The iconic Vacheron Constantin Apollo 14 timepiece has continued to puzzle watch collectors for half a decade. What is the story behind the Apollo 14 insignia on the dial? After years of searching, Christie’s are proud to offer on December 6th 2016, a timepiece that has been the subject of serious inquiry and curiosity: the Vacheron Constantin ‘Apollo 14 for Edgar Mitchell’ reference 6351.
Apollo 14 was the third official mission to land on the Moon and the eighth manned mission in Apollo program of the United States. The mission launched in January 31st, 1971. Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell landed on the Moon on February 5th while Stuart Roosa remained in the Command Module in lunar orbit. Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell spent over 33 hours on the Moon with over 9 hours of total time of “extravehicular activity” (EVA) outside of the lunar module, known as “moon walks.”
After their return from space on February 9th, 1971, Edgar Mitchell was presented with the Vacheron Constantin Red. 6351 timepiece, ‘In the name of some Geneva citizens’, according to the engraved inscription on the case back.
This one of only three examples ever produced, highlights the Apollo 14 insignia on its dial. Featuring the last names of the crew and a representation of a gold star approaching the Moon from Earth. This star symbol, similar to a comet, lives on today as the symbol of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut corps.
At the heart of the watch, beats the ultra thin caliber 1003 introduced by Vacheron Constantin in The caliber 1003 was the world’s thinnest hand-wound mechanical wristwatch movement for over 50 years and is still used by Vacheron Constantin today.
This timepiece is a symbol of Edgar Mitchells’ heroism and talent, destined to impact the course of human history. “That spaceflight was the culmination of my being”, Edgar Mitchell, 1997.
The watch is accompanied by a Vacheron Constantin Certificate of Origin, an Apollo 14 flight badge, an Apollo 14 flight badge pin, four silver commemorative medals and a Vacheron Constantin presentation box reading, “In the name of some Geneva citizens for Edgar D. Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot Apollo 14, especially made by Vacheron Constatin Geneva.”