LUNAR SURFACE STOPWATCH.
Lot 215
SCOTT'S LUNAR SURFACE STOPWATCH.
US$ 120,000 - 180,000
£71,000 - 110,000
Auction Details
LUNAR SURFACE STOPWATCH.
Lot Details
SCOTT'S LUNAR SURFACE STOPWATCH.
TIMING ENDEAVOR'S AND FALCON'S ENGINE BURNS.
Bulova stopwatch, 2-inch main dial with second hand registering up to 30 seconds in increments of 0.1 second, with a subsidiary dial cumulator registering up to 30 minutes, numerals in red on white dial. Blued steel hands. Blue stenciled "S" below Bulova name. Strip of duct tape at 23-second mark, and additional strip around rim near right plunger. 2 plungers and crown. Reverse with ½-inch square of red velcro, and engraved letters "DRS" (Scott's initials). With original box and papers.

A stopwatch from the lunar surface. A specialized timepiece carried to the surface of the moon on board Apollo 15. In addition to the standard-issue Omega Speedmaster, mission commander Dave Scott took with him in the Command Module Endeavor and the Lunar Module Falcon the present Bulova timer.
This timer was used to time the duration of the critical Descent Orbit Insertion (DOI) maneuver and it was also available to time the rendezvous maneuvers after launch from the lunar surface. The DOI maneuver had to be terminated within 0.3 seconds of the planned 24.5 seconds to ensure that the spacecraft would not impact the moon (as indicated by the small strip of tape on the face of the timer). The timer could also be used with the rendezvous back-up charts to ensure the LM could join the CSM in lunar orbit after the crew launched from the lunar surface. The Omega had a stopwatch function, but its dial was dark, and the markings and buttons small. With its bright, clear dial and large plungers and crown, however, the Bulova stopwatch was ideal for double-checking the duration of engine burns.
During the preflight training period, Scott obtained this timer from the manufacturer at the request of a friend. NASA verified that the stopwatch was onboard the spacecraft during the mission; however it was not included in the official onboard stowage list due to an oversight by the personnel who packaged and stowed the flight equipment. NASA deliberately withheld the name of the manufacturer of the timer to avoid commercialization.
Bulova's Accutron clock was an integral part of the spacecraft computer systems, and a Bulova timer was left by Aldrin and Armstrong on the Sea of Tranquility, to control the transmissions of data back to Earth. Despite these achievements, it was Omega's Speedmaster that achieved fame as the "moon watch."
Very few timepieces from the lunar surface have been offered in auction, and no other stopwatch is likely to come to the market. With DAVE SCOTT'S signed provenance note.
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  1. Matthew Haley
    Auction Administration - Space History
    Bonhams
    Work
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