This is a 10 kt. gold filled bezel with stainless steel case back. The serial number is E97018 and it is stamped M7, which dates it to 1967.
The Doctor’s Pulsation Dial has a Cadeceus (the medical two-snakes-on-a pole emblem) at the 6 O’Clock position and two pulsation scales, one on the right and one on the left, which say ” Enumeras AD XX Pulsus .” For a doctor, nurse, or medical professional, these are actually quite handy. In order to take a pulse, you simply place your fingers on the patient’s artery and begin counting when the sweep second hand reaches the first set of arrows. When you’ve counted out 20 pulses or pulsations, you look at the scale which will tell you how many beats the patient’s heart completes in one minute. This is the beats per minute (bpm) that doctors and nurses use to tell if you are tachycardic (too fast) or bradycardic (too slow). A pulsation watch makes taking that measurement a very simple process.
Aside from the practicality, the pulsation dial is just plain cool. There weren’t many of them made at all, and most of the ones that were produced are found in the Accutron 218 series, making this watch, a 214, quite rare.
For this restoration, I did what’s commonly called a sympathetic restoration, which many collectors look for. That is, there are still flaws with the watch–buffing out every single ding and restoring it to a totally new condition is not only impractical, but it also diminishes the value of the watch. Instead, in a sympathetic restoration, the goal is to preserve the vintage character of the timepiece, but to give it back its true shine. The gold watch case has been buffed to remove most of the surface scratches, but great care was taken to preserve the beautiful lines of the watch. This also means, however, that the deep scratches were not totally removed. It simply takes off too much material and destroys the original contour. In particular, I’d like to draw your attention to the large dings on the bottom front of the case between the 4 and 5 O’Clock position, and on the top left lug. On the caseback, please notice the two linear scratches that do not go with the grain of the back plate.
The dial is completely unrestored and original. The face is very clean with no oxidation and no scratches. Up close, it has a beautiful brushed finish that really dresses up the watch. There are three defects in this dial, it is not mint: 1) there is a mar on the very left-most edge at about the 80-86 mark on the pulsation scale. Because the mark is at the very edge of the dial, you do not notice it unless you’re paying attention, as it blends in with the shadow that the curvature of the crystal creates. 2) There is a small “ping” like dent just to the left of the 3 O’Clock hour marker; this mark is visible in the pictures. 3) There is a teeny tiny ping or depression above the cadeceus. This one is so small and hard to see that you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you were outside in direct sunlight or if you uncase the watch and inspected the dial with a loupe. It probably didn’t even show up in the pictures, but I wanted to point it out so that when you get the watch you feel like it’s in as good or better condition than my description. It’s hard enough to purchase a watch online, much less with a less than honest seller.
The acrylic crystal is a genuine NOS replacement with the gold colored compression ring. The original crystal was cracked. I saved the original crystal and am happy to include it.
The back of the watch has a pretty vertical graining to it, and the engravings for the Serial number, Date Stamp and Case marks are all in good, visible condition. Again, some people sand the heck out of the case back to remove every little scratch, but they’re only hurting the collector’s value and destroying a piece of history when they scrub the serial numbers and markings right off.
Please note that in the pictures, if the battery hatch looks like it’s sticking out a little bit–it is. I unscrewed it just enough so that the battery isn’t running. This protects the movement from wear and tear while it’s in storage.
These Accutrons have movements that are very sensitive to the amount of current that they receive. They were designed to be run in the range of 1.32 to 1.41 volts. Problem is, the old mercury cell batteries that were around back then are no longer available (I assume due to concerns about the mercury). You can find a lithium battery, the 394 for example, that fits the Accutron with the use of a little converter ring, just a piece of plastic that holds the battery. Although these modern lithium batteries fit, they run at around 1.5 volts, which is far too much current for these movements. If you run them on 1.5 volts, it can either throw off the accuracy of the timing, or it can prematurely wear and damage the movement itself, or both. The solution is a special battery that cannot be found at the little stand in the mall.
I special ordered an Accucell-1 battery for this watch, which runs at 1.35 volts. They’re not cheap at ~$13 a piece, but it’s the best thing for the long term safety of the movement. This watch will come with that fresh Accucell-1 installed, and I’ll include the 394 battery with the little plastic adapter ring. Don’t throw that piece away, even when the battery dies.
After installing the Accucell-1, I timed out the movement, and it it wasn’t running accurately, a sure sign that the movement is overdue for a routine servicing and regulation. So I brought the watch in to one of the two remaining watchmakers in all of New York City that service Accutrons. You might find other watchmakers or jewelers who claim to work on the Accutron, but the truth is that they just pick up the phone and farm the work out to these two watchmakers who have a large enough supply of old spare parts to actually work on these movements. The complete movement servicing and regulation cost me $180. I’m happy to put you in contact with the watchmaker if you’re in the New York area, just send me a message.
The watch was completely disassembeled, the appropriate parts were cleaned in an ultrasonic, and it was then oiled with Moebius 8201, the only oil that is reccomended for use with these movements. When I went to pick up the watch, the watchmaker said three things:
1) that he had had to adjust and regulate the tuning fork assembly
2) that the movement in this watch was “beautiful and very clean… a pleasure to work on.”
3) that the watch looked “almost new”, and to hold on to it because this one was rare and its value would only increase.
Since returning from the “spa,” I’ve re-timed the watch against an atomic clock. It is running +1 sec/day!! That’s truly remarkable for a vintage piece, which means that it’s not only running within original specifications, but that it would blow away the Swiss certification tests that watches are put through to be stamped as “Certified Chronometers.”
The rubber gasket for the the battery hatch was in bad shape and was replaced with a new gasket. I saved the original one and am happy to include it. The case gasket that goes all the way around the back of the case was in good shape, even after all of these years. I lubricated it with watchmaker grade silicon and reinstalled it. Many restorers simply chuck all the gaskets regardless of the condition. I’m a little more thoughtful about replacing them, particularly with the caseback gasket. This is because you simply cannot buy new gaskets from Bulova anymore, and the original caseback gasket has little flanges that come out the sides of it that provide a very important cushioning effect for the movement. There are NOS gaskets available, but that rubber is just as old as the rubber that was originally in the watch, so if it’s in good shape, my philosophy is to keep it as original as possible. For the battery gaskets, there are many sources of modern replications that look just like the new ones, so I routinely swap them out, as I did with this watch.
The watch comes with a brand new, extremely high quality lizard skin band installed. Please note that this is not a leather “grained” or stamped leather band. That’s honest to goodness lizard skin that combines with the rich brown color to really make this watch look stunning on your wrist.
Please enjoy this beautifully restored watch. It’s really a wonderful piece for your Accutron collection (or your budding collection–careful, these things are addictive!) and it will look great on your wrist as an everyday wearer, or reserved for more dressy, special occasions.