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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm really new to Accutrons but I recently came across the Spaceviews and have become a wee bit obsessive about finding the perfect one to start my collection.

I really like the idea of owning a Chapter Ring Spaceview (Swiss ideally). I've read all about the difference between a convex and concave ring being a tell-tale sign of it being a conversion and read somewhere that the Swiss made ones have luminescence on the 3,6,9,12 of the glass along with either gold or nickel plated hands with slightly tapering lugs. Should they also have a Hack spring too?

Now, if I've got that all correct - what do you make of this little chap attached and what should I be looking out for as signs that it's a Frankenstein? The seller also tells me "The back is ST/ST The movement is stamped USA date code M9" Does that mean it's not a Swiss?

Looking forward to hearing your responses,

Dan
 

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Welcome to the forum !
Wait for the real experts to come along but the hands and crystal look to me to be aftermarket ones made by Clark. I don't see any indication that it is a Swiss watch.
I have no idea what St/St means but the first digit of the serial number of a Swiss Accutron is a number and the first digit of an American Accutron serial number is a letter.
You need to find out if there is a case number on the inside of the case back. Many of them have been erased in the course of servicing but, if it is there, it is informative.
I've been told that 95% of the Spaceviews for sale are conversions but I suspect that the correct number is closer to 99% and some of them are very good.
I personally don't see much wrong with a good conversion, I own one original and two conversions, but some people are more purist more than I am.
 

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That Is A Swiss Chapter ring Accutron, But That case never was available as a Spaceview. That is a horrible clark crystal on it. Someone removed the dial and hands of a good looking watch and ruined it . Here is what one should look like,
 

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Swiss Accutrons all have movements marked Swiss. If it has an American movement it is worthless as a Swiss model. Id post a pic of the Swiss movement but all mine are in a safe right now
 

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The discussion on conversion or no conversion is an interesting one. If truth be told, most all the very early ones were conversions because Bulova only produced the Spaceview as a display to allow prospective customers to see the Accutron movement. Some were converted by dealers, some sent to the factory for conversion. IIRC, Bulova supplied kits - or at least parts - for conversions early on. After Bulova saw how popular they were, they started producing factory versions.

As I look at the watch you pictured, it appears to have the earlier 3-wire transistor - if I correctly see three wires coming from the little can in the top right recess. I have forgotten the exact date of change over but it was somewhere around 1963 or slightly after, IIRC. If the transistor does have three wires, the movement can't be M9! Nothing wrong with the older 3-wire design just that it was replaced by a newer 2-wire design.

No, AFAIK, the Spaceviews did not come with a hacking spring - only Astronauts and Railroads in the 214 movements but I'm not an expert here. The watch pictured by "Accutron" does have a hacking spring. I recently had a hacking spring installed in my Spaceview and will do the same in a couple more 214s I have when they are serviced. Just my preference and I don't see how that would affect value as it is only a part that is easily installed and can be easily removed.

This can be a fun hobby, as well as an expensive one, and does have a steep learning curve.
 

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The changeover from 3 to 2 wire coils happened 1966-1967ish
All Swiss chapterr ring Spaceviews like mine (Case 316-1) came with a Swiss 214-H movement with the hack spring
They always come with hands matched to the case color
 

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The changeover from 3 to 2 wire coils happened 1966-1967ish
All Swiss chapterr ring Spaceviews like mine (Case 316-1) came with a Swiss 214-H movement with the hack spring
They always come with hands matched to the case color
Thanks for the correction. Didn't know the Swiss versions had the hacking spring. Always good to have folks with the right answers. :biggrin:
 

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First, let me say that I know next to nothing about Spaceview Accutrons. I have only one in my collection but it just happens to have a "Swiss" case. The case back is marked 317 Swiss on the inside and it is stamped 453202 M3 on the back. It does not have a spacer ring to take up the slack left by the removal of a dial and from what I can tell by close inspection, there is not enough room in the case to install one. The 317 Swiss case is not on the list of known Spaceview cases. I have spent nearly two years looking for a replacement Spaceview crystal to fit this case and have found it impossible. According to the Bulova parts list, no Spaceview crystal was offered. Unless Bulova had a separate list for conversion crystals or kits, only two were offered as replacements for the 317 case. It takes an armored 30.0mm crystal, #318A for the stainless steel case. I have not found a Clark Spaceview crystal that fits but that does not rule out the possibility that one was made in the past. The crystal on my Spaceview is not of the quality that I would expect from Clark or Bulova. The hands are new from Clark.

Without knowing the case number, it would not be logical to apply my experience to the watch in question but if any of you think it would help our new friend, feel free to critique.

 

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As I look at the watch you pictured, it appears to have the earlier 3-wire transistor - if I correctly see three wires coming from the little can in the top right recess. I have forgotten the exact date of change over but it was somewhere around 1963 or slightly after, IIRC. If the transistor does have three wires, the movement can't be M9! Nothing wrong with the older 3-wire design just that it was replaced by a newer 2-wire design.

This can be a fun hobby, as well as an expensive one, and does have a steep learning curve.

Just a bit of a correction of your terminology, Oliver... I think you were referring to a 3-wire COIL assembly, not the Transistor...

The first transistor used, (the PNP CK722 Germanium by Raytheon) by the nature of the beasty, has a minimum of three wires coming out of its black case. If there are only two wires, it is no longer a transistor, it's a DIODE...

One sure way to tell a late two wire coil set from an early three wire set is the color coding of the bias resistor. First, the three wire setup using the original PNP transistor used two capacitors and a resistor in the oscillator circuit.

The two wire circuit in addition to using a different coil configuration used a different Raytheon transistor (an NPN silicon, germanium was being phased out) requiring slightly different biasing and a slight modification, eliminating one very small capacitor in the oscillator, to make it work... The tell-tail two red bands on the resistor indicate the later two wire coil set...

Yes, the learning curve can be steep but a lifetime background in electronics helps just a bit. :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Firstly, Happy New Year to you all.

And Secondly - Wow! Thank you so much for all the info.

@Accutron - That's a lot of really helpful info, thanks. And that's one handsome looking watch you've got there. How can you tell the Crystal is a replacement? Or is it just that you know the case was never made to be a Spaceview so the Crystal doesn't fit?

@OliverB - I'm one of those purist types, there's just something about owning a factory original. Mind you, I always start out like that, then realise my wallet or patience doesn't stretch and I go for the next best thing!

@RalphB - you totally lost me! Is there any working of value difference from a two wire set to a three wire set or does that just help identify it's age?
 

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Is there any working of value difference from a two wire set to a three wire set or does that just help identify it's age?
I based my description of 3-wires vs. 2-wires on information in the quote below taken from Mark Sirianni's website. Obviously he was referring to the coil wires. Upon examination of my M5 and N5 214s, three wires from each transistor can be seen. No concerns as to functionality - only if replacements are needed in the older 214s but so far that has not been a serious problem.

"The original circuit used a Germanium PNP transistor and this was changed to a Silicon NPN type. This modification involved a slight change to the construction of both the cell coil and the component coil assemblies, as they needed to reverse the battery polarity for the new type of transistor. The way they did this was quite clever, and they didn't have to make any new parts at all. It appears that they also changed the coil specs a bit as well, to compensate for the different characteristics of the new NPN transistor. The early PNP type is easily distinguishable by having three wires connecting the coil assemblies together, whereas the newer NPN type has only two. This change would not have made any functional difference to the watch at all. By the late 60's, most semiconductor manufacturers were decreasing their use of Germanium except for special purpose transistors, so the decision by Bulova engineers to switch to NPN would have been made simply to ensure a continuation of supply of transistors."

Hope this helps! :001_smile:
 

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Firstly, Happy New Year to you all.

And Secondly - Wow! Thank you so much for all the info.

@Accutron - That's a lot of really helpful info, thanks. And that's one handsome looking watch you've got there. How can you tell the Crystal is a replacement? Or is it just that you know the case was never made to be a Spaceview so the Crystal doesn't fit?

@OliverB - I'm one of those purist types, there's just something about owning a factory original. Mind you, I always start out like that, then realise my wallet or patience doesn't stretch and I go for the next best thing!

@RalphB - you totally lost me! Is there any working of value difference from a two wire set to a three wire set or does that just help identify it's age?




The top pic is a real Bulova crystal, the bottom pic is a pathetic repro by clark...kinda easy to tell huh
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The top pic is a real Bulova crystal, the bottom pic is a pathetic repro by clark...kinda easy to tell huh
I see the difference...it's gotta be original all the way!

And thanks OliverB I think I understand, although all the technical info is like a foreign language, I better dust off that secondary school physics book and brush up on my circuits. :p
 

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Thanks for the technical info, awesome. Could you please give me some tech info on the coil used on my 2010 commemorative Spaceview ?



Just a bit of a correction of your terminology, Oliver... I think you were referring to a 3-wire COIL assembly, not the Transistor...

The first transistor used, (the PNP CK744 Germanium by Raytheon) by the nature of the beasty, has a minimum of three wires coming out of its black case. If there are only two wires, it is no longer a transistor, it's a DIODE...

One sure way to tell a late two wire coil set from an early three wire set is the color coding of the bias resistor. First, the three wire setup using the original PNP transistor used two capacitors and a resistor in the oscillator circuit.

The two wire circuit in addition to using a different coil configuration used a different Raytheon transistor (an NPN silicon, germanium was being phased out) requiring slightly different biasing and a slight modification, eliminating one very small capacitor in the oscillator, to make it work... The tell-tail two red bands on the resistor indicate the later two wire coil set...

Yes, the learning curve can be steep but a lifetime background in electronics helps just a bit. :biggrin:
 

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PARALAXED, you might want to take a look at ebay # 290653700018. The case # 891-2 is correct for a Spaceview and the watch appears to have the original and correct Swiss movement. I don't know how well the crystal would polish out but the correct crystal would be 891-AYS if you can find one. May not be as good condition as what you are looking for but it appears to be pretty original.
 

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Thanks for the technical info, awesome. Could you please give me some tech info on the coil used on my 2010 commemorative Spaceview ?
Sorry, I have no knowledge of the movement those 2010 commemorative limited edition Spaceviews have installed within them.

I understand it was a totally new build with new parts being hand made for the issue but I suspect the basic circuitry would be the same as the upgraded 1963/1977's caliber 214 Accutrons.

You best check with someone still active in the present day industrial environment for current build info... I've been retired for over 20 years now and have not been following current trends that closely... Also, as I understand, there is no service data in the hands of the traditional watch service community; ALL service problems on this issue require return to the home office...
:sad:
 

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Sorry, I have no knowledge of the movement those 2010 commemorative limited edition Spaceviews have installed within them.

I understand it was a totally new build with new parts being hand made for the issue but I suspect the basic circuitry would be the same as the upgraded 1963/1977's caliber 214 Accutrons.

You best check with someone still active in the present day industrial environment for current build info... I've been retired for over 20 years now and have not been following current trends that closely... Also, as I understand, there is no service data in the hands of the traditional watch service community; ALL service problems on this issue require return to the home office...
:sad:
Thanks, assuming they used a reproduced movement same/similar to the spaceview back then and based on your experience with the original vintage version (some closeup pics here Bulova Spaceview - Home), wondering if this would be a 2 coil or 3 coil and if the circuitry looks the same? Also hacking or non hacking?
 

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Citizen designed that new 214 repro movement so that no original parts would fit.
 

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Citizen designed that new 214 repro movement so that no original parts would fit.
True since the case is now about 43mm making the parts unfortunately not to fit the original 33mm(?) 214 but the circuitry and design should is reproduction of the original, just not sure which of the various Spaceview model circutries it mimics and it surely hums:)

Extract from the 2010 Accutron ad

The landmark tuning fork movement and exhibition case of the renowned Accutron Spaceview have been meticulously recreated by Bulova for an exclusive 50th Anniversary limited edition. In stainless steel, with curved sapphire crystal, luminous hands and markers, four-screw caseback, black alligator strap and water resistance to 30 meters, each exquisitely crafted collector's model is individually numbered and comes in a specially designed wood and glass display case accompanied by an official plaque attesting to its position in a controlled, limited edition run of 1,000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
PARALAXED, you might want to take a look at ebay # 290653700018. The case # 891-2 is correct for a Spaceview and the watch appears to have the original and correct Swiss movement. I don't know how well the crystal would polish out but the correct crystal would be 891-AYS if you can find one. May not be as good condition as what you are looking for but it appears to be pretty original.
Thanks Skypilot - I happened across that the auction the other day and already have it on my watch list. The crystal was a little bit of a concern but I may be able to get over that. After all, a scratch is just part of the story...or something like that anywho.
 
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