'Space rarities' highlight: flown Omega Skywalker watch
Perhaps the star of the first ‘Space Rarities’ auction being held this Friday, 12 April, is this flown Omega Speedmaster X-33 Skywalker chronograph watch, serial No. 92115589.
This watch is very special in that travelled as one of only five sent by Omega to the International Space Station on board the Japanese HTV-6 space vehicle, launched on 9 December 2016.
It stayed on the ISS during ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet's Proxima mission and returned to Earth on the SpaceX Dragon CRS-11 spacecraft on 3 July 2017, shortly after the return of Pesquet. It has logged 206 days in space including 202 on board the ISS. The watch is sold with its presentation box, offered by Omega.
Not only that, but the watch has an inscription on the back 'TESTED AND CERTIFIED BY ESA'. Only the first 100 made X-33 Skywalker watches were made with this inscription, which has since been replaced on later versons by 'TESTED AND QUALIFIED'.
The time and display functions of the Omega Speedmaster X-33 Skywalker were first invented by ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy and protected by a patent filed by ESA. A license agreement between the Swiss company Omega and ESA allowed its development based on the case and mechanism of the old model X-33 developed by Omega in the 1990s to equip NASA and ESA astronauts flying on the Space Shuttle.
When Omega offered Jean-François Clervoy the choice of the name of this new model, the X-33 became the X-33 Skywalker.
The Speedmaster X-33 Skywalker is the first watch designed by an astronaut specifically to be used in space, introducing for the first time features such as the Mission Elapsed Time, or 'MET', function programmable by the date of the 'zero' mission launch time.
The technical development started in 2012, followed in 2013 by a serie of tests of the first prototypes: by ONERA for radiation resistance and by ESA for extreme vibration, pressure and temperature testing. The first model in this series was successfully used by a European astronaut on the ISS for six months in 2014, worn by Alexander Gerst.
This auction is organised by the Spacebrains foundation and all profits generated by this sale will be used by the foundation to support young European researchers and entrepreneurs with projects in the space field. ESA receives no financial compensation from this auction and subsequent sales.