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The Bulova 'moon watch' is visible in NASA images of the Apollo 15 mission. Image courtesy: <a href="" target="_blank">NASA</a>
The Bulova 'moon watch' is visible in NASA images of the Apollo 15 mission. Image courtesy: NASA

‘Moon watch’ lands in local market

Australian and New Zealand jewellery retailers are now able to stock replicas of a timepiece that has literally been to the moon and back.

US watch brand Bulova, which is supplied locally by Time Essentials, has released a special edition chronograph that replicates what is said to be the only privately-owned watch to have been worn on the moon.

The original Bulova model, owned by astronaut Colonel Dave Scott, sold for US$1.6 million (AU$2.2 m) at an auction in October last year. Scott was the commander of the Apollo 15 space mission that took place from July to August 1971. He wore the chronograph during his expedition to the moon, with the watch visible in NASA images from the mission.

Time Essentials managing director John Papaioannou told Jeweller that Bulova regularly launched new editions of classic models, and that the release of the latest line of replica ‘moon watches’ was planned prior to the recent auction.

However, he noted that the publicity surrounding the auction sale likely helped accelerate its introduction to the international and local markets.

John Papaioannou, Time Essentials managing director
John Papaioannou, Time Essentials managing director

“Every retailer shown [the new model] during a road show last week ordered the watch,” Papaioannou commented. “One retailer already has a customer who asked for one when they were available and ordered two.”

He explained that the new model – said to have been “reimagined” for the modern consumer – was almost identical in design to the original. 

“The most significant update is the incorporation of Bulova’s patented ultra-high frequency (UHF) movement, which gives the watch extremely high accuracy and the feature of a continuously sweeping second hand. No other quartz watch on the market has these features,” Papaioannou said.

The watch also features two interchangeable straps – a textured black leather strap and a velcro strap similar to the one worn by Scott during the Apollo 15 mission.

‘Moon watch’ history

Bulova, which had been an active partner of NASA’s space programs in the 1960s and 1970s, presented the watch to Scott for the Apollo 15 mission.

According to a Bulova statement, the timepiece was specifically developed to operate in a lunar setting and was able to withstand pressures of changing atmospheric conditions, fluctuating temperatures and gravitational shifts.

RR Auction, which conducted the recent auction sale, noted that the watch’s ownership also added to its value.

A statement from the auction house explained that the few other astronauts that had walked on the moon had possessed NASA-issued watches. These were considered government property and were housed in institutions following their return to Earth, whilst the Bulova chronograph remained in Scott’s personal possession for 44 years.


The watch

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