honors the aesthetics of the original Cosmonaute, with subtle updates that work almost imperceptibly to give it its modern-retro appeal. As a final tribute, the caseback is engraved with the date of Carpenter’s mission, the watch’s number out of 362, and the phrase “First Swiss wristwatch in space”.

Scott Carpenter inside the Aurora 7 spacecraft shortly before take-off with his Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute

About Breitling


Scott Carpenter, prime pilot for the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, being recovered from the Atlantic Ocean after his MA-7 flight. Photo credit NASA
Founded in 1884, Breitling is a leading Swiss watchmaker. The innovative company invented the modern chronograph and pioneered the navigational tool watch. Today, it’s still breaking new ground as a casual, inclusive, and sustainable luxury brand with more than 150 industrial- loft-inspired retail locations around the world. Breitling’s collections center around air, land, and sea pursuits, all captured in the brand’s unmistakable modern-retro style. The exceptional quality of every watch movement is confirmed by its status as a COSC-certified chronometer, and the brand remains one of only a handful of independent watchmakers to produce its own manufacture calibers. Combining classic watchmaking with the latest innovations, Breitling is both a company with history and one that’s ahead of its time.

Scott Carpenter talks to the American president after his rescue - May 24 1962. Photo credit NASA

References :PB02301A1B1A1
Movement:Breitling Manufacture Caliber B02
Mechanical hand-wound
Diameter :30 millimeters
Thickness :6.83 millimeters
Power reserve:Approximately 70 hours
Balance frequency::28,800 a/h or 4 hertz
Vertical clutch
¼th second
30-minute and 12-hour totalizers
Display :Hour, minute, second, date-window
Certification :COSC-certified
Case :Stainless steel and platinum
Diameter :41 millimeters
Thickness :13 millimeters
Height :47.09 millimeters (upper lug tip to lower lug tip)
Water resistance :up to 3 bar (30 meters)
Glass :Cambered sapphire, glareproofed on both sides
Caseback:Screwed steel, sapphire crystal
Crown :Non-screw-locked
Two gaskets
Bezel :Platinum, bidirectional with circular slide rule
Dial :Black with tone-on-tone chronograph counters
Super-LumiNova® luminescent indexes and hour and minute hands
Bracelets :Black alligator leather strap (22/18 mm) with a folding buckle
Stainless-steel seven-row Navitimer bracelet with a butterfly clasp