The creation of a culturally iconic sneaker can be traced back to 1960 when Bulova released the most advanced electric watch the world has ever seen. With the help of the tuning fork timepiece patented by Louis Breguet and Max Hentzel who miniaturized the technology, Bulova was able to release the Accutron as the world’s first fully-electronic watch.
To better explain the watch’s inner workings, an “open dial” demonstration model was developed as a salesman sample. The window model was attractive to so many people that it was eventually introduced as the Accutron Spaceview in 1961. Soon movement-view watch designs became so popular that existing watch dials were all changed to allow the inner workings to be viewed. By 1976, more than five million Accutron “tuning fork models” were sold worldwide, and the timepiece continues to exist and evolve today.
Accutron technology has even helped us get to the moon with the Accutron Astronaut that was developed to meet the demands of high speed flight and space travel. This technology was used by the CIA, NASA, and U.S. Air Force. In fact, moon missions would have been impossible without the accuracy of Accutron technology, which was present on 46 Apollo Missions, worn by USAF pilot Joe Walker during his record-setting high altitude flight, and used by Gordon Cooper during his Faith 7 mission that resulted in the most accurate splashdown achieved during the Mercury program.
Back on earth, the Accutron Spaceview helped inspire the Centre Pompidou, which intended to appear transparent with an open design that moved all ductwork, plumbing, and electrical conduits to the exposed exterior of the building. The strong and attractive design of the Accutron Spaceview inspired the creation of the Nike Air Max 1 by Tinker Hartfield, one of the greatest sneakers in the world. Inspired by the exposed inner workings of the Pompidou, a transparent air bubble element was created that showed the inner workings of the shoe, making it both functional and fashionable.
The Air Max 1 eventually rose to cultural relevance, becoming popular with the hip hop and gabber subcultures and getting its own holiday established in 2014. Accutron’s legacy continues to exist through the Air Max 1 while inspiring the aesthetics of the future.