A selection of watches and stories that have inspired our writers this month. Check out last month's Watches That Caught Our Eye here.
Richard - Omega Speedmaster 105.003 "Ed White" and a Breitling Cosmonaut
16 November 2022 I sat glued to NASA TV from about 0600hrs to watch the launch of Artemis 1, the rocket that will take us back to the Moon. Although this launch was unmanned the majesty and spectacle of it did not disappoint.
Not since 1972 with Apollo 17 have we seen a machine of this scale lift off from The Cape. I had the TV volume perhaps a bit louder than the family appreciated just to feel the reverberation of 8.8 million pounds of thrust, 1.3 million greater than the Saturn V. Artemis is a rocket of firsts.
The capsule that will orbit the Moon over the next few weeks will give us unparalleled views of our closest celestial neighbour and eventually when it lands on the surface it will deliver the first woman and person of colour to walk on the Moon. In a pretty dark world, the launch truly was a wonderful example of what we are capable of as a species. The launch was the cherry on the cake for me in what had already been an amazing NASA-themed month.
On 10 November Geckota paid host to the staff of Watches of Lancashire. We studied a mind-blowing collection of rare vintage watches. You can tune in soon to see the gems that came out of their secure briefcase but for me, the highlights were an Omega Speedmaster 105.003 "Ed White" and a Breitling Cosmonaut. I have experienced the Cosmonaut before (indeed almost bought one) but I had never seen let alone held an Ed White.
The 105.300 is a legendary Omega that Astronaut White wore for America's spacewalk during the Gemini program. Easily distinguished by the lack of the word Professional on the dial this was a rare treat for me and when I strapped the watch on I freely confess to being transported totally to another time and space.
Anthony - Timex X Pan Am Chronograph 42mm Leather Strap Watch
I spend a lot of time on planes, and even though air travel has nothing like the romance of a bygone age that it used to possess, there are still moments when you’re reminded of that golden era. One came quite recently; on a flight from Houston to Austin in the United States.
The setting was hardly auspicious: a tired American Airlines Boeing 737, rammed with commuters that used the 40-minute hop like a bus service. And that’s when, during the usual diplomatic fight for the armrest, I noticed that my neighbour was wearing a rather interesting watch, which I’d never seen before. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I asked. It turned out that he worked for American Airlines and was one of those people who had found his calling by being a true aviation nut.
The Timex x Pan Am Chronograph - Image credit Timex.
That’s why his watch was a Timex Pan Am chronograph: an elegant blue pilot’s watch emblazoned with the distinctive Pan Am logo. There’s a strong link between Pan Am and timekeeping, as the story goes that the Rolex GMT Master was first worn by Pan Am pilots as they opened up the world in the 1950s. The only slightly jarring thing is that you associate Flieger watches such as this one with the military, whereas Pan Am was all about civil aviation. But does it matter when the result looks this good? I had a great conversation with an interesting new acquaintance and got to admire a watch I had never seen before but could certainly see myself owning as a reminder of the days when flying was achingly cool, rather than slightly degrading. Best of all, it’s only £180 for the day-date version, with the Chrono costing just £40 more. If you can find one. You can check out the watch here.
Fabian - A Langhe & Söhne 1815 Chronograph ‘Hampton Court Edition’ for charity
Since 2018, A. Lange & Söhne has worked with the Concours d'Elegance. This year the event took place between September 2 to September 4 on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, in the suburbs of London. The exquisite mechanical timepieces created by A. Lange & Söhne as well as rare cars were displayed during the high-calibre beauty competition.
The Concours of Elegance provides the perfect setting for the Glashütte manufactory to unveil a very remarkable watch: the one-of-a-kind 1815 Chronograph in 18-carat white-gold with a solid-silver dial and hand-engraved hinged cuvette. The watch eventually sold for an eyewatering 1,058,500 CHF, which was donated to the Prince’s Trust - this is the highest result at auction that a Lange watch has ever achieved!
The A Langhe & Söhne 1815 Chronograph ‘Hampton Court Edition’ - Image credit A Lange & Söhne.
The watch's 18-carat white gold case is accented by a black dial with sandstone-coloured hands and numbers. The bold black dial ensures the best legibility by making the rhodium-plated steel hands on the subsidiary seconds dial and minute counter, as well as the gold hands for the hours and minutes, stand out strongly. The hand-engraved hinged cuvette completes the classic chronograph design. The Concours of Elegance insignia is intricately engraved onto it, taking several days to complete using a flat burin.
Beneath the sapphire crystal caseback beats the in-house Calibre L951.5 with column-wheel control. A snail for the jumping minute counter and flyback function works gives this Calibre incredible precision. Beating at a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour, the 1815 Chronograph can give readings of stopped times with an accuracy of 1/5 of a second.