Advice for Accutrons

I have felt some kind of connection for Bulova watches since i first began collecting. My first watch was a Marine Star from my uncle and i now own about 7 other Bulovas. Since i started noticing watches i have been interestd in the Accutrons, i love the concept and find them fascinating. Recently i bought 3 of them cheap with hopes that at least one would work. Unfortunately none do. I bought a 2210 "Dress" watch, a steel Floppy Football 214 and a gold 218 that resembles a tuning for upside down. I did my research and order the correct batteries and adapters. The 221 and the 214 both hum but wont run, the 218 is silent. When i tap them the seconds hand moves and i can get it to run for as long as i tap it. Which means the fork and gears are good right? I checked the pawl jewels and they are attached. Is it a problem with the circuits then? I would really like to wear these and would like to do so without spending like $500 more. Any suggestions or solutions?

ArchieGoodwin's picture
Posted December 4, 2013 - 12:41pm

Bulova-addict, welcome to the addiction!  I started collecting vintage Accutrons a little over a year ago, and have amassed a small collection of 12 or so, with I believe 8 running.  I have several 218 variants, one 2192.10 and a 2210 (woman's model) that I need diagnosed and repaired.  Unfortunately, skilled watchmakers who'll work on these tuning fork movements are far and few between.  If you're lucky you'll find someone nearby, if not you'll have to pack them up and ship them.  Just choose wisely who you send them to.  Check watch forums for feedback as there are some butchers/bad businessman out there. 



Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted December 4, 2013 - 1:46pm

Panel Member

Vintage Accutrons are becoming harder and harder to service. The holy grail part, the index wheel, must be in pristine condition, or you are finished. It can be destroyed by simply touching its rim with tweezers. The machine that made them was destroyed when Accutrons were discontinued. 

Some watchmakers have made a specialty of servicing these, and they usually have NOS parts. It is to these guys that these watches should go. Your watch may be salvageable, maybe not, but without the ability to replace a bad index wheel, your watch can look pristine, but be kaput. 

Posted December 4, 2013 - 3:39pm

Yeah thats what i was afraid of. Would you think it be better to buy a working watch/ movement for like $30 or $50 and swap them or to get it serviced? Most that ive seen are around $150 or $200, so i would be spending around $500.   If i can get it to run when the fork vibrates then that means that the pawl arms are turning the index wheel right?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted December 4, 2013 - 4:17pm

To My understanding on a neglected Accutron the resistance in the drive train can become greater than the driving force. The fork hums but the train will not move.

Remove the battery immediately as coil damage can occur and have the Movement serviced.

Posted December 4, 2013 - 4:57pm

I took all the batteries out of them no worries, is it possible that only one fork is vibrating not two?

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted December 4, 2013 - 7:07pm

Panel Member

It could be a lot of things, not the least of which would be the pallets out of adjustment, or damaged. As Mark says, better to take the batteries out and get it looked at. 

Posted December 4, 2013 - 7:13pm

Ill do that, does anyone know of an Accutron contact in PA? And ive heard about someone in Ukraine?

Posted December 4, 2013 - 9:25pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I know Timemachines on here, from Michigan, services them. I send him my stuff he services them and sends them back.

Be aware even a simple cleaning is $100.... they are not easy to service.

ArchieGoodwin's picture
Posted December 4, 2013 - 9:46pm

Bulova addict, you're probably referring to Ludmil Balevski, who currently resides in Bulgaria. He sells Accutrons on eBay under the username of something like "Antivicarus."  You can contact him through there. My wife surprised me with one of his Accutrons, an  it's still running like a champ. I will most likely end up sending him a couple for service. 

Posted December 5, 2013 - 9:53am

Well I'd be pretty happy with a $100 service, it seems like most others are around $200.

Yes Ludmil thats his name, does he still service them? Is he reliable and how much?

Posted December 5, 2013 - 12:07pm

Hello Bulova -addict.   Plainsman is right, it cost around $100 bucks to service them plus parts. and shipping.  These are very difficult to service and a bit pricey, therefor most people neglectid to have the serviced on a regular basis.

if you pm me I can help with your project if you like