Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide

Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide

Postby koimaster » November 23rd 2016, 10:24am

Bulova released numerous cosmetic variants of the Accutron Astronaut, and it seems that each variant is designated with a single letter. Historically, collectors have struggled to fit their strange-looking Astronaut into the confusing and woefully incomplete reference provided by the Complete Price Guide to Watches, the most well-known watch guide in the world. The guide lists three letter designations: Astronaut A, B and C, and list multiple cosmetic variations under each designation. This is dramatically different from the designation scheme seen in actual Bulova ads, which confirm the existence of an Astronaut C, H, L, N, O and T, all of which are cosmetically unique. In the case of the Astronaut O and T, the only difference between the two variants is dial color. No other letter designations have yet been confirmed by official Bulova documentation.

Assembled here is a complete list of all known factory Astronaut variants, based on 12 years of research. Instead of adhering to Bulova's fragmented system, we present here an alternate classification, based on bezel and dial types. The goal of creating this classification system is to provide a means for collectors to authenticate their Astronaut, as well as provide a language by which collectors can easily describe their Astronaut.

Under this classification system, all Astronaut variants fall under one of four families, hence referred to as Type 1, 2, 3 and 4. Type 1 includes all standard Astronaut variants, with standard painted dial and standard bare-metal bezel. Type 2 includes all Astronaut variants with an enhanced (applied markers) dial and standard bezel. Type 3 includes the models with a day/night bezel, and Type 4 includes the Swiss models with black bezel.

There is a good bit of mix-and-match among Type 1 Astronaut variants. It is possible that other factory-produced dial/hand combinations exist within the range of known Type 1 variants. However, variants of Type 2, 3 and 4 are completely monolithic. If you have an Astronaut with any unspecified mix of features, such as a Type 3 bezel and a Type 4 dial, or Type 3 Astronaut with pointed-style hands or a luminous seconds hand, the watch is not factory original.

Take special note that hand color and applied marker color must always match case color.


Bezel Variants

Standard: Bare metal with engraved black numerals and half-hour indices; available in stainless steel, solid 14K gold and solid 18K gold.
Day/Night: Fully enameled bezel face with 12 hours of white and 12 hours of black; stainless steel only; used only on Type 3 variants.
Swiss: Fully enameled black bezel face; stainless steel only; used only on Type 4 variants.


Case Variants

Stainless Steel: Standard lugs, used with all stainless steel Astronaut variants.
14K Filled: Covered lugs, used with most gold Astronaut variants.
14K Solid: Covered lugs, used only with the Solid Enhanced variant.
18K: Standard lugs, used only with the Ultra Enhanced variant.


Dial Variants

Standard: Triangular luminous painted hour markers, luminous painted dots at the half-hour markers; may say 'Accutron' or 'Bulova Accutron'; available in black and silver.
Simple: Nearly identical to the standard dial, but with no luminous dots at the half-hour markers; available in silver, factory black variation unconfirmed.
Enhanced: Applied trapezoidal markers at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11; available in black, silver and gold; applied markers match case color.
Ultra: Applied diamond-shaped markers at 3, 6, 9; available in gold only, used only on Ultra Enhanced variant.
Day/Night: Applied arrow markers at all hour positions, applied Accutron lettering; available in black, silver; used only on Type 3 variants.
Swiss: Painted Accutron logo at 12, applied rectangular hour markers at all other positions; available in black, cream; used only on Type 4 variants.


Hand Variants

Arrow: Luminous hour and minute hands are non-tapering, with an arrow tip; used only on certain Type 1 variants.
Taper: Luminous hour and minute hands are wide and tapered, with an arrow tip; used on some Type 1 variants, and all Type 2 and 3 variants.
Rectangular: Luminous hour and minute hands are wide and non-tapering, with a flat tip. Rectangular hands are only available on Type 4 variants.
Luminous Seconds: Certain variants of Type 1 Astronaut include a luminous seconds hand. Luminous seconds is not available on Type 2, 3 or 4.
Broadhead Hour: Certain variants of Type 1 Astronaut with arrow hands include a rare broadhead arrow hour hand. Broadhead hour is not available on Type 2, 3 or 4.


Bracelet Variants

Only two bracelet styles are confirmed to have been used on the Astronaut: the Champion 'bullet' bracelet, and the Kreisler 'coffin-link' bracelet. Bracelet must match case material and have a signed clasp with the Accutron logo. It is currently unknown whether or not bracelet type was a distinguishing factor in Bulova's original designation system.

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http://www.decadecounter.com/accutron/astronaut.htm

Bulova released numerous cosmetic variants of the Accutron Astronaut.pdf
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Re: Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide

Postby koimaster » October 9th 2018, 9:22am

http://www.decadecounter.com/accutron/astronaut.htm


Bulova released numerous cosmetic variants of the Accutron Astronaut.pdf


The Bullie boys

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The research pilots at what in 1962 was called the Flight Research Center standing in front of the X-1E. They are (left to right) Neil Armstrong, Joe Walker, Bill Dana, Bruce Peterson, Jack McKay, Milt Thompson, and Stan Butchart. of the group, Armstrong, Walker, Dana, McKay and Thompson all flew the X-15. Bruce Peterson flew the M2-F2 and HL-10 lifting bodies, while Stan Butchart was the B-29 drop plane pilot for many of the D-558-II and X-1 series research aircraft.

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A group photo of NASA research pilots at the front door of the Flight Research Center headquarters building. In the front row are (left to right) Milt Thompson, Jack McKay, and Bill Dana. All three flew the X-15, and Thompson and Dana were also involved in the lifting body flights. McKay was injured in a crash landing in X-15 #2. Although he recovered, the injuries eventually forced him to retire from research flying.

In the back row (left to right) are Neil Armstrong, Bruce Peterson, Stanley Butchart, and Joe Walker. Armstrong and Walker also both flew the X-15. Soon after this photo was taken, Armstrong was selected as an astronaut, and seven years later became the first man to walk on the Moon.

Walker made the highest flight in the X-15, reaching 354,200 feet. He then went on to fly the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, and was killed on June 8, 1966 when his F-104N collided with the XB-70. Peterson made the first flight in the HL-10 lifting body, and was later badly injured in the crash of the M2-F2 lifting body. Butchart flew a wide range of research missions in the 1950s, and was the B-29 drop plane pilot for a number of rocket flight.
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1946-2006

“Your heart was warm and happy

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Every day and in every way

Now forever and ever after."
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Re: Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide

Postby koimaster » October 9th 2018, 9:46am

The continued popularity of the Spaceview has unfortunately resulted in many standard 214-based Accutron watches having their dials removed. In the past, it was a simple matter to identify a Spaceview conversion, as most factory models were equipped with white hands, while non-Spaceview models were typically equipped with gold or silver hands. This is no longer the case, as there is now a healthy aftermarket for high quality replica Spaceview parts, including white hands, printed crystals and dial spacers. An educated estimate suggests that at least 90% of extant Spaceview watches are aftermarket conversions.

The popularity Spaceview has resulted in many standard 214 clones.pdf


http://www.decadecounter.com/accutron/spaceview.htm
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Every day and in every way

Now forever and ever after."
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Re: Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide

Postby 3Flushes » October 9th 2018, 10:16pm

Why one would practically have to inherit one from someone like foggy to be certain one was getting the real deal.
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Re: Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide

Postby JAS1125 » October 10th 2018, 2:55am

Some trivia:
Peterson's crash footage was used as the crash on the Six Million Dollar Man TV show.
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