Bulova Accutron watches have a unique tuning fork technology that makes them prized by collectors. The development of the Accutron watches put Bulova in the spotlight. Bulova, however, did not produce the Accutron watches for very long once quartz movement hit the industry. The Accutron watches did have great fame while they were in production being the exclusive watch of certain industries and even at the White House. The limited production and limited styles of Accutron watches have made them popular as collector items.
The Accutron watch was developed as a solution to the battery powered watches that came on the market in 1952. The battery powered watches were not very accurate and Bulova saw a need for accuracy in certain circumstances, like the military. So with the help of a Swiss engineer, Max Hetzel, Bulova developed the Accutron watch with a tuning fork technology. This new watch had great accuracy and was introduced in October of 1960. The Accutron watch was not only more accurate than battery operated watches, but also had far less parts. The Accutron had 27 parts where as battery watches had 136.
The moving parts were reduced from 26 in a battery watch to 12 in the Accutron watch. The fewer number of parts meant less maintenance as well. The first Accutron model was the 214. This model was unique because instead of having a crown on the side it's crown was on the back.
The two most popular types of Accutron 214 watches were the Spaceview and Astronaut versions. These were developed after NASA asked Bulova to put the tuning fork technology into some of their space equipment. The Spaceview watch has no dial and the inner movement can be seen.
The Astronaut watch featured a moving outer ring so it could be used as a timer. The railroad also found Accutron watches to be of great help. Before 1962 the railroad only permitted the use of pocket watches, but due to the accuracy of the Accutron they became a certified watch of the railroad and helped greatly in coordinating rail travel across the country. The White House even recognized the greatness of the Accutron watch when President Lyndon Johnson named Accutron as the official gift which was given to diplomats visiting from other countries. In addition Accutron time pieces were the only timepieces used on Air Force One and many military ships and planes. As the watch industry began to discover quartz movement the Accutron's popularity faded.
Quartz movement was just as accurate as the Accutron technology, but was far cheaper to produce. So with the ability to produce more at a lower cost, watches with quartz movement soon took over the industry and the Accutron became hard to find. Today the Accutron watch by Bulova is a treasured collector item. There is a special interest in the rare watch styles like ladies watches.
There are even some who still wear Accutron watches they bought back in the 60s and 70s which is a great tribute tot the well-crafted pieces.
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