Historical Bulova Accutron Spaceview Electonic Watch Is Futuristic (For 1965); Immensely Collectible

Historical Bulova Accutron Spaceview Electonic Watch Is Futuristic (For 1965); Immensely Collectible

There was a time when people were really sick of mechanical watches. The little machine movements are enjoying an enormous renaissance right now, but it was not always that way. In fact, back in the early 1990's the mechanical movement was all about to die. How did it get to that point?

Back in the late 1950's, all you had at your disposal was mechanical movements, much of which were not very accurate. In an effort to provide more accurate, and affordable (relatively speaking) watches, companies began to search for new movements. Without going into a watch movement history lesson, suffice it to say that in late 1950's the electronic watch was almost ready for production. They were the precursor to quartz watches, which used what is called a "tuning fork" for accuracy and regulating the movement. Quartz watches use a vibrating quartz crystal instead of a tuning fork. Tuning fork watches proved to be much more accurate than mechanical watches and were powered by batteries, not the winding of a mainspring. The idea was pretty simple, use magnetism and reliable electronic frequencies to predictably instruct a movement making each second, more or less the same period of time. You can always Google "tuning fork movement" to get more information if you are in dire need.

These new types of electronic watches started to show up in the 1960s and were pretty revolutionary for the time. They were not exactly cheap, nor this they provide every advantage over mechanical watches. However, they did not need to be wound, and were far more accurate. Bulova watches created its own electronic tuning fork movement and called it the "Accutron," which later become its own sub-brand. One of the best-known Accutron watch lines is the Spaceview.

The Spaceview watch came in a ton of different "flavors," over 200 actually. Not all of them are actually "skeletonized" such as the pictured ones, but they shared the Bulova Accutron electronic tuning fork movement. What is really interesting, is that for a period of time these "movement view" watches were in such demand that "conversions" were actually make on the dials removing the dial to allow view of the movement.

Robert Jan, everyone's favorite watch lover from the Netherlands (not to disclaim other notable Dutch watch lovers) wrote a nice piece on the Accutron Spaceview movements here. Like any good collector, he wants one of these historic pieces for his collection and get's one on eBay. Good move :) I am thinking about doing it myself.

Robert mentions that the Bulova Accutron Spaceview is not a pretty watch, and I agree with him, but I don't think it is trying to be a pretty watch, not does it need to be. It is actually trying to be a futuristic watch while being artistic at the same time. To this end the watch really excels. Different hands and cases give the Spaceview a different personality. The movement from the front look likes a robot from Battlestar Galactica, with its little copper coil eyes and thin face. It is undoubtedly a cool looking little timepiece, and certainly a welcome vestige of watchdom.

Notable is the hidden crown used to adjust the watch. Turn the watch around and you'll find a flip out arch used to adjust the watch. This is a great little touch very rarely seen on watches. The battery compartment is blissfully easy to open, and while the original batteries are no longer available (mercury based), modern batteries will work just fine (you just need to get the right size).

The Bulova Accutron Spaceview will certainly appeal to "vintage" types who like things of that ilk. The watches are available relatively cheaply on eBay, but some are more expensive as they feature gold cases and such. Accutron still makes watches today under Bulova, who was recently purchased by Japan Citizen. Before that, and when the Accutron Spaceview was being made, Bulova was a solid America brand of watches, a thing now reserved for the likes of Timex. Be it known, however, that boutique watch making is a growing industry in the US.

See Accutron Spaceview watches on eBay here.

See Accutron watches on Amazon here.

Time Remaining: 2h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $595.00
Buy It Now
1964 Bulova Accutron Spaceview H Watch photo vintage print Ad
1964 Bulova Accutron Spaceview H Watch photo vintage print Ad
Time Remaining: 9h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $8.29
Buy It Now
RARE NOS Bulova Accutron Spaceview 340 1AYS 337mm Armored Yellow Crystal
RARE NOS Bulova Accutron Spaceview 340 1AYS 337mm Armored Yellow Crystal
Time Remaining: 9h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $37.95
Buy It Now
Time Remaining: 11h 50m
Buy It Now for only: $349.00
Buy It Now
NO RESERVE 1971 Bullova Accutron Spaceview Desk Clock Great Convo Piece
NO RESERVE 1971 Bullova Accutron Spaceview Desk Clock Great Convo Piece
$128.13 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 15h 56m

Bid now

Accutron Spaceview
Accutron Spaceview
Time Remaining: 16h 50m
Buy It Now for only: $300.00
Buy It Now

View eBay Listing Page:   
  • http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/ Speedmaster

    Nice posts, these are classics.

  • http://ablogtowatch.com admin

    Thanks! I think so too. They are a great timepiece for vintage watch lovers and people who find interest in watches that “display” their technology.

  • http://www.fratellowatches.com Robert-Jan

    Thanks for mentioning :) And thanks for getting me hooked again, now I need one (again). I love the triangular shaped models in white gold. These are the rare ones, and unfortunately also the most expensive ones…

    Good post!


  • http://ablogtowatch.com admin

    Nice to hear from you. I am glad you noticed that article. Yes, these are might desirable watches. I’d never want one for daily wear, but they seem so appropriate for a collection and for taking them out with the right audience. Do share with me if you bring another Accutron Spaceview into your life.

  • http://www.jeanmarcel.com Richard Kalina

    I spent over 30 years at Bulova, godfathered by Harry Bulova Henshel, the man who kept believing in Accutron(accuarcy through electronics), even when they told him it would not work! He used Accutron to drive Bulova to the top of the industry(when you could still produce mechnical watches and all their components in the good old U.S.of A).
    Plants in Providence, R.I. and scattered around Queens,N.Y. and headquartered at the entire 36th Floor-Rockefeller Center ,jewel bearing factories in the West (helping the native Indians who where there before Bulova arrived)., also factories in Switzerland. More than you would believe, Bulova was King of the watch industry. I was lucky to be connected from the bottom to the top, and shared all the ups and downs. I personally have 3 Accutron Spaceviews in my collection.I’m still in the watch industry so it’s been over 45 years and I still love it.I’ve built my drean brand, Jean Marcel who is a leader in design, we are “the 1st to do it” brand and the leader in “Limited Edition Complications”. Of course, they’re all PURE SWISS
    echnicals! Now I’ve become The Watch Doctor, and so many in the business share all the information and I always offer good counsel to them. Anyone who wants to know more about Bulova, just contact me. The Accutron was the most accurate and advanced timekeeper in it’s era. It vibrated at 360 cycles per second and guaranteed 1 minute per month accuarcy. Nothing could keep as good time. The next step was the quartz crystal, It vibrated at 32,768 per sec. so it was so much more accurate. Bye the way, Bulova was using quartz for timers for the U.S. Military BEFORE the wrist models were designed but that’s another interesting story! Thanks for sharing your interesting inputs about Accutron and Bulova. It’s another great American icon.

    • http://ablogtowatch.com admin

      Thanks for the comment and the additional information!

    • akd200

      I have one of those Military “timer” or switch watches! akd300200400@gmail.com

  • Johnny Shane Ross

    The Accutron is such a beautiful peice of Americana. Nostalgia flows out of the 214 Spaceview. I don’t consider myself a true enthusiast because my intersts are too narrow, but I love these watches. I was lucky enough to have a Dad and Grandpop who wore 214’s. Those timepeices still see me through the day now. The 50th anniversary 214 is a modern rendition and is a thrill to wear as well.

  • mrwill

    Thanks for the article. My grandfather left me one of these watches. It was given to him upon retirement after 50 years of service with DOW Chemical. Unfortunately we’ve tried to get it running again, to no avail.

  • John Steppling

    I have a clear memory of my father wanting one of those…..and finally getting one. It had the vibe of “futuristic” science…and I remember my father being simply in love with the entire idea of such timekeeping. Thanks for this piece, brings back memories.

  • thermatico

    the bulova accutrons are tuning fork not “turning fork”, watches. that’s what gives them the distinctive huming sound when they run. i have spaceview and an astronaut. both really cool watches.

  • Pingback: Bulova Accutron II Alpha Watch Hands-On: The New & Affordable Spaceview With A Precisionist Movement | aBlogtoWatch()

  • Pingback: Bulova Accutron Watch Ad Pitch Opens MAD MEN Season 7 | aBlogtoWatch()