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  1. Hi all! I'm new to the forum, but have a few used Accutrons (214, 218) I Picked up in the 80s (before Mercury cells went away) and some recent 218s that came with silver oxide cells - some within original accuracy spec and others not. I've heard of Accucells and people installing schottky diodes in their watches (which seems like the better approach) but never thought much about it till recently. I'm a retired electrical engineer and remember that one of the benefits of schottky diodes was lower forward voltage drop and .2 volts was an often mentioned number. However, what that drop actually is depends on the particular diode temperature and the actual forward curent. For an Accutron, it's 8 to 10 microamps. And for the diode part number you are using: https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/rohm-semiconductor/RB520CM-30T2R/5955710 the typical forward drop in that curent range is: 25C .15 volts -25C .24 volts 75C .06 volts 31C .14 volts estimated (skin temp) The numbers will all be about .02 volts lower at 8 microamps drain. It makes me wonder if a resistor (small axial, or SMT) wouldn't be a better choice. With a 1.55 volt cell, a 21.5K 1% metal film resistor will provide a voltage range (including current extremes and resistor tolerance) of 1.333 to 1.379 with lower sensitivity to off wrist temperature swings. The one concern that comes to mind is the initial circuit drain when the battery is first connected - and the related consideration for 218 versions that break the battery circuit when hacked. I'm guessing the coils could be modeled as resistors and capacitors as their ESRs (plus knowing the transistor specs) to estimate initial current and 21.5K voltage drop. It's a possible issue the diode wouldn't have. Any thoughts?
  2. Thanks for the welcome, HectorLooi. I haven't worked on a 214 yet. It's on my bucket list. Unfortunately, they seem to go for a lot more money than 218 series and such. I had a friend that was into pocket watches when I first got into them in the nineties. Not long after we met, he started going after Spaceview wrist watches. I remember him talking about the "real deal" vs modified versions. I had no interest in wristies at the time, and certainly not electrified watches with weird vibrating forks. What started me down this road/rabbit-hole, was a guy who didn't want to spend what it would take to fix a 2182 that was his dad's. He offered it, gratis, to the first taker. I was the second one who saw it, but the first guy was out of the country and the owner had said he'd only ship to the US. Lucky for me, I think. That 2182 is still not running right, but rather fast and stuttering with a 1.55V battery. I'll probably end up replacing the index wheel. I won't get a good look at the teeth on the existing index wheel until I get my doubling Barlow lens that will take me to 90X magnification. Good luck with your problem-child 214. The 214, Spaceviews in particular, really are the classic Accutron. But the later models did have some nice improvements that apparently made them less finicky to work on. Cheers.
  3. Welcome to the world of humming watches @MrRoundel. It's really strange that so few people are willing to work on Accutrons but yet every Accutron that appear on eBay gets snapped up. Sometimes at ridiculous prices. The recalcitrant 214 that has been giving problems turned up again. This time the coil on the component side gave up it's ghost. Finally the mystery got solved. The problem was a defective coil which was about to break. I feel relieved and vindicated. Now to hunt for a new coil.
  4. I have a problem. Ive got this Slava Transistor watch--the one the Russians ripped off in the 60's of the American Bulova Accutron 214.... Its a fairly close match,-- visually they look identical, quite an achievement IMO... My issue is this. Its third wheel has a rusted off pivot, fairly common on the Accutron version due to moisture or batt leaks and there's fair evidence of a leak in this one.. The Accutron 3rd wheel wont fit--2nd Moscow Watch Co (Slava, Seconda, Vostock etc) in their infinite wisdom made their staff smaller in diameter than the Americans, no idea why... My only solutions as trying to find a correct good third for this mega-oddball are near impossible, are- 1/ machine down Accutron third wheel pivots.... 2/ Replace the jewels but dont know if plate holes are the same size and I dont have the equipment to deal with jewel replacement anyway. So--Anyone good with the watchmakers lathe fancy having a look?
  5. Hi there HectorLooi, here is some dating info for Bulova from 50s through to 2000s For Bulova watches created in 1950 or later, the manufacturer switched to a two-digit alpha-numeric code system. These codes are usually found on the backcase, but some can be found on the inside movement near the set-screw.[4] The first digit of the code corresponds to the decade. The second digit of the code corresponds to the specific year. The decade codes are as follows: 1950s: L 1960s: M 1970s: N 1980s: P 1990s: T 2000s: A The second digit of the code matches the ending digit of the year in which the watch was manufactured. When "0" is used, the end of the year was a "0" (1950, 1960, 1970, and so on). When "1" is used, the end date of the year was a "1" (1951, 1961, 1971, and so on). This pattern continues for digits "0" through "9." For example, a Bulova watch marked with "N2" was manufactured in 1972. A Bulova watch marked with "T8" was manufactured in 1998.The original Spaceview was not intended for sale at all – it was a demonstrator model, whose purpose was to appear in ads and in store display windows. The Spaceview showed off not only the forward gliding motion of the seconds hand, but also the distinctive green baseplate and contrasting copper coils for the tuning fork, as well as the transistor essential to the operation of the watch. They usually are priced on rarity, condition, and case material, box and papers etc. hence the huge price range. Bulova released an Accutron collection with quartz movements in 1976. One year later, the tuning fork Accutron production was stopped once and for all after more than 5 million pieces were sold. That year marked also the end of Bulova’s golden age.The last 214's were made in 1977. During the 17 years that tuning fork watches were made they were the most accurate production timepieces on the Earth, and in space.
  6. Hello, I am new at this forum, and I have a question right at start. I have got an accutron for a year, and I looked into it with a microscope first time (only with loupe earlier). I found out that fingers are dirty, looks like oxidation. I put photo of them. Is it possible to clean them without disassembling the movement? I have read that someone has applied naphta to the index wheel while running... Thanks in advance for help! BR Jukka
  7. Found this which might help as it shows pics of a Bulova watch being tested. https://jestineyong.com/bulova-accutron-watchmaster-600/
  8. Although I was trying to be good and not purchase anything till I had sorted out the multitude of watches I have in the queue, I saw this Accutron on the bay and bought it for £32.49 plus about $5 postage to my sons place in LA. I had not got an Accutron 2210 up to this point in time, and to be honest the movement does not have a particularly good rep for reliability. However, the parts are comparitively cheap compared to the 214 and 218 and through a quirk of fate I have quite a few NOS 2210 parts that were amongst a job lot of 214 and 218 bits I bought some time ago. It is a 1973 movement and coincidentally that is when these were first produced and the movement is quite small, being used in lots of ladies watches which do not command the same prices as the mens accutrons - good for getting parts. I queried with the vendor the size and was advised it is 34mm excluding the crown so it is in a mans case. Condition was described as "Awesome" but I will settle for reasonably good seeing it is over 40 years old, there are some scratches on the glass and I deduce from the back that the case is gold plated which is difficult to tell from the photos, but I will take what comes. It will be a while until it is sent over to me along with some 218 coils I took a punt on but I look forward to seeing it. Was not going to buy any more repair jobs but I weakened, however, I am definitely back on the wagon for a while. Cheers, Vic
  9. I was hoping that with your vast servicing experience that you would be able to tell me how to do it. I've read all the instructions for phasing the 218 and 224. I have the Accutron test meter but I don't have the 224 movement holder with the IC phasing test probe. I can't seem to find any good photos of this test probe. I can't tell from the blurry photo in the 224 service manual whether it is a simple probe connection or whether it has a bias resistor connected to it. I've tried phasing it by connecting the +ve and _ve leads of the Accutron meter to the movement. I can get the index wheel to run but I can't get it to "run-stop-run" as stated in the Bulova service manual. Tonight I'll try balancing the forks first, then connect the +ve test clip to the test point and see what happens. Wish me luck!
  10. This may help out with Accutron 2185 problems Bulova-Accutron-2185- Pages 58 to 71 Supplement for Hour and Date Settings Manual.pdf Cheers, Vic
  11. I also came across similar jewels in Accutron 218s. I was told to leave them alone and just clean them in the ultrasound. I suspect the 3 notches are not designed for any special tool to remove them but to allow cleaning fluid to circulate between the cap and hole jewel. I oil them from the hole side.
  12. I contacted a respected watch repairer to ask about repairing Bulova accutron tuning fork watches. The reply came back that parts were impossible to source so he couldn't help me. Does anyone on this form repair these watches. I have 2 that were working but now don't and I would prefer to pay for the repairs rather than go through the whole process of trying to learn how to do it myself. Life's too short to start another field, I just want to get to grips with mechanical watches. I started this thread because another member posted about receiving coils which were damaged in the post and it got me thinking.
  13. Hi, Brad Kuhn here. I really appreciate a well designed and well made device be it mechanical or electrical, cars, machines, or watches. I am completely new to the watch repair world, although I have worn and appreciated a Rolex for many years. One reason I am here is that the Accutron 2181, given to my father in 1976 as a retirement gift, no longer hums, and I want to try to repair it myself. The other reason is that I found the discussions on this forum (that I read) to be congenial, informative, encouraging, and free of rancor. I am starting pretty much at zero, although I do have an Accutron 218 movement holder, some seemingly decent tweezers and screwdrivers. Although I do not intend to become a fully qualified watch repair man, I do have the Accutron repair and two other movements that I could improve. My initial thoughts are: what tools are necessary? What book/books should I read? What online courses should I take (would rather not take a course)? Anyway, here I am, not sure how to start. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks, Brad Kuhn
  14. Recently I got an early 214 from 1963 that had a faulty coil. The coils on these are in two parts, a cell-coil and component coil, joined by three fine insulated single-core wires. The Cell coil had gone O/C due to water/battery leak rotting out the fine wires where they attach to the soldered binding-posts--Mainly because Bulova hadn't covered a small section of the wire with any protective varnish. A replacement cell-coil was bought from the guy in Bulgaria and the old one replaced on the coil assay. Fitting to the movement, it didn't run. It would go for about 5-10 seconds after plucking the fork, but the hum would slowly die away. I assumed the resistor and capacitor were messing round --so replaced these in the component coil side. Still the same. I checked the transistor--but it looked good in testing--I replaced it anyway, using a silicon device tacked in to test, altering the bias by changing the resistor from 3.9 meg to 2.2 meg, to accomodate the different bias requirements between a Silicon and the old Germanium device it was replacing and tried again. Exactly the same! I monitored the current using my home-made PSU, it would initially pin the meter and that would die away to 5uA, but the movement still not running and no hum either. Plucking the fork, it would run for 5-10 seconds, then the hum would die away, and no appreciable difference in current draw. The clue was the constant current it was drawing after the initial pulse. It was perfectly clear when I dragged the Scope out and checked. The coil set was oscillating at 200 odd KHz! When the fork was plucked, the 360Hz was modulating the 200KHz. I guess a Long-wave radio could have picked it up if it was close by! Fortunately,--Bulova had also run into this problem as well and on some coils added an extra capacitor to the component-coil to damp out the radio-frequency oscillations. A 0.01uF (1 Nanofarad, 1000pF) cap was installed at the point the wires from the cell-coil attach to the component-coil. Its placed between the leads of the drive coil (Red wire) and the feedback coil (Green wire). Doing likewise with an 0805 1nF SMD cap cured the issue completely and the movement runs normally, even self-starting--with lots of wires and components hanging out of it! I just now need to rebuild it all properly and neatly into the component-coil recess--Which should be fun!. I'm guessing that the inductance of certain Cell-coils must be just right to cause this oscillation so they added the extra cap on those causing troubles.
  15. Looking for a good cell-coil for a 214. original is a three-wire coil, but I can re-wire a two-wire cell coil into a three to work in place, if you have one going spare, maybe from a set with a duff component-coil. Thanks.
  16. Hi all , After not winning auctions on a few watches ,.. a similar model to this one , 2 Accutron Astronauts , 2 Omega SeaMasters , I pulled the trigger on this Beauty . It had a BIN price of $899,99 or make offer . I had been watching this watch for about a month along with about 20 or 30 other watchers . The date code N1 places it as a 1971 model . I made an offer that was accepted by the seller and now this Baby is on its way to me .
  17. Hi, my name is Mike. I have been a collector for over 20 years. I was in the process of teaching myself watchmaking when neuropathy in my hands kind of put a stop to it for the most part. I still try to tinker with my Timex watches as they are not quite as expensive if I goof. (Though that seems to be changing!). I still have a pretty big collection. I like Soviet era watches, and Accutron watches too. I have a running Soviet Slava Transistor (a virtual copy of the Accutron 214) that is one of my prized watches. I find it difficult to type so I wont be posting a bunch. I be happy to answer any questions if I can. Thanks all.
  18. Nice. Impressive boom. I have been playing around with different configurations for magnification and for now am using a Bulova Accutron microscope (30x). For awhile, I had a setup similar to yours (different style boom) but I never got the viewing angle and body position right. Probably should revisit that someday. Using stereo magnification just cannot be beat.
  19. Having spent the last 45 years as a technologist, seeing novel innovations like this is exciting. However, technology for the sake of itself may be little more than titillating. So...what have they done with this new innovation? Well, they merged two established arts: mechanical movements, with MEMs ((microelectromechanical systems) technology. MEMs stands on the shoulders of 60 years of silicon (not silicone, btw) fabrication technology. All of you have MEMs in your life already. It is in every one of your phones. Some of you (on another thread) are playing with MEMs microphones for watch timers. If it sounds like I am dumping on these guys, I am not. This is clever innovation. One market served by this innovation is the one where people desire a sweep second hand in a thin, low-power watch. This is the niche where they will thrive IMO. Accutron was the early sweep solution, but there were problems. Accutron now has a high-frequency watch with a sweep second, but I think it is power hungry and thick (correct me if I am wrong...going from memory). Is there another sweep-second solution out there? I have a friend who wears a Rolex. Probably worth 15 grand. Sends it in once a year for service at $600 a pop. There is much I do not understand about this business!!
  20. Ok, just finally found it. I'll keep this up for reference incase someone asks . It is a Bulova Accutron Index Wheel Holder. I searched for quite a while and now just found it. Go figure
  21. A 344 has the same dimensions as a 343. That's what I use in my Accutron 214s. Is this an electromechanical balance watch or a tuning fork watch?
  22. Hi All , The postman delivered this Accutron 2180 today . In good condition and running smooth . The dial fades from dark blue to light blue . I installed a new Bulova strap I had and will install a new crystal soon . The date on the back says N3 , which translates to 1973 . Also on Craigslist here on Oahu , Hawaii I picked up this Tissot Visodate Heritage for an offer under $200 . I had been looking at them on the "Bay" , and at the local Auth. Dealer . I'm Stoked...
  23. Hi, Some of the first watches I worked on were accutron 214's and I have always liked them. Anyway a week or so ago I was searching the web and came across this one. It was described as humming but the hour and minute hands were hanging up as well as being 14kt gold. I decided to take a chance and put a $550.00 bid on it. It is turning into one of my favorites .
  24. Hi and greetings I have been given the instrument shown below. It was the property of a deceased watchmaker who like myself was also a radio ham. The donor believed it might be an item of radio equipment. The instrument says VEGAL made in England. No other marks or serial numbers. When plugged in the unit hums, I don't think it's mains hum as the frequency sounds too high, the loudness being controlled by the volume knowb. The switch is marked WATCHES, CLOCKS CLOCKS + 10 and T. FORK plus various numbers. The display ("Nixie tubes" ) displays numbers, could be frequency, time etc. The jack socket is simply marked INPUT I recall back in the 60's (yes I'm that old) an acquaintance had a Bulova accutron watch who's mechanism was controlled by a vibrating tuning fork, which could be heard humming if held near the ear. SO!! flash of inspiration. 1) The insrument was owned by a watchmaker and the switch positions obviously relate to timepieces 2) It has a setting marked T Fork 3) It hums Is it some sort of frequenct standard/calibration device/diagnostic aid for tuning fork watches ? Can anyone help Many thanks in advance Geoff
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