Felix Baumgartner, a former Austrian paratrooper has set records for some of the world’s highest parachute jumps, including in 1999 the Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur (1999), and in the same year, the lowest extreme jump from the hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. In 2003 he crossed the Channel in freefall with a carbon fibre wing, performed a base jump from the Millau viaduct in 2004, and in 2007 he leapt from the 91st floor of the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taiwan.
Two years ago on October 4th 2012, he achieved his most breathtaking feat yet with Zenith. He broke three freefall records on this occasion: the height (38,969.4 metres), the speed (1,357.6 km/h) and the duration of his jump (4 minutes and 20 seconds).
The dial of the new Zenith Christop Colomb special edition 45mm platinum watch illustrates Felix Baumgartner’s feat. The Zenith master artisans have reproduced the famous photo of Felix Baumgartner preparing to jump from the capsule that has reached its maximum height. The figure in a space suit adorning the power-reserve dial at 3 o’clock is engraved on a hand-polished 18-carat gold plate fixed to the dial by two screws. The 12 o’clock hours and minutes dial bears a mark lightly drawn between the number 12 and the first hour-marker, evoking the duration of the jump (4 minutes and 20 seconds).
Like all models in the line, the plate is hollowed to embrace and enhance the shape of the gyroscopic Gravity Control module at 6 o’clock. The main part of the dial base is occupied by the turquoise Earth, while the upper section shows the Milky Way viewed from the stratosphere and depicted in aventurine.
On the case-back the 18-carat gold power-reserve bridge illustrates Baumgartner’s freefall. All the motifs are hand-engraved using the line engraving technique, with Baumgartner’s stylised silhouette at 12 o’clock, the capsule at 9 o’clock and the Earth at 3 o’clock, overlapping the gyroscopic Gravity Control module. These are surrounded by engraved inscriptions indicating the champion’s three records: The highest 38,969.4 m = 127,852.4 feet / The fastest 1,357.6 km/h = 843.6 mph / The longest 4min 20s Freefall, as well as the Forty-Five (45) Jewels on the movement, and the mention Zenith Manufacture Le Locle. Six jewels are placed on the capsule and the spacesuit, including one at the exact same spot as the watch that Felix Baumgartner wore when doing the jump.
The watch is powered by a movement featuring a regulating organ with a high oscillation frequency (36,000 vibrations/hour) and a patented Gravity Control gyroscopic module, which neutralises the effects of gravity on the rate of the watch.
Released in a 10-piece limited edition, the watch comes in a carbon-clad ebony presentation box which doubles as a humidor and bears a silkscreened stainless steel plate adorned with Felix Baumgartner’s signature.
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