back to top

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

[phpbay]accutron spaceview, 6, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Read more about

Watch Brands



Disqus Debug thread_id: 3991094666

  • Nice posts, these are classics.

  • 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.

  • 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!


  • RJ,
    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.

    • James Malenfant

      I wear my Spaceview quite often.

  • 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.

    • Thanks for the comment and the additional information!

    • akd200

      I have one of those Military “timer” or switch watches! [email protected]

    • James Malenfant

      I have a degree in history from Arizona State. I feel like I am wearing history on my wrist when I wear my Spaceview.

  • 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.

    • James Malenfant

      There is a web site that specifically restores Accutron watches. It cost about $225, but the feedback on the site is great. I would spend the money, and plan to if anything happens to my Spaceview. George DiMaggios’ Spaceview just sold for $22,000 at auction.

  • 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.

    • James Malenfant

      I have thought about an Astronaut. They are cool. I was looking at an Omega Speedmaster, and thought, why do I need this? I have a Spaceview.

  • James Malenfant

    I worked in a pawn shop in college, and I saw a lot of watches come through. For the money, it is very hard to beat a Bulova watch. I have an Accutron York, and really enjoyed it, but when I saw the Spaceview, I had to have one. I had no idea they were so famous. So naturally I went to Ebay, which is the best way to buy watches. Just make sure you know your seller. I found one with the outer box, inner box, all the manuals, and the price tags. I wanted to get the ultimate one, so I ponied up the extra money for the 14K one. All the original conversions were in 14K, and designed to be salesman’s samples to show how the Accutron worked. I think I got a deal, and the watch is like brand new. I bought one of the Original Spaceviews, with the Charter ring for a friend with boxes and papers for about $700. The 14K one was $1296. I think I got a deal. I am wearing it now. I also just purchased a Bulova Precisionist, again, on Ebay. It is factory refurbished, but you would never know. I think it is important to have the boxes and papers for any watch. If you can get a deal on a Spaceview, get one. They are destined to go up in price. I won’t part with mine for less than $4000, and then might have to think about it. Bulova rocks! Have a great day!

  • Patrick Brown

    Still have my 14K Accutron ……… love it ! A conversation piece and nice to listen to !

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.