Accutron: The Watch that Spurred a Social and Cultural Movement

So much of our society and culture is interconnected, drawing inspiration from certain iconic inventions, figures, and moments.  Bulova’s Accutron watch has created lasting social change, cementing it as one of those key cultural items. 

The Accutron watch made headlines upon its first release due to its status as the world’s first fully-electronic watch.  Immediately, it became a hit, leading to new models.  In fact, since 1961, Bulova has released over 200 Accutron models, with the Accutron Spaceview being a particularly influential design.  It had a clear presentation that allowed people to see the inner workings of the watch. 

Paul Newman owned an Accutron 214 Spaceview watch, helping propel the brand into further fame.  Joe DiMaggio and Elvis Presley were other notable social figures that helped extend the influence of the watch. 

As Accutron models gained popularity, they also became key products in other social arenas.  For example, Accutron was an important technology in NASA’s space exploration.  Its accuracy made it the preferred timekeeping technology, and Accutron was used in panel clocks, navigation instruments, and in-flight timers.  NASA’s moon missions may not have been possible without Accutron.

Additionally, Accutron has influenced architecture, inspiring open designs, where the ductwork, plumbing, and electrical conduits are visible.  The same principles appear in fashion, particularly the Air Max 1 sneakers.  Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the renowned Air Max 1 shoe sports a visible air bubble that is modeled off of the transparent design of the Accutron Spaceview.  

The Accutron is a good example of the ever-evolving social and cultural landscape in which we live.  It also speaks to the power that one idea or design can have; even the smallest things can spark extensive change and innovation.

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