Accutron And Bulova Unveil New Versions Of The Astronaut And Lunar Pilot Chronograph
Dear Fratelli, despite what Bulova may have led you to believe in the marketing campaign for these watches, today and indeed every Tuesday is a Speedy Tuesday. Nevertheless, we are still interested in the three new timepieces that these two brands are releasing today. The first is the modern remake of the famous 1968 “T” version of the Accutron Astronaut. Bulova has also announced two new versions of its Lunar Pilot chronograph. All three models have been recreated to match the looks of the original timepieces. The two Bulova models even share the original size as well. It’s time to check out these three new watches from Bulova and Accutron.
Let me start by saying that it still feels a bit weird to separate Bulova and Accutron into two separate brands. The announcement to separate the two names came in 2020, but as most watch enthusiasts know, both names are tied to each other forever. Accutron was the sub-brand created by Bulova for its revolutionary electronic timepieces. Over time, we have seen watches with both names or just the Accutron name on the dial. So overall, the branding has been fluid through the decades. Still, there is no denying that when you say “Accutron,” the first association is Bulova.
Bulova and Accutron present…
Upon separating the brands, Citizen Watch America deliberately chose to use the Bulova name for its mass-market timepieces. The Accutron brand focuses more on innovative and futuristic watches inspired by revolutionary timepieces from the past. Citizen Watch Co. bought the Bulova brand in 2008 and has been reissuing some of the brand’s most iconic timepieces from time to time since then.
With today’s trio, we see a revival of famous watches from the 1960s and ’70s that commemorate the brands’ historical relationship with NASA and the US Space Program. These three new timepieces are marketed as the two brands working together on their legendary watches. But despite the different brands and their positions in the market, these three watches share the same historically important legacy.
The new Accutron Astronaut is the return of a fan favorite
The first is the 1968 “T” version of the Accutron Astronaut model. This one is a watch that many of us love. We have seen Forstner produce its own take on it, but now Accutron brings back the original in a modern version. And seeing this new one is a great reminder of how good the Astronaut still looks. Out of today’s three new watches, this is easily my favorite. And a quick check with the other Fratello editors solidified the opinion that this is still a great-looking piece. It’s something we were reminded of before by our own Tomas Rosputinsky. He wrote a great #TBT article about his vintage Astronaut.
In the article, he explained the great history of the timepiece. It was worn in space for the first time on the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission, which orbited Earth. Additionally, it was issued to all pilots of the USAF X-15 experimental rocket-powered aircraft program. Later, it was issued to CIA pilots in the Lockheed A-12 program who traveled at three times the speed of sound. As you can see, the piece is connected to great stories from the past that many watch fans love.
The Accutron Astronaut is a mechanical version of the classic version from the 1960s
Accutron decided to go for a mechanical version of the Astronaut for this new rendition. The new Astronaut features a 41mm stainless steel case and comes with the iconic stainless steel bullet bracelet. The case dons a double-domed sapphire crystal, and the stainless steel bezel features a gray and black GMT bezel. As you can see, the bezel is a mirrored 12-hour bezel instead of a regular 24-hour GMT bezel. The day/night division goes from 5:30 AM to 5:30 PM, leaving behind the symmetry we are used to seeing on the GMT bezel. In recent times, we have seen similar design exercises from Grand Seiko and Serica, so this is not unique. It does, however, still seem a bit strange.
Inside the case, Accutron equipped the watch with a Sellita SW330-1 movement. The automatic GMT caliber has 25 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. It is a caller GMT, so you can set the 24-hour GMT hand independently. The movement is partly visible thanks to the exhibition case back that shows the upper half of the caliber. The real star of the show, though, is the instantly recognizable dial design with its creative way of integrating the hour, minute, and GMT scales. Combined with the day/night bezel, the design from the late 1960s makes this new piece quite a looker. Accutron will produce only 300 pieces of this new Astronaut, which will be available for US$3,500 each.
The new Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph timepieces
The two new pieces from Bulova are different versions of the brand’s famous Lunar Pilot Chronograph. As many of you will know, the current Bulova collection features a 45mm Lunar Pilot Chronograph as part of the brand’s Archive Series. For these new versions, Bulova decided to go back to the original 43.5mm case size of the watch that went to the Moon on the wrist of Apollo 15 mission commander David Scott (we did an interview here with him). On August 2nd, 1971, he set foot on the Moon wearing his own Bulova chronograph
The first of the two models features the classic aesthetic of a stainless steel case in combination with a black dial. This new 43.5mm version comes with a stainless steel bracelet and a black leather NATO strap. The smaller size will definitely make a lot of Bulova fans happy as it is true to the original and slightly more wearable than its 45mm counterpart. The watch is powered by Bulova’s proprietary NP20 High Precision Quartz (HPQ) chronograph movement with a claimed accuracy of ±10 seconds per year.
The second model is a variation with a white and blue panda dial and a blue tachymeter bezel. This is a hot color colorway these days, especially with such demand for the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary. The stainless steel case, however, features blue chronograph pushers that inject the watch with an extra dash of color. Like the black model, the watch comes fitted with stainless steel bracelet and an additional leather NATO strap, this time in blue. It is powered by the same quartz movement as well. Both of these new Lunar Pilot Chronographs will be available for US$895.
First impressions of the new Accutron and Bulova releases
It’s great to see Bulova and Accutron bringing the stories that made the brands famous back to life. The Accutron Astronaut in particular is still a very charming timepiece that will surely be a hit with fans. Unfortunately, the brand will only produce 300 pieces of this special Astronaut. Seeing the price tag for the watch did raise an eyebrow or two, but I have no doubts that all of the available pieces will fly off the shelves. After all, it’s not a large number, and there are a lot of people who love Accutron and especially this watch. Regarding Bulova’s Lunar Chronograph models, it only makes sense to reintroduce them in the original 43.5mm case size. I’m sure plenty of people will appreciate this, giving Bulova fans plenty to look forward to.
For more information, visit the official Bulova website. Let us know your thoughts on these three new watches in the comments section.