Clink Street, London - 14th October 2014
The number five, the Celestia, is about as exclusive as it gets. You can only buy one if you have been on a spaceflight or are booked on one. It has three complications specially tailored for the space traveller. Springing into action during spaceflight, the top dial, which normally indicates the date, instead reports G-force, up to 3G during ascent, and dropping to zero in the weightlessness of space; the left dial, usually indicating seconds, instead reports speed in hundreds of miles per hour; the bottom dial, which usually indicates the day of the week, instead reports the altitude in thousands of meters.
The idea originally came to me on a visit to Virgin Galactic's offices in Pall Mall, London. At the time I was interested in sending our watch movements into space as a way of testing them with extreme G-forces. That idea proved impractical in the near term, with Virgin's craft booked up with human cargo for the forseeable future. But it did spark the question in my head - what would the space traveller want in a watch?
The answer was the Celestia.