The Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 puts Venice on the moon with a NOS Lemania movement

The Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 puts Venice on the moon with a NOS Lemania movement

Buffy Acacia

If you’re a NASA nut and you want a watch that connects you to the Apollo missions, what are your options? Of course, there’s the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, but even once you decide between all of the special editions, they’re very expensive. The Bulova Lunar Pilot is pretty cool, but the high-frequency quartz movement wasn’t the one worn on the Moon in 1971. The NASA x G-Shock collaborations? They’re not exactly Moonwatches either. The Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 limited edition certainly finds some kind of middle ground, repurposing vintage movements and dedicating everything to Apollo 11.

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 1

Venezianico, as the name may suggest, is a small Italian brand proudly founded in Venice. It began in 2017 with inspiration from the city’s mastery of Renaissance art, and the height of its 15th-century power. Seeing as this was the brand’s inspiration, releasing a Moon-themed chronograph may be a bit random, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work. The earnest adoration of the Moon landing is definitely there, and it’s wrapped up in a glamorous Italian suit.

The case

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 Case

The Bucintoro is named after the ceremonial barge of the Venetian Doges, also known as a bucentaur in English. They were opulent vessels which saw annual use for about 500 years, and reconstructions are still used on special occasions today. You may expect a watch with this name to be unwieldy, but the case dimensions are actually quite manageable. The diameter is 42mm with a 49mm lug-to-lug width, filling out a fairly bulky profile but remaining wearable. The thickness of the lugs gives it a staunch appearance, as do the crown guards and long, shouldered pushers.

Considering the 100 metres of water resistance, the mechanical chronograph movement and the 1.6mm domed sapphire crystal, the total height being only 13.1mm is very reasonable. The steel case is mostly brushed for a utilitarian look, but with polished chamfers inferring a sense of sophistication and luxury. On the left-hand side of the case opposite the crown and pushers, you’ll find a plaque with the watch’s unique number out of the limited 69 pieces.

The dial

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 Dial Macro

At first glance you might assume that the black dial of the Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 uses meteorite sections for its subdials, but they’re actually 3D-printed textures to evoke the Moon’s crater-pocked surface. The black backdrop also has a silky sunburst finish, reinforcing the classiness. Black and gold is an impeccable combination for any watch, and the Bucintoro 1969 gets the balance just right with shortened indices and faceted hands.

The chapter ring and tachymeter have quirks of their own, as the 3D-printed texture returns in a small chasm between the main dial and the outer perimeter. There you’ll find a 60-second countdown in the same manner as the Apollo 11 launch sequence, from T-60 to launch. The outer ring joins in from the top left quarter, counting down the final 10 seconds during ignition and launch. Keeping the tachymeter beneath the sapphire crystal protects it against scratches, leaving the circularly-brushed steel bezel as the final ring of contrast.

The movement

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 Movement Lemania 1873

Although the rest of the Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 is fun, the movement is the star of the show. Venezianico has utilised a bunch of refurbished Lemania 1873 movements, which famously were the base calibres for Omega’s 861 released in 1968. To be clear, this is not the same as the Omega 321 which was used in the Apollo 11 mission, but rather its more versatile successor. The switch from column wheel to cam actuation among other changes made the Lemania 1873 much easier to manufacture, and it passed all of the same NASA testing as the 321. Though the sapphire caseback of the watch, you can witness it in all of its vintage glory. It’s clearly been refurbished well, and its organised chaos of components is engaging to stare at even if there’s no fancy decoration. The beat rate is 3Hz over a power reserve of 40 hours, and of course it’s a hand-wound movement.

The strap

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 straps

The Bucintoro 1969 actually comes with three straps that each change the watch’s style significantly. First is a black leather strap which mimics the Velcro strap style of the actual Moonwatches, but with a more luxurious finish. The Bucintoro 1969 logo is also printed on the lower half of the strap. Additionally, there’s a black rubber strap with fitted ends and a highly sporty ridged look, instantly making the watch look far more contemporary and daring. Finally, there’s the Canova bracelet with an elegant adaptation of the H-link style, and polished centre links.

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 Box

The celebration of Apollo 11 has always felt patriotic to America and the achievements of Omega, but while the inspiration behind this release may have little to do the brand’s Venetian roots, the Bucintoro 1969 is well-executed. I’m a sucker for refurbished movements for both historical and sustainability reasons, and the attention to detail is impressive.

Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 pricing and availability

The Venezianico Bucintoro 1969 is a limited edition of 69 pieces, with shipments beginning on June 10th. Price: €3,690

Brand Venezianico
Model Bucintoro 1969
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 13.1mm (T) x 49mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Black sunburst, 3D-printed moon texture
Strap Black leather with Velcro closure
Black rubber sports strap, pin buckle
Steel bracelet, folding clasp
Movement Lemania 1873, refurbished NOS, manual-winding
Power Reserve 40 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Availability Limited to 69 pieces
Price €3,690