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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I must hesitantly tell my story because I feel that it needs to be told. But please understand, this is not a slander or rant. It is an unfortunate outcome regarding someone who has posted here in the past, and in my internet search led me here as a forum for these particular watches.

Last fall, I received my father's Accutron Spaceview. it's a 1967 Swiss chapter ring, originally bought by my Grandfather and now passed down to me. It hasn't worked in years. A local jeweler tried to fix it, but the issues were never resolved. Truth be told, he likely made matters worse.

After some internet searching, I found Bob Piker. I had some communication with him regarding the watch, and he was very confident that it could be returned to original working condition. I packaged the watch up and sent it to him.

His communication was excellent. He was very patient with my regular email asking for delivery confirmation, updates, shipping information, etc. Never once did I have any fears about the watch's security.

His assessment was that that the coil set was gone, but with their replacement and a proper setup it would be a fine working instrument again. Total cost, $400.

Funds were sent via paypal on October 23. In early November, I received it back with the old coil set. I was thrilled to wear the watch that has now been in my family for 3 generations. My pride was short lived when I noticed that it lost time. It seemed the minute and hour hands stopped moving altogether when I wore it. The second hand always advanced though, never skipping a beat. Out of curiosity I checked the watch with my strobe tuner and noticed that the watch holds a firm 370 hz, which didn't make sense.

I emailed Bob and he asked me to take a wrench and tighten the back. His theory was that the gasket was too thick and that the mechanism for setting the time was not disengaging properly. I replied to him that I am not set up for watch repair and that I would rather send it back to him so he could look at it again, which I did.

He had it for another two weeks, said that he had looked at it again, that it was working fine, and returned it to me.

Nothing has changed. It sits on my desk and the hands advance. As soon as I put it on, within minutes they don't move any further until I push on the setting button. But within minutes, it does it again. Now that it sits untouched, I notice that it loses about 5 minutes every three days or so.

Bob did refund $200 of his fees. All communication with him has been very cordial. If I were to press him again I'm sure he would look at it but on it's last return to me it was inspected by Canada customs and I was taxed on the value of the watch, so I'm wary of shipping it out again.

Again, this isn't a slander to Bob. His website has a long list of satisfied customers (which is one of the reasons I went to him) and I hope that his future customer's experiences don't end like mine. I just think that it should be noted that there aren't always happy endings with his service.

With Regrets.

67
 

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I have used Bob many times and he is top notch. Here is my 1960 gold inlay model with the early "lightning bolt dial" he restored the case,back, and movement.

I would have no problem having Bob do another one for me.
 

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Welcome to the forum, I am sorry your first post about your Accutron is a sad one. I know how you feel, having received a 214 back form service last year only to find it doing something similar to yours. The gentleman, here in the U.S., is unknown to anyone here on the forum. I believe him to be competent as he has serviced three other Accutrons for me and several for my friend. My situation will be rectified by a trip out to a different service person as the old gentleman seems to have eyesight problems with phasing 214s. You need to communicate with Bob again about your problem. Perhaps a phone call to discuss the situation would be better than emails. I have seen his name referred to many times with positive comments. This may be one of those mysterious problems that needs more time and examination to solve.
 

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The problem with the watch and the hands stopping sounds similar (albeit worse) than what was wrong with my 218 Spaceview before I sent it off to OFT for repairs a little over a year ago. Could it possibly need a new Center Wheel / Cannon Pinion? I was told a long time ago that due to the way the Accutron movement runs - transmitting all the power up through the gears and into the hands - that the parts like this wear differently than they would in a mechanical watch and it can get to where the friction on them is improper and you reach a situation where the hands just stop intermittently or quit working all together. Because the power train in an Accutron is different, the works will usually keep plugging along where a more sensitive mechanical watch would have already stopped - it supposedly takes quite a lot for an Accutron to stop all together when the coils are still good. This is something that I would imagine Bob Piker took a look at, but it may be worth asking - my Accutron had been serviced several times in the past by people who apparently were not experts with the movements, and this was never noticed. Like you, I got it back full of pride only for a while, before noticing that it still stopped and kept lousy time. I finally got the problem fixed for good, but it took me more than a decade.

This does not answer the question of why it seems to work ok when not on your wrist and then behaves differently when you put it on, but may be worth checking out.

Good luck...

-John
 

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I think the advise offered by oliverb is your best course of action. The outcome will only be "regrettable" if you do not avail yourself of the opportunity for Bob Piker to deliver a pleasing result. Servicing Accutron movements on these vintage watches often requires multiple adjustments...but can be made to run reliably and provide excellent time keeping. Having delt with Bob on numerous occasions over the years I can assure you he will, given the opportunity, produce a working watch that will be trouble free.

Welcome to the forum, I am sorry your first post about your Accutron is a sad one. I know how you feel, having received a 214 back form service last year only to find it doing something similar to yours. The gentleman, here in the U.S., is unknown to anyone here on the forum. I believe him to be competent as he has serviced three other Accutrons for me and several for my friend. My situation will be rectified by a trip out to a different service person as the old gentleman seems to have eyesight problems with phasing 214s. You need to communicate with Bob again about your problem. Perhaps a phone call to discuss the situation would be better than emails. I have seen his name referred to many times with positive comments. This may be one of those mysterious problems that needs more time and examination to solve.
 

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Hi 67
I had the exact same issue you described when I used a case gasket (ebay purchase). No matter how hard I tightened it would not work.
I got my refund from the gasket seller since it didn't work. I had to re-use the old gasket that was with the watch.. Since then no issues.

Look at this picture, it shows the old gasket I had to re-use. Not very water-resistant so I'm very careful.

Maybe try the old gasket if you still have it or contact other sellers for an old gasket they have removed when rebuilding watches.

Good luck and post some pictures!!


 

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I think the advise offered by oliverb is your best course of action. The outcome will only be "regrettable" if you do not avail yourself of the opportunity for Bob Piker to deliver a pleasing result. Servicing Accutron movements on these vintage watches often requires multiple adjustments...but can be made to run reliably and provide excellent time keeping. Having delt with Bob on numerous occasions over the years I can assure you he will, given the opportunity, produce a working watch that will be trouble free.
I agree, if Bob Piker is still working with you and doing everything he can to get your watch going again and you don't send it back to let him have another crack at it I don't think that he has any blame. These watches are over forty years old and sometimes they are difficult to get running the way they should.
 

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I have dealt with Bob Piker and intend to do so again in the future. I'd give him another shot at it.
PS Welcome to the forum.
 

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I really appreciate everyone's kind words. In all sincereity, it's always my goal to repair and return an accutron in proper running condition. I love working on them so when I run into one that wants to be stubborn, regardless of the fact that it may become a losing venture financially for me, I'll do whatever it requires to ultimately get it running again. I hate it when an Accutron has to come back for a readjustment and really hate it if it has to come back again. But I will always do what I can to get it right. My sincerest apologies to the fellow who has trouble with his Accutron following a double readjustment. I would be happy to pick up the shipping if you would like ot give me another go ahead at it.

Best regards,
Bob
 

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I don't see the point of this thread ? The watch is 45 years old, Bob refunded you however his time still costs money so what am I missing here. Accutron watch repairers and not magicians they can only do what they can do to make it work, and it may have worked when it left Bob but these can be temperamental time pieces. The only reason for posting this waffle is to either harm or discredit Bobs business so this says you are still disatisied.

I've already wasted my time reading and responding to this 'first post thread'

Good Night
 

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I completely agree. I have serviced watches before, and a month later they die for some reason. Others, I just adjust and they haven't lost but a couple seconds in months. These are hit of miss, but when they do work, they are golden. Microscopic imperfections is all it takes to throw these off drastically. At least we aren't trying to get hamilton electrics to keep time. I heard those are aweful (yet so beautiful). My astronaut worked perfectly for a month, then I changed the second hand, and now it gains a few minutes a day. I'm waiting to take it apart and fully service it, but it just goes to show you that these can be fickle sometimes. It's just the nature of the Accutron.
 

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Hi 67
I had the exact same issue you described when I used a case gasket (ebay purchase). No matter how hard I tightened it would not work.
I got my refund from the gasket seller since it didn't work. I had to re-use the old gasket that was with the watch.. Since then no issues.

Look at this picture, it shows the old gasket I had to re-use. Not very water-resistant so I'm very careful.

Maybe try the old gasket if you still have it or contact other sellers for an old gasket they have removed when rebuilding watches.

Good luck and post some pictures!!


Bulova made two different springs to hold the setting stem into a 214 Accutrons, then with the 1st designed spring there were 8 different lengths of stems, with the newer designed setting spring there were 7 different lengths of stems. On top of that the 2nd designed spring over a period of time gets week and sometimes breaks. This is why a thicker gasket may make the watch stop and start or not run at all. If your Accutron tech doesn't have a good supply of the different lengths of stems they may run into trouble getting the watch to run correctly once it's cased.
 

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I have that very issue with one of my 214s right now. The watch came with an "O" ring stuffed between the mvt. and case. I removed that and installed an original 214 case back gasket. Now the stem won't engage to set the watch. Have to send it to Ludmil along with one to be serviced.
 

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Bulova made two different springs to hold the setting stem into a 214 Accutrons, then with the 1st designed spring there were 8 different lengths of stems, with the newer designed setting spring there were 7 different lengths of stems. On top of that the 2nd designed spring over a period of time gets week and sometimes breaks. This is why a thicker gasket may make the watch stop and start or not run at all. If your Accutron tech doesn't have a good supply of the different lengths of stems they may run into trouble getting the watch to run correctly once it's cased.
I DID NOT KNOW THIS! I'm going home now to check all my stem lengths. 8 lengths? really? I'm sure it's hard to tell without calipers. I need some better reference material
 

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I DID NOT KNOW THIS! I'm going home now to check all my stem lengths. 8 lengths? really? I'm sure it's hard to tell without calipers. I need some better reference material
They are marked with different rings in the top part of the stem. The longest length has rings around the bottom part of the stem. I have many still in stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I really appreciate everyone's kind words. In all sincereity, it's always my goal to repair and return an accutron in proper running condition. I love working on them so when I run into one that wants to be stubborn, regardless of the fact that it may become a losing venture financially for me, I'll do whatever it requires to ultimately get it running again. I hate it when an Accutron has to come back for a readjustment and really hate it if it has to come back again. But I will always do what I can to get it right. My sincerest apologies to the fellow who has trouble with his Accutron following a double readjustment. I would be happy to pick up the shipping if you would like ot give me another go ahead at it.

Best regards,
Bob
Thank you Bob. I will be in touch with you in the coming days. I have wanted to do so but am in the midst of wedding preparations, shift work and a toddler.

*edit* I think I should clarify something. My hesitation in returning the watch to Bob is not his capability or his fees. I live in Canada, he in the US. The last time the watch returned to me it was inspected by Canada Customs and I was surcharged full taxes on it's value. Now that it (and my address) have been brought to the attention of Canada Customs, everything I ship will at the very least given a second look. Getting refunds from the government here is like anywhere else. Sending it back again risks another charge and if I get someone in a foul enough mood, I may never see it again so I have to balance those risks with having Bob look at it again.

And to my troll friend jakeagusta, I fail to find the point of your post. I guess we're even.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wanted to give an update on my Accutron. After sending it back to Bob for another round, he has managed to conquer it's gremlins and I am very happy to say it's working beautifully. My strobe tuner reports a firm 362.28 Hz, and he had it back to me in time for my wedding.

Thanks Bob for your exceptional efforts. I'm very grateful for your persistence and patience.

Watch Analog watch Finger Clock Watch accessory
 
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