(NC)—Enthusiasts would be pleased to mark time with a gift like this one. It was 50 years ago that the world saw the advancement of science in the face of a wristwatch. The arrival of Accutron, with its revolutionary battery powered tuning fork movement, took centre stage with a curious public in October of 1960. Bulova specialists achieved two milestones with Accutron: not only did they deliver the most accurate personal timekeeper to date but they also designed a watch face to show us how it was done. Whenever you took a glance at your Accutron Spaceview 214, you got the time of day, a shot of shimmering beauty, plus a window to the magic mechanism inside.
For 300 years before this, wristwatch technology had remained at a standstill relying on manual winding to keep it accurate. Then one watchmaker completely discarded the standard model. By 1960, Bulova science unveiled their breakthrough in the art of measuring time— and according to enthusiasts, no step in this technology was ever to be as bold again.
Even the NASA space engineers recognized this fact. Bulova science was requested and used in 46 missions. Indeed, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their first lunar landing, Accutron timers were in the spaceship controlling data transmission to and from Earth.
“We like to say that on July 20, 1969 at exactly 8:17 and 41 seconds, Bulova landed on the moon,” says company president, Stephen Taylor. “As a result and very quickly, the most favoured gifts in the 1960s were Accutrons.”
Today, in celebration, a newly minted limited edition of the classic Accutron Spaceview 214 has just been released. To many, this is a collectible of the same stature as an antique car, an exceptional painting, a rare stamp, or even just the right baseball card.
“The unusual technology is the reason why,” Taylor continued. “Up until that time, wristwatch mechanisms were controlled by springs and wheels. To make sure it wouldn’t stop, you had to wind your watch on a daily basis.
“With the introduction of Accutron however, Bulova engineers made a landmark decision to measure time with the vibrations of a tuning fork. Instead of ticking, these watches quietly hummed. It was revolutionary—and immediately it made personal timekeeping marvellously reliable.”
Each hand-made collector model (www.bulova.com) is meticulously recreated in stainless steel with a curved sapphire crystal and alligator strap. To identify its place in the controlled production of only one thousand pieces, this keepsake is inscribed with a limited edition number, matched by an official plaque on the presentation case.
As a prized collectible, enthusiasts admit that quartz soon replaced the technical superiority of the tuning fork, but that is precisely what makes it rare. “In addition to workmanship and aesthetic appeal,” says Taylor, “you can see that the 214 is magnificently constructed.”