After a successful EVA, the SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk is to be auctioned for charity.
SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk is the first watch ever designed and built specifically for use in free space. It was created with the active co-operation of Richard Garriott, online game designer and the adventurer who spent 12 days in space on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in October, 2008. It performed flawlessly throughout Richard’s flight in space and required no adjustment or winding in spite of the lack of gravity and substantially reduced body movement in orbit. In fact, Richard took four of these watches on his mission, two of which he brought back to earth, with the other two remaining on board the ISS.
SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk. Five and a half hours in free space
On December 23, 2008 two months after Richard’s return, the remaining two watches were tested in free space during a 5-hour 38-minute Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) by the Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Lonchakov, who wore one on each wrist during his stay outside the ISS. During the EVA, the watches kept the correct time and the chronographs functioned perfectly. This represents a considerable achievement, given that the watches were worn outside his spacesuit and exposed to violent swings in temperature, zero gravity and strong radiation.
On their return to earth, the watches were subjected to thorough investigation by the engineers at Seiko Epson’s facility in Japan. The analysis concluded that the specifications of the original design were more than adequate for the EVA task and that the watch was perfectly suited for future use in space.
One of the Spacewalk watches used in space and the EVA report made by the RSC Energia
SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk goes under the hammer for charity
As Richard Garriott had wished, SEIKO Watch Corporation and Seiko Epson Corporation put one of two watches he brought back to earth up for auction in aid of his two chosen charities. The watch will go under the hammer in the Antiquorum auction to be held in New York on September 17, with the proceeds going to ‘the Nature Conservancy’ (*1) and ‘the Challenger Center for Space Science Education’ (*2). The watch will be accompanied by a certification letter signed by Richard himself, authenticating the watch and conveying his thanks to the successful bidder for his or her support of the charities.
Antiquorum is the world’s leading auctioneer for important timepieces. On the day of the auction, bids will of course be accepted in the New York saleroom, but bids can also be made by telephone or online. Detailed information on the auction is available on page 180 of the Antiquorum catalogue and on their website (http://www.antiquorum.com/eng/sep09_ny_fcatalogue.html). The watch will be presented on the preview tour to be held from early September in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York.
The SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk in the Antiquorum catalogue
SEIKO hopes that collectors and watch aficionados alike will support Richard’s charities by placing generous bids for this remarkable timepiece.
- *1 The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation charity organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and water for nature and people. (http://www.nature.org/)
- *2 The Challenger Center for Space Science Education is an international, not-for-profit education organization that was founded by the families of the astronauts lost during the last flight of the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986. (http://www.challenger.org/)
The commemorative edition
Richard Garriott has encouraged SEIKO to produce a commemorative edition of the watch to be presented around the world to help awareness for the need for more private space exploration. Now that the capability of the watch has been proven beyond doubt in its five and a half hour EVA, SEIKO is proud to announce that a limited commemorative edition of the SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk watch will be made available in early 2010. Just 100 pieces will be produced. The watch will have the same specification as the watch which went to space, with one adaptation; a screw-in crown will be used. The original specification of the crown was not screw-in as the engineers were concerned about the self-winding functionality of the watch in a zero-gravity environment and had chosen a non-screw-in crown for ease of manual winding. However, the perfect operation of the watch, both inside and outside the ISS, revealed that the self-winding mechanism worked flawlessly in space, so a screw-in crown is used in the commemorative edition to enhance the overall security of the case. The serial number will be engraved on the case back, and the watch will, of course, be offered in its own customized presentation box.
SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk,
the Commemorative Edition
|SEIKO Spring Drive Spacewalk, the Commemorative Edition|
|Diameter: 53.0 mm (12-6h), 48.7 mm (3-9h)|
|Thickness: 15.2 mm|
|Weight: 92.5 g|
|Glass:||Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating|
|Water resistance:||10 Bar|
|Bracelet:||Ballistic nylon strap with titanium buckle and velcro fastening with an additional elastic nylon strap|
|Movement:||Spring Drive Chronograph Caliber 5R86|
|Hour, minute and second hands with calendar|
|Power reserve indicator|
|Movement Diameter: 30.0 mm Thickness: 7.6 mm|
|Power reserve: 72 hours with/without chronograph function in use|
|Chronograph to 12 hours|
|Approximate recommended retail price:||US$28,000|