Old Father Time Accutron Tuning Fork Watch Repair & Restoration

116-C Ballast Rock Road
Powells Point, NC 27966

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Accutron Repair

Accutron Repair, accutron watch repair,  repair of accutron watches.  Vintage Accutron Watch Repair and Restoration Authorized Bulova Dealer Repair Center Repair

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After almost 25 years of "Professional" Accutron Repair Experience,
 and with the help of our great customer base of 30,000+, we've learned a few things about vintage Accutron watches.  We were also fortunate to be trained by Henry Frystak, Bulova's Top Accutron Expert of that time.  We've received approximately 1,000 vintage Accutrons for repair, 214, 218, 2180, 2181, 2182, 2185, and 2242 (AccuQuartz), model varieties EVERY YEAR, since 1995.

Old Father Time also has the most extensive library of Bulova Watch Company's technical documentation for Accutron Tuning Fork watches in the world.

Just for information, here are a few things we've had reported by customers over the last 20 years of handling antique electronics, as well as information directly from Bulova through technical bulletins and manuals.  Even though a vintage Accutron keeps perfect time for us here on the timing equipment and through all our testing (in a perfect environment), it can exhibit irregularities once shipped and put back into service. 

  • Airplane cabin pressure changes (as reported by customers) have caused crystals to pop off and, after being exposed, the hands can become damaged. 

  • Of course, airport security scans (whether on the belt, in the suitcase, or on the wrist) have often stopped the watch entirely or have caused adjustments to be needed.  This is reported by actual customers who witnessed it.

  • Also scanning devices (such as those found in grocery and home improvement stores) can occasionally affect the timekeeping if the watch is held too close to the electromagnetic device, because of the rare earth magnets in the movement.  (Actual customer reports & Bulova Accutron Technical Documentation - 214/218)

  • All sorts of medical equipment can stop an antique Accutron, but especially exposure to x-ray and diagnostic equipment, such as MRI type devices.  (Many customers have reported this)

  • Moisture and extreme changes in temperature can certainly cause problems for Accutron watches.  Moving in and out of air conditioned buildings during very humid summer days may cause condensation under the crystal (which needs to be addressed immediately). 

  • High altitudes can cause minor variations in timekeeping, but not permanent damage.  (confirmed by Bulova manuals) 

  • Extreme cold or extreme heat can cause timekeeping problems.  (This is the exact language taken from the Bulova Technical Manual that hobbyists wouldn't have access to.)

  • We've found on several occasions, that copper arthritis bracelets, sports bracelets, balance bracelets (anything with magnets), can interfere with the timekeeping of these watches as well, and probably many similar things we're still learning about.

  • When taking the watch off at night, it seems to work best to rest it on a cloth or other soft surface.  Resting the watch on a wooden or other hard surface can cause variations in timekeeping accuracy from minutes per day, to hours.  The silver oxide batteries used today deliver voltage differently than the original mercury batteries and hard vibrations against solid objects interfere with the normal rhythmic vibration of the tuning fork.

  • Jim, in Loveland, Ohio recently discovered timekeeping irregularities with his 2182 model Accutron whenever he rested it near his telephone answering machine.  He moved the watch to a different location and resolved the problem.

  • Even when new, these watches, (equipped with a 1.35V Mercury battery), were not considered "self starters" (as reported in Bulova's original technical manual/documentation, dated August, 1975, which we have in our library).   After installing the AccuCell battery and closing the back/door, it "may" not immediately begin running. Often it will.  However, occasionally the watch will require a slight "thump" on the 9 o'clock side after installing a battery.  This will start the tuning fork vibration, and then the new battery will continue that "in-motion" state.

  • We've found that timekeeping adjustments are occasionally necessary weeks or months after major repairs (and sometimes even minor repairs.  Bulova produced numerous service bulletins on the subject over the years, but never did actually disclose a "cause".  The use of silver oxide batteries (instead of the original mercury) only further compounds those issues.  So even though the watch may keep perfect time in our studio, and on the timing equipment, after being placed back into service, they may require additional adjustments to the timekeeping accuracy.  We've also seen this occur immediately after rough shipping.

  • Eveready recently changed their 394 and 387S batteries.  According to the manufacturer, they've consolidated the two sizes into one that's comparable to the original 387S.  They're packaging the new #394 in the old 387S Retail Packaging.  Confusing, I know, but all our 387S purchases from the manufacturer have appeared this way.  See Photo

  • A customer who recently reported his Accutron stopping intermittently, sent it in TWICE under warranty for the same complaint.  Each time the watch was fully tested and found to be keeping excellent time with no interruption or inaccuracy.  In speaking with the customer and trying to work through any environmental causes, the customer suddenly said "vibrations?, do you think riding my Harley Davidson motorcycle could do that?"  The watchmaker of course, said yes.  This Accutron is keeping great time now that it no longer rides a motorcycle.

There are many things that affect the timekeeping in these watches.  Most of them didn't even exist in the 1960s and 1970s when these watches were produced.  We're always interested in hearing your experiences, too.  Email us with your own Accutron anomalies.

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