Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner Watch

Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner Watch

Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner Watch Watch Releases

We love and respect Zenith for the El Primero, the rock solid, high-frequency automatic chronograph caliber – accepted by many as the first of its kind. Over the years, we have seen some very interesting modifications of that movement as well as some other intriguing concepts from the Le Locle based manufacturer. However, the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb with its unique gyroscopic system is arguably the most impressive and technically challenging movement the now LVMH-owned company has produced since it debuted the El Primero in 1965. Today, Zenith has announced a new version of this gimbal-equipped movement, the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner.

The brand also likes to call it a "tribute to the first 21st century extreme explorer," and while that may be a bit of a stretch, Felix Baumgartner's attempt to break the sound barrier with his own body in a free fall from the edge of space in 2012 – while wearing a Zenith Stratos (hands-on here) strapped to his spacesuit – deservedly put him in the spotlight around the world. Zenith was among the few sponsors of this daring adventure, and along with a number of different Stratos models, now pays tribute to Felix's achievements through a limited edition of the Academy Christophe Colomb.

Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner Watch Watch Releases

What made the Academy Christophe Colomb so unique upon its debut back in 2010 was, of course, its "self regulating gyroscopic module" – which was a first in wristwatches. What Zenith did there was create a gimbal-like system that would hold the entire escapement in a horizontal position at all times, regardless the position of the watch itself. This allowed for superior timekeeping performance as the balance wheel and the hairspring were constantly in a horizontal position – allowing for near-perfect regulation. This unique design necessitated a rather extraordinary looking sapphire bulb that extended from the pane of the caseback and the front.

Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner Watch Watch Releases

This layout, the gimbal-system, the sapphire bulb and the hefty, 45 millimeter diameter remained the trademark design elements of the several limited editions of the Academy Christophe Colomb – the Tribute to Felix Baumgartner follows the Christophe Colomb Hurricane (hands-on here) and the 3-watch set Hurricane Revolución (debuted here), a version of which depicted Ernesto "Che" Guevara engraved in the center of the case back.

The Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner version will be limited to just 10 pieces and will depict Felix standing on the edge of the capsule of his balloon, right before he makes the jump. A large portion of the dial is in is in turquoise, representing the Earth in a more abstract way, while the upper section of the base of the dial shows the Milky Way in aventurine, as though it were viewed from the stratosphere. Time is displayed on the subdial at the top of the dial, which has a thin white line added to it between the 0 and 4 minutes positions, as a tribute to Felix's jump that lasted 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Running seconds are displayed at the 9 o'clock position, serving as an horology-themed – and rather odd-looking – geographic element; while remaining power reserve is indicated at 3 o'clock.

Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner Watch Watch Releases

The case back will feature an 18k gold power reserve bridge that illustrates the Austrian base jumper, his capsule, and the Earth. These three elements are surrounded by statistics data of his fall, including its height and the fastest speed that he achieved – 28,969 meters and 1,357 km/h, respectively. The watch will be cased in DLC coated platinum, a highly unusual combination that we have very scarcely seen before in high-end watchmaking.

And while the Academy Christophe Colomb – with its unique dial layout and gyroscopic carriage containing 171 components – is indeed a very impressive achievement in fine watchmaking, with the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner, along with the aforementioned versions of this collection and some other, rather confusing releases of the brand (including the Rolling Stones and Russel Westbrook limited editions), Zenith does appear to be moving away from some of the more subdued classic designs that made them popular again with enthusiasts. Price for the Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Felix Baumgartner is $275,000zenith-watches.com

What do you think?
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  • iamcalledryan

    It’s an absurd watch, and I love it.


    The tribute factor is fine, but the actual watch, limited edition status, inflated price is over the edge (of space).

  • DangerussArt

    DLC coated platinum… w o w.  Why not? The whole watch is ridicule worthy, so sure, make it out of platinum and then coat it so it looks like a ion plated Seiko.
    Zenith, you feelin’ okay there bud?

  • Time2Go

    Wow. That is some seriously technical, highly self-indulgent, butt-ugly watchmaking action right there.

  • Fraser Petrick

    I’m waiting for an Evel Knieval watch. Won’t pay a penny over $275,000. Damn that decimal point, I meant $2.75

  • smoothsweeper

    If you check out videos of that escapement you’ll see that it vibrates a heck of a lot. The gimbal doesn’t smoothly adjust to the changing pull of gravity, it basically “falls” into place and oscillates (with reducing amplitude) until you move your wrist again and the process starts over. With heavier parts and dynamically damped gimbals I could see this working as a novelty marine chronometer (where frequencies of motion are much lower than a wrist), but as a watch…I have a very hard time believing this is actually more accurate in daily wear than a no-frills workhorse.

  • Jimxxx

    From the same folks who brought us the Defy Xtreme… New management yet same design eyesore. Will they ever learn?

  • I find it technically interesting and visually butt ugly.

  • marbstiu

    MarkCarson Felix was not wearing this watch (or the original EL PRIMERO Baumgartner) when he made that historic jump.

  • marbstiu

    Are the placing of the stars accurate in terms of their position in space?

    (sorry it doesnt have screws so i cant insult the alignment)

  • marbstiu

    Looks like one of those Mecaniche Veloci automatics…

  • 5803822

    The sub dial for the seconds recording looks a bit pedestrian – and I cringe to imagine the sevice costs…………imaginative idea that could have been done better/cheaper!

  • Can AP take all their ambassadors into outer space and then push em off a platform? I’d buy an AP if they did…

  • marbstiu Yeah I know. But then they had to wait until after for the final version with the data on the case back. But I think that a special edition of what he DID WEAR would be more meaningful (if that was your point).

  • I don;t know if I’ve said this since the regrettable DEFY days, but Zenith, you fucked up. Turquoise + adventurine? Bleh. Trade the adventurine for lapis, and the turquoise for anything else. The brilliant decision to DLC over platinum should be a dismissable offence. 


  • You have something specific against professional golfers?

  • MrJKLFoams

    Luv this watch. Cant wait for my uncle who is one of the ambassador for this brand. He said he’l give it to me as a present.

  • MrJKLFoams Good luck. But I have to doubt that all of Zenith’s brand ambassadors will receive a $275K watch and get to keep it. But if it all works out for you, please let us know and write a hands on review and take lots of photos. Cheers.

  • MrJKLFoams

    No problem. I will. Fingers cross. Im so excited about this. Cheers.

  • 5803822

    MrJKLFoams So how did you come to upset him………….?