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.
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.
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.
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.
The ultra-clear dial on this Accutron Legacy R.R.-0 echoes one of the watchmaker’s most popular railroad watches. This new model, one of the handful of designs Accutron included in its retro-themed Legacy collection, is inspired by a particular Canadian Railroad watch from 1970.
The dial design was one of the era’s most popular railroad watch designs. Its unusual name, shortened to ”zero railroad” or just “zero” because of the 0 numeral at the top of the dial, was a specification required at the time by the Canadian Railroad.
The original model was one of the first wristwatches to be approved by the North American Railroad. Prior to the advent of this designation, pocket watches were considered the only timepieces accurate enough to be “railroad-grade.”
The designation required that wristwatches included large Arabic numerals for legibility. It also required that setting the watch required the front crystal to be unscrewed first, and that regulation and adjustment was recorded in five positions.
The new Accutron R.R.-0 echoes the original with a 34mm faceted steel railroad case and a crown at 4 o’clock. With its bright white dial with easy-to-see Arabic numerals, the watch also recalls the original with its railroad-style hands and a red seconds hand. And instead of a tuning-fork movement, the new watch is powered by a Sellita automatic movement with a date indicator. Bulova attaches the new model to a black leather strap.
The entire Accutron Legacy collection is available now online and in select stores with each design limited to 600 watches. The Legacy R.R.-0 is priced at $1,290.