There is a certain level of excitement that the term “Moonwatch’ brings to the table and we all know why. It’s the moon, after all, and the watch that made it there. The legacy of ‘Moonwatch’ is usually associated with Omega’s legendary Speedmaster. The watch was specially chosen by NASA for its manned space missions. But there is another watch that deserves equal recognition and the grand title of ‘Moonwatch’.
The Other Moonwatch – Bulova
The idea of the Moonwatch is so tantalizing that people all over the world who have even the slightest idea about luxury watches and the awe surrounding it go all ga-ga when it comes names like Omega or Speedmaster. But that I the thing, you know. As far as knowledge about watches is concerned, it is still limited. Even the most avid watch collectors might not know that the Speedmaster or the Speedy, is not the only ‘Moonwatch’ there is. That’s right!
On 2nd August 1971, Bulova made it as the ‘Moonwatch’ as David Randolph Scott, retired former NASA astronaut and American test pilot wore the Bulova Chronograph ref. 88510/01 on the moon’s surface. He picked the watch after the crystal on his Speedmaster ‘popped off’. In his own words, “I noticed that the crystal of my Omega had popped off sometime during the EVA. Therefore, on EVA-3, I used my backup watch.”
The Bulova Ref. 88510/01 that Scott used during his moonwalk ended up being sold in 2015 for a whopping USD 1.6 million. How crazy is that? Speedmaster moonwatches cannot be sold for these insane amounts of money simply because they are government property. This Bulova timepiece was Scott’s own. Hence, he was free to sell it as and when he wanted to.
The 50th Anniversary Re-Issue
The Limited Edition Bulova 50th Anniversary Lunar Pilot issue encapsulates very the spirit of the original timepiece used on the moon’s surface by David Scott in 1971. The watch replicates the design of the timepiece to near perfection. This timepiece, however, features a quartz mechanism. The original watch used a mechanical movement.
This time, however, the watch leans excessively into its history with NASA and the moon landings. The timepiece offers a titanium body along with gold-colored accents. The original reference was an old school stainless steel watch.
Exactly 5,000 pieces will be made and each watch will be delivered with a commemorative NASA coin. The case back of the watch displays David Scott standing on top of the lunar surface. The case back also shows the individual serial number of the watch out of 5000 as well.
Watches usually become iconic when they get to play an important role in a significant historical event. That is exactly what Bulova did. The fact that David Scoot wore it after his MASA issued Speedmaster faltered speaks volumes about the reputation of the watch at that time.
As a brand, Bulova’s history in the horology world is often overlooked. Pilots that could travel faster than Mach 3, like in the A-12, wore a Bulova Astronaut timepiece. This was also true for the pilots of the X-15, an air vessel that utilized a propulsion system similar to the rockets used in the space program at the time. Let’s change that and give this amazing watch brand the recognition as well as appreciation it clearly deserves.