What time is it in Ochos Rios, Jamaica?

On August 2, 1971, US astronaut Colonel Dave Scott on Apollo 15 made lunar history—and with it a Bulova moon pilot chronograph.

This is a true story of my long journey to acquire a reproduction timepiece with an interesting and significant history during the era of the NASA Apollo Space Program to the moon. I will not go into the details of the watch that Dave Scott wore as a backup to his broken NASA issued Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph (crystal popped off during the mission on the moon), but suffice to say that the original Bulova (pictured above) recently sold for 1.6 million US dollars at an auction.

As a horology enthusiast and watch collector, I recently read about the history of Scott’s watch and desired to acquire an official reproduction moon watch from Bulova. The reproduction issue is nearly identical to the original, but with an extremely accurate ultra high frequency (262 kilohertz) movement. It is one of the most accurate watches in the world with +- 10 second per year accuracy. The accuracy exceeds even the most expensive high beat automatic watches from Rolex at a fraction of the price.

I was a man on a mission, and was beginning to drive my extraordinary patient wife a little crazy with my incessant search in the Caribbean for the aforementioned watch. Although one can purchase the Bulova moon watch online or at a major Canadian/US retailer at widely varying price points, I wanted to take advantage of the duty free/tax free status of many retailers in the Caribbean. First stop – Ochos Rios, Jamaica. Unfortunately, many of the employees/owners in the jewelry and watch shops had either no clue of what I was searching for, or had priced the Bulova watch kit considerably above Canadian and US online prices.

I was beginning to get a little discouraged, like a spoiled kid who couldn’t have his way at the candy store. I began my internal dialogue – a military boot camp self-motivation routine.

Suck it up… you pitiful excuse of a MAN. Put on your BIG BOY pants and keep on trying. Persevere if you must!

If you have ever been to Ochos Rios, then you may know how politeness, patience, and perseverance can pay off. From the moment we disembarked from the ship we were approached and literally hassled and harassed into participating in questionable excursions, taking a cab (to an unknown destination), or buying weed. It was almost as if we had been bombarded by a bunch of crazy-eyed stockbrokers on Wall street. We were the fat, tasty chicken drumsticks about to be devoured by the locals.

Fortunately, I was prepared for the onslaught of hawkers – Google is my friend and confidant. At the same time, I understand the predicament of many of these rather vocal and insistent Jamaican people trying to sell their wares. This may be their only way to make a living in the increasingly expensive tourist industry of Ochos Rios. Twenty years ago, the tourist resort was merely a quiet fishing village along the Northern coastline of Jamaica. I am not without a heart, and do understand the relative poverty of the two-thirds world. But, honestly, I can only do so much as one individual in a sea of relatively wealthy tourists from all over the world. We contribute to the local economy by purchasing luxury items and eating and drinking in local restaurants. The RBC group that we were travelling with also donate considerable sums of money and supplies to NGO‘s, schools, and charity groups throughout the Caribbean.

The best way to deal with hawkers is to be polite, but firm with a “NO THANK-YOU”. Sometimes I would stop and talk to an individual in a personal way and try to be considerate – I only hoped they would reciprocate in the same way. After all, we are all in this together (the human element on planet terra firma) whether we recognize that or not. Unfortunately, that usually brought on more soliciting and haggling. Sometimes, I just had to walk away, as we were beginning to get high from all the wacky tobacco pouring out of some shops 🙂

I finally found what I was looking for in a small jewelry store in the Taj Mahal mall. A beautiful young woman was showing us the product, and at the same time we were mutually discussing personal details of our lives. I wanted the Bulova Moon watch kit with two bands and a pin spring tool rather than the Bulova with a steel band. The price was also proving to be considerably outside my planned budget. I was about to walk away when the store manager came over and struck up a sincere conversation with me. He had overheard that we were from Regina, Saskatchewan, and mentioned that he knew a real estate developer in our city. What a small planet that we live on. A gentleman from New Delhi, India, now living in Ochos Rios, Jamaica, knew someone in our beautiful city – thousands of kilometres away.

Bulova’s making history again. Our new special edition moon chronograph replicates that original timepiece, updated with our exclusive high performance quartz movement with a 262kHz vibrational frequency for unparalleled accuracy, to continue a history of precision timing. Other features include super-luminous hands and markers, tachymeter, and calendar in a 316L stainless steel case, and water resistance to 50 meters. There’s also a choice of bracelets: a stainless steel version, or a set with two interchangeable straps—a black nylon with nubuck leather patch and a textured black leather.

The well-dressed gentleman explained that his family had a number of businesses in the community. I was later to discover that his family owned the entire mall and numerous residential and commercial properties in Jamaica. After our brief conversation, he looked towards his employee and said,

“give him whatever he wants…”.

I stood there almost dumbfounded. I reiterated that the watch was outside my price range and he simply replied that he would take care of it. We talked for about fifteen minutes more (from soup to nuts), when another employee arrived, rather out of breath, with a package. Much to my surprise, the businessman had kept me in conversation until an employee was able to deliver exactly what I wanted from another one of their retail stores.

In the final analysis, I was given an enviable discount off suggested retail, plus tax free and duty free. Wow, I was so happy and thankful to be at that particular place, at that particular time, in my history of sojourning on this great blue marble called EARTH. Funny thing was that my dear wife knew all along what was going on – I was completely oblivious to the intentions of a very kind and generous man from half-way around the world. Kindness, patience, and persistence had paid off for both of us. I have his business card and will continue to purchase products from him in the future. I have also made a new associate and friend. Every time I find myself in those kind of situations, I look towards God and give thanks.

There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24,25

If you have read my story this far, you may be wondering why time pieces are so important to me. Well, outside of the obvious bling factor and utility of a fine watch, I am constantly reminded of my own finiteness – living my life over a relatively short period that we call time. Invariably, I am reminded that I am merely dust in the wind compared to the eternity or infiniteness of God.

I close my eyes, only for a moment
And the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind
Same old song, just a drop of water
In an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground
Though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho
Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind [x2]
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind [x2]
The wind
Dust in the Wind by Kansas

In the simplest sense, God dwells outside of time as we understand it. He is eternal, He always WAS and always IS existent and present in our lives, even before we were conceived.

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 NLT

He is the Creator, the Alpha and Omega of all time as we understand it.

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 2 Peter 3:8 NLT

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13 NLT


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