Has a mechanical wrist watch been successfully used in spaceflight?

Have there been any problems using them that are related to the many unusual aspects of the spaceflight environment, perhaps microgravity or high-g acceleration?

While answers to Would a self-winding watch work in space without gravity? predict that those may work, this question asks about actual instances of mecahnical wrist watches being used successfully in space.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Your edit pretty much changes the complete question. It might have been better to ask a separate question instead of changing this one so completely. Now the answer is trivial, because everyone nows the Omega Speedmaster, which notably is not self-winding. Part of the question is still duplicate, and the answer given here about the self-winding part would make a great addition to the old question. As it stands now, it would be better to re-include the self-winding part and then making the old question a duplicate of this one. Its messy now, with info spreaded. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh I am sorry, but you are mistaken about me posting an answer to the old question. I did not do such a thing. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Polygnome I see that someone posted an answer to the other question after my edit and vote to re-open here. I think my solution works well; the other Q about "theory" or prediction of what might happen, this Q about actual examples. In SE the focus is primarily on answers. The answer here details five different watches with supporting links. It's a great answer. However, I also think might also be okay to close the other question, if AnthonyX is willing to repost that answer here, and adjust this question to ask both for the explanations and examples in one question. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 8:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh, Polygnome: comment cleanup? $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Polygnome DrSheldon has initiated a comment cleanup. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


Yes, mechanical wrist watches do work in space and were used since the earliest days of space flight.

  • Probably the very first watch in space was a Poljot Sturmanskie worn by Yuri Gagarin.
  • Cosmonaut Alexi Leonov wore a Poljot Strela during the very first space walk.
  • John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, wore a TAG Heuer.
  • But the most famous "space watch" is likley the Omega Speedmaster which was worn by several astronauts during the Mercury and Apollo programs.

These were all manual wound watches. But automatic watches do work in space as well and do wind themselves. It seems the first automatic watch worn in space was a Seiko 6139 worn in 1973 by William Pogue during the Skylab 4 mission.

Surprisingly, automatic watches seem to wind even faster in space (better source and explanation needed).

  • $\begingroup$ I've made an edit to the question and voted to re-open. I don't think it causes any conflict with your existing answer. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 14:36

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