The creation of an iconic sneaker can trace its inspiration all the way back to the release of the first electric watch the world has ever seen. In the 1950s, many watch companies experimented with the first generation of electronic watches, but Bulova was the one who was able to release the world’s first ever electronic watch in 1960 using Louis Breguet’s patented tuning fork timepiece and Max Hertzel’s ability to miniaturize the technology. The window model version that showed the watch’s inner workings became so popular that it was officially introduced as the Accutron Spaceview in 1961. By 1976, over five million Accutron watches were sold worldwide.
The Accutron technology also eventually made it to space, having been adopted by big U.S. government services and used throughout several moon missions, such as the Apollo program. The Accutron Spaceview inspired the creation of the Centre Pompidou as well, a building with an open design that showed its ductwork, plumbing, and electrical conduits on its exterior. The strong and attractive design of the Accutron Spaceview even inspired Tinker Hartfield, the creator of the Air Max 1.
Considered by many to be the greatest sneakers of all time, the Air Max 1 was inspired by the exposed inner workings of the Pompidou with Hartfield adding the transparent air bubble element showing the inner workings of the shoe in a similar fashion as the Accutron Spaceview as a result. The shoes’ functionality and fashionability led to its popularity that persists today within the sneaker and hip hop communities as a culturally iconic piece.