The Accutron, the world’s first fully electronic watch, hit the market in 1960 and achieved worldwide renown immediately thereafter. Now independent of its erstwhile parent brand Bulova, Accutron re-emerged this year after a long hiatus and led off its new era with the Spaceview 2020 model, which combined groundbreaking 21st century technology and a funky retro design. Today, Accutron launches a limited edition of the Spaceview 2020 in a solid gold case in commemoration of its 60th anniversary.
That now-legendary first Accutron model, called the Spaceview 214 (the numerical designation derived from its movement, Caliber 214), incorporated a revolutionary new technology that utilized a tuning fork, powered by a one-transistor electronic oscillator, to drive the timekeeping functions rather than a traditional balance wheel. This system ensured an oscillation rate of 360 hertz — nearly 150 times faster than that of a mechanical, balance-wheel-driven timepiece — and guaranteed an accuracy to just one minute per month, hence the name Accutron, for “Accuracy through Electronic.”
The rebirth of Accutron as an independent brand, alongside Bulova within Japan’s Citizen Group, was built upon another all-new timekeeping technology: a new, proprietary movement powered by electrostatic energy generated from the motion of the wearer’s wrist. The movement’s fast-rotating twin turbines are affixed to two electrodes that send energy to an accumulator powering two tiny motors — one an electrostatic motor driving the smooth motion of the seconds hand (a world first), the other a step motor for the hour and minute hands — both synchronized through integrated circuits for an accuracy of +/- 5 seconds per month.
The electrostatic movement, which debuted inside a polished steel case on the original Spaceview 2020 model earlier this year, now finds a home inside an 18k yellow gold case. At 43.5-mm in diameter, the watch replicates the then-radical look of the original Spaceview, with the same circuit-board green metallic elements highlighting its exposed dial-side movement. Limited to only 60 pieces in this gold-cased iteration, the watch is mounted on a black grained leather strap with a three-piece buckle also made of 18k yellow gold.
“Sixty years since the first fully electronic watch was created, we are proud to reintroduce Accutron as its own brand in its own right,” says Jeffrey Cohen, President of Citizen Watch America. “The new Limited Edition Spaceview 2020 featured in solid gold is our way of paying homage to a historical landmark achievement and immediate design sensation.” The Accutron Spaceview 2020 Limited Edition in 18k Yellow Gold is priced at $19,600.