Colorado banjoist Jake Schepps has designed a memorial t-shirt honoring the late Tony Rice, based on his notorious love of vintage watches. Deep Rice-ophiles have long known of his history collecting, repairing, and wearing classic Accutron timepieces, a habit that has since spread throughout bluegrass royalty. Many an arm backstage at major festivals has been adorned by a quality chronometer restored through Tony’s expertise.
It is that part of the Rice legacy that Jake highlights with his Spaceview/Spacegrass shirt motif, which he is offering for sale online.
On the order page for the Spaceview/Spacegrass shirt, Jake links to a lengthy article that describes the history of these classic Bulova wristwatches, which includes this bit which helps explain they have such appeal for musicians.
The original Accutron rethought things from the ground up. Instead of using a balance wheel of any kind, the Accutron used a tuning fork, which vibrated 360 times per second, and which was driven by an electromagnetic coil system powered by a dry-cell battery.
Beyond pure novelty, there were several advantages to using a tuning fork. Because it oscillates hundreds of times per second instead of just a few, the tuning fork is both much more resistant to basic disturbances in timekeeping, especially those created by shocks, and inherently more accurate. If it could be implemented in a wristwatch, the benefits would be tangible and easily recognizable to anyone.
The proceeds from the $25 sale pice will be donated to Backline, a national nonprofit that works to assist music industry professionals in need of mental health and wellness resources. Using donations receive from all over the US, they connect artists and other music business people with organizations and care providers close to the point of need.
Check out the Spaceview/Spacegrass t-shirt online.