An iconic Moon landing watch worn by an Apollo 15 astronaut has fetched more than $1.6 million at an auction on Friday.
The incredibly valuable bidding item is a Bulova Chronograph, and when astronaut Dave R. Scott walked on the moon in 1971 the accessory was firmly set on his left wrist.
Normally, the watch comes with a price tag of around $500, but now it has raised the staggering sum of $1,625,000 when it was sold by the RR Auction House, headquartered in Boston’s North End.
According to Collect.SPACE.com, this is actually the largest amount ever spent on astronaut-owned memorabilia, and part of it will be donated to assist students wishing to become America’s next generation of astronauts.
In fact, Bulova’s history is closely interlaced with that of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
When the U.S. government agency was trying to choose the perfect timepiece to be worn by its astronauts, the world-famous watch company was among the top contenders vying for this title.
However, it lost the space race because it couldn’t certify its wristwatch as dust-proof, and eventually, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was chosen as the official Moonwatch.
The Omega was worn by Buzz Aldrin in the first manned moon landing of July 1969, and has been included in all of NASA’s piloted space missions since March, 1965, up until present day, when it is still used aboard the International Space Station.
Nevertheless, Bulova’s Accutron remained a favorite among NASA astronauts also, thanks to its revolutionary mechanism, which guaranteed so much precision that the accessory became the first wristwatch ever to receive a U.S. railroad certification.
In a radical departure from mechanical timepieces of that era, its tuning fork movement powered by an electronic oscillator circuit made the Accutron the world’s first “electronic watch”, and one of the main predecessors of modern quarts watches.
Given its incredible accuracy and innovative design, it was used on 46 space missions organized by NASA in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Even in the Apollo 11 mission, when the first moon landing was achieved, an Accutron with a 214 movement was used in a communications relay device, which was positioned in the Sea of Tranquility in order to manage vital transmissions of data to Earth.
The Bulova wristwatch which was sold at the auction actually reached the moon by sheer serendipity. It had been taken simply as a backup on board Appolo 15, the 4th NASA mission with the objective to achieve a manned moon landing.
Its owner, commander David R. Scott wore the official Omega Speedmaster in the first two walks on the lunar surface.
However, that second time the crystal of the Omega timepiece got detached, so the astronaut wore his privately owned Bulova watch instead, on his third excursion to the moon’s surface.
Given its fascinating past, the Bulova Chronograph Model #88510/01 was expected to sell for at least $1 million at the Boston auction.
After all, the other watches that have reached the moon were considered government property, making this timepiece even more unique and historically significant.
Moreover, there are iconic photographs showing astronaut Scott on the moon, and saluting the American flag, while wearing the Bulova accessory.
In fact, 4-hour exposure to the moon’s environment has left its mark on the chronograph’s surface and its strap is still stained by moondust, but that has only helped heighten its value when it came to being a true collector’s item.
Therefore, it’s no wonder that its final auction price, offered by a Florida businessman who wished to maintain his anonymity, eventually surpassed all expectations.
Image Source: Collect Space