Waaaay back in July of 2011, Alex posted about a mystery watch known only by a single image; the Apollo 14 watch (see thread here: http://www.thehourlounge.com/en/vacheron-constantin-discussions/vacheron-constantins-most-mysterious-watch-apollo-14-585646)
Aside from the attention this unique and mysterious watch received here, it was also reported on various watch sites like Hodinkee, and even space interest sites as well. Still, nothing further was learned to answer the obvious questions about the watch itself and its provenance in relation to the Apollo mission.
So it was with great surprise and even greater interest that I received pictures some weeks ago from the present owner of an Apollo 14 watch! Thankfully, they were kind enough to consent to sharing here in the Lounge.
More pictures later (hope you enjoy my B&W effects), but first we need to catch-up on some history .
Wikipedia has copious info so I leave it to your initiative to search it out. Suffice to say that the Apollo 14 mission launched on January 31, 1971, and landed on the moon on February 5th. The crew consisted of (left to right) Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell, Mission Commander Alan Shepard, and Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa.
The mission is famous for some well-publicized antics of the crew, such as Shepard hitting a couple of golf balls and Mitchell throwing a javelin, and other not-so-well-known antics of the back-up crew. They lifted-off on February 6th and were back on terra firma February 9.
The oval-shaped insignia on the face of this watch was designed for the mission by Kennedy Space Center graphics artist Jean Beaulieu. It was used on patches and pins for crew and support personnel.
Many were also carried to the moon as souvenirs, which prompted one of the great capers of the mission. Apparently the back-up crew created a spoof version of the mission patch featuring an altered Wyle E. Coyote (representing the astronauts) heading to the moon while the Road Runner (back-up crew) has already landed. These were liberally salted throughout the craft to be discovered with every door and cupboard opened .
So without further ado, lets examine the back of the watch.
This photo answers several outstanding questions. The watch was presented by the Citizens of Geneva to Alan Shepard to commemorate the lunar landing. One can assume similar pieces were created for Mitchell and Roosa. Search this site for the Eisenhower watch as another example of these fine citizens honoring a significant event.
Mission Commander Alan Shepard was the oldest astronaut in the space program and the only member of the original Mercury Seven to reach the moon. It was a bit of a miracle as he'd fought an inner-ear disease which kept him out of active participation for 5 years. Still, his 15 minutes of fame as America's first man in space in 1961 (literally, 15 minutes was the total of his space time) certainly had some influence with NASA. They say his landing was the most accurate of all the lunar missions, and his six iron the longest hit in human history . Shepard retired in 1974 and tried his hand at business while also organizing the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. He published a book in 1994 titled; Moon Shot The Inside Story, along with Deke Slayton. Sadly, he died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 74. A life lived well!
Stay tuned for Part II