Just released by Bulova and Accutron are a set of new watches paying tribute to the historic relationship between the brands and NASA. Accutron kicks off what will be a series of re-editions with the new limited edition Astronaut that is characterized by a black and white day/night bezel. Bulova continues to refine their Archive Series with two new Lunar Pilot Chronographs that now come in a smaller case size which mirrors that of the original watch that went to the moon.
The Accutron Astronaut is a legendary watch for any NASA nerd. Back in 1963, the Astronaut was worn in space during the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission orbiting earth and was later the official issued watch for pilots in the USAF X-15 experimental rocket program. Having an electronic system rather than mechanical mainspring and the ability of the high-frequency system to handle G-acceleration and extreme temperatures were huge assets for Accutron.
The first in a series of re-editions is the new Swiss made Accutron Astronaut which is limited to 300 pieces. Done in a 41mm wide and 13.85mm thick steel case, the Astronaut re-edition is a GMT watch featuring the recognizable day/night bezel. While the case is a bit larger than the 38mm of the original, details like the hour, minutes, and GMT hand as well as the hour and half-hour markers all faithfully hearken back to the ’60s model. The now-collectible vintage piece had a recessed key on the back which this re-edition cleverly mimics with a cleverly tucked away crown to keep the aesthetics consistent. Rather than the electric movement, this re-edition opts for a mechanical SW330 GMT movement which is visible through the partial exhibition case back and operates at 4Hz and has a 42-hour power reserve.
The dial of the Accutron Astronaut is nice and legible with a double box sapphire crystal that is finished with anti-reflective coating. It also wears comfortably due to the remade “bullet bracelet” with its curved and faceted links that thoughtfully match the stylized lugs. An altogether handsome and thoughtfully designed watch, the Accutron Astronaut is an impressive opening salvo for this new collection of re-editions.
The newly updated Bulova Lunar Pilot chronograph gives many collectors what they have been clamoring for since the hugely successful re-edition launched back in late 2015: a smaller case size. While that re-edition came in a 45mm case, this new pair of Lunar Pilot chronographs come in a true-to-the-original 43.5mm case. The classic black colorway is familiar by now but I do really like the new two-tone iteration with light grained dial and blue sub-dials/accents. In fact, it might be my favorite Lunar Pilot chronograph to date. Unchanged is the proprietary NP20 High Precision Quartz (HPQ) movement which is accurate to 1/20th of a second.
Bulova and Accutron have a rich history with NASA and the U.S. Space Program, an association I’m happy to see them expand on with new product like the Astronaut while iterating existing product like these new Lunar Pilot chronographs. The Accutron Astronaut will be limited to 300 pieces with a price of $3,500 while the Bulova Lunar Pilot chronographs will be priced at $895 and include bracelet as well as a matching strap with quick change system. You can learn more at bulova.com