In the 1960s and ’70s, American watch brand Bulova was a frequent partner with NASA’s space programs, and personally gifted a one-of-a-kind, customized chronograph watch to the commander of 1971’s Apollo 15 mission, Colonel Dave Scott, in 1971. This historic timepiece, which was engineered specifically to withstand lunar conditions, became the first Bulova watch to be worn on the moon. At a recent auction, the watch — whose cloth strap bore the wear and tear of re-entry and whose dial still showed traces of lunar dust — sold for a record $1.62 million. This year, Bulova launches a replica of its first “moon watch,” updated with modern technological advances and at a decidedly down-to-earth price.
The Bulova Special Edition Moon Watch Chronograph is aesthetically a very faithful re-creation of the original, but is outfitted with a modern, exclusive UHF (Ultra-High-Frequency) quartz movement, which Bulova says gives the watch an extremely high degree of timekeeping accuracy, losing just seconds per year. It also powers a continuous sweep seconds hand for the chronograph function, a feature rare in quartz chronograph watches. The classical tricompax dial features what the brand calls “super-luminous” treatment on the hands and hour markers and is surrounded by a tachymeter scale for calculating speeds. One other consolation to modern tastes and convenience is the small date window at 4:30. The brushed stainless steel case, equipped with the model’s very distinctive elongated chronograph pushers, is water-resistant to 50 meters.
Like the original watch, a prototype that was given to Scott — the seventh man to walk on the moon and the first to drive the lunar rover — and never made available commercially, the replica version of the Bulova Moon Watch comes with two interchangeable straps, one in textured leather and the other an old-school textile strap with hook-and-loop fastener. Available now at retail, the watch carries a retail price of just $550.
Below please find some original photos we snapped of the Moon Watch in Bulova’s exhibition booth at Baselworld 2016.