A couple of years ago, Citizen-owned, American watch manufacturer Bulova made the decision to separate their best-selling Accutron watch into its own brand. The inaugural Accutron Spaceview models, with their kaleidescope-like dials and electrostatic movements, were later joined by a range of Accutron Legacy watches which revived some of the most memorable styles of 1960s and 70s Accutron watches. Now for their first release of 2023, we’re introduced to the Accutron Astronaut “T” watch, the first real re-edition since Accutron went solo. The limited edition of 300 pieces revives the 1968 “T” version of their Astronaut model, a watch sent into space with a distinctive day and night bezel.
Before the original Accutron Astronaut watch was launched, Bulova had already found widespread success with the futuristic looking time-only Accutron. This first Bulova Accutron watch was launched in 1960 and had unprecedented levels of accuracy thanks to the tuning fork regulation system equipped on the electric movement. It was accurate within two seconds a day, or one minute a month which was over 100 times the frequency of a traditional mechanical watch at this time. A few years later, Bulova then combined their tuning fork technology with a 24 hour hand and rotating 24 hour bezel to launch the Bulova Accutron Astronaut watch. Because the movement didn’t rely on a mainspring, it was perfect for aerospace usage. Its high frequency could withstand high G-acceleration and extreme temperatures and it proved this in May of 1963 when the Accutron Astronaut watch was worn for the first time in space on mission Mercury-Atlas 9. The watch was also chosen by the CIA as the official timepiece to supply to its Lockheed A-12 pilots.
Bringing back to life the 1968 edition of the Accutron Astronaut is the new Accutron Astronaut “T” Re-Edition watch. It beautifully honours the original’s aesthetic while adding in some necessary, modern-day improvements. The case is one of the most note-worthy differences, measuring in at 41mm in diameter which is 3mm wider than the original. It would have been nice to have kept the Accutron Astronaut “T” Re-Edition watch at 38mm honestly, since this seems to be the sweet spot for many wrists right now. That being said, the case sits relatively compact on the wrist with its short, angled lugs and flat winding crown at 3 o’clock.
Other modern improvements include sapphire crystal glass on the front and back of the watch. On the front side, the glass is treated to anti-reflective coating while the back uses it on a semi-circular window to give you an impeded view of the movement inside. The case back of the Accutron Astronaut “T” Re-Edition watch is screwed down to ensure a 100 metre water resistant rating and engraved to reveal its limited edition status out of 300 pieces. Just like the original Accutron Asronaut, the 1968 re-edition is topped by a rotating 24 hour bezel nicely two-toned to represent day and night hours. The day hours and presented in black on a light silver backdrop while the night hours are suitably laid out on a black background marked in silver.
The dial of the Accutron Astronaut “T” Limited Edition watch again mirrors its predecessor with a matte black surface with a unique mix of sharp triangle, square and faceted baton hour markers. There’s also the familiar four centrally mounted hands for the hours, minutes, seconds and GMT. The former two are dauphine-shaped while the GMT hand is arrow-tipped. All of the hands are generously adorned in Superluminova, including the seconds which rather than opting for a conventional lollipop tip utilises lume across its entire length. The dial also reveals the Accutron logo at 12 o’clock and the word “Astronaut” at 6 o’clock typed in the same vintage font as other vintage-inspired Accutron models.
For the movement, the Accutron Astronaut “T” Re-Edition lets us down slightly. While the original was powered by one of the brand’s famous tuning fork movements, the new limited edition instead elects the ubiquitous SW330 automatic winding movement. We would have loved the authenticity of a tuning fork movement in this design, but a downside would be that the Accutron Astronaut “T” Re-Edition watch would be difficult to service, so potayto, potahto… The SW330 calibre delivers all the spec we’ve come to expect including a frequency of 28,800vph and a power reserve of 56 hours. Completing the new Accutron Astronaut watch is a “Bullet” bracelet with brushed central links flanked by polished side links.
If you’d like to learn more about the new Accutron Astronaut “T” watch and secure one of the 300 limited edition pieces for yourself, head over to the Jura Watches website here. Alternatively, get in touch with the team by calling 01335 453453 or send us a message at email@example.com.