It’s a question that’s been asked for centuries: will a mechanical watch work in space?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes—but there are a few things you need to know before you take your timepiece into orbit.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind why watches work in space and dispel some of the myths that have circulated over the years.
So if you’re curious about how watches operate in zero-gravity environments, keep reading.
Will a mechanical watch work in space?
It is true that a mechanical watch can operate in space.
But it is not as accurate as a digital watch.
The first person to wear a mechanical wristwatch in space was Yuri Gagarin, and he wore the Poljot Sturmanskie watch.
Alexi Leonov also wore the Poljot Strela during the first space walk.
The other watches were all manual wounds, but other automatic watches have been worn in space as well by astronauts from Mercury and Apollo programs.
But not all kinds of watches have been to outer space.
The question is: How mechanical watch works in space?
The surprising answer: A mechanical watch will work in space and may even be more accurate because there isn’t gravity on earth that affects their timekeeping accuracy.
Let’s learn more through frequently asked questions.
What watch do NASA astronauts wear?
NASA astronauts wear the Omega Speedmaster Professional watch.
NASA tested out many watches and they liked this one the best.
Buzz Aldrin was wearing this watch on July 20, 1969, when he went to the moon.
Will an automatic watch wind in space?
This question is about watches that wind themselves.
They cannot wind in space because there is no gravity there.
One type of watch, the Omega Speedmaster Professional, does not need to be wound manually so it will work just fine in space. (Source)
Can a watch work on the moon?
A watch can work on the moon if it works on Earth.
NASA tested watches to make sure they would work in a weightless place. (Source)
What watches were worn on the moon?
In the photo on the moon, people can see what watches were worn.
In this photo, Buzz Aldrin is wearing an Omega Speedmaster. (Source)
Do astronauts keep their watches?
When the astronauts come back from a space mission, they do not keep their watches.
These watches are cleaned and inventoried.
During Apollo 11, there seemed to be a mix-up of the astronauts’ watches. (Source)
Does a watch slow down in space?
Yes. A watch will slow down when it is in space.
The reason for this is special relativity and time dilation.
Special relativity teaches us that motion through space slows downtime and the speed of clocks. (Source)
What is Moon age on a watch?
On moon phase watches, the time since there was a new moon is shown.
The amount of time varies on the watch.
Which was the first watch in space?
The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin wore an old, mechanical Sturmanskie watch when he made his historic flight into space.
The first automatic (self-winding) watch worn in space was made by Seiko.
These watches were worn by astronauts on the Skylab mission in 1973.
Do watches work on gravity?
Watches only work when your arm moves.
But some watches have a special part that winds up the watch.
If you are in space, these parts will not wind as well because there is no gravity.
What watch was on Apollo 13?
The watch on Apollo 13 was the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Chronograph.
This is a special Speedmaster that was given to Apollo 13 astronauts as a life-saving gift from NASA.
It is the first watch to have been on the moon and it also received a medal from NASA for its achievement. (Source)
Where is Neil Armstrong’s watch?
Neil Armstrong’s watch is at the National Air and Space Museum. (Source)
What happened to Buzz Aldrin’s watch?
According to the usual etiquette of space travel.
At the end of the return flight, he sent it to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington.
It was supposed to be at the Smithsonian Museum on time.
But it got lost along the way. (Source)
What is a moon face watch?
A watch with a moon face is called a moon phase watch.
The sunlit part of the moon changes as time passes.
That means that you can use it to tell how much time has passed since the last new moon.
Why is moon phase watches so expensive?
Watchmakers have started to make watches with a moon phase function because it is not easy to make.
It is expensive and these watches usually have more features in them, like other functions, so they can be worth the price.
What watches are certified for space?
There is one watch that is still the only one certified to go into space.
This Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch was tested when people were training and also when they went into space because it was also used in missions.
Space is a strange and extreme environment for any object, let alone an intricately-designed machine like a watch.
But surprisingly enough, mechanical watches will work in space—provided they’re designed specifically to withstand the harsh conditions of orbit or deep vacuum.
All you need to do is make sure your timepiece has been certified as “space-qualified” by NASA (or another international body) before it’s taken into orbit with you.
Last Updated on March 20, 2022 by The o.d.m team
The o.d.m team is a group of watch enthusiasts and experts who share their knowledge to watch lovers all over the world. The o.d.m team has won many popular watch design trophies including the iF Design Award China, Germany’s Reddot Design Award & IF Design Award, USA’s Good Design Award, and Japan’s Good Design Award. They’re also a regular guest of the Baselworld trade show.