Accutron214.com


Specializing in the sale of Accutron 214 caliber timepieces.

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ACCUTRON
The Worlds' First Electronic Timepiece

era:
A Symbol of its Era:
 
 
In any serious discussion of 20th century technology, Accutron 214 timepieces are acknowledged as an American icon.
The 214 served as a high-quality prototype for the inexpensive quartz watches that followed it a decade later. The finest mechanical chronometers available today can only tick nine times per second. Accutrons' ingenious tuning fork mechanism splits each second into 360 parts.
No other timepiece has had a greater impact on the way that we keep time today. Just put one to your ear and you'll hear the difference.

    The 214 project was introduced at a time when America was awakened to the potential threat of Russian advances in space technology. At the helm was retired general Omar N. Bradley, the quiet hero of WW2, and the man after whom the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was named.

    Americas' Moon Landing Program" actually began about eight months after Accutron first appeared in stores. President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech before a joint session of Congress in which he said that America must be the first nation to land a man on the Moon. That challenge opened an amazing period in American history. It lead to the creation of N.A.S.A. (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) and gave birth to the Astronaut Corps which was comprised of America's best comercial and military test pilots.



Birth of an icon: 
 
  These vintige adds were only intended to show the revolutionary movement of the 214 caliber Accutron, and there was no mention of a model named "Spaceview", but potential buyers wanted them and dealers were happy to provide them with conversions. It wasn't long before dealers couldn't keep up with the demand and Bulova started shipping a new lineup of models with the designation "Spaceview". See Accutron Spaceview History

    During the next few years, with aircraft setting new speed and altitude records regularly, and satellites multiplying in orbit, I wanted a piece of it to call my own, so at the end of November 1963 just a few days after president Kennedys' assassination, in need of something to lift my spirits, I bought a gleaming stainless steel Accutron Chapter Ring Spaceview at the then fairly high price of $150.


Honors:

    The Accutron 214 was declared an American "Gift of State" by President Lyndon Johnson, and for over a decade they were given to hundreds of visiting dignitaries. Accutron panel clocks were installed in ships and aircraft including Air Force One.

The "Astronaut" model was worn by pilots of our experimental X-15 Rocket planes, and Accutron played a vital part in every US Space mission.

There are several scientific instruments with Accutron 214 timing devices installed in the Moon's "Sea of Tranquility" crater. The first of them was carried there by the crew of Apollo Eleven, the first mission to land men on the moon.

 
                       

Go! Go! Go!
I still remember feelings of pride and apprehension as Apollo 11 lifted off in 1969. I watched as the gigantic projectile rose, slowly at first from its' pad. For that event TVs were set up in store windows and at workplaces so that people could go about their business without missing the launch and we crowded around those early sets to witness the historic event. At the Kennedy Space Center on that July day at 9:32am EST, three men from Earth began a journey to the Moon.

Fly Me to the Moon.
   
America's Astronauts were young men who regularly flew the fastest and most sophisticated aircraft in existence at that time. They were mostly military test pilots so it should come as no surprise that they loved speed on land as well as in the air.
 
   Enter another American icon, the Chevrolet Corvette. Although the many documented exploits by astronauts with their "Vette's" were kept under wraps by NASA, and product endorsements were taboo for astronauts, General Motors, sensing an opportunity for free advertising, leased Corvettes to our astronauts for one doller a year, so during the years that followed, wherever the astronauts went as a group, there were bound to be Corvette's in the parking lot, and Accutrons on their wrists.

Epilogue:
    For those of you who have an Accutron 214 that belonged to a loved one, I hope that these paragraphs have shed some light on the reasons why many in our generation treasured them, and why we kept them long after Bulova stopped repairing them.

I like to think that sometime in this decade, the sixty plus year old instruments on the moon will be brought back and displayed at the  Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. I only hope that we get to them first.


Copyright  2002 by Martin Marcus. All rights reserved. These pages may not be copied without written consent.