Dating a 214 Bulova Accutron

Chronoatx

Registered User
Jun 2, 2022
16
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3
53
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Hi All,

I am trying to date this watch, but there does not appear to be the usual alphanumeric code on the back denoting decade and year made. It says water resistant so it was likely made in the early to mid 1970s after the use of waterproof was phased out. These numbers are directly below "Water Resistant:" 3-8470.

Could the 3- denote 1973?

Thanks,

Chris

3.jpg 2.jpg 1.jpg Chris
 

Chris Radek

NAWCC Member
Apr 13, 2014
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Hi Chris, welcome to the forum!

There were US-made and Swiss-made 214s. This is a Swiss case back (I know this because of the dash in the serial number) but I think the rest of the case, and the dial, are probably US models. The case back may be a replacement part. The movement will say Swiss or US, and it will probably have a date stamp. There may be a case code stamped inside the back that could tell us more.

It's super common to find parts from several watches combined together in 214s, with results usually ok but sometimes a pain. In particular, some cases are different depths, stems are different lengths, dials are different diameters, etc etc.

There are definitely 214s with dates past 1968. Up to 1974 is common, I've seen a report of a 1977 stamp but I haven't seen one that late myself. I don't typically bother to record the dates or case codes from watches I service, though. I just record serial numbers.

Flipping through my records I see lots of Swiss 214s and 218s starting with 1- and 3-, but no other start numbers, and I don't know whether that corresponds to dates somehow. It seems like it probably doesn't.

Allow me to stick my neck out and make a guess: 1967, US case and dial and movement, Swiss replacement case back. The case is gold filled, even though the back says stainless steel. Since it's a railroad dial, the original movement would have been marked 214H (or 2141 if Swiss) and have a hack function.
 

Chronoatx

Registered User
Jun 2, 2022
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Thanks for the reply and information. I have ordered a battery with spacer. Fingers crossed it starts. I need to remove a little battery leakage from battery compartment. Hopefully not a deal breaker!
 

gatorcpa

Registered User
May 7, 2007
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Bulova watches of this era usually had a date code somewhere on the back. For a watch like this, it was probably "Mx". "M" = decade = 1960's. "x" = last digit of the year made. So "M6", would be 1966 and "N0" would be 1970.

Your pictures are not very clear. I think I see the code, but can't make it out. About 11 o'clock on the 2nd picture.
gatorcpa
 

Chronoatx

Registered User
Jun 2, 2022
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I think I see N7. Many thanks, Chris
 

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