The prize of the “Sports Watch” category has been won by the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Tribute to Felix Baumgartner watch. The jury of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix has thereby rewarded the first watch to break the sound barrier in a near space environment.
Geneva, November 15th, 2013. The Geneva watchmaking Grand Prix aims to salute excellence in the field of watchmaking. Fifteen prizes reward the finest creations and the most important operators in the watchmaking sector.
70 models were competing in the various categories, and a model from the Manufacture Zenith was honoured by the Grand Prix jury for the “Sports Watch” category at the prize-giving ceremony held in Geneva's Grand Théâtre this Friday.
Like all models produced by the brand, this watch is totally in harmony with Zenith's values: authenticity, daring and pleasure. Authenticity because it embodies the brand's pioneering spirit and excellence in traditional know-how. Daring in terms of its design and technology. And, of course, pleasure because it has the power to make those who wear it dream. True to the Rainbow Flyback model developed for the French Air Force in 1997, the Stratos is equipped with the most world's most precise automatic chronograph movement, the legendary El Primero, not to mention the flyback and Striking 10th functions, making it the ideal partner for the exploit of Zenith's Ambassador since 2010, Felix Baumgartner.
In visual terms, the three different coloured counters are a reminder of the El Primero chronograph launched in 1969, equipped with a three-colour dial that was extremely unusual for the era and designed to improve its readability. The anthracite grey hour counter at 6 o'clock accentuates the length of the unit of time being measured. It is counter-balanced with the light grey of the seconds counter at 9 o'clock, which symbolises the free-floating nature of time, while the minutes counter at 3 o'clock is midnight blue to suggest its intermediate status.
Other than the chronograph function, the El Primero Stratos is equipped with a Striking 10th function to facilitate the tenth of a second display. Coupled with the flyback mode, it is particularly useful for aviation, as it allows pilots to stop, reset to zero and re-start the chronograph in a single movement.
During the Red Bull Stratos mission through the stratosphere, Zenith watch was confronted with the most extreme conditions possible in terms of temperature, low pressure, speed, friction, impacts, etc. The Manufacture Zenith is therefore the first to see one of its watches break the sound barrier on the very edge of space.
Zenith CEO, Jean-Frédéric Dufour, outlines the reasons that encouraged him to support this project: “We have often been in the vanguard in unexplored realms and have accompanied the craziest projects. It is this ability to suggest new ideas and to believe in the achievement of new technical developments that is the most fascinating thing about Zenith. Our watches have taken part in some of humanity's greatest adventures, accompanying explorer Roald Amundsen on his discovery of the North and South poles; Mahatma Gandhi is his peaceful struggle for India's independence; Prince Albert of Monaco in his commitment to ecology; Louis Blériot in his Channel crossing; the fearless Colonel John Blashford-Snell on his many expeditions, including the one to Nepal ; and of course Johan Ernst Nilsson's Pole2Pole mission. Felix Baumgartner is made of the same stuff as these pioneers and we are very proud to have been able to be with him with the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th model during what he has just achieve
As a reminder, after flying to an altitude of 39,045 meters (128,100 feet) in a helium-filled balloon, Felix Baumgartner completed Sunday morning a record breaking jump for the ages from the edge of space, exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying in an experimental rocket-powered airplane. The 43-year-old Austrian skydiving expert also broke two other world records (highest freefall, highest manned balloon flight), leaving the one for the longest freefall to project mentor Col. Joe Kittinger.
Baumgartner landed safely with his parachute in the desert of New Mexico after jumping out of his space capsule at 39,045 meters and plunging back towards earth, hitting a maximum of speed of 1,342.8 km/h through the near vacuum of the stratosphere before being slowed by the atmosphere later during his 4:20 minute long freefall. Baumgartner's jump lasted a total of 9:03 minutes. Countless millions of people around the world watched his ascent and jump live on television broadcasts and live stream on the Internet.
Baumgartner and his team spent five years training and preparing for the mission that is designed to improve our scientific understanding of how the body copes with the extreme conditions at the edge of space.