In 2003, Swiss Aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, along with businessman and engineer André Borschberg, began the Solar Impulse project. Its aim is to pioneer the world’s first circumnavigation of the globe by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft powered solely by the sun’s energy. According to Borschberg, Solar Impulse may not be the first solar airplane, but “It is the first able to cross oceans and continents—remaining in the air for several days and nights in a row without landing.” Omega (G/F, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati; 728-1048) sharing in the spirit of adventure, has been a main partner since 2006.
To coincide with Solar Impulse’s attempt to fly around the world in 12 stages in 2015, the Swiss watchmaker has launched the limited edition Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse, honoring the model’s storied tradition of reliability in space exploration. Marked by its characteristic blue and green NATO strap, only 1,924 pieces of the high-performance titanium timepiece will be produced. The number is a nod to the year of the first round-the-world flight made by the United States Army Air Service.
In early March, Solar Impulse 2 (HB-SIB or Si2) departed from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Oman, marking the start of its 35,000 km journey across the world. This month, the plane makes its way through Asian airspace with an extended stay in China—in order to soak up enough solar energy—before proceeding with its American leg and ultimately returning to the Emirates.