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Anybody collect Accutrons?

M

Mike Kearney

We've had the WW board up for a while now, and no one (as I recall) has has said much about Accutrons or earlier electric watches. Like some others, I consider most electric watches to be efficient and boring. But I like Accutrons and have a couple. Does anyone else?

Regards,
Mike
 
M

Mike Kearney

We've had the WW board up for a while now, and no one (as I recall) has has said much about Accutrons or earlier electric watches. Like some others, I consider most electric watches to be efficient and boring. But I like Accutrons and have a couple. Does anyone else?

Regards,
Mike
 

Tom Huber

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Dec 9, 2000
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I have had a couple of Accutrons, but ended up selling them. I got tired of puting batteries in them. My belief is the one big mistake that Bulova made was that there was not a shutoff switch put onto the watch. Many of the modern quartz watches can be shut off by pulling out the stem. This way the battery does not run down while it is in the drawer. I've also been told that Accutron batteries may not be mfg in the future due to them being mercury batteries. I've talked to others that have tried the conversion kit to use a regular nickel cadmium battery. Their comment was that it did not work well. Anybody else tried the conversion kit for an Accutron? Tom

[This message has been edited by Tom Huber (edited 03-03-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Tom Huber (edited 03-03-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Tom Huber (edited 03-03-2001).]
 

doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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Tom, You may be aware that some of the later 218 based series of Accutrons actually did have a circuit breaker which opened when you pulled the crown into a setting position. I am not sure that Accutron would have been spared onrushing technology, regardless of how many whistles and bells were added. Look at the original Accuquartz! One major failure was the cost to build that watch at a time when LEDs could be produced fo pennies, and sold for a few dollars. I have 9 Accutrons/Accuquartz, all but one of which actually run. My favorite is the one my late father gave me in 1961. Looks and runs like NEW, (after being rebuilt many times). I'd like to know more about the WEIN CELL mentioned by Chuck. What can you tell us, Chuck?

Regards,
Doug S.

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L

Larry Jones 98326

I have a Bulova Factory Bulletin that claims 1.5 volt batteries can be used safely in Accutrons that are properly adjusted. I have been using the 1.5 volt batteries without any problems for several years.

Have any of you had problems using the 1.5 volt batteries?

Larry
 

Greg Davis

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Nov 29, 2000
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Personally, I don't collect Accutrons. However, I have run acriss two so far (a 214 I bought for about $1 and a 218 I picked up for $24). I've sold one (the 214) and am preparing to sell the other. I've sold quite a number of display cases and new old stock leather bands for them too. As far as I am concerned, I don't see what all the fuss is about, but don't mind a bit that people are willing (nay, eager) to pay me a good deal more for the Accutron stuff than I pay for them. It helps to fund some of my other watch related activities.

As for electrics in general, I do have a couple in the collection... but I don't think much of them. They are, on the whole, less accurate and less attractive than the jeweled watches. That aside, they were a relatively short-lived breed, and probably have come collectability for that reason if no other. This, I believe, also explains the hubub around Accutrons.



------------------
Regards,

- Greg
 
M

Marty Rougeaux

Steve, Once again you have made this perfectly clear to me. Love the drawing. However, is it possible that the doorhandle downshoots of the opposing diotomy flectors on the crustacion of the osillating wheels could be counteracting with the oppossors. Thus the phasing readjusts the index forks, pre-closing the belamide trances? This could happen. Regards, Marty

[This message has been edited by Marty Rougeaux (edited 03-04-2001).]
 

Dave Haynes

Registered User
Sep 12, 2000
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I've had several Accutrons the best one being
a 214 "Astronaught"; a great watch. The 214
railroads are great too. I've never been
too keen on the spaceviews; it's like peeking
into the back of a radio. Not at all as
interesting as a crystal backed automatic.
I've found the 218s to be troublesome and fragile. Am I alone here? I finally stopped
wearing Accutrons because the buzz drove me
crazy at night.
Regarding the mercury batteries: Your government at work. I went down to buy a
battery for my Pentax Spotmatic. It
cost $13 and is going to die in a year.
From $3 to $13, that's real progress.
 
L

Larry Jones 98326

To clarify just a little, the Bulova website doesn't discuss diodes, it just states that the 1.5 volt batteries can be used - as I said, I have a printed factory bulletin to the same effect.

One other minor point of clarification, the 214 battery number for 1.5 volts is now 387S.

And finally, Dave - although I agree that my government spends way too much time trying to protect me from my own idiocy and from sometimes imaginary dangers, mercury really is very toxic, so I don't mind seeing the mercury batteries go away......

Larry
 
M

Mike Kearney

Regarding the power saving feature of later Accutrons, the series 221 had it. The 221 was a tonneau shaped movement of the early '70s. It had two coils, like the 218 and the 214. If you pulled out the setting stem it disconnected the battery for storage. On the 218, at least the ones I have, the hands stop but it keeps on humming, using up the battery.

But if you have a 230 series, also an early '70s model, beware, as the technical letter says 'do not keep in setting position as this rapidly drains power cell'. The 230 used the same power cell as the 218, but it only had one coil.

Anybody know if there's a battery saver on the 224?

Earlier this year I went to get a 218 battery at the local hardware store. I was surprised to find a dusty old 343 1.35v mercury cell still in the package. I bought it, put it in a 218, and it's still working fine.

Regards,
Mike
 

Tom Huber

NAWCC Member
Dec 9, 2000
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I realized after I had made my post that I didn't mean a nickel cadmium cell. What I had meant was a regular 1.5 cell. What my watchmaker friend had referred to as the conversion kit must be the add on with the diode. Anyway, I'll still continue to obtain them when the price is right, but I would not seek them out. I just consider them too much bother to have as a wearable watch. Tom
 

Dave Haynes

Registered User
Sep 12, 2000
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Chuck:
I think that the whole deal, mercury,MTBE
etc. is all about money. The greenies are the
willing shills for the companies who become
wealthy. Out here in California it has become
a fine art, supporting MTBE in gas when it presents an environmental hazard beyond the scope of imagination.
 

Tom Huber

NAWCC Member
Dec 9, 2000
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Re: wein cell. I have seen the air cells advertised and used in hearing aides. They are sold with a removable cover across the back of the cell. Remove the cover and pop it into the hearing aide. The cover is supposed to extend the life of the cell while in storage. Of course, with a hearing aide, one is not worried about a life of over 10days to 2 weeks. Tom
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
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Chuck,

I think you said that mercury cells are still sold in Canada? Uh! Uh! Same problem here, UNLESS you are able to find a jeweller with NOS batteries, the same problem exists here. If you know a secret I don't know, it would be nice if you would share it.

Regards,
Doug S.

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L

Larry Jones 98326

Gents,

I'm confused. The silver 1.5 volt cells work fine most of the time, are easily avaiable, cheap, and most important, safe.

You go to a lot of trouble to get a mercury cell, put it in customer's watch, years go by, the customer takes out the now-leaking battery, some 2 year old swallows battery and suffers nerve damage. Likely? No. Possible? Yes. If it were your 2 year old, would you care:???:?

I guess it's your choice, but I fail to see the rationale for taking the chance when a perfectly suitable alternative is available......

By the way, mercury vapor lamps contain mercury, modern fluorescent lamps do not.

Larry
 
M

Mike Kearney

Larry, your point is well made. We could debate whether watch batteries leak all that often, and in general they don't, but there's no doubt that mercury is bad for people, that the silver oxide batteries are safer, and that most of the time, 1.5v won't cause a tuning fork movement to run fast. And even if it does, all that's needed is to adjust the index mechanism to factory specs. At least in most cases. That and a cleaning and oiling and the Accutron will probably run fine (assuming batteries are replaced as needed) for another 2 to 25 years.

Which raises the delicate issue of why, (this is addressed to most collectors of virtually all types of watches) given our appreciation of these little mechanical marvels, why don't we get them serviced? Maybe that's a subject for another thread.

Regards,
Mike
 
L

Larry Jones 98326

Chuck,

Your comments reinforce my contention that the use mercury batteries should be avoided.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that the "you are a fool" comment is not intended to call me a fool for suggesting that mercury batteries could pose a danger to children. My comment above specifically referred to leaking batteries, and having seen Accutron movement ruined by battery leakage, I am not imagining.

I stand corrected on fluorescent lamps, which do contain a small amount of mercury.

Yours, Larry

[This message has been edited by Larry Jones 98326 (edited 03-06-2001).]
 
M

Mike Kearney

While you both make good points, I believe a discussion of the actual toxicity of a single mercury battery, or of a landfill containing a representative number, is, if not moot, then at least pretty far off track of the purpose of the board. I would ask please that we voluntarily table the discussion of whether mercury batteries are a problem, and concentrate instead on if or how their lack of availability affects us as collectors.

I do believe that workshop safety is a concern, and that there are some hazards working with and around watches. Some are more obvious than others. I'm going to start another thread on one of those hazards right now.

Regards,
Mike




[This message has been edited by Mike Kearney (edited 03-07-2001).]
 

mysterytour

Registered User
Jan 10, 2023
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Hey guys, keep the politics in the political forums let's discuss accutrons. I agree with everything that's been said. Mercury is toxic, the movements are inefficient and eat batteries, technology has moved far past the hybrid electrics and sonic quartz. Still- I stare at the sweeping of the Accutron II like it's going to hypnotize me and I'm gonna have to pay for another dance....and I own several 218's 2183 23xx etc and both men's and ladies "Precisionists" which go about 2yrs on a single batt change. Something about them and their crude "exposed radio" ugly machined movements that screams innovation- the ESA dynotrons and Timex dynabeats- completely obsolete in all ways but I have one of each. Coin collectors- you find a wheat penny and stop there? Or do you have one or several of every coin you are interested in? It's like that with the watches for me. Most most gorgeous movements I drool over I wouldn't buy even if I could afford. There are a few... Worth every penny. Phones tell time, why even wear a watch? Just braid some hundred dollar bills and make a slick bracelet, or go with gold. A unique rare or sentimental watch is unlike anything else. And we have the excuse of saying it tells time. We all have the bug and try to debate. There should be a support forum for horology addicts... Wait... Did I just get my chip?

Nobody get offended, I said this with love in my heart. Watches and guns all over my family's home. I will fry every vintage before having a mercury button battery laying around having a 2yo girl myself, who loves tictoks and enjoys the piss out of overwinding my timexes and toys. That's the true torture test. Let your kid play with it for a day. I remember being a small child overwinding my dad's Bulova, he didn't get upset he just bought a brand new Marine star on a jubilee bracelet I still have. Bulova used to be quality... The outsourced movements in the new models are smooth disposables in overpriced under machined watches.

My twenty two cents.
 

MrRoundel

Registered User
Dec 28, 2010
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Interesting post, thanks. I like Accutrons, but they do take some special experience and know-how to get running right. That can be cost prohibitive for many. Back in the day they were made, watchmakers, jewelers, etc., could attend factory sponsored classes on working on them, making help in servicing them more attainable. And, as was probably discussed above, mercury batteries of 1.35V were readily available. This took one complication out of the somewhat complicated act of phasing to get them to keep time. Don't ask me how I know. ;)



BTW, in case you hadn't noticed, the last comment in this thread before yours was in 2001. Now that's a zombie thread. You might want to start a new one if you want more folks to see it and comment. Enjoy your hummers. Hmm...I suppose if Accutron ever made an alarm watch they'd have to call it a "hum-dinger". ;-) Cheers.
 

mysterytour

Registered User
Jan 10, 2023
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Don't need my rants seen. Was googling for parts and saw a like minded thread. 20yrs ago is where this thread belongs! Humdinger ha. Itd be worth a mint with the way everyone with a smartphone is buying up all the cool vintage still surviving. Cheers. Happy 2023 all.
 

Alan Striegel

NAWCC Member
Mar 12, 2013
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My watch collecting started with Bulova Accutrons and now tuning fork watches make up the majority. I own just two non-Bulova hummers - an Omega f300 and a Movado/Zenith. Below is an image of the one I happen to be wearing today. It's a 214 from 1964 on an original mesh bracelet.
1674579836330.png
 

mysterytour

Registered User
Jan 10, 2023
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3
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Beautiful. I just got a woman's diamond and MOP precisionist for my wife, an ESA dynotron Waltham, and another asymmetrical domed 218 on original leather for myself. Got the electric bug. Still wearing a bronze heritage diver to work. Playing with my new toys, they will be traded or sold (and gifted). Waiting on two more- one an interesting obscure French hybrid Gervais electric, very pretty movement slim case can't wait to get my hands in it. These transitional movements down to the timexes have invaded my collection. Eyeballing Omega fHZ. Pictures soon. Can't sell and trade fast enough.
 

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