Bulova Accutron 214

August 27, 2020

This is an amazing watch. The Bulova Accutron 214 was the first watch to use a tuning fork vibrating at a set frequency as a way to record time. These came out in the 60s all before quartz. The world had not seen anything like it. It was very accurate and more so than the mechanical of the time, I think something like a minute a month.
It would use a 1.35 mercury battery (these were the days before 1.5v button batteries) the battery and a basic circuit would vibrate the fork and that vibration would travel down two “fingers” with jewels on the end. These fingers are as fine as the hair on your head! They would interact with a tiny wheel of 2.4mm diameter that had 300 teeth on (to this day no one really knows how these were made as it was a closely guarded secret.) The vibrations of the fingers would spin the wheel to 300 beats per second! this in turn would give the appearance of a very smooth second hand. Think about the average automatic watch that you would regard as having a smooth tick, these would beat at around 7 beats per second… so 300 per second is just incredible.

I absolutely love Accutron for this very reason, well ahead of times given this was the 60s before quartz.

Nowadays you cant get the 1.35 mercury batteries but you can buy a special battery that has a brass part and a diode to reduce the voltage. These batteries are expensive at around £10 a go. I have found that once they have died you can actually take them apart and replace the standard 1.5 v battery they use inside. This is the cheap way to keep them alive! I have photos in this post to show this.

So my only example of a 214 here in 10 carat gold filled. Makes a lovely humming sound when its running.

I have lots of Bulova Accutron 218’s which was a later model that you can also find on my site.

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