In October 2015 a Florida businessman paid a staggering USD1.625 million for Apollo 15 commander David Scott’s Bulova that he wore on the third of his 1971 moonwalks, believed to be the most-ever paid for an astronaut-owned artifact. In a rather interesting spot of timing, Bulova have announced that they are releasing a re-edition of this chronograph, to be sold from January 2016. It will be a slightly more accessibly priced RRP USD550.
Updated using Bulova’s UHF (Ultra High Frequency) quartz technology, it has luminous hands/ markers, tachymeter and a calendar in a 45mm stainless steel case (13.5mm thick) with a 50m water resistance. It comes on a black leather strap and a velcro strap, the style of which you may recall from my earlier post here, modeled after the one Scott used to wear his Omega and Bulova watches.
Unbeknownst to NASA at the time, Scott had the Bulova Chronograph prototype with him as a personal backup. Bulova had asked him to test the watch, to see how it would perform during the Apollo 15 mission. As he prepared to go outside for his third (and last moonwalk) on August 2, 1971 he found that his Omega Speedmaster’s crystal was missing, having popped off at some point.
As it was not authorised to use for this mission, and in light of NASA’s relationship with Omega, the Bulova was essentially put quietly to rest into the historical background, with the watch itself kept by Scott until he decided to sell it. It is worth remembering that Bulova had been one of the watch brands in the running during the original NASA trials to be the official NASA ‘space watch’.
Perhaps most well known for its Accutron models with their tuning fork, Bulova (currently owned by Citizen) has been releasing a number of UHF-powered watches, with the frequency proudly stated on the dial; for this remake you can see the “262 KHz”. Another thing to note is that these UHF quartz movements also offer a sweeping seconds hands.
Whether this will sell well on the back of the publicity of the recent auction remains to be seen, but as a less expensive alternative for a ‘moon watch’ and with a story all of its own, this new piece should do well. Apart from the brand typeface and KHz text on the dial it looks like its progenitor, with the same case shape and elongated rectagular chronograph pushers. The classic styling looks good, and come January 2016, I may well be keeping an eye out myself for it…
For an interesting interview with Dave Scott about the watch, go to this link at Fratello Watches.