The only privately owned watch in the world that was worn on the moon has sold at auction for an out-of-this-world £1 million.
The Bulova lunar watch still has ‘residual lunar material’ – moon dust – on its face from where US astronaut Colonel Dave Scott wore it over his suit during the 1971 Apollo 15 mission.
The goal of the mission had been to explore Hadley Rille, a channel in the Hadley-Apennine region, and collect specimens of volcanic rock.
Col Scott turned to his own timepiece to make sure the mission went like clockwork when his NASA-issue Omega watch stopped working.
It proved vital in informing the astronauts on the moonwalk when to return to the lunar module.
Col Scott clocked up a whopping 546 hours in space across three missions – Gemini 8, Apollo 9 and Apollo 15.He was the seventh man to walk on the moon and the first astronaut to operate the Lunar Rover on the moon’s surface. Of the 12 astronauts to have ever set foot on the moon Col Scott was the only one not to wear an Omega watch, which are still considered government property whereas the Bulova watch was handed back to him.
Consequently it is the only one still in private hands.It was snapped up for $1.3 million – around £840,000 – at a sale held by RR Auction last night but with the auction house’s fees on top the new buyer forked out $1.6 million – just over £1 million.
In a letter that accompanied the sale, Col Scott, now 83, said: “The Bulova Lunar EVA (Wrist) Chronograph and attached velcro wrist strap was worn by me on the lunar surface during the third EVA of Apollo 15, and then in lunar orbit and return to Earth. “The primary use of the wrist chronograph on the surface of the Moon was to track the elapsed time of consumables use (oxygen, water, and battery) in the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) backpack.
“Our mission was to basically double the capabilities and requirements of previous missions, including especially the duration of extra-vehicular activities (EVA) outside the Lunar Module.
“At the moment of lift-off, I was fully responsible for the mission and the safety of my crew.
“Among the decisions I made, the monitoring and use of time was perhaps the most important.
“Time is of the essence during human lunar expeditions – and exploration time on the surface is limited by the oxygen and water (for cooling) we can carry in our backpacks.
“Knowledge of precise time remaining was essential – as a backup to the standard issued Omega chronograph, I carried and used a Bulova chronograph on the lunar surface.
“This unique strap was worn during each of my three EVAs on the lunar surface.
“NASA post-flight personnel collected all equipment on board the spacecraft and subsequently gave the Bulova back to me. I do not know what occurred between splashdown and delivery to me.
“Hopefully the new owner will share it with as many interested parties as practical.” Prior to the sale Bobby Livingston, head of RR Auction, described the auction as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
He added: “This precision timepiece, made available for the first time, is an astounding specimen rife with aeronautical and horological history – a key piece inherent to Apollo 15’s success.” The auction took place in Boston, Massachusetts and the watch sold to an unnamed bidder.
Culled from www.express.co.uk.