Yuri Gagarin made history in 50 years ago today when he became the first human to journey into outer space, completing a full orbit of the earth in his Vostok spacecraft. This momentous 1961 event is honored with the creation of the Gagarin Tourbillon, a limited edition horological sculpture built by independent watchmaker, Bernhard Lederer.
The Gagarin Tourbillon recalls several details of the mission that put Yuri into orbit 50 years ago. The 60-second flying tourbillon, for instance, is lifted from its usual location within the movement, finding itself hung over the outer edge of the dial. Holding it there is a sweeping bridge, reminiscent of the statue erected at Gagarin’s landing site near Engels. The entire apparatus completes a full rotation around the dial every 108 minutes, the exact length of time that it took Yuri to complete a full orbit of earth. The cage is formed of letters curved around its diameter, spelling “VOSTOK”.
Additional details inspired by the Vostok capsule are found around the case and dial. There is a prominent loupe that sits over a majority of the sapphire, held in place by a latch similar to those found on the capsule. Looking through the magnifying glass is meant to invoke the feeling of looking out of the Vostok, back at earth. In this case, it provides a detailed view of the dial, which is designed with central sub-dials. The inner dial features engraved highlights of Gagarin’s flight and a red arc indicating the period he experienced zero gravity.
This commemorative watch was built in its entirety by A.H.C.I. member, Bernhard Lederer. Residing in Neuchatel, Switzerland, Lederer founded the haute horology brand, BLU (Bernhard Lederer Universe). For the Gagarin Tourbillon, Lederer designed, developed and manufactured the complex, 264 component movement. The movement houses three mainspring barrels, ensuring power makes it to all elements of the dramatic dial.
The Gagarin Tourbillon is limited to 50 pieces, each made in platinum. Check out the video after the break to get a better idea of how this horological monument works. Learn more about the watch by clicking here.
To see another Yuri Gagarin watch, one just like that which he wore into orbit, click here.