The Accutron Astronaut

The Accutron Astronaut

Postby koimaster » November 23rd 2016, 9:59am

Original Post by Accutronitis @ Watch Talk World

Most People have heard of Accutron tuning fork watches because they were the first large change in the way a wrist watch fundamentally worked to keep time and at the same time increased accuracy to a much higher previously unattainable level but I'm not going to talk about the accutron tuning fork movement in this video, This video is about one of if not the rarest Bulova Accutron tuning fork watches on the planet ! The Accutron Astronaut M2, The first stainless steel Astronaut ever made, It's unclear if they were ever released for sale to the general public, The dial only says "Accutron" on it, The hands and markers are of white nonluminous paint, The movement is stamped "USA" and "214HN" and has a date code of "M2" which is the same as the back cover, It has a early type applied logo Kreisler USA Coffin Link Stainless Steel Bracelet.


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This watch is Made in the USA and is true Red, White, and Blue through and through and was given to and used by all the X-15 Test Pilots, It's very questionable to say Omega had the moon given that Bulova 214 based Clocks, timers, and switches were used extensively throughout the Apollo spacecraft including the lunar lander and they all did the real work while Omega bought the title "Moon Watch" ! The Bulova Accutron Astronaut and mainly it's advanced 214 tuning fork movement paved the way into space and to the moon starting with the X-15 program and ending with Apollo program and that is a FACT !!!

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The Accutron Astronaut was the first American watch in space, and was worn by a number of NASA astronauts. Mercury pilot L. Gordon 'Gordo' Cooper Jr. flight-tested both the Accutron Astronaut and the Omega Speedmaster during his 22-orbit Mercury-Atlas 9 Faith 7 mission; Cooper noted that the Speedmaster had lost time due to the severe G-forces experienced during liftoff, while the Accutron remained unaffected. It is a popular myth among Omega enthusiasts that Cooper used his Speedmaster to time the retro burn during atmospheric re-entry. However, according to his autobiography Leap of Faith, Cooper used his Astronaut to time the retro burn, resulting in the most accurate splashdown achieved during the Mercury program.

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The Accutron Astronaut would be adopted by both the USAF and the CIA for several early and important high speed flight programs. As touted in a Bulova magazine adevertisement from 1962, the Astronaut was given to all pilots in the X-15 program. The Astronaut was worn by USAF pilot Joe Walker during his record-setting high altitude flight in 1963; pilot Robert M. White also wore an Astronaut, strapped around the large-diameter wrist of his pressure suit with multiple leather straps.

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Following its adoption by the X-15 program, the Accutron Astronaut was selected for the CIA's A-12 strategic reconnaissance program. All A-12 pilots were issued an Accutron Astronaut, which was worn in a small pocket on the left-hand glove of the pilot's pressure suit. As stated by CIA pilot Frank Murray, the Accutron Astronaut was "the only watch that could sustain reliable operation in the A-12 cockpit environment", and was impervious to the 140F temperatures experienced inside the A-12 cockpit.


This stainless steel "Astronaut" model was made before all of the other stainless steel Astronaut watches for only one year 1962 and has a date code of M2 on the case back and movement, There was one Accutron Astronaut watch made before this one with a date code M1 (1961) but it was a 18k Solid Gold Astronaut watch (possible known as the "Royal" Astronaut), Some people might say that a Platinum Accutron or the 18k Solid Gold Astronaut is rarer but I say to that I've seen real world pictures showing a few of each other those watches with over a hand full of the 18k Solid Gold Astronaut known to still be around with one of those for sale on ebay as I type this BUT other than some pictures in Bulova ads and the real thing in pictures on the wrists of X-15 test pilots I've never seen another one of these 1962 Astronaut watches ANYWHERE ! can you honestly say you have

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18ct gold version


Here are some of the undisputed facts about this rarest of rare Accutron Astronaut watch that sets it apart from Any of the other Astronaut watches ever made......

#1 the dial that only says "Accutron" and used nonluminous white paint on the hour markers and no rather large single dots between the hour markers unlike all other black dial Astronaut watches (other than the near equally rare late 1962/early 1963 Astronaut).

#2 the spade hands that Bulova lifted from the aviation panel clocks of the time which were also painted with the same nonluminous white paint as the dial markers, The spade hands were only used for less than one year in 1962 before Bulova changed them in late 1962/early 1963 to the hands you see on the common Astronauts, They are Accutron 214 spade Rail Roal hands painted white and this fact has recently been verified by a number of highly knowledgeable sources of Accutrons of this type and they are listed in the 1963 Bulova ABC Catalog as "white spade (painted) WS-25".

#3 This 1962 Astronaut watch came with only one type of bracelet, the early applied logo Kreisler USA Coffin Link Bracelet.

The Accutron Astronaut definitely evolved very quickly in that first year.

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Update-------





Ok for anyone interested in knowing more about the 1962 Astronaut watch here are all the latest and most up to date facts and the timeline for them that I have gathered and been able to verify about the little known 1962 astronaut watches, The undisputed facts listed above have been changed to reflect these verify facts.

The first "astronaut" made in all stainless steel was made in 1962 and in that first year it had what's called a "simple" black dial that did not say "astronaut" and did not have "dots" between the hour markers, also it had no luminous paint over the hour markers, that very first "astronaut" watch used the Bulova Accutron Hand Set "white spade (painted) WS-25" which is listed in the 1963 Bulova ABC Catalog, It is also the same hand set Bulova was using at that time on all of the aerospace clocks, timers, and timer switches. The 1962 Astronaut watch came with only one type of bracelet, the early applied logo Kreisler USA Coffin Link Bracelet.

Later that same year the first thing Bulova changed was to add luminous paint to the hour markers on the dial and to add a luminous hand set to go with the now luminous dial hour markers but the dial still did not say "astronaut" and it did not have luminous dots between the hour markers yet.

On 17 July 1962, Robert White wearing his Astronaut watch (all X-15 pilots were given one of the first astronaut watches) took the X-15 to an altitude (59.6 mi or 95.9 km) what NASA considered to be "Space".

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In late 1962/early 1963 Bulova added the "ASTRONAUT" on the dial to commemorate (and further capitalize) on the 17 July 1962 event

Later in 1963 the luminous dots were added between the hour markers and with the exception of the Swiss made astronaut and the 14kt covered lug astronaut with the enhanced dial, all black dials had luminous dots between the hour markers and said "astronaut" from then on, only the Swiss made astronauts never had dots on the dials between the hour markers and the black enhanced dial used with the 14kt astronauts had dots only they were triangular.

Then sometime in 1964 they switched to the "bullet" bracelet. From then on the evolution of the Accutron Astronaut slowed way down with relatively small changes made to it over the rest of it's live.

The OP is also the person who wrote the original article above, now since deleted in the dead forum known as watch talk world. The below link takes you to another post he made about the X-15 pilots and their watches.

For more on this type of watch - http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?1237 ... -15-Pilots


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-ldAGxMqgU[/youtube]
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby biglove » November 23rd 2016, 8:52pm

Some great ads and photos. Don't have a clue about the accuracy of the tale; but, the first SS version listed with the red GMT hand makes my parts tingle.
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby Kahuna74 » November 24th 2016, 8:46am

One of my favorite watches. I came close once to owning one.
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby bobbee » December 4th 2016, 4:22am

Pinches of salt required with several of the "undisputed facts" in that blog. He's plucking things from thin air, with no sources or evidence of statements given, examples below.

"This stainless steel "Astronaut" model was made before all of the other stainless steel Astronaut watches for only one year 1962 and has a date code of M2 on the case back and movement"


It is a known fact that Bulova watches sometimes had a date mark from the previous year, and sometimes up to three years. This is supported by many watches that have a known date of issue, yet all known examples have case and/or movement date from the previous year.

"#1 the dial that only says "Accutron" and used nonluminous white paint on the hour markers and no rather large single dots between the hour markers unlike all other black dial Astronaut watches (other than the near equally rare late 1962/early 1963 Astronaut)."


All genuine examples seen by me of this dial have lume on the hour markers. The white paint is actually the background colour for the markers, as can be seen in some of the examples below.

Examples:


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Lume remains seen on lower half of dial.



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The authors example (seen in close up below) can be seen to have off white/yellowish centres with an outline, possibly from having the lume removed so as to match the advertised watches.
The hands can also be seen to have blued centres, this is because they are Rail Road hands that have been hand painted white by the owner. These were later changed for the "correct" silver centred hands.

Also visible in the blow-up is the brass spacer at the edge of the dial, something never used by Bulova. This was used to stop the hands from touching the crystal, and would not have been needed in a genuine Accutron Astronaut.




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In late 1962/early 1963 Bulova added the "ASTRONAUT" on the dial to commemorate (and further capitalize) on the 17 July 1962 event


No evidence of this "fact", except for on another watch forum where the author seems to be quoting verbatim from the above quoted statement.

















Later in 1963 the luminous dots were added


Nah, this October 1962 photo shows one with the lume dots.



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Close up.



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Last edited by bobbee on March 28th 2017, 2:18am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby svaglic » December 4th 2016, 7:37am

Here is an M2 with original band for sale on the bay, this one doesn't have the dots. They quoted from the same article Koi posted.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1st-year-1962-S ... Sw8w1X8VHG

Mort should get this so I can live vicariously through him.
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby bobbee » December 4th 2016, 10:21am

svaglic wrote:Here is an M2 with original band for sale on the bay, this one doesn't have the dots. They quoted from the same article Koi posted.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1st-year-1962-S ... Sw8w1X8VHG

Mort should get this so I can live vicariously through him.



Yeah, he quotes the entire article and forgets his movement is a 214H, not a 214HN. :roll:
It looks like the movement is not an M2 (1962) either. Looks to be M5 to me.
Different hands from the M2 ads with that dial too.

But being as the only one ever seen was made up by the owner, we don't know dick for sure.



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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby biglove » December 4th 2016, 10:27am

svaglic wrote:Here is an M2 with original band for sale on the bay, this one doesn't have the dots. They quoted from the same article Koi posted.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1st-year-1962-S ... Sw8w1X8VHG

Mort should get this so I can live vicariously through him.


Holy crap at that price, and in pretty rough condition.
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby bobbee » December 4th 2016, 10:43am

The bracelet is the later coffin link type from around 1964/5, the earlier one had an applied tuning fork logo on the clasp.
Looking at the sellers sold listings, he sells lots of Accutron parts and even has bad feedback regarding an Astronaut he sold that had the wrong date movement.
He's making his own from parts, looking at the watches he sells/sold. :x
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby Mortuus » December 5th 2016, 1:43am

bobbee wrote:Image

Am I the only one here who senses that the NASA dental plan wasn't a real priority at this time in their storied history? (However, it does look like the mess hall was well-funded...)
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby Thunder1 » December 5th 2016, 4:33am

Priorities, priorities, priorities..
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Re: The Accutron Astronaut

Postby bobbee » April 10th 2017, 10:18am

svaglic wrote:Here is an M2 with original band for sale on the bay, this one doesn't have the dots. They quoted from the same article Koi posted.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1st-year-1962-S ... Sw8w1X8VHG

Mort should get this so I can live vicariously through him.



Mort can't buy it, as Accutronitis has bought it.
The pictures have gone, but here is a slideshow of everything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rs3CO382iw

He is now claiming it is "Genuine Factory Original" although he has changed bits over on the movement and generally frankenised it.
Expect to see it on sale for a couple of grand soon. :D

http://accutronfacts.freeforums.net/thr ... rollTo=172

Typical... ;)
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