Analog Explorer ™
Analog Explorer Podcast
AE 21. Shooting for the Moon | Monolith and Barrelhand 🚀

AE 21. Shooting for the Moon | Monolith and Barrelhand 🚀

What if the space exploration watch today was made for the space missions of tomorrow?
An early prototype of the Monolith and the Memory Disk

🛸Back on the mic is the engineering and 3d printing visionary Karel Bachand, founder of Barrelhand Watches. You might remember him from AE 15, where he discussed the fusion of 3D printing and cutting-edge watch design. But this time, all systems are finally ready to lift off with the project he teased at the end of that episode; the Monolith.

Barrelhand was kind enough to include me months ago as a beta tester of the Monolith right here on planet Earth here in the PNW. After weeks of wearing it and providing feedback, it was incredible to be able to look behind the scenes as this project progressed. But even after that prototype that was on my wrist, which I’m glad I can finally share with you now, they still continued to improve upon what was already out of this world in design. As you’ll hear, they made it even lighter (20%) and more robust than the prototype I had on my wrist! It was already the lightest automatic watch, in a 38mm case, I had ever felt. Being made from an alloy as light as aluminum, stronger than titanium, and, of course, 3d printed.

Case 3d printed, a sillouette of the crown,  case back on a starry background with the memory disk looking like a hologramCase 3d printed, a sillouette of the crown,  case back on a starry background with the memory disk looking like a hologramCase 3d printed, a sillouette of the crown,  case back on a starry background with the memory disk looking like a hologram
Images of Monolith (courtesy of Barrelhand)

Karel opens up on the podcast and shares all the research and development behind this all-new watch set to come out this summer. We get into the nuts and bolts, literally, in their thought process of building Monolith. The Monolith’s ethos of being a professional astronaut-grade watch, using bleeding-edge manufacturing technologies is redefining being explorative in manufacturing and watchmaking. But the Monolith isn't just pushing technological boundaries or trying to be avand guard this time– it's serving a mission.

NASA + Intuitive Machines + Artemis Missions = 2024 Lunar Landing mission

Its mission was to be a modern-day watch built from the ground up for the harsh realities of space exploration. Not just being a watch retrofitted for the job, or paying homage to space exploration - it is Barrelhand’s platform that is meant to be a modern tool-watch for real space use. Being built from the ground up with that mission in mind to pass and exceed NASA’s tests, the Speedmaster once did, be qualified for EVA certifications, and be made to be experienced by the watch enthusiast here on Earth.

Voyager Disk 2.0 | Memory Disk lands on the moon(lander)

You might have seen a shiny disk that hitched a ride as one of the payloads on the most recent moon lander. The same technology, that same kind of Memory Disk, will be embedded in the back of every Monolith. 5gb of high resolution image data that fits on about the size of a US nickel using a futurist technology called NanoFiche.

But the Monolith was made to be more than just a moon or space-inspiring accessory. It is Barrelhand using high precision engineering and, fundamentally, using technology to explore how we could perceive time, space, and exploration. Their exploration of making a space watch has led the company to really think about all aspects of commercial space travel. Sure, the mechanics of it, but also the impacts of space travel on the human that will be wearing a Monolith. From thinking about the psychology of space travel, how humans might want to stay connected to Earth in their own way, and what it means even to be a human in space.

Now, let’s boldly go where no podcast has gone before... and discover a future of timekeeping in a potential new space-race engineering frontier. (I’m allowed one geeky dad joke, right?) 🚀



Analog Explorer ™
Analog Explorer Podcast
Embark on a journey through the world of horology and the connections many of us have to watches. With host AJ Barse, The Analog Explorer connects with fellow enthusiasts in the #watchfam and beyond, from avid collectors to creative watchmakers. As a professional photographer, active hiker, and recreational diver based in the Pacific Northwest, exploration holds a significant place in his life and he encourages others to make time for their passions. Through insightful interviews and engaging discussions, The Analog Explorer celebrates the impact and art of horology. After all, we all share in the most universally limited resource; time. And the Analog Explorer reminds us of the need to Fac Tempus Ad Explorandum i.e. "Make the Time To Explore."