Bulova’s Latest Lunar Pilot Has a Dial Made of the Oldest Meteorite Ever Found

Bulova’s Latest Lunar Pilot Has a Dial Made of the Oldest Meteorite Ever Found

The latest model of the “other Moonwatch” doubles down on its connections with the space program by adding a meteorite dial that makes each watch in this 5,000-piece limited edition run entirely unique.

By Cait Bazemore

Omega may be the maker of the official Moonwatch thanks to NASA’s stamp of approval, but did you know it was a Bulova prototype that saved the Apollo 15 mission when the commander’s Omega failed?

The “Other Moonwatch”

On August 2, 1971, astronauts David Scott, Alfred Worden, and James Irwin embarked on the fourth crewed mission to the moon, marking the first use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle. As one of his personal items, Commander Scott brought his Bulova Chronograph Model #88510/01, and when the crystal popped off his NASA-issued Omega, the Bulova came to the rescue.

For the remainder of the mission, the crew used the model to track time, ensuring no one ran out of oxygen, water, or battery power in their portable life support system backpacks. It was also used as the backup for the onboard timers for the critical reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The timepiece performed flawlessly, withstanding pressures of changing atmospheric conditions, fluctuating temperatures, and gravitational shifts.

This watch became the inspiration for the recent Lunar Pilot Chronograph models, a collection Bulova re-introduced after Commander Scott’s original prototype surfaced at auction in 2015 and fetched $1.6 million. The impressive sale brought attention not only to this historic model but also to Bulova’s crucial yet often overlooked role in nearly 50(!) NASA missions.

“At Bulova, we always look back in our archive to inspire new products,” Carl Rosen, former COO and now Bulova Historian, told Watchonista. “This historic moment presented the perfect opportunity to recreate this iconic model. From a design perspective, it’s still a great watch for consumers today, and it has such a rich story behind it.”

Since the initial reissue, we’ve seen the brand release the model in a number of different variations, including a particularly special edition for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 15 mission back in 2021. Now, we get the latest incarnation of the Lunar Pilot Chronograph, complete with an eye-catching meteorite dial.

The Modern Lunar Pilot Models

Over the years, Bulova has played with variations on proportions and materials with its Lunar Pilot Chronographs. With the Limited Edition Lunar Pilot Meteorite Chronograph, we get a perfect mix of heritage and contemporary elements.

When Bulova initially reissued the Lunar Pilot in 2015, the brand made it slightly larger than the original #88510/01 prototype by giving it a case with a 45mm diameter. However, by popular demand, the watchmaker brought back the more modest sizing when the brand launched the panda edition of the model in 2023, and we see it continued here with the brand-new Lunar Pilot Meteorite Chronograph.

In addition to retaining the 43.5mm of last year’s models, we get several modern touches, including a seamlessly designed two-tone case that combine sandblasted grade-5 titanium and polished stainless steel.

“One of my favorite aspects of the design of the case is the pushers,” explained Rosen. “To me, the style almost looks like the Cadillac tail fins from the 1950s and 60s, but besides being aesthetically pleasing with the case architecture, they serve a purpose. Imagine if you had gloves on; it would be very easy to engage the pushers while wearing the watch over your space suit.”

The Meteorite Dial

Of course, the real showpiece of the latest limited edition Lunar Pilot watch is its dial. Truly solidifying its place as the “other Moonwatch,” this new model features an actual piece of space rock from the oldest meteorite known to man, the Muonionalusta meteorite, which scientists believe is 4.5653 billion years old.

Why make a dial from meteorites? Well, as large meteoroids (which strike the Earth as meteorites during meteor showers) travel through space over the course of millions of years, they develop unique crystalline patterns called “Widmanstätten” that are created as structures get formed by chemical interactions within the parent asteroid.

These Widmanstätten patterns (also called Thomson structures) are what give rocks from meteorites their distinctive appearance and make them such a beautiful choice for a watch dial – ensuring no two dials are the same.

Powering this exciting model is Bulova’s proprietary NP20 High Precision Quartz (HPQ) chronograph movement, boasting an accuracy of 1/20th second. Flip the watch over, and you’ll find a screw-down caseback featuring a lunar relief design and an individualized limited edition number.

The Limited Edition Lunar Pilot Meteorite Chronograph is complete with a black leather NATO strap equipped with latched spring bars for quick and easy changing of the strap.

Pricing & Availability

Limited to 5,000 pieces worldwide but priced at just $1,495, the new Limited Edition Lunar Pilot Meteorite Chronograph offers the chance to own a piece of history that’s truly a wearable work of art. For more information, visit Bulova’s website.

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Bulova Limited Edition Lunar Pilot Meteorite | Archive Series | 96A312