Vintage Breitling Cosmonaute Ref.809 c.1971 Scott Carpenter

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This Watch featured in James Mulvale's Weekly Blog.


The Watch


In 1959, when NASA announced its initial lineup of astronauts for the space program, they chose from some of the USA’s best fighter and test pilots. Scott Carpenter was one of these and he apparently approached Breitling with a request: specifically, he asked for a Navitimer but with a 24-hour dial in order to aid accurate time telling in space. Breitling responded and they paired the dial with a modified Venus 178 – just as in the Navitimer – but geared to move the hour hand around the dial at half speed to correspond to 24-hours. The watch officially debuted in 1961 as the Cosmonaute (seemingly within the Navitimer line) and Carpenter famously – Breitling would go on to advertise the feat of the Cossie being the first watch on the wrist of an American astronaut– wore the watch on the Mercury-Aurora 7 program launch in 1962.


Telling the time on this Cossie is fun and mind blowing at the same time, seeing noon at the 6am/pm position will take some getting used to but it is different from the norm and all part of this guys charm! Hats off to you if you can tell the time after a few pints down the local!  


View this Intergalactic chap in a video: here



The Specs

Age: c.1971
Reference: 809
Movement: Manual wind with 30 min, 12 hour Chronograph. 
Calibre: Venus 178.
Timekeeping: Very good.
Service History: Last known Service 2021
Dial: Original Breitling Gilt Dial. Professionally Re-lumed August 2022.
Case: Stainless Steel.
Measurements: 40mm/43.7mm with Crown. 47.7mm end of lug to lug.
Bezel: Ridged Bi-Directional 
Water Resistant?: No.
Hands: Original. Professionally Re-lumed August 2022.
Crystal: Replacement.
Crown and Pushers: Original signed Crown and Original pushers.
Strap/Bracelet: On a new Hirsch Black Leather Artisan Strap, Hirsch steel buckle.
Lug Width: 22mm

Getting Acquainted

Bits that stand out:
- Supreme Quality Venus 178 Movement specially modified by Breitling for the 24 hour Dial.
- 24 Hour Dial designed for Astronauts!
- Ridged Bezel.
-Dial and Hands have been re-lumed to original spec and look absolutely fantastic. 

Nitty Gritty:
-Some scratches throughout the Case and one small ding.
Overall this Cossie is in very nice Vintage condition.
The Dial is in very nice original condition. 
The Dial and the hands have undergone professional re-luming and look superb. The infill is very low glowing due to the tinting required.
Steel Case is in good nick, with some scratches throughout but a small ding but nothing really to cry about.
 If you are after something a bit different or an alternative to the Speedmaster with Space history then this rare bird is surely the one for you