Bulova just released a limited-edition moon watch that looks pretty nice thanks to meteorite dial and unique engraving. The watch commemorates the Apollo moon landing and features a standard Lunar Pilot movement over a meteorite face.
From the release:
Bulova’s new Meteorite Limited Edition Lunar Pilot is the exact size of the original at 43.5mm featuring a sandblasted titanium grade-5 and stainless steel case. The two-tone chronograph dial boasts the oldest meteorite type known to man, Muonionalusta Meteorite, which scientists believe is 4.5653 billion years old. This new Lunar Pilot is powered by the brand’s proprietary NP20 High Precision Quartz (HPQ) chronograph movement accurate to 1/20th second – a perfect collector’s piece for watch and space enthusiasts alike. Offered on a black genuine leather NATO strap with latched spring bars for interchangeability, other features include sapphire crystal, stamped and dimensional Tachymeter Scale on the dial, Super Luminous hands and markers, and 50m water resistance with screw down case back featuring a lunar relief design with individualized number.
Bulova’s Moonwatch Bonafides
The 1950s and 1960s were a time of intense competition in space exploration, primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union. This period, known as the Space Race, saw significant advancements in technology and science. Bulova, with its reputation for precision in timekeeping, was poised to play a pivotal role.
NASA sought reliable timekeeping instruments for its missions. Bulova’s expertise in precision chronography made it a prime candidate. The company’s first major contribution was the Bulova Accutron, a watch that utilized a tuning fork rather than a traditional balance wheel, offering unprecedented accuracy.
The Accutron’s technology was a game-changer. Its ability to remain precise in varying temperatures and conditions made it ideal for space missions. In the early 1960s, Bulova’s Accutron timing mechanism was integrated into NASA’s satellites and space technology, solidifying Bulova’s place in space exploration history.
One of Bulova’s most notable contributions came during the Apollo missions. The Apollo program, aimed at landing humans on the Moon and bringing them safely back to Earth, required the most accurate timekeeping mechanisms. Bulova’s technology was used in the timing devices of the spacecraft during these historic missions, including the legendary Apollo 11 mission in 1969, which culminated in Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s first moonwalk. While it may not have been as famous as the Omega Speedmaster, which was the official watch worn by the astronauts, the Bulova chronograph was worn by Commander David Scott during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.
From the release:
On August 2nd, 1971, Apollo 15’s mission commander, the seventh man to walk on the moon and the first to drive the Lunar Rover, made history while wearing a Bulova chronograph wristwatch. Crafted specifically for astronomical conditions, the Lunar Pilot watch was used in space to track time, ensuring no one ran out of oxygen, water or battery power in the portable life support-system backpack. It was also used to back up the on-board timers for the critical reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The timepiece could—and did—perform flawlessly, withstanding pressures of changing atmospheric conditions, fluctuating temperatures and gravitational shifts. Bulova celebrated the 50th anniversary of this mission in 2021 bringing renewed interest and excitement to the Lunar Pilot collection.
The watch is limited to 5,000 pieces and will sell for $1,495, a testament to the difficulty of sourcing the face. While this is is a quartz watch, it’s definitely a lovely addition to the moon watch pantheon that includes Omega and even Kobold. It’s available on Bulova’s website now.