If there ever was a professional—Mark Kelly is most certainly it. His resume could take up three full scrolls on your screen, so I’ll leave it out for now, but when Breitling tapped him to consult on the designs and functions of the B50, he had very little trouble speaking his mind about problems he’d had with other watches during space flight.
“You lift off. It takes you eight and a half minutes to go from 0 to 17,500 miles an hour. As a pilot, one of your responsibilities are the main engines, which is one of the biggest sources of stress as you go uphill. These things having moving parts that are moving at 35,000 rpm—turbines and pumps. A lot of mechanical. Right after the engines cut off, you’ve got to close all these valves, and you’ve got to close them looking over your shoulder or with a mirror.
“Some people tend to use a mirror. I tend to wrench my head around. I would use the watch to time. They have to be closed in a certain amount of time. Sure enough, I look over my shoulder, and the second hand is stuck on the minute hand of this watch I’m wearing. Mechanically, physically stuck. Then I start doing the old, ‘One one thousand. Two one thousand.’ After I got back from the flight, I was like, ‘I’ve got to find a better watch.’ Which is why I ended up contacting Breitling.”