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The Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon that Went into Space Onboard the ISS

The triple-axis tourbillon that reached the stars, and will be auctioned by Sotheby's for charity.

| By Brice Goulard | 3 min read |
Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE into space onboard ISS Eytan Stibbe

Watches in space are still, at least for us at MONOCHROME, something that generates a sparkle. The idea of reaching for the stars, looking at planet Earth from a distance, and floating in a micro-gravity environment, are all part of a big dream that only a few will experience. Leaving the Earth’s atmosphere is a daily duty for some brands and their utilitarian chronographs – sound familiar, Omega? –  but the story is quite different when you’re talking about a triple-axis tourbillon watch. And yes, that story actually took shape recently when Eytan Stibbe, leader of the Israeli-designed Rakia mission to space, took along the unique Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE for a ride onboard the ISS… 

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE into space onboard ISS Eytan Stibbe
Eytan Stibbe, Israeli former fighter pilot, businessman and commercial astronaut

This rather surprising story involves three watch-related organisations: watchmaker Jacob & Co., retailer Bucherer, and auction house Sotheby’s. The first two have joined forces to create a unique piece based on the well-known and dazzling Astronomia – a watch that has already made it to Mount Everest’s slopes. The third organisation will be auctioning this unique piece when it comes up for a charitable auction this summer. But what matters even more than the watch is where this Astronomia Bucherer BLUE has travelled.

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE into space onboard ISS Eytan Stibbe

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On the 8th of April, Axiom Space launched a four-person team to and from the International Space Station (ISS) from the Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The AX-1 flight returned to Earth off the Florida coast on Monday, 25th of April. Onboard this SpaceX Axiom Space-1 flight were Michael López-Alegría (a professionally trained astronaut), Larry Connor (an American real estate and technology businessman), Mark Pathy (a Canadian businessman and philanthropist) and finally, Eytan Stibbe. A former Israeli fighter pilot, fighter ace and businessman, Stibbe is the second Israeli to be sent to space after Ilan Ramon, who died in the fatal Columbia mission.

The Rakia mission, along with the Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE, spent 17 days, 1 hour and 37 minutes in space as the space crew orbited the Earth 273 times at an altitude of 250 miles at nearly 17,500 mph, travelling over 7 million miles in total. This unprecedented voyage makes this Jacob x Bucherer BLUE the first triple-axis tourbillon to reach the exosphere. According to crew member Eytan Stibbe, the Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE timepiece continued to display the time accurately during the launch and return to Earth, enduring extremely high G-forces and also micro-gravity in space – which sounds somewhat ironic to be in micro-gravity for a watch that is supposed to fight gravity (sorry, that was a mandatory joke…).

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE into space onboard ISS Eytan Stibbe

The watch itself is technically identical to previous editions of the Astronomia. This unique piece has a case of 50mm in white gold, surrounded by no fewer than five ultra-domed sapphire crystals to observe the movement. What sets it apart is the use of a starry design inspired by space exploration and the colours of the Bucherer BLUE collection, with a dark blue aventurine glass background, which mirrors the deep colour of the firmament (Rakia in Hebrew). Under the sapphire display case, the four satellites – the hour and minutes dial, the tourbillon cage, the spherical diamond representing the Moon, and the magnesium-lacquered globe representing the Earth – turn in a constant motion.

The unique Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE has now returned to Earth and will be offered by Sotherby’s during an auction (further details to be announced at a later date by the house) this summer. Offered with no reserve and with bidding starting at $1, proceeds will be donated to benefit charities. A good opportunity to help good causes and fulfil your space fantasies.

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