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January 31, 1971.
It was winter in Florida. Like all winters in Florida, it was rainy, with the chance of a thunderstorm—not good when one is planning to send three men hurtling into space atop a 100m tall rocket filled with sensitive electrical equipment. The personnel at John F. Kennedy Space Center found themselves in a holding pattern.
But the three men at the center of the drama—the men who would soon find themselves strapped to that rocket as soon as the weather cleared—calmly ate their breakfast.
Though they appeared calm and ready, who knew what actually went on in their heads. This was the first mission since Apollo 13 the year before. Though the command module had undergone an extensive redesign following the incident, in which an oxygen tank exploded mid-flight, tension must have crackled in the air like lightning.
Finally Flight Control gave the all clear for the countdown to continue, and the men swallowed their last bites of steak and eggs and went to suit up. The film crew that was there to document the launch filmed them joking and laughing as they wound their watches—the Omega Speedmaster Professionals that had been de rigeuer for every manned space mission since Gemini IV in 1965. However, the camera zoomed in one astronaut as he strapped another watch to the outside of his fire-resistant long underwear.
Captured on film for eternity, the watch’s red-and-blue bezel is unmistakeable: it’s a Rolex GMT Master.
The astronaut was Edgar Mitchell, who would go down in history as the sixth person to walk on the Moon. Along with Alan Shepard (himself one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts), he would explore the pockmarked surface of Fra Mauro—the intended landing site of the aborted Apollo 13 mission. For 33 hours he and Shepard took pictures and collected moon rocks, nearly 100 pounds of lunar samples all told.
Beneath his space suit, the GMT Master ticked away. With the two timezones that it showed, it linked him to Mission Control in Houston. Like the pilots of Pan Am who came before him, blazing contrails over parts of the Earth over which no man had flown before, he was venturing into a new frontier.
The GMT that we offer here is a Reference 1675, the same Reference that Mitchell wore. The Pepsi bezel is crisp, and the dial shows a light creamy patina. With one look at the dial, you can see all the places it’s been—and everywhere you’ll take it.
Maybe even to the moon.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 1675. Circa late 1970's.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition with light wear and no signs of overpolishing. Dial is in very good condition, with a light, cream patina across the luminescent elements. Signed crown.
Includes one 20mm handmade leather strap.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options