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Watch Advice Needed - How to Restore, How to Wear

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    Watch Advice Needed - How to Restore, How to Wear

    I recently acquired a watch that once belonged to my Grandfather.

    It is a Bulova Accutron from 1969. The face is White with Black Numbers. The casing is gold.

    On the face of the watch it reads "Bulova Accutron" - "RailRoad Approved"

    I don't wear a watch often but considering the sentimental value (I never met my grandad but it is the only thing of his I have. My Father gave the watch to me and that lends it a lot of personal value for him to give me the last watch his father owned)

    I know very little of watches and do not care if this watch has any value outside of what it means to me.

    I do know that it needs a new battery. Is there anything I should consider though? Should I visit a watchsmith and have it checked out or anything?

    Also the watch has a gold casing and a metal strap. I would most likely replace the strap with a black or brown leather strap and keep the orginal in safekeeping.

    Any thoughts?


    *crosses legs and waits for guiltybystander to show himself*



      Ha! I was thrifting and just got back to check on my preci... uh, Dappered Threads.

      Hi AlanR, it looks like you were handed down a great piece of family (and timekeeping) history. You see, during the space race, "Bulova’s Accutron technology became an integral part of 46 NASA space missions. On July 20th, 1969, at exactly 8:17 and 41 seconds, a Bulova Accutron timer landed on the Moon as part of the first lunar landing, and was placed in the Sea of Tranquility to control vital data transmissions." Pretty cool huh? Wave that in the faces of Omega Speedmaster "Moonwatch" fanatics (admittedly, I'm one of them)!

      So it's great you decided to try wearing this heirloom! I would do a quick evaluation of the watch's condition. If it is in generally good condition (no obvious damage to the case back, face, etc.) then all you would probably need to do is go to a good watchmaker service counter and get a new battery. I would caution against going to the mall and waltzing up to the watch counter next to the shoe polish guy. Rather, see what the price would be at a reputable establishment like Torneau and then check against a good independent watchmaker/repair place locally. After all, a watch battery is a watch battery, and labor should be minimal- BUT you do not want some careless mouthbreather scratching up the caseback while trying to remove it.

      While you're there, ask the watchmaker (hopefully he's knowledgeable) about the condition of the watch. Since it's not a mechanical or automatic watch, there shouldn't be much to do, but he or she might suggest switching out the gaskets or other parts which have experienced wear and tear over the years.

      I don't know the exact watch you have, but this eBay search shows that your watch is pretty well liked (and this is for a non-working model from 1967!) Link:

      Response to Watch Strap Question:

      I think that saving the original is a capital suggestion. There are a ton of great options for a classic watch like yours. A nice model strap can run you anywhere from $10 to $200 (or more!) but a full-grain, supple calf leather marbled (with gold accents) might be just the ticket. has a robust forum on recommendations for straps, so I'd check them out. Link:

      Aspects to consider:
      <ul>Material (ostrich, calfskin, alligator, canvas etc.)

      Accents (flecks or marbling)

      Cost (obviously)

      Type of locking mechanism/clasp (deployant/butterfly, buckle, etc.)[/list]

      Good luck and congrats again. Feel free to reply if you have any questions.



        Thanks for the reply!

        We have 2 local jewelry stores that I will visit regarding The watch. Not sure if either actually has a watchsmith but hopefully finding one won't prove to be too difficult.

        Regarding the strap I will most likely go with a simple black leather strap with a buckle. But you never know... I may go bold or exotic. But honestly I will probably end up with inexpensive but durable and consider fancier options in the future.

        Being that the casing is gold I doubt it will be worn a lot but you never know...

        And thanks for the cool trivia! I'm excited to get this watch running again. I know my dad was pretty happy when I started asking about it and talking about getting it restored.



          Btw... The watch in the link is similar to mine. But mine does not have the full 24 hours listed or the date.

          Very simple and sleek b



            I have left the watch with a local and reputable jeweler.

            The battery is being replaced and they are checking to see if any maintenance is needed. They are also going to clean the casing.

            I'll past again once I have it back and may post some pics for anyone interested.



              Hi AlanR, would love to see pictures of it after its day in the watch spa.



                My jeweler informed me that the watch had an issue and was in need of more than a new battery.

                Sadly he was out and the receptionist gave me the bare minimum of information.

                They do not do repairs in house for watches anyway and it would have to be sent off.

                I plan to see if I can find a watchsmith close by and see if they can take a look at it. I do have a friend who does some watch repair as a hobby but I'm not sure if he is up to the task... but then again I don't even know what the issue is.