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John_D

Astronauts watch

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I recently bought a job lot of Timex electric watches from the US, to get going/use as spares.

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Amongst the haul was this very early M67 back crown watch.

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I was very keen to get this one up and running as my previous back crown Timex watches were either M84 or M87 ones, so this one is one of the first Timex electrics, with the West German made DuRoWe 861 movement,

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which is much more refined in its construction than the cheaper, mass produced, M84 ones :thumbsup: .

 M84 movement as a comparison....

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Anyway, stripped, cleaned and regulated it and with the crystal refinished, quite an improvement.

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At this point I decided to try to research and find what sort of strap was fitted to it when it left the factory in 1963/4. This is where the story gets interesting.....

I found out that this identical watch was owned by one of the NASA Astronauts in the early 1960's......

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Sadly the story becomes somewhat tragic here as the astronaut in question was Roger Chaffee, who along with Gus Grissom and Ed White, died in the Apollo 1 tragedy in 1967. It appears that he was actually wearing the watch on the day, as it was returned, along with his wedding ring, to his family before his burial in Arlington Cemetery.

The watch was auctioned by his family in 2009, some details here....

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I finally did find a contemporary advert for the watch in question, though dated '1965' it may well have the later M84 movement.......

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which confirmed the fact that it would have been supplied with a Spiedel expanding bracelet, as seen on Roger Chaffee's watch. While I'm not keen on these, for authenticities sake, I will try to get a vintage one for my watch....

 

 

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Thanks for posting, well done!

 

Have plenty of vintage stretchies. :(

One of these 2 may be suitable(?), both in good 'clean' condition...

Excalibur, 16mm lug width.

h45TGuC.jpg

Spiedel, 16mm lug width (curved end link) ?

KcVC3WP.jpg 

If either of these is suitable happy to let you have one FOC.

 

Great story!

:thumbsup:

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2 minutes ago, Karrusel said:

 

Thanks for posting, well done!

 

Have plenty of vintage stretchies. :(

One of these 2 may be suitable(?), both in good 'clean' condition...

Excalibur, 16mm lug width.

h45TGuC.jpg

Spiedel, 16mm lug width (curved end link) ?

KcVC3WP.jpg 

If either of these is suitable happy to let you have one FOC.

 

Great story!

:thumbsup:

Many thanks for the offer, I have a few flexies myself 'in stock', but the lug width on the case is 3/4" (19mm), and I'd like to get a bracelet that size to fit it (even though Roger Chaffee seemed to be happy with the 'wrong' strap:wink:). Again many thanks for the kind offer:cool:.

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Also have this...

cokwX0W.jpg

Spring loaded end link, will fit 16-22mm lug widths.

Here if you have difficulty in sourcing a full width expanding bracelet.

:thumbsup:.

 

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Looking at the watch in the 1965 advert, I realised that the font for the numbers on the dial was different, more 'modern' looking, and that there was no lume on the dial and hands unlike mine and Roger Chaffee's watch. Further searching on the internet has shown watches identical to the later advert watch with dial printing showing the model number, cal. and year of manufacture as 1963. There are no identifying dial markings on my watch (I had the crystal out and the movement out of the case so I'm sure there was nothing). Apparently Timex only started marking the dials in this way in 1963, so that would suggest that mine is either very early 1963 or even 1962 when they were first put on the market by Timex...

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10 hours ago, Mechanical Alarm said:

So, this IS or ISN'T the Chaffee watch??

Any record of what his sold for at the auction?

Not the Chaffee watch, just an identical one.....I haven't found any auction details yet but I have found a couple of pictures of it in a display case,at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida :cool:

YEnMxkV.jpg

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12 hours ago, John_D said:

Not the Chaffee watch, just an identical one.....I haven't found any auction details yet but I have found a couple of pictures of it in a display case,at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida :cool:

YEnMxkV.jpg

Sorry to be such a PITA, but your description was a little misleading.

So, does this mean the KSC was the high bidder when it came up for auction from the estate and this is where it currently resides, or is it now in the hands of a private collector? I remember the pre-sale estimate was something like $50K. Never heard what it actually went for, or to whom, if it was public.

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3 minutes ago, Mechanical Alarm said:

Sorry to be such a PITA, but your description was a little misleading.

So, does this mean the KSC was the high bidder when it came up for auction from the estate and this is where it currently resides, or is it now in the hands of a private collector? I remember the pre-sale estimate was something like $50K. Never heard what it actually went for, or to whom, if it was public.

Not sure what was misleading as I stated very clearly that this was an 'identical watch' to Roger Chaffee's one, early in my initial post, nobody else seems to have read anything else into the statement.......

As for what it sold for, your guess is as good as mine, suggest that you do some research if you want to know this.....

I assume it is still currently at the KSC, though whether it was purchased by them or by a private collector and is on loan to them I  don't know. Again I'm sure the information is out there if you want to research it, you have the advantage of being in the US ........

 

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