Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pilots

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by Accutronitis, Apr 21, 2015.

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  1. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    #1 Accutronitis, Apr 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017
    The Accutron Astronaut M2, The first stainless steel Astronaut ever made, It's unclear if they were ever released for sale to the general public, The dial only says "Accutron" on it, The hands and markers are of white nonluminous paint, The movement is stamped "USA" and "214HN" and has a date code of "M2" which is the same as the back cover, It has a early type applied logo Kreisler USA Coffin Link Stainless Steel Bracelet.

    This stainless steel "Astronaut" model was made before all of the other stainless steel Astronaut watches for only one year 1962 and has a date code of M2 on the case back and movement, There was one Accutron Astronaut watch made before this one with a date code M1 (1961) but it was a 18k Solid Gold Astronaut watch (possible known as the "Royal" Astronaut).

    Here are some of the undisputed facts about this rarest of rare Accutron Astronaut watch that sets it apart from Any of the other Astronaut watches ever made......

    #1 the dial that only says "Accutron" and used nonluminous white paint on the hour markers and no rather large single dots between the hour markers unlike all other Astronaut watches (other than the near equally rare 1963 Astronaut)

    #2 the spade hands that Bulova lifted from the aviation panel clocks of the time which were also painted with the same nonluminous white paint as the dial markers, The spade hands were only used for less than one year in 1962 before Bulova changed them in 1963 to the hands you see on the common Astronauts, They are Accutron 214 spade Rail Roal hands painted white and this fact has recently been verified by a number of highly knowledgeable sources of Accutrons of this type

    #3 This 1962 Astronaut watch came with only one type of bracelet, the early applied logo Kreisler USA Coffin Link Bracelet

    The Accutron Astronaut definitely evolved very quickly in that first year, Bulova started making the all stainless steel Astronaut in 1962 and sometime around late 1962 / early 1963 they changed the first type of hands to the luminous hands which are the most commonly seen hands on the Astronaut after 1963 and at the same time added luminous paint to the hour marker to match the now luminous hands and other than that one change to the dial it is exactly the same as the very first dial to be used in the all stainless steel 1962 Astronaut watches and really is every bit as rare as the first nonluminous dial that was used, Sometime around late 1963 Bulova added "Astronaut" to the dial and also added the large luminous dots in-between the now luminous hour markers, Then sometime in 1964 they switched to the "bullet" bracelet. From then on the evolution of the Accutron Astronaut slowed way down with relatively small changes made to it over the rest of it's live.

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    Pictures continue in next post.........
     
  2. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    #2 Accutronitis, Apr 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017
    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    xyzzytom_259578
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    Pictures continue in next post......
     
  3. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    #3 Accutronitis, Apr 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017
    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    xyzzytom_259584
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    End of pictures, I hope you've enjoyed this walk back into the past !
     
  4. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    [video=vimeo;125365594]https://vimeo.com/125365594[/video]
     
  5. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    A 1967 version. image.jpg
     
  6. Clock Man

    Clock Man Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Thank you for posting this great information and such nice examples.
     
  7. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    For anyone not able to see my pic's of my Astronaut M2 And X-15 related stuff...

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  8. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Next batch.......

    1962%20ad%20X-15%20Flying%20Nov_zps8qyjp6ok.gif
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  9. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    #9 Bill Stuntz, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    This is a re-post of Acutronitis's original post, with the photos uploaded directly to the MB, rather than linked to external photos on photobucket.

    This method of posting photos directly to the MB is MUCH more convenient for users with small screens or slow internet connections. If the user wants to see more detail than is available in the thumbnails, the photos can be displayed at several different resolutions by clicking on the thumbnail. The advertisement that is unreadable in thumbnail size is an excellent example.

    In addition, because the photos are stored in the MB's database, they will not disappear if the photobucket account is changed or deleted. We have way too many posts on the MB that are useless because the links to external photos are broken.

    For these reasons, we strongly prefer that the original photos be uploaded to the MB rather than linking to photos on external sites.

    1962 ad X-15 Flying Nov_zps8qyjp6ok.jpg a3_zpsvwiuf7ds.jpg a1_zpsyyudekb4.jpg a2b_zpsp9sgix5u.jpg a1b_zpsf4b0jfys.jpg a5_zpsw2dd7lcn.jpg a2_zpsygkhbqnp.jpg ad0_zpsfgmv3ar6.jpg
     
  10. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    That's what i'll do from now on, Thanks !
     
  11. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    There is a September 1963 advertisement showing the later dial with the phosphorescent dots between the hour markers and phosphorescent hands. It also shows the coffin link band.
    It is on auction now on the big auction site.
    I have an 1964 model with the phosphorescent hands and number markers but the dots between the hour numbers never had the phosphorescent material.
     

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  12. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    #12 Accutronitis, May 8, 2015
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Yes the Coffin link wasn't changed to the JB Champion bullet link in till sometime in late 1964 to early 1965.
    Your 64 must be a very early 1964 Standard silver dial before the addition of luminous paint to the dots but after the bulb second sweep hand change, When the dial changed with the addition of the word "Astronaut" in black paint on the silver dial they must have added the dot out line paint as well but had yet to start filling them in with the luminous paint, That makes me wonder if the same thing ever happened with the black dial version of your dial where right after the addition of the word "Astronaut" in white paint the white dot outlines were also added but for a very short time were not filled in ?
    The September 1963 advertisement showing the later dial with the luminous dots between the hour markers filled in and luminous hands makes me think they started making the black dials first sometime in 1963 and then in 1964 they followed suit with the silver dial version and on the very first silver dials made that way for some unknown reason didn't fill in the dot outlines, that's the first one like it I've seen, Thanks for sharing it !
     
  13. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    #13 Accutronitis, May 8, 2015
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    I have just seen on flea bay a 1964 silver dial that says "Astronaut" on the dial BUT it does not even have the outlines of the dots on it like yours has so that means that (with the silver dial anyways) they at first just added the word "Astronaut" to the dial, Then at some point added the dot outlines unfilled in with luminous paint, Then they filled in the dots with luminous paint.

    I don't know if they ever did make a silver dial in the beginning like my 1962 Astronaut which has a dial without the word "Astronaut" and without any kind of dots filled in or otherwise plus no luminous paint on the hour markers OR if the first silver dials they started making was sometime in 1964 with the Word "Astronaut" on them but with no type of dots on it and with luminous paint on the hour markers ? so far the only silver dials I have seen have had luminous paint on the hour markers and the word "Astronaut" added but with no type of dots which is the one I have just seen on flea bay.......

    One thing I do know about the 1962 black dials is that in the beginning the very first thing they ever changed was to add luminous paint to the hour markers and at the same time they also changed to some type of luminous hands, of that I have no doubt.......
     
  14. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Here is my 1963 which is just as the September 1963 advertisement shows. Has all the later features on the dial.
     

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  15. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    In an earlier post Doug shows a 1967 model with a silvered dial that has only the hour markers with luminous and no dots between them. I think it is possible there were many variations that continued in the production based on this watch?
     
  16. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    #16 Accutronitis, May 8, 2015
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    That could very well be possible with the silver or gold dials but I don't believe that ever took place with the black dials, I nor anyone I know has ever seen evidence to support that variations with the luminous dots on any the standard black dials ever took place after very late 1962 to very early 1963 when they were added other than in 1969 on the "day/night" dial having the luminous dots being triangular and truthfully I don't think any kind of the black dials after 1963 was ever without some type of dots in between the hour markers....
     
  17. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Yes after sometime in very late 1962 to very early 1963 is when the standard dial first received the dots adding to that dial the features that carried on into the later years
     
  18. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Wait I just thought of one black dial that has never had any kind of dots what so ever, The Swiss made Astronaut !
     
  19. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    I just read something I didn't know before about the Accutron Astronaut, Following its adoption by the X-15 program, the Accutron Astronaut was selected for the CIA's A-12 strategic reconnaissance program. All A-12 pilots were issued an Accutron Astronaut, which was worn in a small pocket on the left-hand glove of the pilot's pressure suit. As stated by CIA pilot Frank Murray, the Accutron Astronaut was "the only watch that could sustain reliable operation in the A-12 cockpit environment", and was impervious to the 140F temperatures experienced inside the A-12 cockpit.

    For those who don't know the A-12 is essentially the SR-71 !
     
  20. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    An October 1962 add just showed up on Flea Bay. It shows the black dial with nothing between the markers but I cannot make out if it has phosphorescent markers and hands. The add is unreadable as well to see if it said anything about the dial.
     
  21. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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  22. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Ok here are all the latest and most up to date facts and the timeline for them I have gathered about the little known 1962 astronaut watches.

    The first "astronaut" made in all stainless steel was made in 1962 and in that first year it had what's called a "simple" black dial that did not say "astronaut" and did not have "dots" between the hour markers, also it had no luminous paint over the hour markers, that very first "astronaut" watch used the Bulova Accutron Hand Set "white spade (painted) WS-25" which is listed in the 1962 Bulova ABC Catalog. The 1962 Astronaut watch came with only one type of bracelet, the early applied logo Kreisler USA Coffin Link Bracelet.

    Later that same year the first thing Bulova changed was to add luminous paint to the hour markers on the dial and to add a luminous hand set to go with the now luminous dial hour markers but the dial still did not say "astronaut" and it did not have luminous dots between the hour markers yet.

    On 17 July 1962, Robert White wearing his Astronaut watch (all X-15 pilots were given one of the first astronaut watches) took the X-15 to an altitude (59.6 mi or 95.9 km) what NASA considered to be "Space".

    In 1963 Bulova added the "ASTRONAUT" on the dial to commemorate (and further capitalize) on the 17 July 1962 event and at the same time also added the luminous dots between the hour markers and with the exception of the Swiss made astronaut and the 14kt covered lug astronaut with the enhanced dial, all black dials had luminous dots between the hour markers and said "astronaut" from then on, only the Swiss made astronauts never had dots on the dials between the hour markers and the black enhanced dial used with the 14kt astronauts had dots only they were triangular.

    Then sometime in 1964 they switched to the "bullet" bracelet. From then on the evolution of the Accutron Astronaut slowed way down with relatively small changes made to it over the rest of it's live.
     
  23. jkfabulos

    jkfabulos Registered User
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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Here is a photo of an early model. Has luminous hands and markers no Astronaut name. Date was not recorded but it must have been later 1962 production based on your information.
    Photo courtesy of Martin Marcus.
     

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  24. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Yes that is a late 1962 but it's not out of the question that it could be a very early 1963 but if Bulova did make any 1963's with those dials there would be very few and I haven't ever seen one.....

    I'm sure Martin has seen and worked on the M2's as have Bob at myBob.net.....
     
  25. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Re: Bulova Accutron Astronaut M2 First All Stainless Steel Astronaut Worn By X-15 Pil

    Speaking of Martin back in the day when I first got interested in the 214 Accutrons and before I myself knew anything about them I would send Martin photos of spaceview watches and he would tell me if they were the real deal or not ! lol My hats off to Martin ! Thanks !
     

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