[Infographic] Bulova Accutron; a gift that inspired history

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Any rational person would find the topics of watches and shoes to be as different as apples and oranges. However, at this point in time, we discover how the symbolic presence of the revolutionary Accutron timepiece resulted in the development of a cult classic shoe.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

On October 25, 1960, Bulova unveiled the first and most sophisticated watch ever produced. Accutron broke the norm when electronic timepieces were becoming more popular by allowing users to look inside the watch while it worked. Because of this dynamic view, the watch was given the moniker “The Spaceview” because of this dynamic view. In 1976, when it was made available everywhere, more than 5 million of these versions were sold.

The makers had no idea that this watch would spur another critical discovery years later. The translucent appearance of the Spaceview watch inspired Tinker Hatfield, a former architect, who applied this type of idea to the Nike shoe company.

To allow you to look inside the shoe, he added a translucent bubble to the bottom of the shoe. This sneaker was given the “Nike Air 1” moniker because of its airy look. Further explaining, Hatfield said, “The shoe was supposed to breathe, be flexible, and fit well, but the fact that it had the air window in the sole and the frame color surrounding it meant that it looked very different from other shoes in its day.” 

The shoe exploded in popularity, considered one of the greatest sneakers in history. It was functional because the bubble provided a shock absorbance with every impact. It was also fashionable due to the transparent design, which has impacted culture. The Air Max 1 gave rise to culturally relevant norms that have resonated with the sneaker community for generations. 

This is the origin story of the Bulova Accutron and how it sparked a creative movement, including iconic Nike designs.

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Last Updated on January 19, 2023.

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