Bulova 96B251

The Moon Watch

In 1971 astronaut Dave Scott wore a one of a kind Bulova watch on the Apollo 15 mission to the moon. This watch became the astronaut’s personal property and subsequently was auctioned off in 2015 and sold for a staggering $1,625,000!

After this Bulova decided to recreate this unique watch and give it a modern twist which gives us what we have here.

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officially known as the ‘Bulova Special Edition Moon Chronograph Watch’

Overview:

  • Case Diameter: 45mm
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Crown: Push i type at 3 o’clock
  • Date: Date only between 4 and 5 o’clock
  • Crystal: Sapphire glass
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: High performance quartz with a frequency of 262kHz
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Whats in the box

When I first heard about the release of this watch and saw the pictures starting to emerge on line, my interest was piqued straight away. I’m a sucker for a chronograph and despite what the ‘purists’ think I am also quite partial to a bit of quartz action, especially what I would describe as ‘interesting quartz’ which is a bracket that with a 262kHz ultra high frequency movement this watch certainly falls into. There’s a really good thread over on TZ-UK on this subject which you will find here:

http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?380404-Interesting-Quartz&highlight=Interesting+Quartz
This movement is supremely accurate and should deviate by no more than around 10 seconds per year, compared to around 10-15 seconds per month on a standard quartz movement.

For a watch in the sub £500 category I was impressed with the packaging the watch came in, underneath the outer cardboard box is the wooden presentation case which feels of decent quality, I have certainly had more expensive watches come with inferior quality packaging compared to that of this Bulova.

Upon opening the box you are presented with the watch and a nato strap both mounted on cushions and also a spring bar tool to help facilitate the changing of the straps. The watch was also released as a bracelet only version, but as i am a nato stap aficionado, and a bit of a strap changer, this version was the obvious choice for me. It was a good choice too because the strap with its fabric weave effect is supremely comfortable.The supplied nato strap has a leather patch stitched into it that is stamped with the 262kHz of the quartz movement as well as the date of the apollo 15 mission.

At 45mm the moonwatch sounds big, but on the wrist it wears much smaller which is probably due to the nicely curved and fairly short lugs.

The watch is a lovely thing to look at and the dial has lots going on that you may not notice at first glance. The minute markers are actually recessed underneath the main dial and hour markers, this combined with the gap between the tachymeter scale and the dial gives the watch a nice depth when you look at.

The 3 subdials which provide the counting seconds, 1/10th seconds and minutes all have a nice ribbed effect, almost like the ridges of a vinyl LP which you should be able to see in the picture below.

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Ribbed effect on sub-dial

The centre seconds chronograph hand has a lovely sweep when activated, it’s a just a shame that the counting seconds subdial didnt also have the same sweep effect, that for me would have made this watch perfect!

Another feature of the moonwatch that I really love is the chronograph pushers that are quite elongated, and almost industrial, that taper down towards the crown. This is certainly adds a more interesting appearance compared to the usual cylindrical style chronograph start/stop pushers.

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Chronograph stop/start pushers

Turning the watch over the case back displays the Bulova tuning fork symbol and again gives details of the apollo 15 mission.

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