Dating an accutron watch
None of these improvements warranted a change in calibre number designation.
The watch below is the TV-style Model 521 and is unique in the 214 range in having a mineral glass crystal and a snap-on back; all other 214’s have acrylic crystals and screw down rings plus back. Judging by the number of Accutron Astronauts I serviced in 2012, this has become a very popular model with collectors.
These watches are known as Accutron Anniversary models and were only produced for one year; as a result, their cases and movements also lack the letter-number dating code.
The watch below is a recent purchase (2013) for me.
In 1975, Bulova celebrated 100 years of making watches.
To mark the occasion, they brought out several Accutron models that had a case in the shape of a tuning fork.
Sadly, over the years many of the Accutron 214 watches that fall into this group have been sacrificed to make Spaceview conversions.
It’s easy to do: just remove the dial and fit an appropriate signed Spaceview crystal.
Although the Hamilton Electrics had only been released 3 years earlier, the 214 Accutron watches were very different to anything that had gone before — in fact, in one of Bulova’s 1966 advertisements, they have a tag line that says “The Accutron timepiece is not a watch.“.
Here are the main calibres in the 214 Series: According to Pieter Doenson’s book, from 1968 onwards, the 214 calibre numbering system becomes as shown below.
In addition, in the 1960’s, 214 movements were often used in instrument panel clocks — NASA used them in spacecraft — but I’m unsure what calibre designation these clocks would have had.
Known as “Spaceview Conversions”, some are very professionally done and unless you examine the watch under a loupe, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a genuine Spaceview and a conversion.
The Spaceview in the first seven photographs below is very unusual.