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In recent months my inbox has been a repository of reminders about classic American watch design. And while plenty of digital missives arrive from the encouragingly high number of youthful watch designers active across the United States these days, I’ve been especially impressed by the retro-design regimen currently underway at Accutron.

Accutron’s Legacy collection transports us back decades with its studied re-introduction of dials and cases that truly met, and in many ways help define, the Swinging Sixties and the Space Age. The collection’s aerodynamic curves, electrical references and rampant asymmetry are a treat to both the eyes and the wrist. And by retaining vintage sizes Accutron enhances the nostalgia, setting the imaginative dials within their proper proportions.

The newest version of the Accutron Date and Day Q.

A stylish reminder of Accutron style from this era can be found in the Accutron Legacy Date and Day Q, a Legacy release that echoes the original 1971 streamlined ‘flying saucer’ 34.5mm oval case design and 4 o’clock crown.

Updated Bulova Classics

Bulova also understands the value its design archives. The Bulova Oceanographer ‘Devil Diver’, its Computron and Bulova’s array of military watches are prime examples.

Just recently Bulova notes that it is expanding its array of Bulova Classic designs with new versions of the 1948 Sutton and the 1960s Aerojet.

The newest Bulova Sutton reprises a 1940s design but with a contemporary dial aperture and case size.

Both these re-releases are automatic models powered by Miyota movements. The new Sutton automatic ($395) recalls Bulova’s President watch, circa 1948, though the new model offers an updated 33mm by 49mm case size and a contemporary dial aperture to expose the movement. Bulova is offering the watch with a white dial on a brown alligator grain leather strap or with a black dial on a black alligator grain leather strap.

My favorite among the recent debuts is the new Aerojet, reprising a Bulova design from the 1960s. Bulova unveils two new 41mm steel-cased versions featuring the Aerojet’s signature cross hair dial with a bi-color Day/Night indicator and vintage Aerojet logo.

The new Bulova Classic Aerojet reprises a 1960s design.

These come with colorful sunray blue or brown dials with a degrade effect. The blue model is available on a black distressed leather strap for $450 and the brown on a multilink bracelet for $495.

   

By Stuart Gleich

I am the proud owner of a 1965 Accutron Spaceview with its humming tuning fork. Love to hold that baby up to my ear and listen to that tuning fork just hum its little heart out!

Obtaining this watch was no easy task. Thank goodness for the expertise of John at Budget Accutron in Waterford, Michigan. The watch looks like new!

So, one year ago, when I first read about Accutron’s intention to possibly release their electrostatic Spaceview 2020, I dreamed about possibly having one on my wrist.

The Accutron Spaceview 2020.

And then the announcement came and Accutron’s 60th Anniversary electrostatic Spaceview was due for release at the end of October 2020.

I began to investigate the possibility of working out a trade with for one by saying goodbye to some of personal favorite timepieces. All served me well over the years and brought me much happiness.

I found my way to Exquisite Timepieces in Florida, where Evan Richardson is the proprietor. Communications went back and forth concerning three watches that I hoped I could put toward a trade for this technological marvel.

My 1965 Accutron Spaceview

So, with my Meistersinger Monograph, my Tissot Squelette and my Ball Watch Trainmaster Power Glow and the balance in U.S. currency, I was able to order my newest edition!

What makes this all so sweet is that I own an original Accutron Spaceview.  By 1962 the Accutron wristwatch was adopted by NASA’s Mercury 7 astronauts, United States Air Force and civilian test pilots, and even by CIA pilots flying the A12 reconnaissance aircraft.

My two Accutron Spaceviews, side by side.

And now I have the two side by side. What is old, using a technology that was state of the art back in the 1960s has again truly become new and revolutionary, once again, in 2020.

A re-made Accutron 521 was among the many eye-catching designs Accutron included in its premiere Legacy collection debuts last September. For Elvis Presley fans however, the retro design was a particularly notable revival since the original asymmetric-cased gold model 521, from 1960, was known to be one of Presley’s favorite watches.

The new Accutron Legacy 521, with gold-plated steel case and mesh-style bracelet.

For others, the debut also resonated because of its attention to the original’s perfectly designed proportions. For its Legacy collection, Accutron wisely resisted the modern tendency by watchmakers to upscale retro editions by housing them in larger cases.  

Thus, the new Accutron Legacy 521 retains the same ‘TV-shaped’ design framed by the same incredible Space Age lugs as the original, complete with the modest 32.8mm x 32.5mm case dimension, silver-white dial and stylized double-stick hour markers. And while Bulova’s Accutron division in 1960 cased the original in fourteen-karat gold, Accutron has created its new Legacy 521 with a gold-plated steel case.

The original Accutron 521 was unique among the era’s debuts in that it was the only model in the series topped by a mineral glass crystal and a snap-on case back. Accutron today replaces the mineral glass with sapphire and clears a partial view of its movement via a clear sapphire caseback.

And while the original Accutron 521 was among the first designs to house the groundbreaking Accutron electronic tuning fork movement, this new edition will be powered by a modern Sellita automatic caliber.

The original Accutron 521 from 1960.

Accutron also fully embraces the new watch’s 1960s vibe by attaching the 521 case to a gold-hued steel bracelet patterned to echo the mesh-style bracelet popular during the era, with double-press deployant clasp. Alternatively, Accutron offers a version with a brown lizard-embossed leather strap. The new 521 is limited to 600 pieces in each bracelet option.

Prices: $1,550 (mesh-style bracelet) or $1,450 (leather strap).

Bulova recently dug deep into its vast design vault and – with the assistance of collectors – emerged last week with the Accutron Legacy collection, twelve limited edition automatic watches that re-imagine eye-catching 1960s and 1970s Accutron designs.

The collection, available now online and in select stores with each design limited to 600 watches, all feature sapphire crystals, a Sellita-based automatic movement and are water resistant to 30 meters. All are priced at less than $1,500.

Most retain what are now unisex sizes, from 34mm to 38.5mm in diameter, and almost all are sold in both silver-tone steel and gold-tone steel cases. While several offer steel or gold-tone bracelets, most echo the era and come with croco-embossed or retro-style leather straps.

Rather than display all the new Accutron Legacy models, here is an edited selection of our favorites.

This new Accutron 505, based a 1965 original by the same name, features a 33mm case and is offered in gold-tone ($1,450) and silver-tone steel ($1,390).

 

This new 38mm Legacy model echoes the 21343-9W from 1971 and features a silver-tone octagonal-like dial design with applied faceted hour markers.

 

With an asymmetrical case and crown placement at 4 o’clock, this Accutron Legacy collection luxury watch is based on 1960s “521” model. $1,450 in gold-tone.

 

This new 34mm model references the “203” from the 1960s. $1,450.

 

Based on the “412” from the original 1960’s collection, this new model is 34mm in diameter. $1,450.

 

Side view of the new 412 Accutron Legacy model, measuring 12.5mm thick.

 

The “R.R.-O”, first launched in 1970, has been reimagined as part of the Legacy collection. $1,290.

 

The new 34mm Accutron 565, based on the 1965 original. A unique cross-hatching detail was added to the already visually distinctive asymmetrical case. $1,390.

 

The backof the new 565, showing the Sellita-based automatic movement inside.
This Accutron limited edition Legacy collection timepiece reimagines a watch from 1960, the Date and Day Q. $1,390.

 

This Legacy Accutron takes the original “261” first launched in 1971, and updates it with an automatic movement and a 38.5mm case. $1,390.

 

After ten years of research, Bulova’s Accutron brand this week unveils a new type of watch movement that relies on electrostatic energy to help power its hands, and places the movement into two new Accutron watches.

The Accutron Spaceview 2020

The new watches, the Accutron Spaceview 2020 and the Accutron DNA, are the premiere models within the newly separated Accutron brand, and each feature designs that echo the dress of the historical Bulova Accutron Spaceview of the 1960s, the world’s first electronic watch (powered by tuning fork technology).

Accutron DNA models.

The movement

The new Miyota-built movement, which Bulova previewed in 2019, relies on both a power cell and on spinning turbines that react to the action of the wearer’s wrist to re-charge the cell.

The larger of the three electrostatic dial-side rotors, which is actually a motor, spins furiously while the watch is worn to directly power the seconds hand. The smaller two electrostatic generators, propelled by a more conventional rotor inside the movement, electrostatically charge the power cell, the integrated circuit and the quartz-based timing components that control the hour and minutes hands.

The watch’s energy is stored in an accumulator cell that powers two motors. Integrated circuits synchronize the motors to provide accuracy to +/- 5 seconds a month. Depending on how often the watch is worn, Accutron says it expects the electrostatic power feature will allow the watch to replenish its power for up to a decade without requiring a cell replacement.  

In addition, Accutron has built a power-saving function into the new movement. After a certain period of inactivity, this function will stop the seconds hand to alert the wearer that power is being conserved. An even more comprehensive power-save feature, called the ‘energy conserving function,’ stops all of the hands, which prevents power from being depleted.

Two models

Both new Accutron watches display the same shade of green on bridges and/or case rings to clearly reference historical Bulova Accutron watches, notably the Accutron Spaceview.

The Accutron Spaceview 2020 Limited Edition, which is packaged with a special book on Accutron.

The Spaceview 2020 most directly recalls the open, avant-garde design of the original Spaceview, which offered a clear view of its tuning fork electronics.

The new watch offers a 43.5mm stainless steel case and clear case ring with dot-shaped primary hour markers, fit to a black leather strap. A limited edition Spaceview 2020, with a green case ring, will also be available packaged in a deluxe box set with an illustrated book “From the Space Age to the Digital Age.”

Bulova took a few more liberties when designing the Accutron DNA, which offers a more contemporary adaptation. The Accutron DNA case ring is a sportier with its squared primary markers and its sapphire crystal is domed. Case ring color choices of green, blue, black or gold-tone offer more variety.

The new Accutron DNA

In addition, the Accutron DNA is attached to the wrist with what appears to be a nicely integrated black rubber strap, and the watch’s case is also larger, measuring 45.1 mm in diameter.

Prices: Accutron Spaceview 2020: $3,450; Accutron Spaceview 2020 Limited Edition: $4,000; Accutron DNA: $3,300.