1972 Bulova Accutron Snorkel diver watch cal. 2182, 41.1 x 39.5mm. case.
With the re-edition of the 50th Anniversary Accutron, many collectors are looking at these pieces of American history with renewed interest.
The Bulova Accutron was in the 60s the most popular $100+ timepiece in America, President Johnson declares it the White House’s official Gift of State.
Accutron is the first watch to keep time through electronics, it was a revolutionary timekeeping concept of a watch without springs or escapement operated by an electronically activated tuning fork. The movement was so accurate that the US Government asked Bulova to delay the release of the revolutionary movement for fear the technology may fall into the hands of the Russians, at the time US would be launching new satellites timed by the Accutron and they simply did not want the Russians to benefit from the same precision.
In 1960 NASA incorporate the Accutron into its computers for the space program which become an integral part of 46 missions of the U.S. Space Program.
Bulova is the most successful American watch manufacturer. Established in 1875 in New York by an immigrant named Joseph Bulova, it was acquired by the Loews Corporation in 1979 and then again by Citizen in 2008, but continues to operate independently from the same New York location.
The first ever specialized diving watches were the Panerai, used by the Italian frogmen in the Second World War. Actually they were Rolex 3646s with special dials made by Panerai.
Right after WWII, two French combat diving corps started to search for a military grade diving watch, big and easy to read underwater, hermetically sealed and capable to absorb shocks – this helped Blancpain to develop the legendary Fifty Fathoms introduced in 1953. The transformation of the simple water resistant watch to the tool diver watch happened at that exact point. The next year Rolex launched perhaps the most famous diver watch of them all, the Rolex Submariner; from that point most of the Swiss companies started to shift their attention towards the sea, trying to produce reliable underwater-capable wristwatches.