It must be the late 60s again because everyone is talking about space travel again. We even have Russia invading Eastern Europe and civil unrest in the U.S. No Red Terror this time, but you get the point. The 1960s were not all hippies and acid, and if there was one thing that captured everyone’s attention at the time, it was the moon landing in 1969. Now, watch enthusiasts have not been allowed to forget that the Omega Speedmaster went to space but that hasn’t happened in a good while, but with space travel becoming slightly more accessible, organisations have been able to send objects to space without the help of NASA, which has led to the MoonSwatch being sent up to space and arriving back on Earth safely and in good working order.
Justin Hast, a British watch enthusiast and publisher of The Watch Annual, said that, “We recognised that, actually, no one was really talking about the moon connection and the link to space for this watch.”
While it is true, the moon connection wasn’t talked about much with the MoonSwatch, but the reason for that is because it simply didn’t have the credentials. Along with Hast’s two colleagues, Ciaran Grealish and Joe Allen (who make up the trio that is For Exhibition Purposes Only), they needed to change that.
While they didn’t quite send the watch to the moon, they did send it 33,800m above Earth. Surprisngly, the quartz BioCeramic watch survive.
“It has now landed back on Earth safely and it actually survived all the pressures exerted on it, in a similar way that the original Speedmaster met all those criteria for NASA,” said Hast. “This watch has survived and it’s still working.”
So how did they do it? Strap the watch to a rocket and hope for the best? Not quite.
As Grealish explained, “We worked with a company based in Sheffield in the UK called Sent Into Space. They actually started as a company that would test components in space on behalf of rocket companies, and pivoted into a marketing company.”
What Sent Into Space came up with was a carbon-fibre rig with a fixed camera and attached watch that was taken up via a balloon. The balloon bursts and when the rig re-enters the atmosphere, a parachute opens up and the rig gently descends to Earth.
“So the space flight itself took about four hours and it travelled about 350 miles from west to east to across the UK,” said Grealish.
The MoonSwatch landed in a miscellaneous field which you can see here.
For Exhibition Purposes Only (FEPO) caught the whole journey on film and have split the journey into five-second clips that will be sold as NFTs (groan). The NFTs cost about £30 and they display the metrics of that section – longitude, latitude, speed, and pressure.
“…Nobody knows the slice of the journey they’ve got – that’ll be revealed on March 1,” said Grealish. “Maybe you’ll own the crash landing, maybe you’ll own the balloon burst, maybe you’ll own that moment of serenity in space.”
The NFTs might make you wince, but at least they serve a larger function as they essentially work as raffle tickets to win the very MoonSwatch that went into space. 20% of the proceeds will also go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So at least this isn’t the most egregious use of NFTs.
There are 960 NFTs total, and there are still 893 available. Check out their website if you’re interested, but you will need to purchase a ticket in the raffle using Ethereum.