Accutron 521 Legacy 'The King'

Regular price
$849
Regular price
Sale price
$849
REF 2SW7A001
Automatic-winding
32.5 MM
– Show less
SKU ASXA0001-GRAY
Article Number 40991955
ref 2SW7A001
case size 32.5 MM
movement Automatic-winding
approximate age 2020s
dial color Silver
material Gold-Tone
style Avant-Garde
category Factory Certified Pre-Owned
bracelet Leather
lug width 18 MM
Includes Signed leather strap and matching gold tone deployant buckle. Also includes complete inner and outer box set, books, serialized hangtag, warranty certificate, Limited Edition card, and Factory Certified Pre-Owned card.
overall condition Mint, unworn.
Strap Style

Each timepiece in the Accutron Legacy Collection is covered by Accutron's 5-Year International Limited Warranty. Read more

REF 2SW7A001
Automatic-winding
32.5 MM
– Show less
SKU ASXA0001-GRAY
Article Number 40991955
ref 2SW7A001
case size 32.5 MM
movement Automatic-winding
approximate age 2020s
dial color Silver
material Gold-Tone
style Avant-Garde
category Factory Certified Pre-Owned
bracelet Leather
lug width 18 MM
Includes Signed leather strap and matching gold tone deployant buckle. Also includes complete inner and outer box set, books, serialized hangtag, warranty certificate, Limited Edition card, and Factory Certified Pre-Owned card.
overall condition Mint, unworn.

Why We Love it

“Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something.”

So opens Season 7 of AMC's Mad Men, with Sterling Cooper copywriter Freddie Rumsen pitching the new Accutron watch from Bulova. “Accutron,” he intones. “It’s not a timepiece — it’s a conversation piece."

In 1960, this thought-provoking electronic watch offered state of the art technology and design. But in order to fully understand its significance, we need to turn back the proverbial clock for a moment — all the way back to 1875. Nearly 150 years ago, Joseph Bulova established a small jewelry shop in Queens, no doubt unaware of its vast potential. In 1912, the firm opened a movement manufacture in Biel, Switzerland, carting over American mass-production methods. Within a few decades, Bulova had grown into one of the most important watchmaking manufactures in the United States.

By the 1950s, progress was being made within the realm of electronic watches as an alternative to traditional mechanical watchmaking. But it was the Bulova Accutron that brought a degree of hitherto unheard-of accuracy and robustness to the scene in 1960. Its tuning fork oscillator, beating at a consistent 360 Hz, swept a seconds hand smoothly around the dial periphery, while a dry cell battery provided a constant flow of power via an electromagnetic coil. This technology, developed by Swiss engineer Max Hetzel, was inspired by a tuning-fork clock built in the 19th century by Abraham-Louis Breguet, grandson of perhaps the most important watchmaker in history.

The Accutron — especially in its futuristic, transparent Spaceview guise — quickly found its way onto the wrists of test pilots, astronauts, and everyday people searching for a reliable, handsome timepiece. And though its movement technology would later be eclipsed by more inexpensive, quartz-powered systems, its legacy has endured all the way into the 21st century. In 2020, Accutron was spun off from Bulova into its own distinct entity, charged with the caretaking of a legendary development that has come to define horological ingenuity in the 20th century. 

Beyond the debut of their brand-new Spaceview 2020 and Accutron DNA models, Accutron also reached into their back catalog of magical mid-century designs, and thus, the Legacy Collection was born. The Accutron Legacy Collection is a modern re-imagining of the brand's most memorable pieces from the 1960s and 1970s. Using mechanical movements as a nod to their roots in traditional watchmaking, these timepieces were directly inspired from their original briefs and have captured the hearts of enthusiasts today. The blend of mid-century styling and mechanical internals perfectly represent the ebb and flow of technology and design.

Debuted in 1960, the Accutron 521 was the first and arguably the most iconic of Accutron's asymmetrical designs. Surely one of Accutron's more popular “TV watches,” it's no surprise that Elvis Presley, whose career was launched on The Ed Sullivan Show, fancied a 521 — a watch fit for a king. In fact, Presley's personal 521 currently resides in the Bulova Accutron museum located at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City; his initials 'EP' engraved on the caseback.

Incredible.

Aptly nicknamed 'The King,' the 521 Legacy Edition features a 32.5mm polished, gold-tone stainless steel 'TV' case with stylized lugs; a domed sapphire crystal; a signed crown engraved with Accutron's tuning fork logo. All Legacy Collection models were produced as a limited edition and come with an individually numbered caseback with a sapphire display aperture providing a glimpse of their mechanical underpinnings.

The silver white dial features a subtle sunburst finish; applied, gold-tone indices; a gold-tone dauphine handset; a 'dot' minute track; and a sweeping center-mounted seconds hand with a 'tuning fork' symbol as its counterweight.

Offered with your choice of a premium Accutron leather strap outfitted with a signed, gold-tone deployant buckle, this mint, unworn piece includes all of its factory ephemera including a complete inner and outer box set, books, serialized hangtag, warranty certificate, Limited Edition card, and Factory Certified Pre-Owned card.

You may not move like 'The King,' but you'll sure as hell feel like one with the 521 Legacy on your wrist! 

Brand Story

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Joseph Bulova, a Czech immigrant to the United States, founded his eponymous company in Queens in 1875, opening a factory in Biel, Switzerland in 1912 to mass-produce timepieces under the American production model. An early designer of men’s wristwatches following their widespread adoption in the wake of the First World War, the firm developed simple dress watches, dive watches, and chronographs through the first half of the 20th century.

As the decades wore on, however, the limitations of the traditional oscillating balance wheel — both with respect to accuracy and robustness — were becoming apparent. Electric watches from the likes of Hamilton and Lip experimented with a moving coil motor in place of a mainspring, but their reliance on conventional balance wheels meant they were little more accurate than their entirely mechanical counterparts. A Swiss engineer at Bulova named Max Hetzel would soon change all that.

A born tinkerer and a brilliant mind, Hetzel adopted an old clock design from the 19th century — incidentally invented by the grandson of Abraham-Louis Breguet — that used a tuning fork as its oscillator. Powered by a dry-cell battery and driven by an electromagnetic coil, its frequency of 360 Hz ensured a highly accurate system that powered a sweep hand around the dial. Significantly more accurate than a mechanical design, it was patented in 1953, and after some years of work, the Bulova Accutron debuted to the public in 1960.

The watch was a revelation — literally. A 1961 model with a transparent dial meant to show authorized dealers its inner workings became so popular that Bulova put it into regular production, calling it the Spaceview. Meanwhile, the audible 360-Hz hum produced by the movement was a novel selling point, featuring in period advertisements in which a man was seen holding the watch up to his ear.

When the U.S. government sought to replace the U-2 spy plane with an aircraft that could outmaneuver anti-aircraft systems, Lockheed Martin’s secretive Skunkworks division offered the perfect solution in the form of the sleek A-12, which could reach speeds of Mach III (~2,310 mph). Bulova Accutron wristwatches accompanied the pilots of this advanced piece of engineering, as they did on the wrists of public-facing X-15 flights, which reached speeds of 4,500 mph. The Accutron was even worn by astronauts during the Mercury Seven program during training; in 1963 during Project Mercury; and in Project Gemini missions up until 1983, long after the tuning fork technology had been replaced by more contemporary quartz-powered tech.

In 2020, Accutron was spun off by parent company Bulova — owned by the Citizen Group of Japan — into its own brand, where it continues to produce modern versions of one of the world’s downright coolest watches.

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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Accutron 521 Legacy 'The King'

Accutron 521 Legacy 'The King'

Regular price
$849
Regular price
Sale price
$849
Accutron 521 Legacy 'The King'

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'THE KING'

Unveiled in 1960, the 521 was the first and arguably the most desirable offset asymmetrical Accutron design.Known as one of the popular “TV watches” from the brand at the time, it is no surprise that the King, whose careerwas launched on the iconic television series, The Ed Sullivan Show, took a liking. A watch fit for a king, the Accutron521 was a unique standout and unlike any other watch at the time given its unique case shape. The original modelfeatured a 14-karat gold-filled case and was unique in that it was the only model in the series that contained a mineralglass crystal and a snap-on case back.