As its latest release of 2023, Awake has created a new limited-edition timepiece that is inspired by the iconic red, white, and blue NASA “meatball” logo. For those less familiar with the history of the famous space agency, NASA has used two main logos over the years, which are nicknamed the “worm” and “meatball” — the “worm” is the one with simple red stylized letters against a white background, while the “meatball” is the round logo that consists of a blue circle with a red swoosh and the NASA name in white letters — and it is the “meatball” logo that serves as the inspiration for Awake’s most recent timepiece. However, rather than simply placing the logo on the dial, the new Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch uses the colors of NASA’s famous logo to inform its overall aesthetic, along with incorporating a number of other space-inspired design touches.
The case of the new Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch measures 40mm in diameter by 11.89mm-thick, and it is crafted from a titanium alloy that consists of 70% recycled material. While the overall appearance of the watch is somewhat traditional, a closer look will reveal a number of space-themed design elements. At the 3 o’clock location is a screw-down crown that is engraved with the symbols L (Locked) and O (Open), as a reference to the umbilical connectors found on the A7L spacesuits worn by the astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission. Meanwhile, the screw-on titanium caseback features a clear display window with the NASA “meatball” logo in the center, and among the engravings that appear along its perimeter is an emblem of a fish wearing a space helmet that sits next to its 10 ATM depth rating as a way to indicate the watch’s 100 meters of water resistance.
Set inside the stepped bezel above the dial of the Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch is a sapphire crystal with embedded NFC technology, and this allows owners to hold their smartphone up to the face of their watch to access to a number of different features that are part of the brand’s Mission to Earth project. In addition to allowing owners to establish a blockchain-secured record digital of ownership, Awake’s Mission to Earth project also includes access to features such as the Awake Observatory, which consists of content broadcast by NASA from cameras on the International Space Station, and the Eyes on Asteroids interactive program, which allows users to learn about the various asteroids that reside within our Milky Way galaxy and discover their names, sizes, shapes, compositions, and trajectories. Since the crystal itself remains completely clear, I imagine that the actual NFC tag resides somewhere along its outer rim, and it is interesting to see NFC technology used both for authentication purposes and to allow the physical watch to serve as the key to unlock the brand’s digital world.
Given that the NASA “meatball” logo is round, the obvious way of incorporating it into the design of a watch would be to simply slap it on the dial, but the new Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch doesn’t actually have the NASA name or logo printed anywhere on its dial at all. Instead, the matte-blue surface appears in the same color as the blue circle from the agency’s emblem, while white and red accents appear alongside a number of subtle space-themed design elements. The applied hour markers are inspired by the orientation of the portholes of the “Cupola” observation window on the International Space Station, while the concentric guilloché under the indexes is intended to mirror the orbital movement of the planets around the sun. Similarly, the elongated shape of the hour and minute hands serve as a nod to rockets, while the red aluminum angled chapter ring has a 10-second countdown to ignition printed at the top, with the words, “Mission to Earth” and each watch’s individual serial numbering appearing on the lower side.
Powering the new limited edition Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch is the familiar Miyota 9039 automatic movement, which runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. Additionally, rather than featuring the standard rotor, the Miyota 9039 movements fitted to Awake’s Mission to Earth “Meatball” watches receive custom skeletonized oscillating weights, which are engraved with planet emblems and the words, “Dare Mighty Things,” which was NASA’s famous mantra that was encoded in the parachute motifs of the Perseverance rover that landed on Mars. Completing the Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch is a white velcro strap, which features the NASA meatball logo on one of the ends near the lugs, along with the American flag printed on the opposite side of the strap that wraps around on the bottom of the wrist.
Production of the Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch will be limited to 250 examples worldwide, and the new model will be accompanied by an official retail price of €825 EUR (or about $900 USD at the time of writing). Additionally, since this is clearly a watch aimed at space enthusiasts and collectors, each one will be delivered in a presentation box that features an interior with a timeline that chronicles the evolution of NASA’s logo, and inside the box is also a genuine fragment of the Tatahouine meteorite which is over 4.2 billion years old. While the Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch features quite a few space-inspired design elements, the fact that its dial remains free from the NASA logo means that it benefits from significantly more aesthetic versatility, and a quick strap change could easily make this less of an obvious “space watch” and something that could much more easily fit into everyday life. For more information on the Awake Mission to Earth “Meatball” watch, please visit the brand’s website.