Bulova Asymmetic Accuquartz 224
The first quartz watch available in the United States
The Bulova Accuquartz 224 was the very first quartz watch available in the United States. As a quartz watch, it was preceded only by the Seiko Astron in Japan, the Omega Electroquartz (Beta 21 movement), and the Longines Ultraquartz, each of which was only produced in small numbers. The Bulova Accuquartz was both the first and last of its kind. It was Bulova's first quartz watch and the first quartz watch available in the United States. It was also Bulova's last tuning fork watch.
1974 Bulova Accuquartz Advertisement
The Accuquartz 224 movement was a wonder in several ways. In terms of function, the Accuquartz movement combined the accuracy of a quartz watch with the smooth second hand (and hum) of the Accutron tuning fork movement - it was the best of both worlds. The Accuquartz movement was also a wonder in terms of its development. In the early 1970s, the most popular traditional watch manufacturers such as Bulova and Hamilton viewed quartz as a passing fad. They thought "Surely, the watch buying public will choose to purchase our finely engineered watch traditional mechanical movements over inexpensive, computerized quartz movements." Wrong. In order to keep up with the quartz craze, Bulova had to come up with something in a hurry so Bulova engineers devised a way to use a quartz crystal to regulate their flagship Accutron tuning fork movement.
1974 Bulova Accuquartz Advertisement
How does it work? In a traditional tuning fork movement such as the Accutron 218, the motion of the tuning fork regulates the electrical current which drives the electromagnets which drive the tuning fork. In the Accuquartz 224 movement, the electrical current is under the control of a quartz crystal. The tuning fork, being under the quartz crystal's control, is used only to transmit the pulses from the quartz crystal to the drive train which powers the gears and hands. Under this scheme, Bulova claimed an accuracy of 3 minutes per year, which was 4 times better than a standard Accutron 218 movement. The Bulova engineers had done it - quartz accuracy with a tuning fork movement! An amazing feat.
Unfortunately, since the mechanical part of the movement still used a tuning fork mechanism, it was still relatively costly to produce. Therefore, the Accuquartz 224 only lived for about 4 short years, from 1973 until 1977, when tuning fork movements disappeared entiredly from the world. They were replaced by inexpensive quartz and stepper motor technology, which is still used in most analog watches today.
Case: Very good.
The watch case
is in good to very good condition with only a few tiny visible marks. There's one tiny scratch under the right side of the dial. The sides are polished mirror smooth and the front bezel has a nice radial brushed texture. It would look almost new except upon close inspection, the edges at the top and bottom of the case show some rounding and plating loss which indicates that this watch has been worn. Also, the edges on the underside show some wear marks.
Face / Hands: Excellent.
The dial and hands are essentially perfect. The hands are perfect and still very shiny and with their original lume intact.
Crystal: Very good.
The acrylic crystal has a few minor scratches which are only really visible in direct sunlight.
Band / Bracelet: Very good.
The leather band is not original, but is quite nice, suits the watch nicely, and is in very good condition.
Function / Accuracy: Excellent.
This watch sets and runs perfectly and keeps Accuquartz-quality time. The date and day of the week flip over at midnight as they should.