The 1962 Bulova Accutron Astronaut "X-15" ! - Watch Freeks


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Old 01-22-2017, 06:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The 1962 Bulova Accutron Astronaut "X-15" !

The first all stainless steel Accuton Astronaut, The 1962 Bulova Accutron Astronaut "X-15" !


This rare Accutron Astronaut shown below is all factory original with the exception of the crystal and the hand set which was replace with the same factory original hand set P/N WS-25 that came on the watch from the factory and is the correct hand set for this model year, The factory original "Simple" dial & hand set was refer to as a "Regular" dial & hand set in promotional materials in 1962.


The reason i call this watch the "X-15" is because of one of the ways it was advertised and promoted by Bulova in 1962 but more on that later, Let's take a look at the very rare 1962 Accutron Astronaut "X-15" watch....










More than a few people that are unfamiliar with this very rare model have tried to say that this watch "has the wrong hands" but that simply is incorrect as can be shown by the many Bulova adverts dated 1962 which includes this Bulova factory sales card that was only given to authorized Bulova dealers....






And as this 1962 factory hand set list clearly show the white spade hand set on the list of the only hand sets that were available during that time frame for the Accutron 214 movement and frankly if the hand set isn't on this list then simple didn't exist or could not be used due to the unique OD tube size of the Accutron 214 movement, All other Bulova movement calibers hand sets are incompatible with the Accutron 214 caliber movement and without exception could not be used on the 214 movement !






The "white spade hand set" p/n WS-25 was almost certainly lifted from the Bulova Timer Labs aerospace clocks and timers which had been using the same part numbered hands for many years prior to their use for one year on the 1962 Accutron Astronaut...









Never say never with Bulova as this factory hand set appears to have blue centers or it could just be a trick of light !


Some WS-25 hand sets have rough paint edges like these below......





Some factory WS-25 hand sets have smooth paint edges like this set below.....





The white spade hand set WS-25 was also used with the 24 hour dials in some very rare wrist watches as well, The 24 hour dials used in those wrist watches differed from it's panel clock counter part in that the 24 hour dials used in wrist watches are "dished" where as the 24 hour dials used in the panel clock's are "flat" making the wrist watch version of the dial much rarer !





The white spade hand set WS-25 was all set to be used on this Bulova prototype but it was never put into production for unknown reasons.....


Once again these paint edges are rough so as always never say never with Bulova because you are a fool if you do......





Here are some of the Bulova ads all dated to 1962, It's a fact that every Bulova factory picture that dates back to 1962 clearly shows the white spade hand set and one more distinguishing feature is the factory dial which only says "Accutron" on the dial and lacks the white "dots" between the hour marks and were only added after 1962....







This is a Bulova Factory picture of the M2 Astronaut that shows very clearly the hands on the real M2 Astronaut are NOT some nonexistent skeleton hands that Bulova didn't make for Accutron 214 movement and the hands shown below are in fact just a pair of white painted spade hands part number WS-25 which are the same hands Bulova had been using for two years prior to using them on the M2 Astronaut for less than a year !










Here is a more close up and detailed view of this 1962 Accutron Astronaut's movement, It's a 214HN with a date code of M2 (1962)....






Some facts about the M2 214 movement, A factory correct M2 movement will have no letter or number codes on the center fork mount, It will have the earliest three wire coil assembly with the downward facing capacitor, on the back of the movement there will be no patent pending number, It will have the large model number 214HN inline and angled, And of course it will have a M2 date code.








If any of these distinguishing features of the M2 Astronaut movement is not present the movement is not 100% original like the movement shown above !


Now back to the "X-15" desigation i have personally given to this watch (Bulova never called this watch the "X-15") I call this the X-15 watch because of one of the ways Bulova advertised it back in 1962 and is shown in these 1962 date adverts....








And these rare 1962 Accutron Astronnaut watches can be clearly seen on the wrists of the X-15 pilots on the outside of their pressure suits below, Sometime around late 1961/Early 1962 all of the X-15 test pilots were given one of these 1962 Accutron Astronaut watches and it is unclear if these first all stainless steel 1962 Accutron Astronaut watches were ever released for sale to the general public.......










On July 17, 1962, Robert White flew the X-15 to an altitude of 314,750 feet -- 59.6 miles above Earth.

"This is a fantastic view," he reportedly radioed while flying weightless.

He said after landing that it was too cloudy to see the ocean, "but I could see the coastline of the Western United States from well above San Francisco Bay down into Mexico."

Calling him "the nation's newest space hero," Life magazine featured a photo of White on its cover greeting son Greg, then 7, after the flight. Said the headline: "Boy, That Was a Ride."

At a 1962 ceremony on the White House South Lawn, President Kennedy presented what had been called the nation's most treasured aviation award, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, to White and three fellow X-15 pilots.

Robert White can be seen below wearing his 1962 Accutron Astronaut watch after his record setting flight !

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






Bulova had record-setting watch bands produced by a local watch company for the watch given to the X-15 pilots in order for the pilots to wear the watches on the outside of the X-15 pilots pressure suits, Wearing the Accutron Astronaut on the outside of the X-15 pilots pressure suits meant that the watches were exposed to the extreme environment of the X-15 cockpit ! The record-setting watch band is talked about in this November 14 1962 newspaper article.....




And some dimwit tried to tell me I could never post about this factory watch again, Looks like I just did........
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Last edited by Accutronitis; 01-23-2017 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What great pictures, ads and facts. Awesome watch!
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Great stuff!

Mine harks from a bit later in the run, 1964 or 67 - not sure which off the top of my head.

But it hums along nicely!

Its got different hands, so I'm wondering if they were replaced incorrectly, given it also has the between-the-indices dots?

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Old 02-20-2017, 09:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Accutronitis:
Another watch I let get away, back n tha day.
Wore a 214 RR Grade Accutron 13 years working as train engr on UPRR
Seeing the caseback on this piece brings back memories of my Bulova!

After about a 40 year hiatus from Bulova, I'm back into Bulova.Have
bought 3 in the last 6 mos. Main reason is Bulova's acquisiton by Citizen
in 2009. Big Citizen fan as well.

Lou Snutt
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Accutronitis:
Oops. Forgot to mention. Great post. Luv threads like yours

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Old 03-01-2017, 05:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, In this day and age of internet trolls it's always great to hear something positive from someone who appreciates what I do.....
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Old 06-17-2017, 02:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Accutronitis: ZOMG. That is incredible! I take it you are the actual owner of that Astronaut. What is the backstory (if you don't mind me asking). Where on earth did you find it? Looks to be NOS or basically unworn.

Those 1st edition X-15s are the the most rare of the Astronaut series. To have found one in that condition is like winning the lottery. Well done.
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The watch was worn by Kirk Douglas in the 1964 movie "Seven Days In May"
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