For many, the year 1969 marks the watershed for electric watches, with the invention of the quartz wristwatch in Japan. In reality, the era of the electric watch dates back a little earlier. The first Bulova Accutron Spaceview debuted in 1960; and introduced an entirely new form of timekeeping. Rather than rely on a quartz crystal as the regulatory device, the original Accutron used a tuning fork driven by an electromagnetic coil, with every single element of the ingenious mechanism on display.
A few short years ago, Accutron released the Spaceview 2020, now powered by a proprietary calibre, the first-ever electrostatic drive. Energy is generated via two turbines that rapidly turn thanks to the wearers kinetic energy. This energy is stored in an accumulator that powers two motors, one for the smooth sweep of the seconds hand, and the other – a stepping motor for hours and minutes.
These two new additions boast a 43.5mm steel case with a more conventional lug arrangement than the hooded lug design of the original Spaceview 2020. Both feature an openwork dial showing off the technical interior. Both designs echo the look of the 1960 original green details. The model on the calfskin strap makes more ample use of the color, while the bracelet version only deploys it more sparingly. Both feature a transparent chapter ring with luminous hour markers, and the mechanism is accurate to +/- 5 seconds a month.
The original Bulova Accutron Spaceview represents a truly important chapter in the story of timekeeping, and the Accutron Spaceview 2020 honours this legacy and demonstrates that there’s still a place for unconventional technology in watchmaking. The style is a pleasing mix of contemporary and a nod to the past. This, combined with the sub-4k price point makes this an interesting option for anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
Movement: Proprietary Electrostatic Movement
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds and power-saving function
Case: Stainless steel, 43.5 by 15.9mm, water-resistant to 50M
Strap: Steel bracelet or leather strap
Price: USD 3,850 on bracelet, USD 3,450 on strap