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Bulova Accutron 214 Part 3

By on September 11, 2017
Bulova Accutron fix










Bulova Accutron Repair

This is the third article in my Bulova Accutron 214 series. Here are the links to the previous Bulova Accutron 214 series articles for you to refresh your memory if you wish – Part 1, Part 2. The article on my Bulova Accutron Watchmaster 600 Test Set is here.

It wasn’t easy but I got the movement put back together. The most difficult part was getting the train bridge on after setting the wheels in place without breaking any pivots or damaging the very delicate Index wheel.

In the photo below you can see the two orange arrows pointing at a couple of pivots in the center of the jewels. You can see how tiny they are, and imagine how easy it would be to damage them even though they are stainless steel that has been hardened and tempered properly. Also in the following photo you can get an idea of how small everything is by seeing one of the removed cap jewels above the tip of a brand new toothpick!

Bulova Accutron Repair1

While I was putting the cap jewels back into the jewel settings during reassembly, I pushed too hard on one of the cap jewel bushing springs and it went flying! I could feel my heart sink into my stomach!! It was instant terror! I found it pretty fast but was horrified to see that it was broken into two pieces. I wasn’t sure if I had a spare in my Accutron parts box but, Praise the Lord, I had a couple of new springs! I’m glad I won that parts box in an auction on eBay. It has been very handy. Being my first time repairing an Accutron I knew I would probably break something and need that parts box with many parts for Accutron’s.

In the next photo you can see that the cap jewels and bushing springs are installed and all is well. Phew, the hard and most intensive part is over – time for a break! All of the train wheel pivots and cap jewels are oiled. The movement is ready to be reassembled for testing and adjustment.

The following photo after that one shows me putting the wheel train back together. It was pretty tricky getting it together.

I had to be very careful putting the wheel train back together because the wheel pivots are very tiny and it wouldn’t take much to bend or even break one of them. I very carefully used some tiny pieces of Rodico putty to hold the Index and Second wheel in place so I could get the train bridge on the wheels. You have to be very careful with the Index wheel because it can be damaged very easily.

I got them in good and the train bridge on. Then I removed the Rodico and checked to make sure all the pivots were in the jewel settings and the wheels turned easily and all was well before I installed the train bridge screws.

It’s time to power the movement and see if it works. I could have checked to see if the coils were good with simple resistance checks but I wanted to save the suspense for after I serviced the movement and powered it up. I was going to service it anyway.

The next couple of photos show the movement in the holders. In the first photo, I have the movement in the special Accutron 214 holder with the Watchmaster 600 test set hooked to it using the special 214 clip that fits in the movement holder. It’s hard to work with when DMM leads are hooked to it. The movement tries to pop out of the holder and the clip tries to move around.

In the following photo I use my Bulova Model #300 Universal Movement Holder that I won on eBay. It works much better! It has some thick steel that makes it heavier than most movement holders. So it stays in place very well. It’s also made to power movements. The negative terminal has a nylon bushing that electrically isolates it from the rest of the holder. Of course I can use the negative as positive if I wish. I am so fortunate to have been able to win the movement holder at auction considering my limited funds.

In the photo above I’m powering the Watchmaster 600 with my Bulova Variable Power Supply #9920/6604. I have 2 of them with the same part number but they are different. The other one has a switch for reading the voltage or current and spring loaded contacts for holding DMM leads. The cool thing about the one in the photo is the little battery shaped connector that fits perfectly into the battery nest of the 600 and 700 Watchmaster test sets. It works great and allows me to save my Accutron batteries. Sure, I could use my DC variable bench power supply to hook directly to the Watchmaster test sets, but I like this setup better.

I soldered some wires onto the PCB so I can power it with my DC bench power supply and save batteries. I’ll put a DC power jack on it later to make it look better and easier to hook up. It uses a 9V battery. I serviced both of them, repairing one, and replaced cheap op-amps with good ones. I cleaned the pots up also. The one in the photo had a wrong resistor in it so I replaced it with the correct resistor. If you guys would like to see the insides of them, I can write an article about them.

In the next photo you will see a close-up photo of my new Bulova #300 Universal Movement Holder. You can see how I use the contact arms of the movement holder as electrical contact probes. They work quite well. Plus they have a lot of room for connecting DMM leads and alligator clips from my Watchmaster 700 Test Set. In the photo I have the 214 movement inside the 214 movement holder. But I don’t have to. I could just suspend the movement in the grooves of the nylon posts. The photo after that one is the Bulova Accutron 214 three-wire movement schematic for reference.

Bulova Accutron schematic

**And now for the moment of truth!!**

Dang it – the Watchmaster 700 Test Set needle is pegged out! That means the movement is drawing way too much current! And the wheels are not turning. According to the manual, when the current is very high it usually means that the magnets on the tuning fork are too weak. But they seem pretty strong to me. So I decided to check the components and hope that maybe the transistor or a capacitor is shorted. The fact that we have current means that the coils are good, which is great.

In the photo above I’m using the Bulova #300 universal movement holder probes to make contact on the transistor emitter and base because there is not enough room to get all three of the Peak Atlas DCA 75 Pro clips in there. I really love this new movement holder! It is definitely my favorite.

Well, the PNP transistor is good. So I removed the other components to check them out. I’m using my Hakko curved fine tip #T18-BR02 for this job.

peak atlas lcr impedance meter

peak atlas lcr impedance meter

 atlas lcr impedance meter

Well, well – It looks like this is turning into some electronics repair articles after all!

You can see in the photos that two of the components are way out of spec. The resistor has gone to over twice the resistance that it is supposed to be and the axial cap is nearly three times over its capacitance. Luckily for us I have an extra 214 3-wire coil that has bad coils. Hopefully the resistor and cap are still good and I can pull them from the bad coil and use them to get this coil repaired.

So the fight goes on and I won’t give up very easily. But at the same time I don’t want to spend too much money on this watch. I really don’t like watches that don’t have the day and date. That’s why my favorite Accutron is the 2182. But the 214 was my dad’s watch and I would really like to get it running well and looking good.

In Part 4 we will get the movement together with the borrowed components and power her up. I hope you guys enjoyed this article.

Bulova Accutron meter

My other Bulova Variable Power Supply Mod #9920/6604. It also came with the #9920/6603 accessory. Both of the power supplies came with the original boxes and instructions. I soldered in wires to power it with my DC Bench power supply to save on batteries. It also uses a 9V battery. Soon I will install DC power jacks on both of them to get rid of the unsightly wires. If you guys want me to I’ll write an article on them and show you the insides of them. The DC power jacks that I ordered came in a week or so ago. Thanks guys. See you in Part 4.

robert calk junior

Robert Calk Jr. is a hobbyist from the USA that loves Electronics, Watchmaking, and Leatherworking.

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  1. Parasuraman

    September 11, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Mind boggling! Looks like you are a nuclear lab Engineer handling atoms and molecules! Hat's off!

    • Robert Calk

      September 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Lol! Thanks, Parasuraman. It feels like it sometimes.

  2. Anthony

    September 12, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I agree with Parasuraman Robert...This is beyond my dexterity !
    Thank you for all of the interesting information on this subject.
    Great photos and very well explained !

    Kind Regards


    • Robert Calk

      September 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Thanks, Anthony. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

    • Humberto

      September 17, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Robet I agree too with Parasuraman and Anthony. You are a scientist

      • Robert Calk

        September 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        Thanks, Humberto. I do take a scientific approach to most things. But that is a bad thing sometimes. I'm also a perfectionist and am rarely satisfied with anything that I do.

  3. Albert

    September 12, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Robert, I was hoping you got the watch working in this article. But 'dang it' we now still have to wait on part 4 (LOL). Great work! Those very tiny parts would get lost at my table instantly. It's like repairing those micro components in todays mobile phones. I however wonder how your are able to continu your watchmaker hobby since your Bulova is almost ready now?

    • Robert Calk

      September 12, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Thanks, Albert. I was hoping so also. Mainly because I don't want to spend too much money on it. A NOS 214 coil sold on eBay for $129. I can't afford that right now. I'm still acquiring tools and they take precedence over the 214.
      You just have to be careful with tiny components. It helps to have a sheet of plastic over them when removing/installing them in case they spring away. Working with tiny electronic components was good practice for watchmaking.

      I have plenty of watches. I have some 2182's, 230's, and Seiko automatics to service. I'm going to put the 214 on hold for a while and service two 2182's. One is mine that I know works, but I think the hour wheel assembly needs tightened up. The other one I'm not sure about but I'm going to fix up for a friend of mine.
      The 3M9 resistor in my spare 214 movement is way out of spec also(about 7M5) so I ordered some 1% 1/8 watt 3M9 metal film resistors that I think will work from eBay. I also ordered the smallest axial 1nF and 220nF MCCC X7R caps I could find at Mouser. If they won't fit I guess I'll have to use SMD caps. Since I had to replace some of the components, I decided to go ahead and install a diode to lower the battery cell voltage a little.

  4. Yogesh Panchal

    September 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I agree with Parasuraman sir Excellent!

    • Robert Calk

      September 13, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Thanks, Yogesh. I appreciate your taking time to comment.

  5. Gerald Musy

    September 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Hi Robert,

    Wonderful job, congratulation for your patience and workmanship. Far beyond my capabilities. Thanks for sharing.


    • Robert Calk

      September 13, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Thanks, Gerald. I'm pretty sure that you could handle it.

  6. joe mosco

    July 26, 2019 at 12:21 am

    great work and very interesting i hav e a 1964 214 that has been in safety dep. box for several years. i have terminal cancer now and decided to sell my bulovas. { have a 67 too, works}. ,when i put battery in 64, nothing, no hum. i did the 3 and 9 oclock taps to no avail.when i look at watch through a loupe,the 3m9 resistor,it looks like paint is crackled from age/heat?funds limited can u suggest a REASONABLE repairman? thanx,god bless. Joe {watch gold filled and has NO scratches anywhere


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