Searching a Vintage 214 or 218 Accutron Tuning Fork for sale on E-BAY or elsewhere in Auction?
Prices have quickly become outrageous and you end up with junk so I'm writing this warning to all:
First off I specialize in Vintage Bulova model Accutron 214 and 216 as well a Accutron Quartz repairs and Restorations.
Its getting increasingly more difficult to find a Accutron running and in unrestored good condition. So therefore hundred's of non-conforming Accutron's are popping up especially in E-Bay auctions. The Astronaut and Spaceview Models are the most sought after and are also the highest in value. Of course 18k, solid 14k cases are going to be the most expensive but most Bulova Accutron's you see are 218 day or day-date models. 14k Gold Filled or even 18k Electroplated cases.
Now the M on the back stands for 1960 so a M-9 would be 1969 and then a N would be 1970 so a N-4 would be a 1974 the final year of the double coil tuning fork movement. I'm not going to bore everyone by going into specific detail about Coils and Tuning Forks vs Hairsprings and the electronics Bulova used etc. but lets just say these 214 and 218 movements respectably are the most complex timing devices every made on the planet. So therefore when it stops running it could be several different problems. The most I see are improper Battery Installation especially on a 214. Because Bulova originally used there own Mercury cell batteries and the fact these batteries were outlawed, watchmakers had to scramble to come up with a proper voltage solution. So the first thing you need to check is the battery.
Next you have a shelf life for the coils and I can now say in 2021 the end of life is soon. Proper voltage needs to continue to run through the coils.
To make a long story short, a dead 214 or 218 movement in most cases is big trouble. Even back in the day a Bulova authorized seller / watchmaker would simply change out to a new movement rather than attempt repairs because it was cheaper to do so. I find that to be somewhat true today.
So now is the BEWARE part of this story:
Stay away from NON-Working Accutron's.
Make sure the Accutron is running accuretely and functions as it should.
The DAY-DATE 218-2 or dd Model's over time the calendar's become worn and won't function. Bulova had a problem with DAY-DATE.
The 214'S are the original models, the battery can be accessed through a cowling cover on the case back sealed with an o-ring.
Railroad Models or RR Accutron's were sold to the public. The real Accutron Industrial Model was called the Transportation Model. Sellers are attempting to fetch hundred's of dollars for simple Railroad 214 or 218 models NON-WORKING.
I get these in my shop all the time. Typical, "I paid $500.00 for this Accutron and it does not work but I knew that when I bought it."
There are few that will attempt to repair any Accutron and most charge more than what the watch is worth. So buying a working Accutron is far more worth it in the long run.
These are complex timepieces, some of the problems we are still trying to figure out today. NASA for Apollo 11 used Bulova's tuning fork Movements within their instrumentation to get us to the Moon and back.
So now that I have totally confused you about buying that old Accutron you have your eyes set on, just follow my advise and you should be ok. Just make sure you have a warranty from a vintage dealer even if its just 30 days.
I recently was wearing my own 218 and a young waitress commented on my watch. I took it off and told her to put it to her ear... "Hear the Humming, I asked? She acted like this was some Alien or paranormal event!
Vintage ACCUTRON, nothing like it.
John V. / "TIME & AGAIN"
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