Grinding Gears: Watch Brands look to Space as the Next Frontier of Billionaire Status Watches


If there's one problem the billionaires of Earth are facing right now, it's a lack of truly great holiday destinations. Como and Necker Island are crawling with mere millionaires, and yacht mooring in Monaco is more hassle than it's worth. 

So the ultra-rich are setting their sights a little further afield. Space, as we all know, is the final frontier, and while science certainly plays a role in exploring this bold new landscape — it's really shaping up nicely as an exclusive getaway from the pressures of Earth, not to mention an exciting new tax haven. Of course, ultra-healthy space-tourism operators Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk are the most visible faces of private space travel; it turns out there's a small but significant percentage of the world's population who have more money than they know what to do with and are keen to try new things in zero gravity. 

As always, where the wealthy few congregate, watch brands aren't far away. Of course, space is a well-trodden marketing path for many watch brands, with the success of Omega's iconic Speedmaster being a clear indicator of the marketing power of the moon. However, it must be said that for 21st-century recreational space tourists, this classic chronograph is far too common for their rarefied tastes — yes, even the one with Snoopy. 

One brand, well known for their highly jewelled offerings, has created a 'Solastronomia', which has eight tourbillons, one for every planet in the solar system. The fact that the lack of gravity in space renders every single one of these eight tourbillons useless is not something that concerns the four passengers on the latest SpaceX trip departing from the brand's Cape Canaveral facility

Space photo - NASa - DWW.jpg
Space photo - NASa - DWW.jpg

Space Photo - by NASA

Space Photo - by NASA

Another brand, already popular amongst billionaires, has taken a different approach. This maker has secured the heat shield from NASA's Apollo 11 Mission, embedded it within a matrix of carbon nanofibres, and a proprietary crystal of 'space sapphire', which appears to be functionally identical to earth sapphire, but a lot more expensive. This limited edition, made from genuine spacecraft, will only be available to people who have travelled out of this world and will have a price tag to match. 

Not to be outdone, one brand known for its bold designs and love of partnerships has started investing heavily in space-adjacent ambassadors in partnership with one private space company. Expect to see billboards with the Flight Dynamics Officer wearing a watch 'they designed' on a billboard near you. This watch is limited to 300 pieces, looks remarkably similar to every other limited edition, and, according to boutique sales associates, is 'very hard to get'. There are currently more than 50 listed on secondary marketplaces. 

Speaking of boutiques, the Swiss luxury space strategy extends beyond limited editions to the latest in experiential retail. Several leading brands have announced plans for near-orbital boutiques, said to be operational by 2027, which promise their exclusive clientele something no retail space on Earth can offer — no waitlist.


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