Instructions to Change the Crystal in a Bulova Accutron 214

by Evan Fulford ; Updated September 28, 2017

Change your Accutron's crystal yourself.

the watch-maker image by Victor M. from

Bulova's Accutron 214 was the first "electronic watch" ever invented. Bulova sold Accutrons from 1960 until 1977, and produced more than 4 million watches during this time period. The Accutron was originally engineered for NASA because it had asked watch companies to invent a timepiece that could withstand the conditions of outer space. However, Omega's Speedmaster watch was chosen as the first worn into space. Despite the Accutron's sturdy construction, the crystal covering of the watch can sometimes get scratched or cracked. Fortunately, broken Accutron crystals can be replaced with newly purchased ones.

Locate and purchase a crystal lift and inserter kit. A crystal lift is a watchmaker's tool that uses many small interlocking blades to carefully remove the crystal from a watch. A crystal lift is the preferred method for removing the crystal from antique watches because they work without using heat or chemicals, which may cause damage to the watch body or lead to noxious fumes when interacting with dried oil and old adhesive. A crystal inserter is a tool that is used lock a crystal into place on a watch without the need for adhesive.

Lay your Accutron 214 face up on a clean and stable surface.

Push the crystal lift lightly over the face of the watch so that the blades of the lift surround the perimeter of the watch crystal. Tighten or loosen the grip of the blades by turning the dial on the top portion of the crystal lift handle.

Pull up on the crystal lift while holding the watch case against the table using your other hand. It should only take a moderate amount of pressure to remove the crystal from the body of the watch.

Load your replacement crystal into the front face of the crystal inserter, then push the knob on the front of the inserter to the lowest possible point. This will prime the crystal for insertion.

Lock the notches on the bottom of the crystal inserter over the exposed face of the watch body. Once the inserter is properly positioned, use even pressure to push the knob on the front of the inserter to the top-most position. This will force the replacement crystal into place on the front of the watch body. Crystal inserters work by very slightly expanding the circumference of the watch bezel, so be careful to use as little force as necessary to avoid warping the bezel.

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About the Author

Evan Fulford has a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan. He graduated with his bachelor's degree in psychology from Wayne State University in 2008. He has been writing academically for over six years on topics including mental illness, social policy, linguistics and political science.