Speaking of individuals who are breaking through barriers, let’s not forget Felix Baumgartner. Mr Baumgartner will, quite literally, be crashing through the sound barrier. The super skydiver will attempt to shatter the world record for the highest jump: ever.
Most jumps occur somewhere around 10,000 feet. His free fall will begin at a height close to 120,000 feet. That’s nearly 25 miles in the air.
His vehicle to this startling altitude will be a specially designed helium balloon. He’ll also be forced to wear a pressure suit, as the atmospheric pressure will most likely be insufficient to keep his blood from boiling.
What else will be on this incredibly daring journey? A Zenith watch will accompany Mr. Baumgartner for every exhilarating second. After all, this is a company that’s sent pieces to some of the most inhospitable locations on Earth. Sending one above the planet is the natural evolution of this train of thought.
There are a couple environmental difficulties that need to be surmounted in order to achieve this feat: for both the watch and the person wearing it. The lack of pressure has hitherto been referred to. Luckily, watch manufacturers have been working on the pressure problem for a very long time, indeed. Diving watches are built to withstand crushing pressure. In the near-vacuum of the upper atmosphere, the pressure will be on the inside of the piece. But the case must still be built strong and airtight. There’s also the added complication that comes with temperature. Hovering above the bulk of the atmosphere means that the Zenith watch will be in an environment unable to trap the sun’s solar radiation. Incredibly low temperatures will persist. At commercial airline altitudes of approximately 35,000 feet, temperatures are already 50 or 60 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit).
On top of all that is the speed. Breaking the sound barrier is tremendously stressful in terms of forces. Baumgartner’s interested in what the effect will be on the human body. At Zenith, they’re equally interested in what happens to luxury watches.