Since changing into its personal standalone model in 2020, Accutron has been centered on honoring the well-known Bulova fashions that have been initially powered by its well-known “Accutron” tuning fork motion. That mentioned, somewhat than making precise recreations of notable classic references, the fashionable Accutron model is creating up to date variations that pay tribute to numerous historic fashions from its archives. Much like how the fashionable Spaceview watches are clearly impressed by the originals from the Sixties however are in the end very totally different timepieces (each inside and outside), the brand new Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model Restricted Version is closely primarily based on its historic predecessor. Nevertheless, it’s hardly a completely devoted recreation of the unique Astronaut watch, both with reference to its design or the motion used to energy it.
Crafted from stainless-steel, the case of the fashionable Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model may be very related in its general form and profile to the classic Astronaut fashions, though it’s barely bigger and beefier in each single method doable. Whereas the center case itself is available in at 39mm in diameter, the rim of the bezel extends to be 41mm. Reasonably than sloping downward just like the stainless-steel bezels that have been fitted to the vast majority of the classic fashions, the bezel fitted to the fashionable model has a completely flat high floor with its facet profile sloping inward to fulfill the smaller center case. Moreover, because the fashionable Accutron Astronaut bezel is impressed by the looks of the one from the 1968 “T” model of the watch, it’s fitted with a black and silver split-color aluminum insert, with a double 12-hour day/evening scale, as a substitute of getting a 24-hour scale like most different variations of the Astronaut.
Utilizing the double 12-hour day/evening bezel fitted to the fashionable Accutron Astronaut is essentially the identical as utilizing a 24-hour bezel. Reasonably than referencing the secondary time zone in a 24-hour format although, it’ll merely provide it in a extra typical 12-hour selection, with the sunshine or darkish shade used to point day versus evening hours. The bezel strikes with a clean non-clicking bidirectional movement. One factor which will aesthetically throw off some individuals is that one of many “6” markings on the bezel is solely on the silver facet, whereas the opposite seems solely on the black half. What this implies is that with the “12” indicator correctly aligned with the 12 o’clock marker on the dial, the change from one shade to the opposite on the bezel won’t happen precisely alongside the horizontal axis of the watch. Though this ends in the looks that the bezel is continually misaligned, this uncommon design ingredient is true to the split-color bezel that was fitted to the unique “T” model of the classic Accutron Astronaut that was produced in 1968.
Sitting inside the bezel is a closely domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The reverse facet of the case is fitted with a two-part caseback that consists of a central part with engravings and a semicircular show window, together with an outer ring that screws down over the perimeter to assist create 100 meters of water resistance. Not solely does this two-part caseback construction assist be certain that the engravings and show window will at all times be correctly aligned, nevertheless it additionally considerably mirrors the model of caseback that may be discovered on the classic Accutron Astronaut fashions. For these fashions, this was a obligatory function as a consequence of the truth that they’d each battery doorways and hand-adjustment tabs positioned on their casebacks.
As a result of closely domed sapphire crystal, the general thickness of the fashionable Accutron Astronaut is available in at 13.85mm. Whereas the brief, sculpted form of the lugs may be very in step with what could be discovered on the classic fashions, they’re set 20mm aside on the fashionable model and prolong downward to create a reasonably compact lug-to-lug profile of roughly 44mm-long. With that in thoughts, as a result of method that the facilities of the end-links protrude previous the lugs, the precise lug-to-lug-dimensions of the fashionable Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model finally ends up being nearer to 48mm-long when you think about the way in which that it connects to its bracelet. Moreover, whereas the end-links are related by a normal straight 20mm spring bar, they’re additionally barely recessed into the edges of the case. Which means that solely a small quantity of clearance exists, and a few third-party straps could also be too thick to correctly match given the extraordinarily brief size of the lugs themselves.
One of many different main departures from the unique classic Accutron Astronaut fashions is that this contemporary model contains a small winding crown positioned on the 3 o’clock location, somewhat than the fold-out tab that was fitted to the casebacks of the originals. Whereas the small flat form of the signed crown does assist to protect the largely spherical profile of the watch (which was one of many defining traits of the unique), it’s undeniably a bit small and troublesome to grip, and it seems a bit like an afterthought or obligatory concession that needed to be made in the course of the design course of. On the unique Accutron fashions, the fold-out tab was used as a method to spotlight that there was no have to manually work together with the watch, aside from for those who needed to set the time. Nevertheless, provided that the crown on the fashionable Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model can be utilized to wind the watch, along with each setting the time and working its independently adjustable 24-hour hand, I might have personally most well-liked to have a bigger and better-integrated crown, supplied that it wasn’t doable (or sensible) to have its setting mechanism built-in into its caseback.
The rationale why the modem Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model contains a regular winding crown on the 3 o’clock location is as a result of it’s powered by a variation of the Sellita SW330 computerized motion. Operating at a well-known frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz), the model fitted to the brand new Accutron Astronaut presents an elevated energy reserve of roughly 56 hours, and similar to different variations of this common caliber, it options an independently adjustable 24-hour hand that may be set via the crown. With that in thoughts, as a consequence of the truth that the SW330 is of course a date-displaying motion and the Accutron Astronaut doesn’t have a date window, there may be half of a “ghost place” that exists once you pull out the crown to the primary of the 2 setting positions. Rotating the crown in a single course will advance the 24-hour hand, though once you rotate it the alternative method, you’ll be able to hear the hidden date mechanism click on and transfer beneath the dial’s floor. Realistically talking, this doesn’t impression performance, nevertheless it does function a reminder that there exists a slight mismatch between the design of the watch and the motion used to energy it.
The dial of the brand new Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model Restricted Version largely follows the design of the classic authentic, and whereas it truly contains a largely flat construction, the distortion supplied by the closely domed sapphire crystal makes it seem to have a considerably curved profile. A mixture of faceted polished batons and small luminous shapes function the hour markers, whereas the 4 centrally-mounted arms are all given polished surfaces and luminous inlays. Though the dial printing is completed in white for max distinction, the “Accutron” title on the high of the dial seems as an utilized ingredient with a high-polished end that may generally look black relying on the lighting. Moreover, not like the unique fashions from the Sixties, the brand new Accutron Astronaut watches have the phrases “Swiss Made” printed on the backside of their dials beneath the 6 o’clock marker. All 4 of the arms, plus every one of many hour markers is completed with green-glowing Tremendous-LumiNova to assist with low-light visibility.
Fitted to the 20mm lugs is a contemporary model of the Astronaut’s signature “Bullet” model bracelet. Crafted from stainless-steel with utterly strong parts, the bracelet contains a five-link development with high-polished surfaces and a single brushed heart hyperlink working down the center. The facet hyperlinks function an outer angled profile that slopes downward to fulfill the wrist. For the reason that angled profile makes the primary hyperlink barely wider than the end-link, the bracelet tapers from roughly 21.5mm-wide on the first hyperlink to 19mm-wide the place it connects to its butterfly-style folding clasp with a double push-button launch. One minor gripe I’ve is that the bracelet makes use of a pin and collar setup (somewhat than single-sided screws), and whereas the bracelet itself feels fairly strong and comfy on the wrist, the clasp lacks any kind of micro-adjustment system. Moreover, there aren’t any half-links for the bracelet both, which means that it could be a bit tough for some individuals to discover a good sweet-spot setup, particularly in the event that they occur to be between hyperlink sizes.
I personally get pleasure from the brand new Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model Restricted Version watch rather a lot, nevertheless it does symbolize a big sufficient departure from the classic authentic that it might be too totally different for many who actually simply love the basic model. Not having a tuning fork motion makes it a really totally different timepiece on a purposeful stage, and the proportions are bigger to the purpose the place it does make it really feel noticeably extra chunky on the wrist. On high of that, with an official retail value of $3,500 USD, the fashionable Accutron Astronaut is kind of a bit costlier than a classic instance in superb situation. Whereas sourcing an precise classic model of a “T” variant from 1968 may show to be a tall order as of late, it’s simple that the fashionable Astronaut is hardly a extra reasonably priced various. Nevertheless, arguably the 2 best components working within the fashionable Accutron Astronaut’s favor are its exclusivity and worry-free possession expertise. As a restricted version of simply 300 examples, it’s fairly a bit extra uncommon than a classic Astronaut, and with a contemporary supplies, strong water resistance, and a extremely serviceable known-quantity motion, it does promise to be a watch that received’t be a headache to personal or preserve over the course of long-term possession. For extra data on the Accutron Astronaut 1968 “T” Model Restricted Version, please go to the model’s web site.