Bulova 96B229 Accutron II 262kHz Military Collection watch. KEITH LEHMAN.
Bulova’s 96B229 Accutron II Military Collection watch is a homage to the original A-11 military watches that it made for the US military during WW II. In addition to the larger dial and thicker case, the watch is nearly identical in appearance to its predecessor. The red 60 marker above the 12 is a nice added touch, and the large lumed numbers and hands shine brightly when the lights are out. The second hand sweeps smoothly around the dial―a classic characteristic of the Accutron movement albeit far more accurate than the original movement from the 1960s. Like its predecessor, Bulova’s 96B229 Accutron II is water resistant up to 100 meters and dust proof.
Bulova Accutron II 96B229, left, and an original Bulova military A-11 hack watch ca. 1943. KEITH LEHMAN.
Working at NAWCC headquarters I am exposed to a lot of opinions about re-issues of classic watches, especially when they go from a mechanical to a quartz movement. Although I argue in a previous blog that owning an original vintage piece can be a deeply enriching experience, this re-issue came to grow on me. The watch is easy to read and comfortable to wear. I’ve found that with modern military-style watches, they tend to be practical and stylish for a variety of occasions. Its reliability, accuracy, and durability make it a no-brainer for various outdoor recreations, but it also works in an office setting.
Original Bulova military A-11 hack watch ca. 1943 on wrist, foreground, with Bulova Accutron II 96B229. KEITH LEHMAN.
Much like the Hamilton Khaki Pioneer Chronograph that I reviewed last year, its austere and clean style blends well with an office dress shirt and pants. On the flip side, this watch fits right in a physically demanding or industrial workplace. With the benefit of a NATO strap, stainless steel case and the current price point of around $110 USD, this watch is a solid choice for the budding watch enthusiast.
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date
Case: 42 mm stainless steel case with mineral dial window
Movement: 262kHz Accutron II Ultra High Frequency Quartz Movement
Buckle: Military NATO strap
Water Resistance: 10.00atm / 100.00m / 330.00ft
New Technology, Ingenuity
Reinvent Pocket Watches
Therese Umerlik 1/12/17
For many people, time can be found in their pocket, purse, or hand, not on their wrist. I’m referring to cell phones with the time emerging from the darkness when the button on the phone is pushed after a lull in use.
In a way, the cell phone has become a sort of pocket watch.
And that function is what one owner of a watch repair and sale shop describes as the cyclical nature of timekeeping, at least from a watch perspective.
Mike Knight, a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. and owner of Knight Watch and Jewelry Co. in Colorado, described to The Gazette that pocket watches were replaced by wristwatches in World War I and grew in value over the past century. Now, cell phones are harkening back to pocket watches.
“It’s kind of come full circle,” Knight said to Colorado Springs, CO, reporter Kaitlin Durbin.
If the trend continues, wristwatches will lurch into popularity. Then pocket watches. Then wristwatches, etc.
While cell phones have inadvertently brought the pocket watch into the twenty-first century, pocket watches have in a way been reinvented through wristwatches.
Vortic Watch Co. makes wristwatches using existing pocket watches. It uses a 3-D printer to create the case where the movement is inserted.
DoughBoy Watch Co. straps the pocket watch onto a leather band, so it looks like an actual pocket watch is on the wearer’s wrist.
Some—those among us who are purists—may approach these changes with skepticism, but you have to applaud the ingenuity and the determination to promote these classic timekeepers.
Luther Goddard: America’s First
Keith Lehman 1/11/17
English-style fusee with verge escapement and full plate with American patriotic symbolism. Courtesy of National Watch & Clock Museum.
Although WatchNews is a website dedicated to “All things wristwatch,” I want to share occasionally other horological happenings that we have here at the NAWCC headquarters. Recently, I did a graphic design for the newly acquired Luther Goddard pocket watch displayed at the National Watch and Clock Museum.
The Massachusetts Shrewsbury Historical Society supplied an image of a painting of Luther Goddard. Goddard’s story is one of opportunity, global trade, ingenuity and setback—a microcosm of the greater forces of the past and present world. After many hours of research, piles of sketches, and notes from thoughts and discussions with Museum Curator Kim Jovinelli and Museum Director Noel Poirier, a powerful and relevant message came to the fore. The image below is the final panel that currently is displayed at the Museum.
Luther Goddard panel at National Watch & Clock Museum.
The information that follows tells of Luther Goddard and why he lost his business to foreign competition.
Opportunism and American ingenuity sparked watchmaking in America. In response to Britain impressment of American sailors the US Congress passed and President Thomas Jefferson signed the Embargo Act of 1807, which prohibited all trade with other countries. Its intent was to harm France and Britain who were at war; however, the Embargo Act proved to be ineffective, hurt the American economy, and led the United States into another war with Britain in 1812.
The absence of French and English imports created an opportunity for Americans to manufacture goods that they normally could not compete with. Luther Goddard (1762-1842) of Shrewsbury, MA, was an entrepreneur who took advantage of the embargo. He is considered to be one of the earliest American watchmakers and the first watchmaker to create serialized, or numbered, timepieces.
Minute hand and dial. Courtesy of National Watch & Clock Museum.
Goddard began his career in 1778 when he apprenticed as a clockmaker under his cousin Simon Willard. He later settled his own homestead where he farmed during the summer months and repaired clocks in the winter. Seeing his opportunity, Goddard, along with his sons and a handful of apprentices, converted his clock workshop into a watch factory and opened up a storefront in Shrewsbury, MA.
When trade resumed after the War of 1812, Goddard could not compete with less-expensive imported watches and in 1817 ceased production. Goddard and his son, Daniel, moved to Worcester, MA, and established a watch repair business. He also served as an itinerant Baptist minister and often received watch commissions while visiting his flock.
Before he died in May 1842, Luther Goddard had created nearly 600 serialized pocket watches. His efforts are widely considered to be the first major push for the watch trade America.
Luther Goddard's signature engraved on top plate. Courtesy of National Watch & Clock Museum.
American motif decoration on balance cock. Courtesy of National Watch & Clock Museum.
Serial number “462” and "Shrewsbury" engraved on top plate. Courtesy of National Watch &
Eagle hallmark stamp on back of watchcase. Courtesy of National Watch & Clock Museum.
The Goddard panel at the National Watch & Clock Museum, 2016.
Harrold, Michael C. “American Watchmaking: A Technical History of the American Watch Industry 1850-1930. NAWCC Bulletin Supplement 14 (Spring 1984): 9-12.
Renaissance Watch Repair. “Brief History: Luther Goddard & Son Watch Company.” Accessed January 10, 2016. http://www.pocketwatchrepair.com/histories/luther-goddard.php.
A Wintry Mix of Wristwatch News: Facebook, Moon-Phase Dials and Watch Batteries.
Therese Umerlik 1/9/17
Another Reason to Go to Facebook—2017 Salon International de la haute Horlogerie in Geneva (SIHH)
A partnership between GQ.co.uk and Watches of Switzerland will bring live updates of watches as they are revealed on Facebook.
Posts are going up today, but join Facebook Live at 1 p.m. BST on January 10 to hear from the CEO of Watches of Switzerland’s parent company, Aurum, Brian Duffy, and Aurum Watch Buyer Faye Soteri. They will talk about what’s new, what’s trending, and what’s timeless.
Watchmakers Challenge Moon-Phase Display
The moon-phase display is a traditional complication in watchmaking, but some makers in the watch industry are rethinking it.
Mechanical improvements have enhanced the performance of the moon-phase watch. Gear ratio adjustments have resulted in greater accuracies, reported Carol Besler with the Robb Report.
But it’s the display’s aesthetics that are getting attention from makers. Some dials boast a larger moon or one that bears the details of the moon’s terrain, while other watches focus on the beauty of the display’s gearing beneath the hands.
Watch and Battery Technology Intersect
Swiss watchmaker Swatch has patented a new compound that is expected to improve the manufacture of batteries—and it’s being tested in watches.
Eventually, the battery with its lighter weight and faster charge is expected to power hybrid and electric vehicles, reported Sean Szymkowski in GM Authority.
Swatch and batteries may not be such a far-fetched combination. Apparently, Swatch has a 51 percent stake in Belenos Clean Power, which focuses on clean energy technologies and has a battery division.