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Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I love it when watch enthusiasts on a budget have excellent options produced with their needs in mind. The Bulova Moon Watch is an Omega Speedmaster for millennials or anyone who wants a cool historic-looking tool watch but can’t afford several thousand dollars for a serious mechanical timepiece. Better yet, the Bulova Moon Watch isn’t just trying to be a fashion statement inspired by watches that went to the moon, it is, in fact, directly inspired by an actual Bulova watch that did go to the moon.

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

News of the Bulova Moon Watch came to me late in 2015, but I wanted to wait and see the timepiece hands-on before making any conclusions about this good-looking monochromatic tool-style timepiece. In fact, if the Bulova Moon Watch were made today as a novel model, it would serve equally well as a tool-timepiece for those who needed a high-legibility, high-accuracy instrument.

The story of the Bulova Moon Watch began with a specially designed one-of-a-kind Bulova gifted to NASA Apollo Mission astronaut Dave Scott in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Dave Scott took the unique Bulova watch gifted to him by the brand with him on the 1971 Apollo 15 mission to the Moon. At the time, astronauts had government-issued Omega Speedmaster watches. The mere fact that astronauts had Omega Speedmaster watches was not without controversy, as Omega was a Swiss watch brand and certain people in the US believed that the astronauts should be wearing an American watch (at the time, Bulova was a fully American company).

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Dave Scott’s original 1960s Bulova watch

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As the story goes, Dave Scott’s Speedmaster became damaged and the front crystal popped off, which necessitated he wear his back-up Bulova. Colonel Scott went on to walk on the Moon’s surface and was the first person to operate a lunar rover vehicle. One his wrist at the time was reportedly the Bulova watch. After the Apollo 15 mission, the Bulova watch – as it was Scott’s personal property – remained his personal possession for many years. In 2015, Scott himself decided to auction off the Bulova watch, along with a few other items he had on the Apollo 15 mission with him. The price achieved for Dave Scott’s “Bulova moon watch” was a staggering $1,625,000 in late 2015.

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bulova then took the opportunity to recreate this timepiece as a production model for modern audiences. Larger than the original and using a high-precision quartz movement, the Bulova Moon Watch of 2016 isn’t really a “re-issue” of the late-1960s watch as has been reported, but rather a modern timepiece inspired by the classic design. In a roughly 44mm-wide steel case, the Bulova Moon Watch is very attractive in person with a gracefully curved case and distinctive, easy-to-operate chronograph pushers. If the Bulova Moon Watch looks a lot like a Speedmaster, then all you need to do is look at the original and realize that Bulova was really just building the original watch off the specs NASA had indicated for watches meant to travel in space with astronauts.

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The 2016 Bulova Moon Watch is a faithful recreation of the style of the original, but in modern materials. The watch also has an AR-coated sapphire crystal and a case that is water resistant to 50 meters (though 100 meters of water resistance would have been nice). The watch also wears a bit smaller than you’d expect given the size and wide lug structure. What I really like is the totally monochromatic dial which is rare to find on watches today at this price point. Most watches of this type, in this price range, try to offer a lot of funky modern design elements for an audience that brands feel value style over substance much of the time. Brand’s often assume that buyer tastes will mature as their income increases. Finally, with the Bulova Moon Watch, tool watch-loving enthusiasts with just a few hundred dollars to spend have something very appealing to get.

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the Bulova Moon Watch is the proprietary Bulova “High-Performance” 262 kHz quartz chronograph movement. This family of movements was previously known as “UHF” (ultra-high frequency), and has since been renamed, according to Bulova (with that said, “UHF” and “Ultra-High Frequency” terms are on the watch in at least two places). Originally, these movements debuted in the very well-regarded Bulova Precisionist collection (review here).

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

What makes these movements special compared to most other quartz movements is that they are several times more accurate, deviating by no more than about 10 seconds or so per year (as opposed to 10-15 seconds per month). The movements have a battery life of about 2 years and the chronograph (which has a nice sweeping hand) measures down to 1/10th of a second. The watch offers the time, date, and of course chronograph complication. In person and on the wrist, the Bulova Moon Watch watch looks great, offering the look of a traditional tool watch with a very reasonable price and excellent performance.

Bulova Moon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bulova will offer two versions of the Bulova Moon Watch. One version comes in a handsome steel three-link metal bracelet that looks excellent. The second is with a textured (to look like fabric weave) leather strap. This strap version also comes with a velcro-style “hook and loop” black fabric strap with thick metal hardware and a brown leather patch which has the 262 kHz speed of the quartz movement along with the original Apollo 15 mission date. I’m really quite happy that the Bulova Moon Watch came out so well, and hope to see more sober-looking and timeless modern tool watches such as this come from the brand (the cool backstory doesn’t hurt either). Prices for the Bulova Moon Watch are $550 on the strap and $675 on the steel bracelet. bulova.com

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Comments

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  • JimBob

    A hundred times nicer than any of the Precisionist models.

    • Josh Graves

      Agreed.

    • Sevenmack

      If you really believe that, then you haven’t seen any Precisionists recently….

      • Rob

        To me your images just prove his point but then again taste is subjective.

        • Sevenmack

          Subjective and yet, quite indicative of whether people actually have great taste! Which I do.

      • JimBob

        Better than the ones I’ve seen in person, but still…

    • Shinytoys

      newer and more improved certainly…

  • ??????

    Very nice chrono indeed. Handsome in toolwatch kind of appeal, sweeping second hand, would look incredible on strap like that:

  • “The Bulova Moon Watch is an Omega Speedmaster for millennials”.

    No it isn’t. Millennials wear Fitbits and Timex Weekenders on rainbow NATO straps. This is a Speedmaster for someone who can’t afford a Speedmaster.

    • bjs314

      Or a watch for someone who remembered that the Speedmaster broke when it was needed most?

      • Touche…

      • DanW94

        Indeed!

      • Sevenmack

        Ha ha ha ha…

  • TrevorXM

    The first quartz watch I think that I’d consider buying.

  • DanW94

    Ariel, an interesting aside, you mentioned certain people thought that an American watch should have been first on the moon. One of them was Omar Bradley, a titan of the American military, a five star General and the Army Chief of staff, who also happened to be Chairman of the Board of the Bulova Company in the 60’s into the 70’s. I’m actually surprised Bulova didn’t spearhead the majority of the space program. There’s obviously more to that than I know…BTW, a nice looking chrono.

    • Shinytoys

      great info…

    • egznyc

      I think this also happens to reminds me of the interview of Mark Kelly from a while back. All good stuff.

      • frauss

        The right stuff…

    • rfortson

      Bulova and Bradley tried repeatedly to get Bulovas on the astronauts’ wrists, but they never passed the NASA trials. I believe they failed twice and didn’t respond to the initial request. The Accutrons worked well as spacecraft timers, though.

  • bjs314

    awesome story, great watch. buying.

  • hatster

    Pretty watch, nice price. All very tidy.

  • Joe Welke

    What a great watch. Seriously. I just wish it were smaller, I think 44mm is too large for my wrist. Won’t stop me trying it on though!

  • SuperStrapper

    Not a fan f the chrono pushers, but this is otherwise quite handsome, especially on the bracelet.

    I’m more inclined to go after the curved UHF crono we recently discussed over this.

  • Ulysses31

    Gorgeous. Vintage Omega looks, great finish and a clear, readable dial, and you wouldn’t have to sell your right bollock to get one.

  • LapYoda

    Ariel, this watch has caused a great deal of conversation on WUS because of the lack of published measurements and wrist shots. It has been eagerly awaited by fans of affordables and Bulova collectors, but there is concern it is too big, especially lug-to-lug. Do you have more information on the size and fit, especially for those with smaller wrists?

  • Shinytoys

    WOW. There is a ton to love here in the new Bulova watches honoring the space missions. The Precisionists offerings have been excellent in their value/features/price offerings. It just keeps getting better. Viva Le Bulova !!

  • Rob

    It looks better than previously in the renders but I still wish companies would just re-release old watches 1:1 without tinkering with the timeless designs.

  • John William Salevurakis

    4:30 date window……shit. 🙁

  • tknospdr

    The 3 o’clock dial is 20ths of a second, not 10ths. And if Bulova is listening…
    It’s either 262.144 kHz, or 262,144 Hz but it’s NOT 262.144 Hz

    • rfortson

      Apparently they noticed the error. The current straps are correct at 262,144 Hz. 🙂

  • Nateb123

    Am I wrong or does the finish of the bracelet not match the finish of the case? Not impressed.

  • spiceballs

    IMO Bulova have done particularly well with this, just a great pity its not solar/eco drive.

  • Greg Dutton

    Pretty nicely executed, although I don’t know why they had to fatten it up 44mm. They also should have used the 262 movement in the CURV watches, which has a 12hr counter, which would have been closer to the original.

  • Emperius

    I’ll only take an orbit watch, since it is the farthest we’ve ever gone.

    • Clark

      Take your tinfoil hat and bugger off.

      • Emperius

        Not nice my friend, resistance to the truth is futile, as painful as it is. I’d may get a Professional though, non-Crown Guard variant. And I certainly don’t like Clooney being the face of it, he’s pissing me off.

        • Clark

          No, my response was as nice as you deserve. The only facts you serve is the fantasy you like to earmark as “Truth”. Enjoy your watch.

          • Emperius

            Have a good day sir.

  • egznyc

    Is it just me, or why does this watch have a 60 min AND 60 sec subdial? If we go to 60 mins, we don’t need the half-hour markers in the 3:00 subdial – but they’re there.

    Also: looks like it’ll only give precision up to 1/5 of a second, not 1/10.

    But these are quibbles. It’s an attractive watch with a cool quartz movement.

    • tknospdr

      20th of a second, not 5th or 10th.

      • egznyc

        Ah – NOW I see it! 3:00 subdial is a 1/20sec counter (up to 20/20 sec = 1 sec). The 9:00 subdial is a minute counter and the 6:00 subdial is a running (not chrono) seconds display. I thought the subseconds display was an hour counter – missed the “.” before the numerals. But they did get the “262 kHz” right.

        • tknospdr

          They did on the watch face, but not on the mission strap.

  • Aditya

    Very Nice Watch, but, it is a behemoth. For a watch like this 40-42 mm is tops. 44 mm indicates the L2L will be in the 50 mm range. This is just too big for a vintage inspired watch!!! While I can and do rock large watches, sadly, the size, for this particular piece, makes this a no-go for me. I suspect many potential buyers would also be put off by the size.

  • Bert Kanne

    Can a watch with only a 50 meter water resistance rating stay functional on the moon? The nicest poor man’s Omega Speed master I’ve seen!

    • Adam Young

      Well last I checked there isn’t any water on the Moon so you’re probably fine 🙂

  • AirborneAl

    This looks like a great watch and I’ve already informed my wife that this is what I want for my next birthday. This is the very first Bulova watch that I’ve ever had any desire for. And they just announced the CURV. Something good is starting to happen at Bulova. Forget all of the nit-picking about the 42- vs. 45-mm case, the quartz vs. mechanical movement, and the added date window. This watch isn’t intended to be a direct competitor of the Omega Speedmaster moonwatch. I think that Bulova has done a great job with the design, and I really love the tropic-style leather strap. Good for Bulova. I hope they keep the innovation up and I hope to see more of this kind of thinking from them.

  • JumpingJalapeno

    This is not a speedy rip off, it’s a remake of a speedy rip off. The saving grace is the price and the movement is decent for quartz.

  • leo tam

    Wish they used the period correct Bulova typeface – also wish the caseback didn’t have so much stuff on it… Not really a Speedmaster clone – the original definitely had a more “modern” for the time case

  • Roberto Rizzo Valvo

    Still no official word when is coming out. Only a description and find a retailer @bulova.com, does any one has any insight on when we should expect it? they mentioned January 2016… but…

    • Maxim Pyankov

      I called them. Supposedly it is coming out today (April 1), but you need to have “your jeweler” order it for you from them. Question remains – where can I try it on first before purchasing?

  • Simon_Hell

    Bulova brand was founded by a czech immigrant. Bulo in czech means a moron, Bulova is a possesive noun, means belonging to a moron. Either a wife, or an object. Just like gay didnt always mean homosexual in english, Bulo could have been a regular name at some point, but now it stands for a moron, a dimwitt. Who would want a moron’s watch?

    Btw theres no way in hell the founder was actually called Joseph Bulova, as wikipedia claims. Bulova is a female form of the surname Bulo. They must have screwed up his papers when he got of the ship. Maybe he was a kid, accompanied by a mother, and they just slapped him with her surname. Happens even today to czech mothers giving birth abroad.

    Other than that what im seeing here is a super bland, unappealing yawn kind of watch. I fell asleep jsut looking at the pictures.

    • I_G

      bulo = moron? LOL hlupák.

  • tgadzo

    The watch is, to put it mildly, very unassuming. The raised and unprotected crystal edge is just one knock away from shattering – based on my arm swinging anyway.
    Question – why does the running seconds hand at 6 o’clock seem to tick like a typical quartz? I thought the high frequency watches had a smooth seconds hand.

    • Jason Rushin

      That’s a good point. I just got mine today and the booklet says the seconds dial ticks every half-second, and it does. So it’s better than a per-second tick, but not much. The below review covers your concern as it’s possible but they didn’t do it on this watch, “On some other watches, it powers a sweep second hand, but not here.” Not sure why Bulova didn’t do it on this model as well…

      https://wristwatchreview.com/2017/02/03/more-than-a-movement-hands-on-with-the-bulova-moonwatch/

  • Kurt Klimisch

    I want to like it, but the case kills it for me. Really ugly, Dial – good looking.

  • Outta Time

    Commander Scott’s watch watch first came to light when we panel members at mybulova.com were attempting to ID the watch he wore for his EVA. After some discussion, Commander Scott himself got ahold of the site owner, Stephen Ollman, and confirmed the model. After this, the watch went on to the auction block, and because of the sudden interest, Bulova decided to re-issue it. I’d have to check, but I believe it was Stephen who first tried to contact Dave Scott, and this kind of ignited the whole thing. Scott had misremembered the watch he wore on the moon in old interviews as being a Waltham. I am a Bulova dealer, and when I heard they were doing this, I ordered some and they immediately sold out. I am told by Head Office that the pre-order numbers have surprised Bulova. We are now waiting for a second batch to get here in July, 2016. I sold the first one within five minutes of taking it out of the box, it is a real looker, and accurate to within 8-10 seconds per year, far beyond a quartz chronometer, which have different specs than mechanical chronometers.
    It all depends on the size of your wrist, but I find mine wears smaller than I thought it would. I think they hit it out of the ballpark with this one, as far as I’m aware Bulova is the only manufacturer to improve a quartz movement.

  • Outta Time

    Reading over the comments, I should add that Bulova has always been intimately involved with the Space program, weather with the Bulova Astronaut watches given to the X-15 pilots, or the clocks on the instrument panels of the LEM and CM, these are all Bulova Accutron.

  • Is the metal bracelet interchangeable with the leather and velcro straps?

  • wickets

    how is the lume on this…..I bought the military uhf recently…nice watch…lume is beyond bad

  • Alessandro Montanari

    Just got one. At sale! Very nice and it doesn’t wear that big as the specification indicates. It’s a lot of watch for the money.

  • Dennis T

    Are you able to buy the watch with the leather strap and then buy the stainless steel band separately so you can technically have both version