Thursday, September 29, 2005

Movado Oversize Museum Automatic

Even though I've admired their looks on others, I had never seriously considered a Movado Museum watch, finding them too small diameter for my wrist and too often in quartz, too.

But now, with a 42 mm diameter version of the Museum watch in automatic, I might be seriously tempted......especially with the display back. From the looks, it seems to be equipped with a Movado-branded ETA 2892.

You seem to be able to get these for $650 or less.

I'm not sure it meets the criteria for 'Famous', but it's certainly a Classic. Call it Almost Famous.

I'd consider purchasing one now, but I'd really like to get the Accutron Astronaut, a 1969-1972 Speedmaster, and perhaps a 6139 Seiko in my collection first. Plus, I don't wear dress watches very often, so it probably wouldn't get much wrist time.

But perhaps someday....

*le sigh*



Current Mood: nursing my cold

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Accutron Astronaut

Scott Carpenter, Mercury astronaut, on the cover of "Paris Match" magazine in 1962, wearing his Accutron Astronaut. Studly, eh?

After the great suggestion to put the Accurton series of tuning-fork watches on the Famous Watches List, I decided to learn about more about Accutron, a watch line I'd known almost nothing about previously.

After scanning the various Accutron fan sites, I felt that Accutrons were even more deserving of Famous status than I had previously thought. While the Spaceview series isn't my particular aesthetic cup of tea, just about any of the 1960-1977 Accutrons deserve placement on the list for their unique movement that was, in many ways, the grandfather of the quartz watch, and a sort of hybrid bridge between the old mechanical world and the new transistor one.

And then we come to the Astronaut line. Wow. Aside from, IMO, being the coolest looking of the Accutrons, they also gain historical fame points in ways that are meaningful even to people who aren't horological wonks. For example:

-The Astronaut was the official watch of the pilots of the experimental X-15, the ancestor of technologies as diverse as the SR-71 Blackbird and the Space Shuttle. Neil Armstrong was once an X-15 pilot. The first winged vehicle in space, altitude record of the X-15 has only been surpassed by the Space Shuttle and the recent Spaceship One.

-Omar Bradley, of WWII fame, was head of the company during the glory days of NASA and lobbied to have Accutrons replace the Omega Speedmaster. He wasn't successful, but the Apollo 11 astronauts did place a number of Accutron movements on the Sea of Tranquility in 1969.

-Supposedly, the Accutrons went into a space a few times (need to verify this, but supposedly Explorer and early Apollo missions), although it was never the official timepiece like the Speedmaster. The astronauts must have brought them along as backup watches or for personal reasons. It's also unclear if these were Astronaut models or some other kinds, although the Astronaut would seem the logical choice given its larger dial and GMT function.

To cap it all off, I'm bidding on a near-mint 1969 Accutron Astronaut on eBay. We'll see if I get it!


(sick icon because I have a nasty cold today)

Current Mood: sick

Sunday, September 25, 2005

New additions from the Folks at PMWF

Early today I posted this new LJ over at the Poor Man's Watch Forum (PMWF, In addition to the comments provided on the first entry here, there were a few more suggestions at PMWF itself. Thanks to watchstuff, Takesalickin', and Jimmy50 of PMWF for their suggestions.

Without further ado, the new additions are:

--Bulova Accutron:

World's first tuning fork watch, introduced in 1960. I need to do more research to find out the differences between models, but I guess for the time being the earlier the model, the better.

--Pulsar Limited Edition or Pulsar II:

The Limited Edition was introduced in 1972 as the world's first LED watch. Only 400 were made, in 18K gold. Shortly thereafter, and after a recall of much of the Limited Editions, Pulsar introduced the Pulsar II. Stainless Steel was also (thankfully) introduced with the Pulsar II. The Pulsar II was also featured in the Bond film "Live and Let Die". Lots of info at

--Seiko 6139:

There is a bit of a controversy about who introduced the world's first automatic chronograph, but the Seiko 6139 calibre watches are usually tied for first. And while good condition models seem a bit hard to find, some can be found in fair condition for under $200. I'll need to do more research to find out if some specific models are more meaningful or 'better' than others.


Charles Lindbergh

On further investigation, it appears that Charles Lindbergh used a pocketwatch on his famous flight in the Spirit of St. Louis. Really, I should have predicted this. Duh.

So that takes Lindbergh off the historical event question list.


First Entry - Historic and Famous Watches

Sean Connery, as you know who, wearing his no-date Rolex Submariner, model 5508. In later appearances, he wears the Submariner with scuba gear and a black and grey NATO strap. Of course, 00-agents always carry spare watch straps with them...

Well, this is my first entry into LJ [edit -this was written before the migration from LiveJournal to Blogspot], so pardon me if I do something wrong or don't yet have the hang of it.

I decided to create a blog to write about watch-related topics, but, more specifically, the actual catalyst that finally got me to pull the trigger was the topic of historic and famous watches. Watch collecting can be such a broad hobby that it's helpful to impose a theme or some constraints in order to help focus both research efforts and provide a sense of financial prioritization for purchases.

While I enjoy collecting watches of many types, I thought the theme of historic and famous watches would be an interesting one around which to build a collection. Sadly, I have so far been unable to find a good list of famous watches - and thus here we are.

I'm going to bound my list of famous watches in a few more ways:

1. Candidates can be famous for participating in an important historical event, for being a notable 'first' in watch design, for advancing horological science in a meaningful way, or all of the above.

2. The watches need to be within (sane) financial means of most watch collectors, which, in my mind, imposes an upper limit of a few thousand dollars for the most expensive pieces. There are some horologically significant watches from the likes of Audemars-Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Daniel Roth, and the like, but I'm going to exclude these from this list on the grounds that they're not very attainable for most folks.

That being said, here is the first pass at a list, in no particular order:

--Breitling Navitimer:

Worn by Scott Carpenter, Mercury astronaut.

--Fortis B-42 Official Cosmonaut:

Some type of Fortis watch was apparently used by astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, but I don't know yet which model. [edit - I've since learned that, supposedly, the model on the ISS is the B-42. Not confirmed yet. The Fortis Official Cosmonaut Chronograph lines are also authorized separately by Russia's space agency. Very confusing.]

--Hamilton Ventura:

World's first battery-powered watch. Now also available as a reissue, although I think the reissue is a regular quartz watch. Also worn in the 'Men in Black' movies, but I won't let that count against it.

--Omega Seamaster 300 M:

Worn by the post-1995, Pierce Brosnan James Bond. Normally I wouldn't count just a product placement, but a) Bond has such longevity and is so iconic that he's not just a movie or a book and b) in many movies the watch plays an important part due to some built-in gadgetry.

--Omega Speedmaster:

We all know why this one is important. However, there seems to be some debate about which calibre was actually first on the moon. There is strong speculation that Cal. 321 was actually first worn on the moon, first worn by Schirra in 1962. This makes an interesting case for collecting 'pre-Moon' Speedmasters. Cal. 861 was probably used on later missions on the moon, as well as on Skylab and Soyuz.

--Poljot Strella:

Worn by Alexy Leonov on the first walk in space in 1965. I've seen a few vintage ones on eBay. Poljot makes a few different re-issues of this, all of which use the Poljot 3133 calibre, which was not the one used by Leonov. From an external point of view, the cyrillic-dial watches bear the closest resemblance to what Leonov used in 1965.

--Poljot Shturmanskie:

NOT most of the current 'Yuri Gagarin' chronographs, which, while seeming to be pretty cool looking watches, and are allegedly pretty sturdy, don't bear much resemblance to what Gagarin actually wore as the first man in space in 1961. I'm still trying to find a consistent source for a modern re-issue that at least looks externally like what Gagarin wore, even if the internals are different.

--Rolex GMT Master:

Worn on Apollo 13 by Jack Swigert, in addition to his government issued Speedmaster. There is some debate about whether the GMT or the Speedmaster was used to time the critical engine burn that ended up saving the lives of the ill-fated Apollo 13. Note that this is not the GMT Master II, so vintage would probably be preferred. Also unknown is which bezel Swigert had - black, black and red, Pepsi colored, or what.

--Rolex Submariner:

Bond's other watch, used by Connery and Moore through the 60's and 70's. Vintage would be coolest. Although I suppose it might be more correct to refer to the Seamaster as Bond's other watch, given this one was first.

--Seiko Spring Drive:

The *what* you ask? Well, it's brand new for 2005, finally being released after 28 years of development. It's the first new watch movement technology in ages, and the first of the 21st century. Don't know the price yet, though, and can't seem to find it for sale anywhere yet.

So, that's a start. I'd love to have the list grow over time. Feel free to write with your suggestions or nominations.

Some other famous watches that would be interesting to know include:

What watch was worn when Hiroshima was bombed? Alternatively, what watch was Oppenheimer wearing when the bomb was first tested in White Sands, New Mexico?

What watch did Charles Lindberg wear on his flight across the Atlantic?

What watch was worn by the first Chinese 'taikonaut' in space?

What watch was JFK wearing when he was shot? Wait, maybe I don't want to wear that....

I'd love to expand the types of events covered by this list. Right now it seems pretty astro-heavy. If you've got other suggestoins, feel free to let me know or reply to this entry.

Time to eat lunch and play with my new Seiko Orange Monster!


David, the Watchnerd