Bulova Accutron Astronaut

Regular price
$2,200
Regular price
Sale price
$2,200
Electric
38 MM
– Show less
SKU AS09217
Article Number 40991723
case size 38 MM
movement Electric
approximate age 1960s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Sport
category Vintage
bracelet Metal
lug width 18 MM
Includes Stainless steel multi-link bracelet with early unsigned blade clasp.
overall condition The case is in outstanding condition overall showing normal signs of wear from age and use. Dial is in outstanding condition with even patination across the luminous indices and 'Obelisk' handset.
Electric
38 MM
– Show less
SKU AS09217
Article Number 40991723
case size 38 MM
movement Electric
approximate age 1960s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Sport
category Vintage
bracelet Metal
lug width 18 MM
Includes Stainless steel multi-link bracelet with early unsigned blade clasp.
overall condition The case is in outstanding condition overall showing normal signs of wear from age and use. Dial is in outstanding condition with even patination across the luminous indices and 'Obelisk' handset.

Why We Love it

When the Lockheed A-12 was selected to fly for the CIA’s ‘Black Aircraft’ project, it was the most advanced aircraft in the world — and for its pilots, the CIA selected the most advanced wristwatch — the Bulova Accutron Astronaut. 

For those uninitiated to the A-12, here’s a brief rundown: The A-12, the predecessor to its more widely-known successor, the SR-71, was built for extremes. It was capable of reaching speeds over 2,000 miles per hour - three times that of the speed of sound - and could reach upwards of 90,000 feet in altitude, giving its pilots the opportunity to touch the face of God. The aircraft's titanium exterior was constructed to withstand the intense G-forces and extreme temperatures it was subject to in these conditions. Above all, the A-12 was the first operational supersonic stealth spy plane.

With a reputation for durability during its time on the wrists of X-15 pilots, the Bulova Accutron Astronaut flexed all of its unique qualities to perform equally as effectively in extreme environments. Its tuning fork mechanism and low inertia components gave it good resistance to high G-loads and temperatures without malfunctioning under pressure. In a written letter by Lieutenant Colonel Frank Murray (see it here), the pilot sings the Astronaut’s praises, “Ordinary wristwatches worn by pilots on the outside of their pressure suits were not holding up to these temperatures. The Bulova Accutron Astronaut model held up to testing, so the CIA decided to furnish the Bulova watch to the CIA pilots flying the A-12.”

This particular example is a time capsule -calling back to the Cold War Era and perfectly illustrating all the reasons that made them the go-to watch for the CIA and its A-12 pilots. Its 38mm stainless steel case features a rotating 24-hour bezel with engraved numerals and indices, and its easy to read luminous matte black dial features a set of alternating triangular and dot markers, a matching ‘dagger’ handset and a GMT arrow hand. It’s powered by the tried and true Calibre 214 tuning fork movement and is fitted with a stainless steel multi-link bracelet with a safety clasp.

We’re obvious fans of anything related to space, aviation and horological history - they’re all intriguing in their own right. But when all three come together and take the shape of a watch as cool - and as significant - as the Accutron Astronaut, our enthusiasm truly takes flight.

Brand Story

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The story of Bulova is deeply entwined with American manufacturing. Its founder, a Czech immigrant named Joseph Bulova, was inspired by the advances that Ford made in his factory in Highland Park, Michigan. In 1912, Bulova built a factory in Biel, Switzerland, using Ford’s principles of mass production.
The brand was among the first to offer a wide range of wristwatches for men, with a distinctive visual style that — thanks to its innovative adoption of advertising and a relocation to Astoria, Queens — became fixed in the American imagination. Bulova took over offices in a skyscraper on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and installed an observatory on the roof in order to measure universal time. In the workshop down below, watchmakers timed the watches they were working on against readings taken in the observatory.
The watches that Bulova produced were varied, from handsome three-handers to divers and even chronographs. Bulova produced its first chronographs in the 1940s — single-button affairs with screw-on bezels. Throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70's, Bulova honed its mastery of such watches.

However, perhaps the brand’s single most important innovation was 1960’s Accutron, a timepiece that used an electric tuning fork in place of a traditional balance wheel. Following on the heels of the Hamilton Electric of 1957, the Accutron featured a guaranteed accuracy of two seconds per day — much better accuracy than that of a contemporary mechanical watch. (The Accutron line was later spun off and relaunched as its own brand in 2020.)

In 1971 a Bulova chronograph accompanied the crew of Apollo 15 into space. When the crystal on astronaut David Scott’s Speedmaster popped off, he strapped on his Bulova, making it the only privately worn watch to ever have been worn on the Moon. (It was subsequently auctioned off for more than $1.625M.)

Currently owned by Citizen Group and headquartered in New York City, Bulova continues to make watches inspired by its long American heritage.

A:S Guarantee

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Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

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All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

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Bulova Accutron Astronaut

Bulova Accutron Astronaut

Regular price
$2,200
Regular price
Sale price
$2,200
Bulova Accutron Astronaut

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