Non-Matching Movement Years in 214 Accutrons
 
Winner of the Bulova-Accutron-Caravelle Masthead Contest
AWF_01_1

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19
Like Tree27Likes

Thread: Non-Matching Movement Years in 214 Accutrons

  1. #1
    WTF Veteran Time2Fish's Avatar
    (Retired Engineer. Pratt Whitney Aircraft)

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    721

    My Watchbox

    Default Non-Matching Movement Years in 214 Accutrons

    I have noticed that many many Accutron 214's have movement years different than the caseback year by over the acceptable plus or minus 1 year. For examble, I see casebacks with a M3 mark and a movement marked M7. I would say I see a mismatch 40% to 50% of the time but that is just a guess and could be a little high. My question is: Did watchmakers, back in the day when Accutron parts/movements were readily available, simply change out movements with new ones rather than go through the process of actually repairing the watch? Were complete movements purchased from Bulova pre-phased so the watchmaker didn't have to do that?

  2. #2
    WTF Veteran uscjake87's Avatar


    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    989

    My Watchbox

    Default

    The general rule of thumb is this:

    Caseback year goes with the same year movement or the previous year movement.
    -Example: M9 Caseback can have an M9 movement or M8 movement.

    This makes logical sense since they would want to use up movements made in late 1968 that are still sitting around early 1969.

    I think if you start trying to apply the same mismatch and leftover parts sort of argument for every anomaly out there then it means there is no "rule of thumb" anymore. I am sure that most jewelers without an accutron specialist watchmaker simply swapped out service movements they had on hand. I am sure the factory did the same thing. A lot of collectors don't like to admit that their watch with an M3 caseback has an M9 movement in it and that it is simply not correct. They will toss out the whole movement swap argument and act as if that swap doesn't affect its value to collectors. The same thing applies with Omega. They swapped Omega dials and movements all the time. The fact remains that a swap occurred and prices in the market will reflect that generally. I think that the prices don't change much for Accutrons if the movement was swapped unless it is an Astronaut.

  3. #3
    WTF Veteran


    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Posts
    2,877

    My Watchbox

    Default

    I suspect that occurred often. Several years ago a gentleman, who was a brief member here, reported that his mother-in-law had passed in her 90s. She had been an official Bulova Accutron repair person who had worked from her home. After her passing many dozens of Accutron movements were found among her supplies.

  4. #4
    WTF Veteran Rob B's Avatar


    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Bangkok
    Age
    67
    Posts
    514

    My Watchbox

    Default

    I Think it you might be overestimating how many watches have swapped movements. I see hundreds of 214's that come in for service, and variations of more than a year are not that common. I do see plenty of ebay watches that have ben frankened, and that's where you'll more likely see mismatches in date codes. Very rare to see a nice original watch that has mismatched codes of more than a year. I think most watch repairers back in the day would have been far more inclined to repair a movement, as that's what they trained to do. That was the philosophy of repairers back then. the concept of disposable movements is something that started with cheap quartz junk in the 90's, not quality watches either in either Accutron or any other brand, and it would be hard to imagine that in normal circumstances it would be cheaper to replace an Accutron movement with a NOS tuning fork movement just for the sake of a simple service job. Only when a movement had been really trashed would one consider that.

    We did, however, see a time when Bulova service centers had swapped Accutron movements out for quartz movements, in fact Bulova supplied conversion kits to do that. I think that's where those orphaned movements would have come from, not just from swapping movements during a service. I am sure many owners of Accutrons back then would have welcomed a quartz "upgrade". It was the latest and newest technology back then, very desirable. Of course today we look back on that with horror at the thought of it.

    Rob

  5. #5
    WTF Veteran Time2Fish's Avatar
    (Retired Engineer. Pratt Whitney Aircraft)

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    721

    My Watchbox

    Default

    I probably am overstating the number of Accutrons I have seen with swapped movements but in my limited exposure to the purchase of Accutrons on ebay, I find quite a few mismatches in dialed Accutrons. Maybe it is just an ebay thing. The main reason for my thinking was that I am marveled that a watchmaker could make a living servicing watches, especially with Accutrons which can be so finicky. Granted, I am far from a Rob B or Chris Radek, but I can literally spend 20 or 30 hours trying to figure out why a 214 movement is running so fast or slow or why the Vibrograf is reading -5.0 seconds but the watch is running 3.0 seconds fast. With so many different movements out there, I am blown away that a watchmaker could literally purchase and keep on hand thousands of parts and actually make any money. Then, if you couple that with all the specialized equipment and tools required to service watches, I am just amazed.

  6. #6
    Stainless Steel Patron Member WTF Junior Member


    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    79

    My Watchbox

    Default

    The +/- one year makes sense given some overlap during Dec/Jan. The 214 service manual doesn't even address removing the train bridge, and as most of us here know, it isn't exactly easy to replace. Makes sense that in a pinch they'd just be swapped out by an independent watchmaker who has cheap donors available over the last 20-30 years, or by ebay sellers who just want a functioning product. Perhaps Rob's clients are also skewed toward original owners or their descendants, and collectors who are willing to pay for a quality service to keep the original piece intact? (I don't mean to speak out of turn).

    Over the weekend I worked on my first 2185 (N0 Gold Astronaut Mk II containing a Bulova 218 battery marked "West Germany" with solidified gasket, open cell coil, and a seriously messed up or well-used hour setting bridge assembly/stem). According to the seller it belonged to a commercial airline pilot who quit wearing it upon retirement in the early 80s. It clearly had never been serviced beyond battery changes. Pillar plate and caseback matched, so I was pretty excited by this as the other higher end 2181/2 Deep Sea models I've obtained are all mismatches. (Which makes sense given those higher end case/dial/hands arrangements were worth more as donor recipients). It's always such a joy to obtain a never before serviced piece where everything matches.
    Last edited by Dillworth; 08-17-2020 at 10:02 AM.
    Time2Fish likes this.

  7. #7
    WTF Veteran Rob B's Avatar


    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Bangkok
    Age
    67
    Posts
    514

    My Watchbox

    Default

    Accutrons were never intended to be serviced by anyone other than experienced watchmakers, for whom removing and replacing a train bridge is a simple task. No need to include that in the manual, that's like having a chapter in a car repair manual to explain how to change a wheel.

    Again I will say that no watchmaker of any merit would swap out a faulty or dirty movement and replace it with another. The risk is too great to have a watch come back from a disappointed customer. Even if there were NOS movements available, chances are they would have been sitting around for many years and almost certainly would need to be cleaned. So why not just clean the movement already in the watch? All of this talk of movement swapping makes no sense to me. I believe any movement swapping is something that originated with ebay watch flippers who were cobbling watches together from wrecks, for a quick sale.

    Rob

  8. #8
    WTF Veteran uscjake87's Avatar


    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    989

    My Watchbox

    Default

    Is this when we bring in the double stamped pillar plates in the sticky thread and confuse everyone?

  9. #9
    WTF Full Member


    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    307

    My Watchbox

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    All of this talk of movement swapping makes no sense to me. I believe any movement swapping is something that originated with ebay watch flippers who were cobbling watches together from wrecks, for a quick sale.

    Rob
    Rob,
    Where and how does the quartz replacement movement fit into this discussion? They were replacing turning fork movement with quartz in, what, the late 70’s? 80’s? Was it a problem with parts? Because it couldn’t have been a lack of trained tech or tools, as all those servicing the movements would still have the skill and tool set to repair said movements.
    I know when I find a quartz swapped movement Accutron, I try to being the correct movement back to it, and play within that 1 year range if I can, (and you usually can, if you’re patient).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    WTF Veteran


    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Posts
    2,877

    My Watchbox

    Default

    Good question for Rob! We know there was a ton of parts around at independent service centers for many years as well as trained service folks. I have one of the Bulova 218 quartz replacement kits just for giggles and have purchased a couple Accutrons outfitted with quartz movements in the past. Three or more years ago I bought a solid gold 218 with a quartz movement and found the proper Accutron movement to replace it but just haven’t had it done yet. Been at least 3 years since I got it and it’s still running accurately. A friend of a friend sent his 218 to Bulova for service after they stopped servicing the original movements. The watch was sent back with a quartz movement without even telling the customer what had been done. When he discovered it he was fit to be tied. He never cared for the watch after that and eventually gave it to my friend.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 

ShowCase, Vendor Tools vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.