You may recall the launch, in 2020, of Accutron as a brand, rather as a collection within Bulova. The year was chosen to mark sixty years since the debut of the Accutron. As we covered at the time, the debut models were the Spaceview 2020 and the Accutron DNA.
As the name of the first of the two launch models indicated, it is an homage to the original watch of the same name, keeping the open face of the dial so that the new movement can be seen, and keeping the classic green. There were three Spaceview 2020 launch models, all in 43.5mm sized cases with a thickness of 15.9mm.
Now, there are two new additions to the Spaceview 2020 collection. Both are in stainless steel cases measuring 43.5mm with a thickness of 15.9mm and water resistance of 50m. The most obvious difference is the design of the lugs, particularly those at the bottom of the case, which are less angular and distinctive than those of the first models.
The first new variant has a smoky grey open-worked dial with Accutron green accents and transparent outer ring, lumed markers, hour and minute hands, and an orange second hand.
The second has a new green dial treatment with transparent outer ring, grey bridges, lumed markers, hour and minute hands, and an orange second hand. It comes on a charcoal calf leather strap.
For those who did not read our 2020 post or need a reminder about what was so special about the Accutron and its tuning fork, here’s a historical recap of what we wrote at the time.
The product of Bulova engineer Max Hetzel after almost a decade of R&D, the original Accutron watches used a then-revolutionary 360 Hz tuning fork instead of a balance wheel, the tuning fork powering an electronic oscillator. The vibration came from a current provided by a battery, and the frequency of the tuning fork’s vibration was what regulated the watch. The oscillation rate of this new technology was nearly 150 times faster than that of a traditional mechanical watch. The audible hum from the tuning fork was one of its notable features, along with the green circuit board dial side of the original models, and crown on its rear. It was not just the most accurate wristwatch on the market at the time but also the first commercially successful electronic watch. In fact the name derived from “Accuracy through Electronic”. Production ceased in 1977, but the early models remain collectable and desirable.
The twenty-first century Accutron may no longer be about the tuning fork, but is still about doing something technologically different, with the first proprietary electrostatic-powered watch movement.
Electrostatics is the study of stationary electric charges. These new watches are powered by electrostatic energy generated in a familiar way. The energy is created by twin turbines (discs) that spin rapidly as a result of motion (from when the watch is on your wrist). This energy is stored in a cell that powers a large motor responsible for the sweep seconds hand (which moves smoothly like its Accutron predecessor). Two smaller motors, propelled by a rotor, charge the power cell, the integrated circuit, and thus the hour and minute hands. Both motors are synchronised through the integrated circuits and have an accuracy of +/- 5 seconds per month.
A charge of approximately one day’s worth of operation is generated if the watch is worn whilst walking about 6,000 steps. There is a power saving function that means that the seconds hand automatically stops at 12 o’clock after five minutes of insufficient charge (i.e. the watch/ wearer isn’t moving). The watch will obviously continue to keep time, with the hands still moving.
According to Accutron, to stop the power saving mode the wearer raises and swings their arm in a long chopping motion for 3-5 seconds until the seconds hand starts again.
How do you set the time? When the second hand points to 12 o’clock, pull the crown out. All hands will stop, and the time can be set. When the crown is pushed back into the normal position, the hands will start moving again.
So the two new models. The first one, on a calf strap, has an RRP of USD 3,450. The model on a stainless steel bracelet is priced at USD 3,850.
[Photo credit: Accutron]