Chinese astronauts move up the luxury watch chain
Not only was the multimillion-yuan spacesuit Colonel Zhai Zhigang wore to make his historic spacewalk domestically designed and manufactured, but the precision timepiece he wore in his foray into space was Shenzhen-made. Again, watchmaker Fiyta provided the watches for the astronauts on Shenzhou VII, as it did for Yang Liwei , the nation's first spaceman, in 2003.
The one that Colonel Yang used cost just 4,000 yuan (HK$4,500), a bargain-basement price. The watches his latest space colleagues wore belonged to the more upmarket Fiyta Spacemaster series, which has a limited edition of 699 pieces selling for 12,800 yuan each. Hong Kong collectors have ordered 20 already.
Well, at least Chinese astronauts are moving up the luxury timepiece chain. The Omega Speedmaster Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon in July 1969 cost about HK$20,000, while the Swiss-made Fortis Chronograph series Russian cosmonauts wore used to retail for about HK$15,000.
Despite the astronomical cost of the space programme, perhaps the motherland can now afford more expensive watches for its spacemen to keep time.