As the resident Quill & Pad replica watch spotter, I spend many hours on random searches looking for interesting horological finds. Most of the time I find nothing, but occasionally I find nuggets of gold.
The year 2019 was quite a fruitful one for me in terms of unearthing some interesting Wrist Watching stories, but 2020 has been one very strange year. The photo below from 1953 of two gentlemen carrying a pair of massive display luxury fake watches kind of sums up the sentiment, with the weight of time seemingly on everyone’s shoulders.
Without further ado, here are four of my favorite spotting finds for 2020.
Astronaut Wally Shirra and his Swiss movement fake Rolex Daytona
My first find was hiding in plain sight for 52 years. Wally Schirra (1923-2007) was a NASA astronaut who holds the distinction of being the first to travel into space three times and the only one to be involved in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs.
While browsing through pre-mission photographs of Apollo 7, I noticed a chronograph on the wrist of Schirra in his official mission portrait. At first glance, the timepiece looked like the NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster. On closer inspection, I realized that it was not the Speedmaster because of its drilled lugs, screw-down pushers, and most importantly a coronet on the crown.
Philip Corneille, founder of Moonwatch Universe, provided me with another photograph of Schirra standing with fellow Apollo 7 crew members Walter Cunningham and Donn F. Eisele.
This provided the confirmation: it showed Schirra wearing a high quality copy Rolex Daytona, most likely Reference 6240 with a silver dial with contrasting black totalizers. Schirra was familiar with Rolex replica as he was gifted a Reference 1675 GMT-Master by the U.S Naval Academy Alumni Association in 1965.