In May of 1961 president John F. Kennedy sat before a special joint session of congress to formally announce the undertaking of sending an American to the moon (and safely returning said American back to earth) before the end of the decade. The scale of this objective was enormous, and the recently formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration wasted little time in pursuit of the lofty goal. The existing Project Mercury and its Mercury Seven astronauts had been operating since NASA’s founding in 1958 (insert The Right Stuff plug here), and a day after the one year anniversary of Kennedy’s speech (subsequently, 60 years ago today), Scott Carpenter was launched into space in Mercury’s Atlas 7 mission, within the Aurora 7 spacecraft. This was Project Mercury’s 4th crewed flight. Carpenter would go on to make three orbits of earth in a shade under 5 hours time before landing (a bit off course) in the ocean northeast of Puerto Rico. On his wrist, a Navitimer Cosmonaute he had specifically requested from Breitling.
Today in Zurich, Breitling is displaying that very Navitimer Cosmonaute for the first time publicly, and is releasing a new, commercially available version alongside it.