Exploring Accutron’s Legacy
In 1960, Bulova released the Accutron, the first fully-electronic watch in the world. The watch used a tuning fork to divide time into 360 equal parts, creating a smooth sweep of the watch hands and a characteristic ‘hum’ sound. The Accutron's "Open dial" design also became a popular feature that allowed customers to see the inner workings of the watch. Over 200 models of Accutron were released, with famous personalities like Elvis Presley and Paul Newman sporting the watch.
The transparent design of the Accutron went on to inspire many other similar designs. Examples include the Centre Pompidou and Nike Air Max 1s, both of which have had major cultural impacts. Tinker Hatfield, the designer of the Air Max, created the air bubble element of the shoe and a window into the shoe’s inner workings to mimic the transparency design pioneered by the Accutron. The legacy of this watch has rippled far beyond its superior time-telling ability.