Storied watches going missing are always a point of fascination for collectors. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that people were saying, “I wonder what happened to Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona.” One such watch story revolves around the Speedmaster worn by NASA astronaut Donn Eisele, who flew on the Apollo 7 Mission into Earth’s orbit with crew mates Wally Schirra and Walt Cunningham. Eisele, like many other NASA astronauts, wore an issued Speedmaster on his wrist, and that watch was inscribed SEB12100039-002 (the part number for NASA Speedmasters) and given a unique serial number, “34.”In 1989, two years after Eisele’s passing, the watch was stolen from a display at the Instituto Geográfico Militar in Quito, Ecuador (the watch was on loan from the Smithsonian.) An investigation was launched, but the thief was never found.
For nearly 30 years, the watch stayed missing—that is, until just five months ago, when a watch with a very curious inscription surfaced on the Web. It was Eisele’s stolen watch, and it was in Mexico City.
Photos via Collect Space.