Inspired (and Worn) by Elvis: Accutron Presents the New, 1960-Inspired Legacy 521

The revived Accutron returned to the news last week with the latest addition to its catalog, the vintage-inspired Legacy 521. The refreshed model, instantly grabbing eyes with its space-age look and bright gold color, takes its inspiration from a watch of the same name (below) released in 1960. That specific vintage piece was one of the popular “TV watches” the brand produced during that period — popular not just because of its bold, unusual looks along, but also bolstered by its most famous wearer, music legend Elvis Presley, who favored that style of asymmetrical gold timepiece. The vintage Accutron 521 was one of several such watches frequently seen on the wrist of “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” along with probably his most famous watch, the Hamilton Ventura.

The modern version of the Legacy 521 is outwardly very faithful to its famous ancestor, with a 32.8-mm x 32.5-mm case produced in a gold-toned steel. The watch is small enough to fit a wide variety of wrist sizes, and its color and polished finishing gives it an overall playful, look. The lugs carry on the distinctive design of the “TV watch” style, squared off on both sides and connecting to either a gold-tone bracelet or leather strap. Completing the watch’s unique look is an off-center signed crown, placed just below the 3 o’clock position. The crown’s placement is significant, as the original 1960s source model lacked a side-mounted crown, opting instead for less common caseback crown placement, which was at the time viewed as a futuristic design trait meant to demonstrate the watch’s lack of needing to be wound.

The domed sapphire crystal on the top side of the case covers the vintage-inspired silver dial, finished with a sunray texture. The configuration of the dial is rather simple, with only a few key elements that all stay faithful to the source material. Among these are the applied hour ring on the outer edge of the dial, whose “double-stick” marks are produced in an asymmetrical style (the exceptions being two Arabic numerals put to use at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions). Connecting each of the markers is a circular applied minute ring, also in a gold tone. An applied Accutron logo is placed toward the top of the dial, and a “Swiss Made” descriptor, toward the bottom. Sweeping over the face are two gold-toned dauphine hands for the hour and minute, while a Bulova/Accutron tuning fork symbol acts as the counterweight on the central seconds pointer.

The back side of this retro-inspired watch features the unusual “partial exhibition” style that has become increasingly common on modern Accutron watches. Like the vintage 521, the Legacy edition appears to have a snap-back construction, providing the watch with a 30-meter water resistance. The solid sections of the caseback host various watch descriptors, including its limited-edition number (out of 600), its name, and a reference to the 1960 original. Behind the semicircular window, we see the mechanical movement powering the model, an unnamed caliber dubbed by the brand “Accutron’s Swiss-made 26-jewel automatic movement.” This movement is, of course, different from the battery-powered electric tuning fork caliber used to power the original 1960 Accutron and the brand’s other watches during the era (see below).

Available now directly through Accutron, and from authorized dealers globally, the Accutron Legacy 521 will be limited to 600 total pieces, priced at $1,450 on a leather strap and at $1,550 on the gold-tone steel bracelet.

For more information and to inquire for purchase, you can visit Accutron’s website, here.

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  1. Alfred Will

    This watch is the essence of cool. Square, slightly off kilt , an eye catcher that’s elegant and not complicated by chronometer functions.

  2. Michael Natrella

    A minor point. The original Accutron did not use quartz, but a metal tuning fork that drove the movement and emitted an audible hum.

  3. Phoulis Costantinou Efthyvoulou

    With this price the movement Sellita I guess should have an incabloc instead of that useless novadiac or whatever is called and maybe a Glucydur balance wheel…..

  4. Glenn Moir

    Incorrect statement: “This movement is, of course, different from the quartz caliber used to power the original 1960 Accutron (see below).” The original Accutron had a magnetic tuning fork movement with simple electronic components, and was not quartz-controlled.

  5. Peter Harry Montauredes

    Make it in 14K or S/S / stainless steel and I’ll buy em both!

  6. David Ramsey

    “…the quartz caliber used to power the original 1960 Accutron”

    It hurts to read this, on so many levels…especially from a publication presumably staffed by people with watch expertise.

  7. Julian Parmegiani

    I don’t understand, Bulova, Timex and others issuing modern versions of models that had originally quartz or tuning fork movements, but now with mechanical movements. It makes no sense.

  8. Robert Williams

    The original Accutron watches did not have quartz movements. The oscillation and regulating mechanism was a tuning fork. In this case it was the 214 movement as indicated by the configuration of the case back. I expect better vetting of information from a watch sight.

  9. Two points. (1) It was not considered futuristic to have the crown on the back, it was to emphasis that Accutrons never needed to be wound and seldom needed the time set. (2) Accutron did NOT have a quartz movement, they had a tuning fork movement and produced a hum you could hear.

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