This is the largest Accutron I've owned. Finding a replacement crystal was exceedingly difficult. I've seen some refer to it as the Lobster and others the Compressor. I haven't found any literature or ads giving information, but I love it and am always looking for another.
Might be one of the coolest little Accutron-related gadgets I've seen Imagine how many index wheels could have fit into one of these....some kind of index wheel carousel. I still haven't found one to add to my collection of Accutron items, but the search is on...
One of the most interesting early Accutron displays. it has a working clock, backlit to appear like an Alpha Spaceview. I have one in French. I've only seen two or three of these over the years. About 24" tall, give or take. And it is perfect for displaying a treasured Accutron on it's red velvet base.
Did you know...with the Apollo 11, a seismometer was left in the Sea of Tranquility by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, and the timer from Apollo 12 in the central data station was also placed on the moon in the Ocean of Storms by Pete Conrad and Alan Bean. One day, these Accutrons will be coming back to Earth and when they do, I'll hope to be getting a call from NASA or the Smithsonian asking for a repair.
From the Empire clock to the Lapis, Bulova manufactured a wide variety of tuning fork clocks. I've yet to own one of these, but this model has always been a favorite of mine which one day I do plan to have...rather deco in appearance in my opinion.
Beginning in 1953, Max Hetzel, while employed by Bulova, began constructing his prototype Accutron, which would later become the world's first commercially-available "electric" wristwatch. This differed from Elgin and Hamilton's earlier attempts at a battery-powered wristwatch because it, unlike the Elgin and Hamilton calibers, did away with hairspring escapements and relied solely on battery power.
Mr. Hetzel used a Raytheon CK718 transistor for his first prototype and Raytheon CK722 transistors for the remaining 7. The CK722 was the first commercial transistor and therefore made the Accutron the first commercially available product to use a transistor. Mr. Hetzel produced a total of 8 prototype movements which served as models for William Bennett, a Bulova engineer, to manufacture commercially-available Accutron wristwatches.
Before Bulova had decided on case designs for their Accutrons in 1960, I have been informed that about a dozen prototype models were produced which a few persons at the company received to try out. Here are two photos of one of those Accutrons. I repaired it for the son of a gentleman who worked as head of marketing for Bulova back in the day, before and during production of the Accutron. He had an office next to Harry Henschel, who was President of Bulova at the time, and h...as cherished this Accutron ever since. Although we can see that the coils and hands have been replaced at some point in its life, as well as the crystal, it's telling to note that it has a spiral lug case bezel which is gold-filled instead of 14k. It's one of two gold-filled spiral lug Accutron cases I have ever seen. Most likely, as Bulova was deciding on case designs, gold-filled cases were used in these prototypes rather than gold as the first consumer grade models such as the Alpha were. Moreover, it has what appears to be a solid gold case back without any serial or date code numbers...likely before Bulova had decided how they were going to number the Accutron case backs. My name was given to the son of this gentleman by Bulova, who wanted to fix his father's Accutron for him. Since Bulova suggested me, his father, who didn't trust anyone with his cherished Accutron, felt he could trust me based on Bulova's recommendation. I'm proud to have repaired this Accutron for him and equally astounded to have had the opportunity to repair such a rare piece.
Model 2703-P. First one I've ever seen. Sure, we've heard about it but no one has ever actually held one that I've known. Have you seen another? An early newspaper article published in the Long Island Newsday in March of 1961 mentioned a $2500 platinum Accutron. I have it on the best of authority that only a literal handful were produced and only in 1961. I'm sure you can imagine who the people were who could have owned this model......Presidents, Premiers, a Pope and the like. This one is from February of 1961. I was informed, too, that it was intended for Christmas sales. And it's HEAVY!!!...click on the photo for more information.
I've seen rare, platinum Omegas, Pateks, and a few others in the quarter million dollar vicinity so this one's owner probably has this one priced far lower than its real value for collectors of exceptionally historical timepieces.
If you've got one of these I sure would like to hear from you in hopes of adding to my understanding of this model's history.
s20% off on select vintage Accutrons until July 15, 2013 at www.mybob.net. Also, 20% off on full restoration repairs of vintage Accutrons until July 15, 2013 !!!
The original Accutron was the first and only watch-size timepiece powered by a battery which did not use a balance wheel and hairspring. Instead, the Accutron mechanism has a tuning fork as the timekeeping element. This includes the Accutron Astronaut, Accutron Spaceview, Accutron Railroad, and other asymmetrical Accutrons such as the Accutron Alpha, Accutron Center Lug, Accutron TV Case, and Accutron Anniversary. The tuning fork is driven with energy from a tiny power cell, ...or battery, by means of an electronic circuit. The vibratory motion of the tuning fork is converted into rotary motion, for turning time-indicating hands, by means of a simple but incredible small mechanism.
The outstanding characteristic of the Accutron timepiece, in comparison with traditional watches, is its accuracy of timekeeping. A tuning fork is inherently accurate, unlike a balance wheel and hairspring. Also, having no pivots or bearings, the Accutron accuracy is independent of the of the effects of lubrication and wear. It is this uniqueness which permitted the Bulova Watch Company to give a written guarantee of specific accuracy with each Accutron timepiece. The guarantee stated that the Accutron would not gain or lose more than a minute a month in normal use as a wrist timepiece.
Accutron watches were conceived, developed, designed and manufactured entirely within the organization of the Bulova Watch Company, Inc. It first made its appearance in the jewelry stores in November 1960. Therefore, those with the date code of MO on the case back are the amongst the first of all Accutrons. Unlike many space-age devices, the Accutron timepiece was developed solely as a consumer item, although it was also used in many important applications in the United State's exploration of outer space. New applications were constantly being found where the Accutron's unusual combination of characteristics such as accuracy of timekeeping, tiny size, and long running time on a self-contained source of power were advantageous.
Because the Accutron timepiece was and is so completely unlike a conventional watch, and because of the remarkable success of the Accutron Spaceview and Accutron Astronaut, many people today are still fascinated with this remarkable timepiece, finding themselves driven to purchase the next Accutron to add to their growing collections. I am one of those people and am in awe at the mechanical accomplishment of including a tuning-fork for time-keeping inside of a wristwatch.
Accutrons, Accutron Spaceview and Accutron Astronaut watches are pieces of watch history and represent a time in American technology and resourcefulness that still resonates with nostalgia of our race to space in the sixties.