Felix Baumgartner wears Zenith during the Red Bull Stratos Mission
Millions of eyes were fixed on their screens on Sunday October 14 2012. All over the world, people were getting ready to experience one of the craziest exploits of the 21st century in real time. The dream about to come true was to be achieved by Felix Baumgartner.
Zenith was the exclusive timekeeper and sponsor of this exceptional challenge
For the first time in history, a man was about to break the speed of sound in a freefall. And with him was Zenith, whose El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th was to become the first watch to break the speed of sound at the very doors of space.
Felix Baumgartner during the Red Bull Stratos Mission
Partner to one of the greatest human adventures, the brand with the guiding star was also the exclusive timekeeper for this exceptional challenge: the Red Bull Stratos mission. With his Zenith firmly attached to his wrist, Felix Baumgartner launched himself into the stratosphere from a space capsule suspended from a helium-filled balloon. He did so at an altitude of 39,045 meters – four times higher than airliners fly – and at a temperature of -62°C.
When he threw himself into the stratosphere, Felix Baumgartner reached a record speed of 1,342 km an hour, before being slowed down by the atmosphere during his freefall that lasted four minutes and 20 seconds.
He subsequently opened his parachute and landed safe and sound in the New Mexico desert. In all, the jump lasted nine minutes and three seconds, and set three new records: the first jump in history to break the speed of sound in freefall, the highest occupied flight in a balloon, and the highest freefall. The Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th that accompanied the feat was still working perfectly upon arrival after being subjected to massive differences in pressure, temperature, altitude and acceleration.
The watch’s case-back, struck with the Red Bull Stratos Mission logo
The El Primero Stratos Flyback striking 10th chronograph, the first watch to break the sound barrier on the edge of space.
This mission that had been in preparation for over five years provided an opportunity to obtain precious medical and scientific information in a real-life situation that will enable advances in spatial and aeronautical research. For example, the data gathered on the reaction of the organism at a speed greater than Mach 1 on the very edge of space brings the advent of space tourism substantially closer, while new systems of sub-orbital evacuation could be developed.
For Zenith, this adventure means much more than confronting its mechanics with the most extreme conditions.
Because the Red Bull Stratos Mission and the Manufacture follow the same star – that which guides entrepreneurial daring, continually pushes the boundaries of technical performance and opens up a place of freedom where anything becomes possible. For the sheer pleasure of achieving one’s destiny.