Bulova Accutron


cal. 214

Factory Spec. 60 SPM

User Adjustable: Yes

This is an M4 version of the classic 214 tuning fork watch. That means it was made in 1964, pre-dating the first quartz watch by five years. Time is kept by a metal tuning fork (hence the name) that vibrates under the influence of electromagnetic forces and produces a hum that is audible when you put the watch to your ear. The vibrations (360 times per second) are translated into drive for the hands and the result is a very smoothly gliding second hand and an overall accuracy that beat anything a mechanical watch could offer.

I had wanted to get one of these after picking up my Accutron II 'Moonview'. I had read a review that compared the two watches, and it was this review that prompted me to get the newer watch. Having got the newer watch, though, I then rather fancied having its ancestor. I went back-and-forth on this decision for a while. 1964 Astronauts are not exactly in good condition, these days. They are delicate, fickle and they don't even fall into the 'High Accuracy Quartz' theme of my collection. They were, however, undoubtedly the most significant, high-accuracy advancement in horology in the pre-quartz days of the 20th century. Also, once I had realised that the Accutron II was not actually spec'd to 10 SPY as I had thought it was (that honour fell to its close relative, the Precisionist), a part of me wanted to get an original Astronaut to sort of justify the existance of the latter day version in my collection.

So, here it is.


I didn't manage to pick one up with the same 'coffin link' style bracelet as the Accutron II has, but this watch is nevertheless an authentic Accutron that mirrors the style of my modern watch closely enough to justify its place in my collection.

The setting of the watch is straight forward, though its crown is set into the back of the watch as a statement of Bulova's confidence in its accuracy (no need to have easy access to the crown because you will seldom need to set this watch!). In another over-inflated statement of confidence, the back of the watch states that it is 'waterproof'. It isn't and never was. Later versions revised this wording to 'water resistant', but I understand that even this statement should have been taken with a pinch of salt.

The 24hr GMT hand is fixed in relation to the hour hand, so you set your second time zone by rotating the bezel.

Back when this watch was made, Bulova's parent company was simply the Bulova Watch Company. Bulova is now owned by Citizen.

UPDATE - I have sold this watch, as part of a pair, together with the Accutron II

Parent Company The Bulova Watch Company
Brand Bulova
Model Series Accutron
Model Name Astronaut
Model Number M4
Case Number unknown
Serial Number A65100
Approx. Date of Manufacture 1964
Calibre (mvt maker) 214
Calibre (brand) 214
Factory SPY 60 SPM
TC Appproach none
Frequency (XO 1) n/a
Frequency (XO 2) n/a
Rate Adjustment User
Major Inhibition Period n/a
Minor Inhibition Period n/a
Power Disposable cell
Cell Number 387/394 or Accucell-1
Case Back Battery hatch
Water Resistance unknown
Features 4-hand, no numerals
  24 hr GMT hand
  24 hr rotating bezel
Timing Results Basic data  &  Further details
Images Photos - Large File Sizes!
Documents Service manual