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Saved by the Balance: A Watch

That Brought Astronauts Home

From Weightlessness to Water: The Story of Watches in Space Continues— Despite Some Mishaps

Watch spotting makes a great parlor game, Whether singers, actors, athletes, or corrupt Russian politicians whose trove of ticking finery sometimes pop up in arrest footage, one can choose many kinds of individuals whose timepieces are fun to identify and analyze.


Watches worn by movie stars are, of course, noteworthy. Although some timepieces on the silver screen are hardly identifiable and appear to have no special significance, others feature so prominently that they become a crucial part of a hero’s image or even ascend to the level of a pivotal plot element. In the next couple of articles we will look at some timepieces that have had important cameos in movies about space exploration. [...]

In the previous article we looked at some of the earliest wristwatches to travel into space at the beginning of the 1960s. Those were, predictably, Russian-built watches, because the Soviet Union led the way in space exploration. It seems fitting to mention here one more model from America’s Cold War archrival: the Strela (Arrow) chronograph.


This timepiece with a small seconds subdial and a 45-minute counter was manufactured by the First Moscow Watch Factory, which reportedly based its construction on a column-wheel chronograph movement by Venus. The Strela was the first wristwatch to be used in a spacewalk, when cosmonaut Alexei Leonov spent 12 minutes in outer space outside the Voskhod 2 capsule [...]

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