Richard Brown



Watch Straps


Watch Straps

May 03, 2024

ZULUDIVER is synonymous with exploration; our straps are made for that purpose. We have a great passion for all things space-related, so as America celebrates National Space Day, join us as we look at the top five space watches of all time and interstellar straps to make your watch mission-ready.

When space and horology collide...

Over fifty years ago, in 1974, Pioneer 11 passed closer to Jupiter than ever imagined. Flying a mere 26,000 miles from the planet, the probe took stunning close-up images which are still studied today. In the same period, Skylab was also fully operational, occupied by astronauts, orbiting the Earth long before the first bolt in the International Space Station was made. The golden days of Apollo may have gone, but deep space exploration and habitation were beginning. At that point, NASA were still yet to construct the first Space Shuttle, which would eventually fly in 1997. Designated OV-101, this craft would eventually be named the Enterprise.

If you're looking to buy a first watch related to the space program or add to a collection, there are many options. These events meant there were fabulous watches in orbit coping with the impossible extremes of spacewalks and orbital missions. 

Here are our top five outer space watches catering for all budgets, each uniquely connected to the space program, and a selection of space homage straps from ZULUDIVER that can add another dimension to any watch.

Omega Speedmaster Professional

Omega Speedmaster ProfessionalOmega Speedmaster Professional - Credit ZULUDIVER

The most famous watch to leave the Earth, Omega, has the market pretty much sewn up for Gemini and Apollo enthusiasts. The Speedmaster was selected in the mid-1960s after extensive NASA testing, which saw Rolex and Breitling fall. Today, Omega still uses the Moon missions as the Speedmaster’s principal marketing tool and remains the ultimate tool watch. 

Many special editions have been released, most connected to a specific mission, but if you want a truly authentic Moonwatch, then skip the more expensive models and buy the entry-level watch with a steel case back, hand-wound Calibre 3861 movement, black NASA look fabric strap and Hesalite crystal. It may be £6400, but it’s a purchase you will never regret. 

Bulova Lunar Pilot Apollo 15

Bulova Lunar Pilot Apollo 15Bulova Lunar Pilot Apollo 15 - Credit ZULUDIVER

The Bulova is widely regarded as the Moonwatch with the most interesting back story. It also represents outstanding value for money. The original Bulova watch was used once during Apollo 15. It was a backup watch which was deployed due to a Speedmaster failure. Almost 50 years later, this watch was auctioned for £1.6 million, still with moon dust stuck in the Velcro strap. 

Technically, the re-issue Bulova is a gem, with external looks mirroring the 1971 Mission watch and a fabulous quartz movement from Accutron, which is accurate to +/- 10 seconds a year. It feels like a true NASA Moonwatch and could be yours for between £500 and £600, depending on where you buy it.

Omega x Swatch Moonswatch

Omega x Swatch MoonswatchOmega x Swatch Moonswatch on 1973 British Military Watch Strap: SPACE-BOUND - Pluto - Credit ZULUDIVER

The watch that broke the internet and made buyers queue for miles around Swatch stores. 

Made from a space-age bio-ceramic material, these Omega Speedmaster clones came in various colours, all named after planets in our solar system. With some selling out immediately, the pre-owned market is one of the few places to get the popular models, but beware of counterfeits. Special editions have since been released with little fanfare, with buyers preferring original issues. 

The MoonSwatch remains popular, and if you want a watch that looks JUST like an Omega Speedmaster at a fraction of the cost, then the best examples, like Missions to the Moon, Neptune and Jupiter, are well worth sending out deep space probes to find. New models should be around £240. Pre-owned – the sky’s the limit!

Sinn 140

Sinn 140Sinn 140 - Credit ZULUDIVER

The 140 is Sinn's flagship model. First worn in space in 1985 by astronaut Reinhard Furrer aboard the Challenger Shuttle. 

The 2024 evolution of the 140 boasts superior technology and engineering expected from Sinn. The 44mm steel case is hardened with proprietary TEGIMENT Technology. This is not a simple protective coating like PVD. Sinn’s TEGIMENT process physically makes the case metal harder and more scratch-resistant.

The 140 is also equipped with dehumidifying technology designed to address the ageing of oils due to moisture in the air inside passing into the watch. Thanks to the three technical elements, the Sinn 140 movement is mounted in a moisture-free atmosphere: a proprietary Ar-Dehumidifying Technology drying capsule, unique seals and protective gas filling. The combination prevents fogging due to sudden temperature changes, which is useful considering the temperatures outside the International Space Station range from +121C to -157C. 

Technically one of the best space watches of all time, the Sinn 140 costs around £4400.

Casio G-Shock DW-5600

Casio G-Shock DW-5600Casio G-Shock DW-5600 - Credit ZULUDIVER

For decades, the venerable DW-5600 was the choice for Shuttle crews and the most affordable digital watch to go into space. A lot cheaper than the Omega X-33. 

DW-5600 has the classic square look that appeals to a galaxy-wide demographic of buyers. It is precisely how a G-Shock should look, and it is no wonder that NASA came kicking and screaming into the 1990s when they saw the watch's capability. Of course, it does everything the venerable Speedmaster does – simply, cheaper, and definitely more robustly. Battery technology ceased to be an issue with Casio’s 10-year battery tech, and should one fail; they are easily replaced – even in zero-G (there is a video of this). 

Arguably the most versatile space-proven watch of all time, the DW-5600 costs as low as £50 if you scour the internet. 

Mission-ready ZULUDIVER space straps

The Space-Bound Collection

Omega x Swatch MoonswatchOmega x Swatch Moonswatch on ASTRO Space-Bound Watch Strap - Uranus - Credit ZULUDIVER

There are twenty-seven straps in the new collection; each example is bespoke and created to complement multi-coloured MoonSwatch cases but equally looks good on steel tool watches such as the Omega or Bulova. Named after the planets, the range comprises two designs of straps. One is a classic 1973 Military nylon design – designated LUNAR, and the other is a two-piece style designated ASTRO. 

Although NASA never issued 1973 military-style straps, the general design of the historical and modern chronographs lends them to this alternate look. Such straps have become firm favourites with Speedmaster users as they give the watch a functional look while remaining 100% contemporary. 

Enhanced Technical Specs

The Space Bound Series weave is a matte finish with a soft feel. Strap dimensions have been kept within expected military parameters. The same attention to detail has been paid to the metalwork of the strap. Each model has traditionally placed hardware, buckles and keepers, with the steel presented in a sophisticated satin finish with clear vertical brush marks—the combined effect results in one of the most striking space strap collections we have made.

The LUNAR Collection

Omega x Swatch MoonswatchOmega x Swatch Moonswatch on LUNAR Space-Bound Watch Strap - Pluto - Credit ZULUDIVER

At ZULUDIVER we have wanted to develop an authentic Moonwatch strap for some time and are delighted that the ZULUDIVER LUNAR Watch Strap is now a reality and a best seller. After extensive study of NASA’s original straps, this is our interpretation of the classic hook-and-look design that went to the Moon. Named after key machines like Sigma and landing sites like Tranquility, each LUNAR strap is evocative and tells a story. 

As you would expect from ZULUDIVER, we have not compromised on quality, with the strap being made from high-strength slanted nylon made by a unique weaving process that offers superior friction resistance and colour retention. The military-grade non-fray hook and loop fastening system is hypoallergenic and tested at temperatures below -30 degrees. It should securely open and close more than 5000 times. The matt, corrosion-resistant steel loop is embossed with the ZULUDIVER logo.

Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.

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