Tech and Design: What Watches and Sneakers Have in Common

What do wristwatches and shoes have in common? Not much, according to most people. But did you know the design of a famous wristwatch eventually led to the creation of the Air Max 1, one of the most famous Nike shoes ever made? It’s a story decades in the making.

In 1960, Bulova released the most advanced electronic watch in the world: the Accutron. Fascinated by the inner workings of the watch, customers clamored for the “open dial” design. Bulova released the Accutron Spaceview in 1961, giving customers a window into how their cutting edge technology came to be. 

When architect Richard Rogers received a Spaceview watch from his mother, it inspired him to design an “inside out” building in Paris. Collaborating with Renzo Piano, the Pompidou Center was unveiled to the public in 1977. The building’s design initially sparked controversy, but it came to be appreciated over time. 

It didn’t take decades for the building to gain its most important fan, however. When Nike corporate Architect Tinker Hatfield saw the Pompidou Center in the 1980s, he was inspired to design a shoe with transparent air bubbles. The shoe design became the Air Max 1, one of Nike’s biggest releases.

A Gift That Inspired History