Finds Vintage

Bulova Accutron Astronaut GMT Type 4

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Polarizing is not a strong enough word to cover watch collectors’ vast opinions on this reference. Bulova has some heavy hitters in their back catalogue. If you don’t believe me, take a deeper dive with this 885104/01 worn on the surface of the moon which sold at auction in 2015. Accutron was hugely innovative, among the very first pieces of quartz to shake Switzerland’s foundations. The technology was improved for the better part of three decades and, in my view, culminated in this extremely distinctive Astronaut GMT, issued to some of the most legendary pilots of all time.

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The Lockheed A-12, a predecessor to the SR-71, was a Skunk Works CIA spy plane that flew very high and very fast. When considering the watch to issue to the plane’s pilots (and for that of the X-15 Hypersonic), the CIA viewed the lack of a mechanical balance which could be effected by extreme shock, temperature, and vibration to be a distinct advantage. They went for this, the Accutron Astronaut GMT. The watch could effective track a UTC zone and do it while not losing a single second per day. Though not many survive in great condition today, it is lovely and impressive period piece of CIA history.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share my favourite SR-71 fact: when sitting on the tarmac, fuel would be dripping from its fuselage body. The panels were designed with tolerances that would allow its body to be perfectly sealed at the huge temperatures it sustained during top speed flight. To accommodate for this, when on the ground (cold), nothing aligned properly. I just adore that.

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This type 4 features a bakelite 24-hour bezel and tuning fork logo at 12. Its case is unpolished and it comes on an original bracelet. The matte dial shows little sign of age and is said to have been inspected under UV light to satisfactory results. It comes from a well-regarded West Coast retailer.

Find this Astronaut GMT here from Craft & Tailored for 2950 USD.