Have you ever wondered where the iconic Air Max 1 design was born? The answer may be different than you would think. Bulova’s Accutron watch inspired the visible air bubble that defines Nike’s Air Max 1, meaning the sneaker would not exist without Accutron.
Accutron hit the markets in 1960 and was a major success. Heralded as the first of its kind, Accutron revolutionized timekeeping with its fully-electronic design. This made it more accurate than other watches. Bulova created the “open dial” demonstration model to help consumers understand how the watch’s inner workings functioned. This design gained so much popularity that it became its own model: the Spaceview.
The Spaceview eventually led to the Air Max 1 sneakers with its emphasis on transparency. Tinker Hatfield, one of Nike’s shoe designers, found inspiration for the Air Max 1 while at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The Centre Pompidou is a building that celebrates the machine-like transparency of the Spaceview and uses it in a unique and innovative architectural style. All of these fields and creations are connected, resulting in a fascinating look at the impact one design can have on culture.
Accutron was not only influential in design; it also aided NASA during the Apollo Missions. Its accuracy made it the favored timekeeping device, and Accutron devices were present on 46 Apollo Missions in various capacities.
So much of our current culture has Accutron to thank for its famous designs and impactful movements. Accutron is a perfect example of how even the smallest item can have rippling effects over the course of decades.