Jensen heritage for the next generation


Item description: One of the most iconic watches of the 1960s, the Bulova Astronaut Accutron. Making its debut in 1963, the Bulova Astronaut Accutron came with a champagne dial, or the more desirable black dial, along with a 24 hour bezel. This particularly early example of an Astronaut dates from 1964. Stainless steel case, and with black dial The dial marked, ‘Accutron’, and ‘Astronaut’. The dial with additional 2nd time zone hand, along with the special tuning fork seconds hand. The 24 hour stainless steel bi-directional bezel with ‘2’ through to ’24’ number segments. The reverse with battery compartment and hand set, along with serial number and date codes. The watch complete with the rare stainless steel Kreisler ‘Rally’ bracelet. The  watch contained within its original Accutron case with Accutron tuning fork logo to the lid. Additionally, the watch still retains the original owner’s guide and instruction manual, along with the particularly rare Accutron folder containing a battery and Accutron battery compartment opening coin.


Case size: 40mm x 38mm


Condition report: New old stock condition. The watch in close to mint condition. battery compartment clean and perfect. Case showing storage age. Instructions and Accutron folder clean and just with slight folding from being in case. The timepiece has been serviced on behalf of the previous owner, and springs into life when a battery is placed into position. A new battery will undoubtedly be required when this watch is purchased. The timepiece may have been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker. This example of an early Astronaut, is undoubtedly one of the best and most original examples on the market today.

Background to the Bulova Astronaut Accutron : In the early 1960s, Bulova and Omega were both trying to have their watches accepted by NASA for their manned space missions. Omega won its place on the astronauts wrist, although Bulova won the contract to supply Accutron clocks  for inside the space craft. The Bulova Astronaut Accutron was brought out to exploit the company’s ‘space heritage’.


Background to Bulova: Bulova was founded and incorporated as the J. Bulova Company in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, an immigrant from Bohemia (it was reincorporated under the name Bulova Watch Company in 1923). In 1912, Bulova launched his first plant dedicated entirely to the production of watches. Manufacturing watches at their factory in Biel (Switzerland), Bulova began a standardized mass production never seen in the world of watchmaking until then. In 1919, Joseph Bulova offered the first complete range of watches for men. The iconic visual style of his first popular advertising made its watches popular with the American public. But beyond the original style, precision and technological research also became an endless quest for Bulova. Bulova produced the first advertisement broadcast on radio in 1926, announcing the first beep of history: ‘At the tone, it’s eight o’clock, Bulova Watch Time’, an announcement heard by millions of Americans. In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh was the first pilot to cross the Atlantic nonstop. His crossing earned him a Bulova Watch and a check for $1000, and it became an emblem for the brand that created the model “Lone Eagle” in his likeness. During the 1930s and 1940s, the brand was a huge success with its rectangular plated watches whose case was strongly curved to better fit the curve of the wrist.


Bulova began the 17 year manufacture of the tuning fork Accutron with its round 214 movement in 1960. The Accutron departed from typical wristwatch design, in that there was no setting stem and crown on the side of the watch. Instead, the stem and crown were placed on the back of the case. In 1970, Bulova brought out the Spaceview Accutron. Ironically, the Spaceview was never intended to be sold by Bulova. It was a salesman’s demonstration tool and a display model for jewelers. While Bulova used a solid gold Spaceview in an intensive advertising campaign for the new Accutron, they only expected to sell a few hundred, strictly to distributing jewellers for use as a merchandising display; however many customers, seeing the watch in the window, wished to purchase it. Realizing there was a consumer demand, Bulova started manufacturing kits which allowed jewellers to convert normal 214s. Meanwhile, Bulova started manufacturing a Spaceview version of the Accutron in stainless steel, and gold plate for retail sale. The popularity of the Spaceview today is second only to that of the 214 Bulova Astronaut.


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