Following on from SpaceWalker, the satellite tourbillon dedicated to Alexey Leonov’s 1965 space mission, Swiss luxury watch brand Louis Moinet is now unveiling a second creation commemorating the great Russian cosmonaut’s 1975 Apollo-Soyuz adventure – the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States of America.
Apollo and Soyuz were space travel codenames in the USA and the former USSR respectively. In the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission, USSR launched the Soyuz 19 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, and USA’s Apollo took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was the time of cold war between the super powers.
At 7.20pm on July 17, 1975, both spaceships were docked in space; only the hatch of Soyuz 19 separated it from Apollo. In opening the hatchway, Alexey Leonov also opened up a new world of peace and cooperation; his first interstellar handshake with Commander Thomas Stafford was an unforgettable moment.
In 2018, Louis Moinet is celebrating this achievement in the conquest of space – and, more importantly, in human relations – with a timepiece called Skylink, recalling the link that was quietly forged between two men, each representing their nations, in the depths of space.
The Skylink’s dial depicts this sidereal expanse. A graphic process that is exclusive to Louis Moinet allows the creation of colours reminiscent of a nebula – a collection of interstellar dust and gases of infinite hues. Two of Louis Moinet’s hallmark “dewdrop” hands glide over this composition. The raised three-dimensional hour markers reaching out across this dial give the piece a real sense of depth – an architectural aspect that further enhances their very special finish. Their sides feature a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light deep, deep into the dial, setting the timepiece sparkling with life. The colour contrast is enhanced by each hour marker being lacquer-coated. The seconds are marked off on their counter at 9 o’clock; subtle changes in its hue, from dark blue through to purple, can be seen as light strikes its fine metallised coating.
At 3 o’clock sits a special, exclusive Skylink feature: a micro capsule containing, for all eternity, a fragment of Kapton foil – the polyamide fabric which protected Apollo on its return to Earth on July 24, 1975 – together with fibres from the Russian Sokol-K spacesuit. Used for the first time on Soyuz 12 in 1973, the same model is still in use today.
This very limited edition of 19 white gold, 19 rose gold and 75 steel watches comes on a dark blue or black strap. The numbers are a tribute to 1975 – the year of the Apollo-Soyuz mission. The dial of each piece bears an authentic reproduction of Alexey Leonov’s signature.