NEW YORK (AFP) - An exceptionally rare watch worn by an American astronaut on the Moon has sold for more than US$1.6 million (S$2.2 million), a US auction house said Friday.
Dave Scott, the commander of the Apollo 15 mission to the Moon in 1971, wore the Bulova Chronograph watch on his third lunar walk after his standard-issue Swiss Omega became damaged.
It is the only watch worn on the Moon in private hands and was bought by a Florida businessman in a frenetic, 12-minute bidding war with a rival in Britain, said Boston-based RR Auction.
It is also the only American-made watch ever worn on the Moon, and sold for US$1,625,000 - smashing the auction house's pre-sale estimates of US$750,000 to US$1 million.
The dozen men who have set foot on the moon all wore Nasa-issued Omega Speedmasters, which are considered US government property, and many are housed in institutions.
But after his second moonwalk, Scott noticed that the crystal of his Omega popped off when he returned to the cabin, so he strapped on his personal backup watch, the Bulova.
"Among the decisions I made, the monitoring of time was perhaps most important," 83-year-old Scott stated in a detailed five-page letter that accompanied the sale.
Apollo 15's third lunar excursion lasted four hours, 49 minutes and 50 seconds.
The watch exhibits significant wear from exposure while on the Moon, as well as from splashdown and recovery.