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Saturday, March 15, 2014

1961 Accumatic A-650

There are 66 different Accumatic models.  So there must be a lot of variability to them in order to have that many different models.  You can create a lot of variety just by using solid gold, gold filled, stainless steel and rolled gold.  Beyond the case material, the details of the dial can make a big difference too.

The 1961 Accumatic A-650 exemplifies a number of dial details that make it unique.  For example, the dial has a golden band around the perimeter, "pearlized" dots as minute markers, a textured (grooved) field and a combination of markers and numerals.  The model was produced through 1963.

The A-650 comes in a 10K rolled gold case - as all 600-series models.  The back of the case is stainless steel but it's permanently sealed so it's a one piece case with two materials.

Tucked inside is a 17 jewel 689A automatic movement, made by ETA.

I recently picked up an A-650 and it was in need of some TLC.  For starters, it had mismatched hour and minute hands and neither were correct for the model.

The back is engraved to "Charlie" for 10 years of devoted service.  I wonder what Charlie was devoted to?  Today Charlie would get a pen, keychain or maybe a $15 fishing pole.

If you look very closely at the case back you might wonder how you separate the stainless steel from the gold plated bezel.   You might even try to stick a case knife in there somewhere and start prying.  In reality, you can't separate the front from the back - it's a single piece.

In order to get inside, you need to remove the crystal and there are specialized tools for doing so.  One of the more versatile tools is this crystal lifter.

The crystal is held in place by the tool so if you intend to install the crystal again you don't have to do anything other than set it aside until you need it.

The dial looks pretty good but it's also quite dirty.  I'll try to clean it up but this dial looks like it would be very challenging to get refinished so I'll take it easy on the cleaning and hopefully not screw it up.

Once the crystal is out of the way, the trick is to line up the seam of the two-piece stem so you can see the male and female portions at the same time.  That way you can pivot the movement out without stressing the female portion of the stem.

Here's the 689A movement.  If you've followed my blog you know this is a pretty common model in the Accumatic line.

The inside of the case back looks to be copper clad.  As you can see, it's a single piece with no seams.

While everything is being cleaned, I will get out my lume kit and prepare to relume another set of hands.  These luminous kits are surprisingly expensive but you don't use very much and they will do a lot of watches.

I have a spare set of hands that are the correct style and size but they're not in the best of shape - they could stand to be re-gilded but they'll do for now.

While inspecting the cleaned parts, I realized one of the pivots on the escape wheel was missing.  It will need to be replaced before I go any further.

Lucking I have a parts movement so I'll use the escape wheel from it.  You can see below what the wheel above was missing.

Everything is cleaned, dried and reassembled.  In the shot below, the now-running movement is essentially a manual-winding movement because the rotor assembly hasn't been reinstalled.  With the watch running, I can put the movement on the timer.

The movement is running okay but it's a little slow, to the tune of 78 seconds slow per day.  The beat error says 0.0 but that's because the timer hasn't calculated it yet.  I can tell by the distance between the to lines on the screen that it's probably more like 1.5ms.

A little tweaking to the regulator and the hairspring stud location allows me to dial in the beat rate and the beat error.

I was able to clean the dial up a little but almost lost the printing in the process… only a part of the O in Automatic was lost though.  My replacement hands look okay but the hour hand could stand to be regilded for sure.  The crown is an old replacement… it's okay but not perfect.  On the whole though, I think the watch is in much better condition than what I started with, so I'm satisfied with the results.

I'll have to keep my eye out for a better set of hands though.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dan! Love using your blog as a starting point for sleuthing model IDs.

    I have a watch with that exact same face and hands, but in a 10K RGP case both front AND rear. Was this option available for Accumatics, or does this make it a completely different watch?

    Thanks in advance!