back to article Apollo 15 commander's lunar timepiece goes under the hammer

A watch worn by Apollo 15 commander Dave R. Scott on the surface of the Moon goes under the hammer later this month, and could sell for a cool $1m. The Bulova Wrist Chronograph was Scott's personal timepiece on the 1971 mission, carried as a backup to the standard NASA-issue Omega Speedmaster Professional worn by all Apollo …

  1. Woodgie

    My wife bought me a Speedmaster for my 40th. I saw one at Cape Canaveral in the late 70s and wanted one for the following 30 years. I also have a limited edition Sturmanskie of the type (allegedly, who knows) used by Comrade Gagarin.

    Fair to say I like space watches, now I have to raise a meelion dollars?


    1. John Robson Silver badge

      @ Woodgie - now I have to raise a meelion dollars?

      Easy - Kick Starter

      1. Nick L

        Worked for Agent...

        The agent smart watch raised a million dollars on kickstarter and has delivered sweet fanny adams. I fully expect this state of affairs to continue.

        So there's form on kickstarter for such stuff. Go for it, I say!

  2. 0laf Silver badge

    #If I had a meelion dollars#

    I'm not a big one for memorabilia but I would like that.

    I'd like to be in the position to spunk $1M on a bauble even more.

  3. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    Tip of the hat to old school

    *Omega explains: "When NASA chose this watch, they requested a hesalite crystal, which, unlike a sapphire crystal, does not break into tiny fragments on impact. This feature is very important for astronauts, as the tiny fragments of a broken sapphire crystal would pose a danger in a zero-gravity environment."

    Now *that* is preparation,. *That* is properly scoping out a project. And *that* is proper specification.

    Like the reason they didn't use pencils (Russian gags aside) was because of the danger of graphite floating into electrical circuits. *That's* why the Apollo pens cost so much.

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Tip of the hat to old school

      Urban myth - NASA did use pencils in the lunar missions. According to Neil Armstrong anyway.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Grease pencil IIRC

        Presumably ones without a wooden casing.

      2. JimmyPage

        Re: Urban Myth

        No cite ?

        I'll show you mine, if you show me yours :)

    2. Anonymous John

      Re: Tip of the hat to old school

      The Fisher Pen Co paid the development costs. And the actual pens were cheap enough for the KSC gift shop to sell. I bought my first one there in 1971.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Tip of the hat to old school

        I keep reading KSC as Kerbal Space Center and then wondering if Kerbals would also use fancy space pens...

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Do we get a certificate of authenticity that it really was on the moon? Legally binding and all that?

    1. Graham Marsden
      Black Helicopters

      I've got one here that was on a NASA sound stage in Arizona...

      1. eesiginfo

        Have you seen that all the moon shot photos have been released?

        Check out this one:

        The shadows of the rocks on the left, point right to top centre...... the shadows of the rocks and lander on the right, point left to top center.


        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Wide angle lens

        2. ravenviz


          Because light travels in straight lines, parallel lines seem closer together the further away you look, and it looks like the light source is directly behind the photographer.

          This effect would be the same on a sound stage, or on the Moon.

          1. eesiginfo

            Re: Re:


            The rocks on the left of the body shadow, and the rocks to the right of the body shadow...

            ... how can they be pointing in such severely different directions when they are clearly quite close.

            Parallel sunlight would have them at least in generally the same direction (they had no other lighting).

            These shadows are around 40 deg to the right and 40 deg to the left.

            Re wide angle lens...... were they swapping lenses on the Hasselblad?

            ... and wouldn't a wide angle have the opposite effect vis a vis shadow direction?

            I haven't noticed this effect on other photos.

            1. MrXavia

              Re: Re:

              You'll notice many odd shadows on the Apollo moon photos...

              because the space suits were bright white, the earth was bright in the sky, and the LM was fairly reflective....

              1. eesiginfo

                Re: Re:

                >because the space suits were bright white, the earth was bright in the sky, and the LM was fairly reflective....<

                Yes... if you look at a number of photos, you can see that there is a lot of bouncing light, due to there being no atmosphere to hinder it.

                However, the particular linked photo stood out.

                The LM is away to the top right (so not affecting the shot), and the sun is definitely behind the astronaut..... in this case, it's hard to see how the space suit is having an effect in this situation.

                ... and if it was (say off the shoulders) it would be directing light outwards from the center, pushing the shadows outwards (right & left).

                I do note that somebody agrees with the wide angle lens suggestion..... but if we take this to the extreme, and consider a fisheye lens: everything to the left and right of centre would be pointing outwards.

                ... at least I think I'm right about that.

                I'm an ameteur photographer, and like you, have heard about these odd shadows.

                I was so pleased to be able to find such a good example to post here.

                Maybe there is an El Reg pro-photo contributor reading this thread, that can clear this one up?

            2. Stoneshop Silver badge


              It would be easier if I could sketch it out, but I'll try.

              Imagine a line running vertically through the centre of the photo. Real-world lines parallel to this line will appear to converge on the same point on the horizon as this centreline; the further out (left or right) they start from this centreline, the greater the projected angle of this parallel line to the vertical is. In this case, there are two similar-sized objects a similar distance from the centreline as well as the camera, so their (parallel) shadows will appear as having roughly the same angle to the vertical. And would converge on the same point on the horizon if those shadows were sufficiently long. In other words, this is why you see what you see, and the wide angle lens, which the Zeiss Biogon 60mm is, will exacerbate that effect.

              In photos not taken with the sun/light source right in the photographer's back, the effect (still present) gets overwhelmed by the angular projection of the objects with respect to the vertical centreline.

              1. eesiginfo

                Re: Perspective

                I see what you are saying.

                ... but I need to try this myself (on earth :) )

                The angle of the shadows, seem to meet up just above the shadow of the head.

                I could understand it, if they were pointing to the horizon.

                Anyway... a good confident answer.... but definitely worth testing, due to the extreme angles that we see, and because, in my experience, the wide angle lens causes divergence, and not convergence (as you suggest would occur)


                1. AdamtheKiwi

                  Re: Perspective

                  @eesiginfo: if you're contending that there might be multiple light sources (and I don't think you are), there would be multiple shadows. That's the thing: that photo would look the same whether it was taken on the moon with a single bright source, or on an Arizonan sound stage with a single bright source (although they'd struggle to emulate the clarity in the distance on the sound stage).

                  Single shadows falling in different directions in one photo can *only* be caused by a single light source and either perspective or topography. There is no alternative. Multiple light sources produce multiple shadows.

                  1. imanidiot Silver badge

                    Re: Perspective

                    The correct explanation for the apparently different directions of shadows in that photograph is much simpler. The terrain is sloping. Look closely, the picture was taken from above a depression in the surface. The terrain on the right slopes down towards the center and the terrain on the left slopes down away and towards the right causing the shadows to LOOK like they are coming from different directions. It's just hard to make that out because the lack of scattering and the "blown out/overexposed" lunar rigolith provide little reference for out human brain to "align" the world like we can on pictures taken on earth.

        3. jason 7

          Two light sources? The sun and light reflecting off the earth?

        4. Graham Marsden

          @eesiginfo - Moon photo shadows

          Watch this episode of Mythbusters where they show how it only *looks* like the shadows are going in different directions:

          PS to the two downvoters: Did I *really* need to put the Joke icon instead of the (ironic) Black Helicopter icon on my post about the NASA soundstage in Arizona above?

        5. Resound

          Well that was unexpected...

          Because the sun is far enough away that the rays of light are parallel and perspective makes them appear to converge. Funnily enough, if it was faked in a studio, the source of light would be closer and the resulting shadows would point *away* from centre. Those shadows are proof that this photo was *not* taken in a studio.

  5. jason 7

    Always wanted a Omega Moon Watch too.

    Just couldn't afford the £3700+.

    So I settled on a Seiko SSB031. Closest I could get. Very happy with it.

  6. bazza Silver badge

    Space traveller watch video

    Here's another space traveller's watch:

    George Daniels Space Traveller Watch Youtube

  7. Turtle


    "Given that the 'attitude controller assembly' used by Scott to land the Apollo 15 Falcon lunar module sold for a cool $610,000 in May last year, RR Auction is reasonably predicting the Bulova could hit $1m."

    I don't understand that at all. I'd think that the Apollo 15 joystick - an actual piece of space hardware that landed an lunar module on the moon - would be a much more historic, and so more valuable, item.

    Doe the fact that the Speedmaster is wearable increase its value all *that* much? Dunno.

  8. Steve Crook

    It's a magic trick

    After going under the hammer the bits are rolled into a hanky and magically reconstituted by The Amazing Randi.

  9. JimmyPage

    Moon hoax FFS

    AS Mythbusters pointed out (every 30 seconds) in their episode *busting* the hoax myths.


    and anyone who looks at the photos and then points out "light doesn't do that" is correct.

    On Earth.

    On the Moon (as shown) things are different. Lack of atmosphere for a start. It's indisputable the Apollo pictures were taken in a vacuum.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hope its been decontaminated otherwise the purchaser is going to get a free CT scan of their wrist, for the rest of their life!

    1. imanidiot Silver badge


      please, PLEASE, for the good of all of us who know how radiation works, find out HOW RADIATION WORKS! Solar radiation is ionizing (it'll damage cells when hitting them directly) but cannot actually make other materials radioactive. The only thing that can do that is high neutron radiation flux. The kind you get with the explosion of a nuclear weapon or inside a nuclear reactor.

      1. i steal your leccy


        imanidiot is right! You didn't think it through AC! How can it get contaminated with radiation if no one has actually walked on the moon?

        You amateur:(

  11. i steal your leccy

    It would've been better if ..

    one of the dials showed you what shape the moon was:)

    1. hplasm

      Re: It would've been better if ..

      It does- it's round!

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    Moon hoax nut-jobs and space watches

    It's time to STFU!

  13. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    "carried as a backup"

    Gha. What an idiot. Any fule kno that if you're going to wear more than one watch then you should at least have three of them on you.

    Otherwise, if one is wrong, how are you supposed to know which one is right?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020