Rare Bulova portable timer for the Skylab Orbital Workshop—one of only two that are known to exist in private hands
Flight-qualified Bulova analog portable timer from the Skylab program, 2.25″ x 5″ x 1.25″, with parts label affixed to bottom: “Portable Time, S/N AD85795, Manufactured By Bulova Watch Company For McDonnell, Per McDonnell PS61B80051-1, Bulova P/N SK1229-01D, U.S.” The bottom is stamped, “MFD 3Q70,” and marked in black ink, “PDA 12-29-71, PDA 1-13-72.” The battery-powered timer features an “Accutron” movement developed by Bulova for wristwatches, on/off toggle switches for timer and tone, a small alarm amplifier, a set dial, and a hack switch; the back features an operating instructions plate and an affixed Velcro swatch. Front bears an affixed label, “1983.” Included is a 5.4 volt battery, which is marked in white ink, “S/N A004” and stamped: “LOT 2078-4, 122.” In fine condition, with some light wear.
In 1969, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. and the Bulova Timer Laboratory designed and built this timer exclusively for the Skylab Orbital Workshop (three timers were flown to orbit on onboard Skylab). The timer incorporates a modified 214H Accutron movement in a case designed to be rugged and portable. Its on-orbit application was to provide a way for astronauts to time experiments, events, and activities such as crew exercise. The timer incorporates an electronic alarm feature. This is one of only two that are known to exist in private hands (a third resides within the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum national collection).