Barrelhand: the new Project Monolith lands on the Moon with Intuitive Machines IM-1 Mission

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Intuitive Machines Lunar Lander landed on the Moon on February 22 2024, making history as the first private US company to land on the Moon. The IM-1 Mission Nova-C Lunar Lander launch took place on February 15, aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. As part of the payload taken on the Lunar Lander, is Barrelhand’s unique Memory Disc.

Press Release information with commentary in italics.

Barrelhand: The First Watch Company to Participate in a Moon Mission Since the Apollo Program


We first met Barrelhand’s Karel Bachand in Silicon Valley in 2017 and covered his Project One watch. He is now working on the Monolith. Project Monolith is a mission-driven tool developed to meet the harsh demands of current astronauts and future space explorers. It is a professional-grade EVA tool watch, with a metal 3D printed chassis, compatible with current and next-generation xEMU spacesuits.

The Project Monolith watch carried on the IM-1 is a work in progress and details on the timepiece is scarce. But we thought it would be interesting to share the details with you as we received the information, and also that this is the first watch to participate in a Moon mission since the Apollo Program. From what we understand of the release document, at least one Monolith watch is part of the payload which landed on the Moon on Feb 22. The details of this watch is unclear from the document we received (reproduced in full under Press Release below), but what is understood is that the Monolith’s case back carries a Memory Disc which comprise of a NanoFiche Stack. This stack serves kind of like a time capsule, with a curated array of cultural heirlooms.

The release information only shows the Memory Disc carried on the case back, and a fairly detailed depiction of the case, but no dial images have been released. The movement used in the watch is the M1 Engine (built off the Sellita SW300-1b). We understand the base Sellita is ruggedised to withstand the rigours of space travel. So, accordingly, it carries the Chronofiable A8 certification for shock. Also unclear is what testing is being performed on the Monolith once it lands on the Moon and what additional testing will be done before it goes into the specifications for production. The release also shares that a civilian version of this watch is due in 3Q, with no further details except for what you see below. Curiously the pricing is already available, even though the details of this commercial release watch is still being defined and tuned, presumably based on the results of the test when it is actually worn on the moon.

Press Release

As the first watch company since the Apollo era, Barrelhand joins a lunar landing attempted by Intuitive Machines as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. This mission marks the first U.S. moon landing in over 50 years, paying tribute to watchmaking’s enduring role in the next chapter of space exploration.


Barrelhand is developing a professional grade EVA tool watch compatible with current and next generation xEMU spacesuits. Project Monolith is a ground-up mission driven tool developed to meet the harsh demands of current astronauts and future space explorers. These include microgravity environments, the absence of atmospheric pressure, solar radiation and extreme temperature fluctuations (-120C to +120C). Monolith tackles this through a variety of technical innovations like a 3D printed air-core insulated Scalmalloy chassis and an airlock crown which can be wound and set in vacuum or even underwater.

Drawing inspiration from watchmaking history, watches are known for crafting both functional instruments and cherished personal companions. Monolith embraces this dual nature as a rugged while also exploring the spiritual and psychological dimensions of space travel.

“Since horology’s inception, timekeeping devices were developed as essential tools for navigation and exploration, charting longitudes, summiting Everest, and touching down on the moon. The next generation of timing instruments will need to meet the new demands of longer, more distant space missions”. Karel Bachand, CEO Barrelhand

Memory Disc:

Integrated into the caseback of Monolith is a 19mm diameter plaque known as Memory Disc. Made from a revolutionary technology called NanoFiche, it holds more than 1000 pages worth of information, which are nano engraved for long-term and analog preservation. Unlike other storage methods, nickel-based NanoFiche is degradation-resistant and everlasting. Whether exposed to solar flares, magnetic fields or extreme temperatures – nickel’s non-oxidizing properties, absence of a half-life, and resilience to various elements make it capable of enduring for millions of years.


Ever since the early days of space exploration, Astronauts have described a phenomenon known as the Overview Effect. The experience of leaving everything you’ve ever known and seeing your home as an outside observer can be both awe inspiring and existential. The Memory Disc was crafted by a team of aerospace industry leaders, psychologists and museum curators from around the world to create a sense of connection to our home, planet Earth.

Recognizing home as fundamentally rooted in relationships, Barrelhand has thoughtfully curated a diverse array of cultural heirlooms, categorized into four distinct groups. These categories symbolize humanity’s relationship with (1) ourselves, (2) each other, (3) earth, and (4) space.

The selection covers well-known cultural treasures and lesser known gems, including the entire novella Le Petit Prince by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupérys, a variety of paintings and children’s artworks from around the world; 180 translations of the aspirational saying Per Aspera Ad Astra; and Barrelhand’s updated interpretation of the iconic Voyager Golden Record.

IM-1 Mission to the Moon:

The first version of the Memory Disc design is integrated into the NanoFiche stack, set for the upcoming IM-1 lunar mission within the Lunaprise payload. It serves to permanently preserve our slice in human history with a selection of carefully curated content while also performing further hardware testing for Monolith. It serves to permanently preserve our slice in human history with a selection of curated content while also performing further hardware testing for Monolith. A carbon copy of this Memory Disc will also be integrated into every Monolith caseback, creating a lasting connection to home and its lunar counterpart for the wearer.

IM-1 represents a pioneering mission with the ambitious goal of establishing a thriving commercial lunar economy. It aims to deliver commercial payloads as well as NASA science and technology payloads, laying the foundation for a sustainable human presence on and around the Moon. This mission strives to achieve a significant milestone as the first U.S. vehicle to gently land on the lunar surface since Apollo 17 in 1972.

Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C moon lander named Odysseus (“Odie” for short) lifted off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday (February 15). Odysseus has so far successfully detached from the Falcon 9 rocket, and is currently on a direct trajectory to the Moon. The goal is for Odysseus to gracefully touch down on the lunar surface following approximately a seven day journey.

Monolith Specifications:

While the watch is primarily being developed for professional EVA use by Astronaut, a civilian version is also being made available for $8,750 USD and can be pre-ordered via the official website starting today.

First pieces are expected to be delivered by the end of Q3 2024.

Features and innovations are continuing to be revealed as part of the Monolith launch sequence. Full specifications will be released during Q3 2024, as final certifications and testing are still in progress.

Features released so far:
● 3D printed air-core insulated Scalmalloy® chassis (38mmx10.9mm)
● EVA/IVA spec C-plane sapphire + MgFl2 coating and shock absorption mount
● Airlock crown
● ISO certified aerospace hardware (compatible with ISS servicing tools)
● Memory Disc with 4.5 GB nano engraved permanent data storage
● M1 Engine (built off the SW300-1b)
○ Automatic bidirectional winding
○ Stop seconds
○ Central seconds, hours, minutes
○ 50 hour power reserve
○ 28,800 bph high beat
○ chronometric regulation, adjusted in 5 positions down to an internally verified mean accuracy of +/-4 seconds.
○ non-magnetic nickel-phosphorous escape wheel and pallet fork
○ non-magnetic Nivaflex mainspring
○ non-magnetic Nivarox hairspring
○ non-magnetic Glucydur balance
○ ISO764 / DIN 8309 certified resists exposure to a direct current magnetic field of 4800A/m
○ Passes Chronofiable A8, withstands shocks of at least 555 G


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