For a lot of collectors and fanatics (myself included), the Accutron Astronaut will all the time be a favourite from Bulova’s huge archives. First launched in 1962, the Accutron Astronaut reached outer area in Could 1963 aboard the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission. This was additionally the watch chosen by the CIA because the official timepiece to produce to its Lockheed A-12 pilots, attributable to the truth that its distinctive tuning fork motion was higher suited to contending with the intense circumstances that exist throughout the cockpit of the A-12 plane. Not like the assorted different Accutron watches that have been being produced on the time, the Astronaut mannequin featured an extra 24-hour hand, together with an exterior rotating 24-hour bezel, which allowed it to supply GMT performance and made it ideally suited to the pilots within the CIA’s A-12 program. As a approach to have a good time the unique Astronaut watch and one of the storied classic Bulova fashions of all time, Accutron has unveiled a restricted version of the 1968 “T” model of the Astronaut (the completely different variations are categorized by letters), which marks the primary re-edition from the model’s new collection of Astronaut timepieces.
Crafted from stainless-steel, the case of the brand new Accutron Astronaut is bigger than that of its Nineteen Sixties predecessor, measuring 41mm in diameter versus the 38mm-wide unique. On condition that many individuals think about 38mm-wide to be a little bit of a candy spot when it comes to case sizing as of late, I’m certain there shall be various people (different than simply die-hard Bulova collectors) who want that Accutron caught to the unique dimensions of the watch. Whereas the case nonetheless options the identical spherical profile with quick sculpted lugs, the brand new Accutron Astronaut now features a small winding crown on the 3 o’clock location to entry the motion, relatively than having a lever that folds out from the caseback like the unique Accutron watches from the Nineteen Sixties. Different trendy updates have been made to each the crystal and caseback, with a double field formed sapphire crystal defending the dial, and a caseback with a semicircular show window. The caseback seems to make use of a two-piece building with a purpose to maintain the engravings and show window correctly aligned, and it consists of a primary middle part secured by an outer screw-down ring that helps to create 100 meters of water resistance. Moreover, as it is a recreation of the “T” model of the Accutron Astronaut from 1968, the watch is fitted with split-color “Day/Evening” bezel, relatively than the all-black or stainless-steel 24-hour bezels that may be discovered on most different Astronaut fashions. Fitted to the lugs is the watch’s signature “Bullet” bracelet that options brushed middle hyperlinks flanked by polished facet hyperlinks with an angled outer profile for a novel, but versatile general look.
Whereas a number of completely different types of dials have been fitted to Accutron Astronaut watches throughout the Nineteen Sixties, the model recreated for this new mannequin is without doubt one of the much less frequent varieties. It encompasses a matte black floor that homes a novel mixture of polished faceted batons, small luminous squares, and triangles for the hour markers. An utilized “Accutron” emblem sits beneath the 12 o’clock marker, whereas the phrase “Astronaut” resides on the decrease half of the dial in the identical italicized font that may be discovered on the classic fashions. 4 centrally-mounted arms are chargeable for displaying the time. The 12-hour hand and minute hand seem as what may greatest be described as an angular dauphine form, whereas the 24-hour hand is a skinny polished shaft with a luminous triangular tip. All 4 of the arms characteristic luminous components, however relatively than having a small luminous tip or counterweight, the seconds hand encompasses a barely bulbous form that will get full of Tremendous-LumiNova to match the remainder of the arms and hour markers.
The unique Astronaut watches from the Nineteen Sixties have been powered by the battery-operated Accutron 214 tuning fork motion, and it was particularly this state-of-the-art caliber with its ultra-high frequency and solely 12 transferring components that made Accutron timepieces superb for the difficult circumstances of supersonic flight. That mentioned, though the Accutron tuning fork actions have been fairly sturdy in precise use, they have been additionally relatively delicate and tedious to service, and the appearance of quartz timekeeping expertise in the end signaled the top of the electrical tuning fork platform. Consequently, the brand new Accutron Astronaut is powered by the totally mechanical Sellita SW330 computerized motion, which runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with an influence reserve of roughly 42 hours. Because the watch trade’s go-to Swiss GMT motion, the SW330 may be very a lot a identified amount, and it provides a confirmed design together with the extra performance of an independently adjustable 24-hour hand. Whereas solely a relative handful of watchmakers are correctly set as much as service a classic Accutron 214 tuning fork motion, the exact opposite will be mentioned in regards to the SW330, and its ubiquitous design can simply be maintained by nearly any competent watchmaker on the planet.
The wording of the press launch particularly describes this new mannequin as “the model’s very first re-edition in an thrilling new collection of Accutron Astronaut timepieces.” Nevertheless, it’s essential to notice that this explicit 1968 “T” version won’t be a everlasting addition to the gathering, and it’ll as an alternative be produced as a restricted version of simply 300 items with an official retail worth of $3,500 USD as of press time. It’s clear that the brand new Astronaut revival mannequin is aimed nearly solely at an fanatic viewers, and if you happen to take a look at what Accutron is charging for it in comparison with different comparable choices, the brand new revival mannequin is actually priced accordingly. Watches powered by this identical motion will be discovered for a few third of the worth, and even true classic examples of the Accutron Astronaut will be bought for fairly a bit much less in working situation (though chances are you’ll not be capable of observe down a classic instance of this uncommon “T” variant). Nevertheless, for the collector who loves the long-lasting aesthetic of the Astronaut and needs to have the ability to put on it in a care-free method each day with none worries of probably damaging an outdated motion that’s troublesome to service, the brand new Accutron Astronaut makes a wonderful different, and it is going to be fascinating to see how the gathering continues to develop from right here. For extra data, please go to the model’s web site.