Something cool came in the mail today!
I know I haven't made any of these posts in a while, so let me make that up to you.
When NASA were working on their space travel capabilities, they needed a watch that could be used in outer space. The story is well known, and it resulted in the Omega Speedmaster Professional winning the bid- becoming the official "Moonwatch". Omega have been riding this wave ever since, marketing every last drop out of that historical achievement. And rightfully so! The moon landings are still one of mankind's greatest achievements, and in real life hold way more value than any James Bond-connection could ever hope for.
However, there is a lesser known story. It is reasonably well known within the watch community, but not many people on the outside know. Then again, I suppose not many people on the outside would be terribly interested. On the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, astronaut Dave Scott's Speedmaster suffered a critical failure: the crystal popped off. The watches were an essential tool, keeping track of the time during moonwalks, and were being used to monitor oxygen reserves and other critical parameters. During re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, there were used as a backup/double-check for the onboard instruments. Luckily, Dave Scott still had his own watch with him, which was a Bulova chronograph. As the official Speedmasters remained official NASA property, Scott's Bulova became the only privately owned watch worn on the moon. A few years ago, it was sold on auction for north of 1.5 million dollars.
Bulova made a reissue of that Moonwatch a few years ago, not calling it Moonwatch but rather Lunar Pilot. This is the watch I received today. It is still an impressive bit of kit, with its high accuracy quartz movement which will run +/- 10 seconds... Per year. Not being radio controlled, having a deviation of less than a second per month is insane, and in practice it will be less than that, given that we have daylight saving time and we need to set the watch twice a year anyway.
The story behind this watch, to me, is extremely cool. It was never meant to do what it did, but it did, and did it well. It has a link with one of the most daring projects mankind has ever taken on, and fits right in with the crazy engineering necessary for that project- being a very well-engineered piece of machinery in itself. I'll definitely be enjoying wearing this watch.