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Seiko Spacewalk
2009-Jan-3
2009-Sep-20
     

Seiko Spacewalk

Seiko Spacewalk

Seiko Spacewalk Lumibrite

Spring Drive Spacewalk is specially designed and built to accompany the first private individual ( Richard Garriott ) to conduct a Spacewalk.

Richard Garriott, famous video game designer and adventurer, will become the 6th private space explorer and conduct his space mission aboard the International Space Station in October 2008. As Richard goes out into free space, he will be wearing a Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk.


News updated : 2009 Sep from official website of Seiko:

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 5 hours and 38 minutes EVA (Extravehicular Activity) on 23 December 2008, 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 (International Space Station), 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.

Specifications of the Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk Commemorative Edition

Seiko specialists did not consider quartz movements as battery-operated instruments that lack special treatment are not used for a Spacewalk for safety reasons. Thus, they had to choose between a mechanical movement and Spring Drive.

The mechanism to be incorporated by the Spacewalk must guarantee the maximum safety and accuracy, even when the watch is exposed to an extreme range of temperature from - 20°C to + 70°C.

The ability of the watch to provide accuracy at extreme temperatures is of the greatest importance, but no mechanical watch can maintain its accuracy in such conditions - the traditional escapement responsible for regulating the time in all mechanical watches is characterized by the inherent instability in the extreme conditions. That is why Spring Drive has become the best solution the Seiko specialists could find.

The Spacewalk watch is equipped with the Spring Drive Chronograph Caliber 5R86. The mechanism provides the following functions: hours, minutes and seconds, calendar, GMT , 72-hour power reserve, and 12-hour chronograph.

     
Unique Characteristics of the Spacewalk:
1. Air-tight case
The watch case needs to be completely air-tight to allow the timepiece operate in the vacuum of free space. Seiko based the creation of the Spacewalk watch on its rich experience in the field of divers watches which are able to resist pressures up to 1,000 meters. Spacewalk incorporates special features to guarantee air-tightness in the vacuum of free space. In particular, Seiko engineers developed a new type of gasket, having applied a rubberized material.
     
2. Light weight of the case
Instruments to be used in space must be extremely light and strong. The case of the Seiko watch was crafted in high -intensity titanium, the material 40 percent lighter than stainless steel. The 100-meter waterproof construction weighs just 92.5 grams.

Seiko engineers had to make the case not only light but also as large as possible. To offer great readability, they designed the case to have minimum volume but maximum dial opening size. They built the case, 53.0 x 48.7 mm in diameter, 15.2 mm thick, with recessed sides, having come up with a new engineering solution, using a Seiko-in-house CNC (computer numerical control) machine. The innovative process allowed to reduce the volume of the case material by 30 percent. Altogether, the Spacewalk watch has the case characterized by the optimum balance of strength, lightness and wide dial opening.

     
3. Great readability of the dial
The Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk watch features a new layout, with the chronograph dials placed at the top. The timepiece has the specifically designed hands and hour markers covered by the additional layers of Seiko's Lumibrite material. The dial has become at least three times brighter than a traditional luminous watch.
     
Seiko Spacewalk 3 4. Extreme comfort of use
The Seiko watch has been designed with over-sized buttons that can be easily pressed even when wearing thick space gloves. The buttons are placed at the top of the case for easier access.
     
Seiko will produce the Spring Drive Spacewalk watch in a limited number of only 100 pieces. Richard Garriott will take 3 pieces to accompany him on his mission, while the rest of the space-proof watches will be distributed worldwide in December 2008. Estimated Price: US$26,000
     

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