One of the great joys of watch enthusiasm is exploring the tactile connection between human and machine. Whether it’s feeling the satisfying snap of a chronograph pusher or the light, even feedback of manual winding, the physical sensation of connecting with the mechanism within is one of the most powerful aspects of the watch hobby. However, very few watches truly feel “alive” on the wrist. Accutron is the exception to this, specifically in its modern guise, with its unique series of electrostatic rotors that react almost organically to any movement on the wrist. The new-for-2023 Accutron Spaceview Evolution aims to refine this uniquely responsive movement concept with new finishing, colors, and a revised dial orientation, resulting in a striking statement watch that offers the sort of horological spectacle few others can match at this price point.
The Accutron Spaceview Evolution is a watch that demands attention on the wrist, and its stainless steel case is one of the main reasons for this. At 43.5mm wide and 15.9 mm thick, this is an imposing chunk of steel on the wrist, and the Spaceview Evolution’s design does little to mask this bulk. The overall form broadly follows the pattern of the original ‘60s Accutron Spaceview, with a simple vertically brushed cylindrical mid-case, a tall sloping polished bezel, and sharply faceted polished attached lugs. With these bolder dimensions, the clean ‘60s-style lines of the case feel less streamlined and more imposing, full of architectural right angles and tall, brightly reflective planes. In short, this is a case that packs an abundance of wrist presence, and Accutron is keen to capitalize on this high-visibility look with the rest of the Spaceview Evolution’s design. What sets the Spaceview Evolution apart from the previous Spaceview 2020 is the 2 o’clock signed crown. The move to the unorthodox 2 o’clock crown position enables the Spaceview Evolution to rearrange its dial layout, while also reducing the distance the crown protrudes beyond the case side on the wrist. With that said, the effect this latter shift has on overall wearing dimensions is minor. A tall, deeply engraved solid caseback completes the package, and Accutron rates the watch for a decidedly un-sporty 50 meters of water resistance.
Although it may share a few foundational elements with the Spaceview 2020, nearly every element of the Accutron Spaceview Evolution’s dial has been updated and refined to create a more cohesive, upscale look. Our review sample came fitted with the silver skeleton dial, and it’s this new skeleton framework that immediately captures the eye at first glance. As opposed to the Spaceview 2020’s simple brushed green framework, the Spaceview Evolution adorns this curving set of skeleton bridges with an ornate radiating diamond guilloché texture. This intricate finish immediately gives the Spaceview Evolution a brighter, more refined look than its predecessor, especially when coupled with its sharper, more meticulously polished anglage. To complement this more finely decorated, cohesive framework, the Spaceview Evolution’s outer chapter ring has also been substantially reworked, abandoning the previous printed sapphire design for a more complex, shaped ring in white that maintains the original’s small applied circular hour indices. While they may have been true to the original ‘60s Accutron Spaceview, the Spaceview 2020’s simple painted white dauphine handset felt almost like an afterthought, particularly in the context of such a complicated, upscale design. Accutron addresses this as well with the Spaceview Evolution, reimagining those dauphine hands with new, deftly polished facets and a vivid blued color scheme. For a more unified look, the brand adds matching blued screws to the electrostatic rotor bridges, as well.
These high-tech turbine-shaped electrostatic rotors continue to be the visual hallmark of the modern Accutron design, even when rearranged to support a more traditional applied tuning fork emblem at 12 o’clock. The three exposed elements form a vital part of the Spaceview Evolution’s power generation supply, and thanks to a set of accelerator gears connected to the more conventional main rotor at the rear of the movement, these rotors rapidly flutter around at the merest hint of movement on the wrist. The sense of motion is so dramatic and abrupt that the Spaceview Evolution can feel like it has a mind of its own at times, more like an independent companion on the wrist than an inanimate piece of machinery. Accutron further emphasizes this sense of fluid, organic motion with the perfectly smooth sweeping seconds hand. Like most smooth sweeping hands, this one goes a long way towards reinforcing the sense of quality and engineering at play here, but it’s not without its own organic quirks. Due to the hefty power consumption requirements of this type of smooth electric motor use, the seconds hand automatically stops after five minutes without motion on the wrist. Restarting the seconds hand requires either pulling out and pushing in the crown, or several seconds of rather vigorous arm motion, both of which can be a hassle when showing off the watch to others. If there is one area where the Spaceview 2020’s relative simplicity of finishing persists, it’s the exposed plates and bridges of the movement below. While there is some light brushing and matte blasting on select components, by and large these broad metal plates are left with a far more businesslike look than the rest of the ornate skeleton layout. On the other hand, the visual flatness of these components does aid legibility overall by providing a uniform backdrop for the hands, but some enthusiasts will undoubtedly wish these elements were finished to the standard of the rest of the watch.
The in-house electrostatic movement inside the Accutron Spaceview Evolution is a truly one-of-a-kind engineering solution. To put it simply, this series is the first to use an electrostatic motor in a timepiece. Rather than using the kinetic energy of an automatic rotor to power a battery (like some of Seiko’s high-tech movements, for example), Accutron uses its large-scale conventional rotor to engage a system of gears, which in turn move the front-facing turbine rotors at speeds 100 times faster than the main rotor. The rapid motion of the rotor blades so close to the underlying surface generates static electricity, and this static in turn is used to charge the power reserve. From there, the Spaceview Evolution uses a pair of separate motors to drive the handset. The sweeping seconds hand exclusively uses the aforementioned electrostatic motor, which draws power directly from the electrostatic power system during operation. The rest of the hands are connected to a more conventional and far more energy-efficient stepper motor, which draws its energy from the single main power reserve cell. In proper working order (including at least occasional wear), the movement’s power reserve can theoretically last well over 10 years thanks to the included power save and energy conserve functions. However, if the power reserve is ever fully depleted, a “kickstarting” service from the manufacturer is required. In addition to all its other exotic qualities, this movement is also extremely accurate, with a manufacturer rating of +5/-5 seconds per month.
Accutron finishes the Spaceview Evolution with a suitably dramatic American alligator-leather strap. Rendered in rich royal blue with an abundance of highlights and shadows, this is genuinely one of the most visually spectacular and detailed OEM straps we’ve seen in quite some time. While there is some initial stiffness during the break-in period, a soft suede inner lining helps to keep things comfortable overall. It’s not the most subtle pairing overall, but Accutron chooses to lean into the attention-seeking nature of the case and dial here rather than attempting to give the strap a more demure character than its surroundings.
With a one-of-a-kind powertrain, newly refined finishing, and an unapologetically bold character, the new Accutron Spaceview Evolution is a high-tech statement watch that truly feels alive on the wrist in a way few others do. The Accutron Spaceview Evolution is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for this watch stands at $3,950 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.
>Model: Spaceview Evolution
>Price: $3,950 USD
>Size: 43.5mm-wide, 15.9mm-thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a conversation starter at an upscale party.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Spring Drive aficionados searching for a different take on the innovative electric watch; vintage fans looking for an updated take on ‘60s high-tech American luxury.
>Best characteristic of watch: Impressive accuracy; endlessly fascinating electrostatic rotors; intricate skeleton dial finishing.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Oversized, ungainly case design.