Introduced in 2014, the Bulova Accutron II Alpha pays homage to the original 1960s Series 214 Spaceview models that were first used by NASA and then later made available to the public.
The new watch is clearly meant to look different and more attractive than its predecessor. The combination of the open face dial with the shield-shaped case gives it a clean, sleek, and easy to read look that still provides the same futuristic vibe that made the original Spaceview watches so popular.
The original Spaceview used battery powered vibrating tuning fork that turned the hands of the watch. Worn by Buzz Aldrin, the Omega Speedmaster was the first wristwatch to land on the moon, but it was Accutron technology that powered the timekeeping equipment on the Apollo 11 space shuttle.
The “open layout” look of the face was not originally planned when the watch was introduced in the 1960s. Bulova revealed the open-face watches as display models to show people the new tuning fork system and smaller parts inside. It is surprising that people thought the display models were the actual models and wanted to buy these unique open-face watches. Once Bulova realized this, the company quickly began to produce them in large quantities as their popularity spread like wildfire. More than 2 million Accutrons were sold in the 1960s and 1970s.
If you look closely, you can see the 262 KHz is printed under the hands on the dial. The Accutron II Alpha does not have a tuning fork like the original and is much more accurate than the original electro/mechanical movement.
The original 1960s Accutron Series 214 was ± 1 minute a month or 1.9 seconds a day. This Accutron II version 262 KHz is ± 1 second a year. Like its predecessor though, the second hand of the Accutron moves in an elegant smooth motion around the dial.
The Accutron II’s unique history and bold design make it a fun and noticeable watch to wear. The watch is dressy enough to wear in a business casual setting and durable enough to take out fishing or hiking.
One aspect that is disappointing is the strap/clamp system to put on the watch. Although a deployment clasp is typically safer, this version is uncomfortable to put on and can protrude from your wrist.
Bulova no longer sells the Accutron II on its online store, but you can find the Accutron II at third-party retailers, such as Princeton Watches, Amazon, or Bonton for prices ranging from $270 to $400.