My parents made me watch the 1969 landing on the moon live on television, when I was 3 and a half years old. It’s the earliest memory I can recall and I have been fascinated with space. Inside my mature years, my love of watches naturally generated an appreciation of timepieces and space watches. My most recent addition to my group is a watch I needed when it came out five years ago but have only just recently bought-the Accutron Astronaut Limited Edition.
Issued by Bulova in 2007, the Astronaut LE pays court to the first Accutron Astronaut that was a product of Bulova for most of the 1960’s. The initial Astro, like all Accutrons of this time, included the radical electronic tuning fork drive movement which was the dad of the modern quartz watch (the Electric of Hamilton was the grandfather). The first Astro was a bit Accutron watches that are beefier in relation to the dress and bigger and it featured an additional 24 hour GMT hand as well as an GMT scale greatly engraved in the rotational bezel. This watch immediately caught on with test pilots, many of whom became the very first astronauts and their selection of this particular model earned it Astronaut in the Accutron lexicon’s long-term name.
By the mid 1970’s, the Accutron (with the tuning fork movement) was consigned to history, replaced by the a lot more accurate and cheaper quartz watch. Ever since then, original Accutron watches have become collector’s items and the ones who’d original ones lovingly preserved them. Untold thousands are still humming now and keeping very exact time, a testament to their build simplicity and quality to repair (long as parts are accessible). Possibly the most collectible Accutron is a first Astronaut, that was accessible in steel and in yellow gold.
The Astro LE is a modern interpretation of the well-known watch that is truly faithful to the first. Crafted with fittings and exact dial markings quite much like the original, it is a standout watch in a sea of lookalikes. Below is my review of each part of this original watch.
A classic ETA 2893-2 GMT bore action, automatic decorated by Accutron and altered (Bulova). This movement running well and is keeping time that is quite accurate. Of special note is the rotor-obviously, the rotor don’t decorate much more than most watches that use ETA movements itself but Accutron outdid itself with this one. Three Accutron emblems are used by the rotor as a bridge between the central turning the outer swinging weight and also portion. You can observe the move through the symbols, all of which really are a tuning fork symbol, the Accutron (‘s sign and now it looks, Bulova’ s principal line of watches as well). Because of the brilliant running rate of the extra attention and also this movement that went into the rotor, I’m rating this higher.
The case is finely finished with polished sides and distinctive lugs that were indigenous to a handful of the Spaceview models and the initial Astronaut. The lugs embrace the case and are conical, tapering towards the 2 and 4, 8, 10 places and outwards. The rear of the watch includes a half moon sapphire aperture for seeing the movement about the lower half and a matte finished upper half with various hallmarks engraved. A polished surface bisects the top and lower halves and joins to some polished circle that spans the circumference of the rear. Engraved on the circumference would be the words “Bulova, Swiss Made, Stainless Steel, 100M Water Resistant, Sapphire Crystal, A7” and also the serial number of the watch. The center bisecting bar further reads “Limited Edition 0161/1000” which signifies amount 161 of a small production run of 1000 watches. Lastly, the upper half of the back features the Accutron tuning fork in bas relief along with the engraved trademark of Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to step foot on the moon and the first man to wear a watch on the moon surface (an Omega true, but Aldrin has testified to the use of Accutron timers as well as their dependability in other characteristics of the moon mission and he’s now a representative for Bulova). The finish on this particular watch is perfect and also quality is simply said by the entire watch.
The crystal is sapphire also it grows of a millimeter over the bezel and domes gently, giving it a similar look to the old Submariner crystals in the 70’s. There is no AR coat with this crystal which is fine with me as the crystal’s crook plays well together with the light and seems really retro vintage. Clarity is sharp as well as the dial slightly magnifies. I cannot think of a means to help it become better or fault it.
This watch’s bezel is a puzzle because it does not turn-it’s fixed in the location that is standing. It’s in what is apparently an aluminum bezel ring revealing the 24 hours of the day an GMT bezel. The top half is black with silver numbers, suggesting night (1800 hours to 0600 hours) and the lower half is silver with black numbers indicating (0600 hours) . The font used looks like 1960’s typeface, very modernist in its appearance and is straightforward. Tooth teeth were seen by the outer bezel features fine which would normally be used to grasp and turn the bezel but as I said previously, it doesn’t turn. That aside, the bezel SEEMS great and it sets the watch away and it makes it look such as the classic Astro. I can live without the rotation but having that feature might have allowed it to be used for up to three distinct time zones rather than two.
The crown isn’t difficult to pull, wind and place and is shone with the Accutron logo laser etched into it. This pays homage to the first Astro which had no crown on the exterior – so the watch had perfect symmetry they were set using a special crown located in the back. The new Astro LE’s relevance is downplayed considerably although it has the crown that is regular.
Dial and Hands:
The glossy black Astronaut dial is very near the original in appear although a bit more luxury was added to the dial in the form of chrome encompassing each luminous hour mark. Also, a dot of luminous stuff represents each hour of the 24 hour scale. The minute and hour hand are Dauphine design with lume along with the minute hand is a straight pointer having an Accutron tuning fork logo at the counterpoint. The GMT hand is chrome with red paint to highlight itself and gives a splash of colour to the watch that is otherwise monochrome. The dial features the turning fork logo beneath the 12 place with all the word Accutron underneath it. Over the 6 position is the word “Astronaut” in exactly the same area as well as the same 1960’s font as the original. At the 9 location would be the words “Automatic, 21 Jewels” as well as the calendar aperture is at the 3 spot. Overall, the dial is practical readable and aesthetically beautiful to check out.
Made for Bulova by J.B. Champion, the “bullet” was a perfect compliment for the conical lugs of the Astro. Nearly identical with this model that is new, it is a little broader and flatter but still features polished sides just like the original had, that bevel. The surface is brushed finish with two little bands of polished to give it a more striking look. It is practically a clone but has the exceptional beveled sides to make it stand out more. Spring bars attach to the case lugs the bracelet and the connectors fit flush, and well made, it feels affluent along your wrist. It has a double butterfly deployant clasp with two buttons. This bracelet is a perfect company to the watch.
Increase of about five seconds every day.
Really comfy to wear but might be weighty on someone having a tiny wrist. Size wise, it really is Submariner or no larger than the usual Rolex GMT but it feels as considerable. The bracelet drapes round the wrist with a preciseness feel along with the clasp sits.
The Accutron comes in an attractive wooden inner box using the Accutron symbol and a small NASA lapel pin. The cardboard box that is other clearly says that that is a Limited Edition Astronaut. All are made with quality.
When I first saw this watch, I couldn’t fathom paying $1695.00 for a Bulova watch in this day and age when there were Swiss companies out there making great products that had more brand panache for the same cash. By waiting a few years, I got it for a good little less money but after having the watch, I understood I was not being fair in my assessment of its value. This watch is alluring, is not a mass-market merchandise with just a limited production run of 1000, makes usage of the finest quality materials and superbly crafted. With appropriate care and service, this watch would last me for a life and isn’t a disposable timepiece. Those features were also ascribed to another watch brand 50 years ago….the original Accutron. When it came out, it was considered one of the finest watches money could purchase. A Accutron tuning fork symbol was something the watch’s owner may be really proud of. In once, a Timex watch could be had for $10.00, with a mechanical movement. People bought Accutrons together with the idea that this would probably be their last watch and that it would survive for decades….and they did! Watches given or were purchased with pride and worn with pride for some time.
I am not sad that Bulova released it to stretch out the time it might be had and am very happy using this watch -this enabled me to continue to be able to get one two years after it came out. I would strongly advise that in case you want one, you’d better be hunting one down now as you will find fewer and fewer accessible. I plan to take very good care of mine because it is going to be challenging to replace it when it is lost or damaged.
On your own note, being an avid enthusiast that is mechanical, I really like that this watch has a mechanical movement. To me, a quartz watch has no “soul”, no life in it…but it sure would have been cool if Bulova had dropped a tuning fork movement in this watch. Having two of the original Accutrons, I enjoy hearing them sing their note and observing the way the second hand glides as smoothly as a “satellite in orbit” without the smallest hint of a jerking movement. This is a thing that even the best mechanical watch cannot duplicate unless you would like to spend for a Seiko Spring Drive plus it costs a fortune. I think if they ever began assembling tuning fork watches again, there will be a market for those who worth the correctness it supplies (still a lot better than the greatest mechanical watch) and fact that it has moving gears and levers like a mechanical.