All things considered, the watch collecting community is fairly small in the grand scheme of things. And even more so, my blog and webpages are probably a pretty tiny drop in what’s already a very small bucket. It’s easy to start thinking that my writings here have an audience consisting mostly of myself, a few collectors with too much time on their hands, and occasional passers-by who wander in accidentally by way of Google and other search engines. I’m speaking in something of a vacuum perhaps, or so it might seem.
But a few weeks ago an actual astronaut himself happened by and commented on one of my pages. I’m honored, and even more so by the fact that he took the time add some detail to the article for the sake of us collectors.
When I was working on the feature on the Omega Speedmaster Professional X-33 I scanned through the NASA archives looking for good photos that highlighted NASA’s use of the X-33. Of course there are hundreds to choose from, but among those I chose was this one of CDR John B. Herrington aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-113 because it showed him wearing not one but two X-33s:
Thinking that the wear of not one but two X-33s was notable, I speculated at the time that CDR Herrington wore two X-33s to provide additional utility for tracking multiple experiments, or else to provide additional alarm capabilities for important milestone events. But then the gentleman himself happened by and settled the question beyond a shadow of a doubt:
“Thanks for posting the photo of me wearing two X-33s during my mission. Your explanation regarding why I might be wearing two made me chuckle. While I did use one as a timer, separate from other, I purchased two watches, one for me and the other for my Dad. Rather than bury his in my locker, I thought it would be appropriate to wear it throughout the mission. Having two did come in handy at times (no pun intended). Late in the mission I took his watch off and let it float near the overhead windows and took a picture of it with the earth in the background. My inscription on the resulting photo, ‘Dad, proof that time flies.’My best,
So apparently my speculation about the intended usage was at least slightly off, but I’m glad for the clarification that has helped enlighten us all. And I’d just love to see a photo of that X-33 floating in front of a porthole with Earth in the background.
Since leaving NASA, CDR Herrington has been quite the busy guy. In fact, one of hist latest endeavors was a 4,000+ mile “ROCKETREK” cross-country bicycle trek to promote education and student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).