Zurich – Following its record-breaking crowdfunding success, Swiss watch company Werenbach extended its exclusive range of rocket watches in mid-November. The faces of the new models are even more striking than those of previous series: as well as being made entirely of original rocket material, they are hand-selected for their distinctive scorch marks or because they contain parts of the original rocket lettering. Using the specially developed online configurator, customers can select a one-of-a-kind watch face based on their personal preferences and, from close-up photographs, identify the part of the rocket from which the material originates. The watches are built to order, hence the name “B.T.O.”.
The base material for the watches comes from the Kazakh Steppe, where Soyuz rockets begin their journeys into space. The route to orbit encompasses three stages, the first of which is jettisoned at a height of between 46 and 85 km. The booster and fairing fall to Earth and land in a military exclusion zone. The parts are recovered, hand-sorted by founder Patrick Hohmann and brought to Switzerland.
A piece of space travel history on your wrist
In its unprocessed state, the recovered material is completely unsuitable for watchmaking purposes watches. The parts are rough-textured, typically severely dented and often display deep scratch marks. In collaboration with his partners, Patrick Hohmann has discovered a way to make the material usable: as part of a multi-step, fine mechanical process, the parts are processed in such a way that they are changed as little as possible yet simultaneously rendered suitable for conversion into high-quality watch faces. The result is a broad array of unique faces that differ according to their starting materials. Each piece displays different colours or colour combinations or is characterised by varying traces of use. Of particular interest are those watch faces that – for example – originate from parts of the rocket that have been exposed to the heat of the engine or contain fragments of the rocket’s lettering. The debris have being selected and sorted according to strict criteria, which means that every watch face contains an indication of the material’s exact location of origin.
Built to order – B.T.O.
Since the new faces come in a widely varying range of finishes and colours, they cannot be purchased in the same way as our standard collections. The solution lies in a configurator, which enables customers to pick out watch faces featuring their desired traces of use or colour combinations and view them as part of an actual (as-yet-unproduced) watch. As the customer navigates their way through the available faces, the configurator not only displays close-up views of the material’s exact location of origin on the rocket, but also the name of the corresponding mission. “Built to order” means that a watch is assembled only upon receipt of an order. As such, each B.T.O. edition is produced in accordance with the wishes of the respective customer and is completely unique.