Add one more record to the list of those broken this afternoon when Felix
Baumgartner stepped out of a pressurized capsule at nearly 128,000 feet and became the
first human to freefall at Mach 1. Strapped to his wrist, outside of his spacesuit,
was the Zenith Stratos Flyback Striking 10th, making it the first
wristwatch to be exposed to such a velocity outside of an air- or spacecraft. This is officially the fastest watch in the world.
With this feat, the Stratos joins an
elite list of legendary “space” watches, such as the Breitling Navitimer
Cosmonaute and the Omega Speedmaster Professional. During the lead up to Baumgartner’s “mission to the edge of space,” we got our hands on one of these
highly capable watches.
Nowadays, there aren’t a lot of high-end sports watches that
are proven in real world conditions or used as standard equipment (Richard
Mille and the Rolex DeepSea Sea Dweller notwithstanding). They’re typically
just strapped on at the end of a tennis match or given a limited edition
engraved caseback. But Zenith was confident enough in its Stratos Flyback Striking
10th to strap one on to Baumgartner’s arm and to expose it to the harsh
environment and shock waves of a supersonic skydive from 24 miles high.
watch Baumgartner wore was a stock Stratos Flyback, with the exception of a solid
caseback in place of the transparent sapphire back. The
caseback of this edition features an engraving of Baumgartner in his space
helmet and commemorative text around the outer edge. Zenith has told us
that this is not a limited edition watch.