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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently unearthed my dad's old watch, and through the power of the internet have found out that it's a Bulova Night/Day Astronaut, made in 1968. I guess he bought it when he was working for IBM and spending time at the Redstone Arsenal while we lived in Huntsville, AL.

Anyway, the one lingering question is about the luminus second hand. Per this page: http://www.watchtalkforums.info/forums/bulova-accutron-forum/34748.htm , the second hand should not be luminous ("Luminous Seconds: Certain variants of Type 1 Astronaut include a luminous seconds hand. Luminous seconds is not available on Type 2, 3 or 4.")

However, I also came across this: The Accutron Revolution - Accuracy Through Electronics 1960-1977 , which says, in part, "Luminous Seconds (LS): Certain variants of Type 1 and Type 3 Astronaut include a luminous seconds hand. Luminous seconds is not available on Type 2 or 4 variants."

Considering they both appear to be written by the same person, I am a bit confused.

Is my (dad's) watch factory original (besides the band, of course)?
 

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I recently unearthed my dad's old watch, and through the power of the internet have found out that it's a Bulova Night/Day Astronaut, made in 1968. I guess he bought it when he was working for IBM and spending time at the Redstone Arsenal while we lived in Huntsville, AL.

Anyway, the one lingering question is about the luminus second hand. Per this page: http://www.watchtalkforums.info/forums/bulova-accutron-forum/34748.htm , the second hand should not be luminous ("Luminous Seconds: Certain variants of Type 1 Astronaut include a luminous seconds hand. Luminous seconds is not available on Type 2, 3 or 4.")

However, I also came across this: The Accutron Revolution - Accuracy Through Electronics 1960-1977 , which says, in part, "Luminous Seconds (LS): Certain variants of Type 1 and Type 3 Astronaut include a luminous seconds hand. Luminous seconds is not available on Type 2 or 4 variants."

Considering they both appear to be written by the same person, I am a bit confused.

Is my (dad's) watch factory original (besides the band, of course)?
First of all, Nice Astronaut!

The short answer is this: Bulova techs put whatever second hand they had handy at their bench on those watches. I'm sure some were spec'd to have a certain second hand, but as with all things Accutron, there is never a definate answer. If I were you, I would consider it factory correct since you know the provenance of the watch. Besides the luminous second hand is the most desireable for that watch...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you!

A further question if I may. I've done what research I can for the last couple of days, but haven't found anything on the net. What was the approximate retail price for this watch when new? I'm just curious.

I'm also curious about the relative rarity of the day/night bezel. I find far fewer photos of that style than the others.
 

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"Luminous Seconds: Certain variants of Type 1 Astronaut include a luminous seconds hand. Luminous seconds is not available on Type 2, 3 or 4."

I would tend to agree with that author if not for the fact that so many of the Astronaut "T" (day/night bezel) and black dial have them. I have come to accept that mod as authentic. It may have been a jeweler modification at the request of the buyer but we may never know for sure.

MSRP: $175.00
 

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Congratulations on the beautiful Astronaut, that was quite a find.
I think ACCUTRON probably hit it pretty closely, I sometimes wonder if Bulova ever made 2 Accutrons exactly alike. I would suspect that it is the original hand.
Regarding original cost, I don't have an old advertisement for that exact watch but, based on some advertisements for similar watches, I would say that it probably cost about $175 to $195 originally.
The day night bezel is not super rare but there are others that are much more common so it is certainly uncommon. You are lucky to have it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are lucky to have it.
Thank you. It's one of the few items I wanted when my parents passed away. I remember when I was young that my dad would let us listen to the hum the watch made. He also made a point of saying that it was the watch that the astronauts wore.

He stopped wearing it when you couldn't get batteries for it anymore, and it has been silent ever since. I've got a battery coming for it next week, but now I'm thinking that I should just send it off for cleaning and perhaps the modification to use the modern batteries safely.
 

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I agree that it would be a very good idea to have the watch serviced, cleaned and lubricated. Once that is done they can give years of good and very accurate service.
As to the battery, I know that the experts tell one to use Accucells or to have them converted for use of 1.55v batteries. All I can tell you is that I have about 20 214's and have had some of them for years and have been running all but one of them on readily available 387s batteries with no problems.
One of them requires an Accucell to be accurate.
 

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I agree with skypilot. Have the watch serviced and regulated to run accurately on the 1.55V battery and don't look back. That's the same advice the watchmaker in Bulgaria I use gives about battery type. If you place the battery in the watch only when you wish to use it (easy to do with a 214), with modern synthetic lubricants it will go a very long time before needing the next service. Accutron movements aren't subject to the same kind of gear train stress and wear as mechanical, spring-wound movements. While the supply of NOS parts may be limited, there is a very large number of used parts available for these watches and most likely will be for quite some time because Bulova made so many of them. From all the NOS parts we do see, I think watchmakers are hoarders. I can't believe how many NOS Accutrons and parts appear regularly on The Bay as a result of estate sales. I know some may be misrepresented but not all are. I have two in my collection that I bought last Summer and they definitely were NOS, with original boxes also. Also bought three NOS watch cases and bands I am using to restore other Accutrons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, it sounds like the consensus is that it should get service, and I certainly can't argue with that. It hasn't run in a *minimum* of ten years, probably longer. Justifying the cost is going to be difficult, but maybe as my birthday present...

Any advice on who to send it to? I've done quite a bit of searching online and found quite a few names as well as websites that look straight out of Myspace and GeoCites *shudders*.

I'm in the San Francisco bay area if anyone knows of someone local.
 

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I have used a gentleman in Idaho. He is a certified accutron repairman which I think means he was trained and given an accutron repairman number. He did great work on my 65 214. If you would like you can PM me and I'll give you his contact info and you can chat with him and go from there. I have also heard good things about someone in Bulgaria. I have no experience with him, just heard good things. Hopefully other folks with much more experience with repairmen will chime in.

Ron
 

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Well, it sounds like the consensus is that it should get service, and I certainly can't argue with that. It hasn't run in a *minimum* of ten years, probably longer. Justifying the cost is going to be difficult, but maybe as my birthday present...

Any advice on who to send it to? I've done quite a bit of searching online and found quite a few names as well as websites that look straight out of Myspace and GeoCites *shudders*.

I'm in the San Francisco bay area if anyone knows of someone local.
Sent you a PM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
IT WORKS!

I put in a new battery, and it fired right up! Interestingly, it had a modern battery in it, so I guess dad did use it after you couldn't get the mercury batteries anymore.

I've attached a better picture of it. The dark stuff on the ring appears to be dirt/wax, so the watch should look pretty good once it gets a good cleaning.

Thanks everyone for their advice and help!
 

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IT WORKS!

I put in a new battery, and it fired right up! Interestingly, it had a modern battery in it, so I guess dad did use it after you couldn't get the mercury batteries anymore.

I've attached a better picture of it. The dark stuff on the ring appears to be dirt/wax, so the watch should look pretty good once it gets a good cleaning.

Thanks everyone for their advice and help!
Glad it is up and running. Remember, if it hasn't been serviced for some time, don't leave that battery in very long.
 

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Oliverb said it well. It's not unusual for an Accutron that has been stored for a long time to take off running but, with no lubrication, it is grinding itself apart.
 
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