Oh, My Stars! Meet the Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph
Only a handful of timepieces have been to the moon, and this reissue released last week pays tribute to a hero of the Apollo 15 mission, Commander David Scott.
Unless you swing in the same financial circles as Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, or Elon Musk, chances are that space travel is still inaccessible to you. But thanks to the good people at Bulova, having a moon watch is within your reach.
A Moon Age Daydream
Who didn’t fantasize about being an astronaut at some point? My husband still says if NASA starts recruiting civilians, the first sound I’ll hear is the door slamming as he leaves for Cape Canaveral. He wants the adventure. I’d do it for the watches.
Take, for example, the story of Apollo 15 Mission Commander David Scott.
On August 2, 1971, Scott was wearing his NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster when the crystal popped out during a moonwalk. Knowing he needed something to ensure his space suit didn’t run out of oxygen, water, or battery power, Commander Scott asked Mission Control if he could use his personal watch for the next extravehicular activity, a.k.a. EVA. NASA said yes.
That watch was a prototype chronograph was given the astronaut by Bulova and was to backup the on-board tiers for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. So, as a result of the Apollo 15 mission, Scott – the seventh earthling to walk on the lunar surface – got two amazing timepieces for free (not counting years of training and service plus undertaking a dangerous mission). Sign me up!
Physically and mentally, I admit I’m not up for the astronaut gig, but the Lunar Pilot was. In space, it served many mission-critical functions, including tracking time to make sure portable life support-system backpack continued to work during sojourns into the vacuum of space. Plus, not only was it used as a backup for the on-board timers, as I previously mentioned, but it also had to do so while withstanding the pressures of changing atmospheric conditions, fluctuating temperatures and gravitational shifts.
Two years ago, Bulova celebrated the 50th birthday of Apollo 15 with the 50th Anniversary Lunar Pilot Limited Edition timepiece. Now, Bulova is killing it in the reissue game, making timepieces that cater to folks with a passion for historic watches but also reignite interest in existing collections.
We Have Liftoff
To prove that the 2021 version wasn’t just a one-off, last week, Bulova expanded its Archive Series collection by launching two new Lunar Pilot chronographs. One features a striking two-tone blue and white chronograph dial, while the other has a classic black colorway to honor the original 1971 version.
Both satisfy the current craving for smaller watches – this stainless steel timepiece has the same 43.5mm diameter as Scott’s original prototype – yet these models still have serious wrist presence, especially when worn with a matching multi-link bracelet. Moreover, both come with a strap set that includes a quick-change bracelet and a fine leather NATO strap which matches their respective dials.
Pricing & Availability
Finally, like the 50th Anniversary version, this Lunar Pilot chronograph is powered by the brand’s proprietary NP20 High Precision Quartz (HPQ) chronograph movement, which is accurate to 1/20th second – making it a reliable and affordable addition to any collection. However, unlike the 50th Anniversary edition, these new models are not limited.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)