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Bcasecollector

Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide and Reference Info

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I thought I would put to together a small thread that helps identify Accutron Astronaut watch variants and some useful info on bezel cleaning and crystal replacement. 

 

******A Nice Astronaut Guide Link to various Astronaut watches. Its not 100% complete but it will get you started.************************

Accutron Astronaut Variant Guide Link

**NOTE: All Accutron Astronauts came with either a Kreisler Coffin Link Bracelet (1962-1964ish) or a JB Champion Bullet Band(from 1964ish+on). There is one advertised pic of a Astronaut with a leather strap but its not a factory ad but a dealer ad. 

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****** Known Accutron Astronaut Case Numbers (546,546-2,2410,A2140,B2410)************************************

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*Note: case # 546-2 would be swiss. #2410 is the most common case number but these numbers can be washed off the case if cleaned(they are printed on). The swiss case numbers are stamped so they are permanent.  

 

************214 Astronaut Crystal and Bezel Cleaning/Replacement**************************************

 The nice thing about Accutron Astronauts is the bezel and crystal are press fit so with alittle info, almost anybody can clean the bezel and replace the crystal without having to send it off to a repair-person. 

I thought I would 'try' to set out a rough outline on how to replace a 214 astronaut crystal and clean a sticky bezel. What tools you will use will depend on what you have and my main info will be more how it comes apart and goes back together. What tool you come up with depends on each person inventory. But if you know how it comes apart, that will then help you determine what to use. 

First off, the 214 astronauts are a pressfit type crystal and bezel. Basically the bezel holds the crystal in place and the crystal holds the bezel in place with a snug fit on both. The longer the two have been on the watch, that snugger they are to remove(dirt/grim etc.) I have not run into one yet that was glued together but several have been quite snug. 

*Note: In my opinion, its best to remove the caseback and movement before you start this process. That way if the crystal and bezel are snug and finally do pop off, they won't damage the dial or hands. 

First two pics is what the bezel looks like when it was fully seated on the case and the other pic shows the bezel partially 'lifted' off its seat on the case with the crystal still seated. As you can see there is a gap now between the bezel and the case. All it does is sit on the case snugly around the crystal. If it doesn't turn freely, that usually mean the 'parts' that make up the bezel ring(4 parts) are dirty and need cleaned. Its probably not broken in most cases. Getting the bezel to lift off the case can be tricky as it can be snug (from grime/dirt/age etc) and will need to be pulled/pried evenly upward in short even motion around the bezel. Care must be taken not to pry with any tool that will mark up the case or bezel and it will have to fit in-between the case and bezel. Some bezels will just slide up very easy with very little effort and some will seem almost glued on so patience and even work around the bezel will get it to start moving upward and once it starts its easy. 

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*Note: Once the bezel starts moving upward, sometimes it brings the crystal with it and sometimes it doesn't so just go slow. If the bezel then pops off intact, all you have left is the crystal which will pop off if you invert the case and push it out or get a sharp edge and pry up around the edge of the base of the crystal evenly. Sometimes the bezel will still have the crystal in it when its removed and once again the crystal can be popped out by pushing the crystal out since its only a press fit and not locked into place in any way. It can be snug also so some may fall out and some may seem to be glued but they will pop off. * I have heard of a few crystals that for whatever reason were glued into place. If that's the case, it will just take abit more time to remove the crystal. 

This pic is what the case looks like with the crystal still seated and also what it will look like when you install and seat a new crystal.. The crystal slides down around the collar built on the case itself which can be seen in this pic. Again all you have to do is press the crystal down until it seats evenly on the case. That's it. No glue, no special presses. Just a firm even pressure with your fingers. 

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** Now if you stick 2-3 fingers though the center of the GMT Bezel ring snugly and spin the outer bezel, it should spin relatively freely. Some turn easier then others but it should turn without having to really twist. If that's the case, then I see no need to tear the bezel components apart and all you will do is reinstall a new crystal in reverse order and slowly slide bezel back down slowly and evenly on the new crystal and case until it seats.Don't smash it down until it seats. Just evenly press until it looks to be seated evenly the whole way around the case.

If the Bezel is not rotating freely or just want to clean it up, here is a brief overview on how to do it. Here is a pic of the broken down bezel components and how to disasemble them.

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1. Remove the snap ring from the bezel. Its seated under a very small lip in the bezel. Tiny tools with come in handy here. 
2. Remove the wavy washer hold down ring(it just lifts out)(remember which side was up on the ring as this "must" be reinstalled the same way). 
3. Remove the wavy washer.(Also just lifts out)
4. Clean up any parts that are dirty with a toothbrush or tool that you use for cleaning. 
5. Reinstall in reverse order. Sometimes the snap ring can be abit difficult to seat in the lip of the bezel. Patience!!!!!!

Cleaned and assembled Bezel (Still upside down) with all components installed. 

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Final Assembly of all the components.

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* I have used both Clark and NOS crystals on my astronauts and both fit fine. Crystal Part number is #1245 31mm. Some people like using only OEM crystals and some don't mind using Clark Aftermarket crystals. Considering the amount of Astronauts I own, I use Clark aftermarket crystals. They are cheap ($13.00+-) and I can remove and install a new one is about 5 minute so scratching them up isn't a big deal. Also the silver/gold dialed astronauts are more forgiving with crystal imperfections that may be seen on older NOS crystals. Black Dialed Astro's are not as forgiving when it comes to seeing crystal imperfections. That's another reason why I use new Clark Crystals on Blacked dialed Astro's. But that's my own preference. 

* Finally, when installing new crystals, make sure they are clean and without dust/fingerprints/small particles etc). A little air to blow off the inside of the crystal goes along way in removing tiny dust particles. Static will keep some particles clinging to the crystal unless you blow that stuff off with some air. Then you can reinstall the movement and caseback.

 

******* And finally for now, the difference between a factory Dauphine Astronaut Minute hand and an Aftermarket Clark Hand.***************

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the astronaunt  is an interesting watch, but much like all the bulova tuning fork watches.   lots of aftermarket parts available, at high cost and collectors want the original.  an original new crystal for that model must be worth a fortune.  cheers.  vin

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Interesting thread. I have 4 of these, I think, a couple of which are in original boxes. I have one with the coffin link band, and another with the bullet link band. I also have one with the 14k gold bezel. That watch had been leased to MADMEN by my buddy the vintage watch dealer, but as near as I can tell, the watch was worn, but wasn't seen. There was an episode about Accutron in season 7 I think.

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