Zurich-based watch company WERENBACH produces wristwatches using material from Russian Soyuz rockets that have flown into space. The watches are crafted in small series and are available directly from the studio or online. This young Swiss watch brand was established by Patrick Hohmann.
Patrick Hohmann, founder and CEO of WERENBACH, came up with the idea to make watches from space rockets back in 2010. In 2012 he set off on an adventurous journey to Kazakhstan, to the place where Russian Soyuz rocket engines fall back to Earth. The novel WERENBACHS UHR (WERENBACH’S WATCH) by founder and CEO Patrick Hohmann describes the adventure-packed story behind the first watch. The book is published by Bilgerverlag in German and available to buy online and in book stores.
The base material for the watch cases is sourced from the rocket’s power turbines (steel) or the outer shell (aluminium). In order to produce the watch cases, these materials must be smelted, with minimal changes to the composition of the alloys.
Criteria for adapting the alloy are:-
– It must not trigger allergies
– It must be workable
– It should be as hard as possible
Two alloys specific to Werenbach were thus developed:
• SRE Stainless Steel: Made from the engine steel, SRE stands for “Soyuz Rocket Engine”. Partial decarburisation 0.17% carbon added 2.8% nickel and 2% molybdenum.
• SBS Aluminium: Made from the outer shell aluminium, SBS stands for “Soyuz Booster Shell”. Added 0.67% copper and 5.89% tin reduced 2.89% manganese.
Original material: The Booster Shell editions are built with the rocket’s shell. Its unique and visible traces of wear gives each watch a one-of-a-kind look.
The Soyuz rocket is the emblem of Russian space travel and the mother of all rockets. An early model of the modern version launched the first satellite – Sputnik – into space in 1957 and made Juri Gagarin the first human being ever to enter space in 1961. To this day the Soyuz rocket is still the most frequently flown orbital rocket in the world and continues to transport astronauts to the ISS. The material used for WERENBACH watches comes from Soyuz rockets launched in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.