Bring Retro Into the 21st Century: The Accutron Spaceview 2020

by Emily Wilkinson

There are certain things that just work. A final product might contain some embellishments or create a new addition to the basic form, but at their core, there are things that just, work. Take the automobile for example. If you had to describe the car, there are more things in common with all cars than differences you might find between any two particular vehicles. Four wheels. Doors. Gas Pedal. Brakes. Seatbelts. While some of these may be more intricate or refined on some models than others, at their core they all do the same thing. For generations that has been the same with timepieces. Complications come and go, but at the core, the case, the strap, the movement, all fall into big categories. The refinements and innovations occur outside those big categories. Until Accutron released the Spaceview 2020.

For generations, timepiece movements have fallen into one of two categories. Mechanical or Quartz. Mechanical movements are the original, powered by an escapement which drives an oscillator and counts those oscillations to keep a steady rhythm of time. Then came quartz, with the oscillator driven by an electrical current which vibrates a tuning fork which is then measured by an electronic circuit to keep count of the movements and power the hands that tell you what time it is. With the introduction of the Accutron Spaceview 2020, there is not so much a revolutionary 3-wheeled car as there is a brand-new way to arrange the parts to achieve the same result in a new beautiful way.

The first Accutron Spaceview introduced in the 1960s had a deconstructed outer case and an exposed tuning-fork movement. For 2020, Accutron is powering the Spaceview with a first-of-its-kind electrostatic energy movement. To explain the movement simply is to say that it functions like a mechanical movement to produce energy but that energy is then stored and used as electrical power like a quartz movement. Except it is not really that simple. Electrostatic energy is created by two turbines that rotate as you move throughout your day. These turbines are between two electrodes attached to the movement. Energy is stored in an accumulator and powers two distinct motors. The first is the world’s first electrostatic motor which moves the fluid seconds hand while the second is a traditional step motor which moves the hour and minute hands. Unique to the Accutron Spaceview 2020 is a power-save feature which automatically stops the sweeping seconds hand at the 12 o’clock position after five minutes of inactivity. The timepiece continues to keep time and the power save can be re-set by swinging your watch-wearing arm up and down for a few seconds. Once the power save function is cancelled, the second hand will gradually return to the exact second and continue to operate. This combination of electric power and movement power is a unique demonstration by Accutron, showing there is still innovation to be found in the creation of wristwatch movements.

Accutron will offer the Spaceview in four models, three with stainless steel cases and the fourth a 60-piece limited edition in 18-karat gold to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Accutron brand. All models will be housed in a 43.5mm diameter case with a thickness of 15.9mm. Each model showcases a smoke grey open-work dial with Accutron green accents and a transparent outer ring. An orange sweeping seconds hand is complemented by white hour and minute hands and light green super luminous hour markers. The limited-edition timepiece is finished with a black grained leather strap with 18-karat three-piece buckle closure. Each of the remaining three models feature a double-press deployant closure and showcase straps of black leather, US Fish & Wildlife guided ethically sourced matte green genuine American alligator, or US Fish & Wildlife guided ethically sourced bright orange genuine American alligator.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Accutron Spaceview 2020 timepieces however, is not the innovative movement or impressive finishes, but instead the way that Accutron has connected the past and the present, while moving into the future. The classic wristwatch styling and craftsmanship of a mechanical movement, the contemporary ease of a quartz movement, and the future opportunity to create unique masterpieces of horology. The Spaceview 2020 is a culmination of everything we have learned about watchmaking and at the same moment a unique vision of what is still to come.