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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm new here and seeking advice. I recently purchased a 1959 Bulova and I would like to open it up, but I can't quite see how to do that. I want to open it for four reasons: to adjust it (it's running about 2 min/day fast), to remove two specs of dirt from the dial, to identify the movement, and generally assess the state of the movement.







I don't see any indentation on the back or case that suggest I should use a case knife to open the back.

I have had advice from a fellow shopper with a similar watch that the steps to opening are to:
1) press down on the crystal to slide crystal, crown/stem, and back from the bezel/lugs
2) remove crystal to free the movement from the back

Can anyone comment on how to approach this?

Thanks,
David
 

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You will have to remove the movement from the crystal side. Once the crystal is removed you will have to rotate the crown until the stem slot aligns upwards and you can then lift the movement from the case.
 

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I'm not familiar with that exact model. there are two other possibilities: The watch had a male/female two part stem, and once the bezel is removed (with it comes the crystal) you may be able to visually confirm that it is a two piece stem, and then pull the stem out. Yes, this is very hairy.

The other possibility is that there is an inner bezel holding in the movement. Remove the bezel (which contains the crystal) and then carefully remove the inner bezel and you can remove the movement. This is also a bit hairy.

This is really a beautiful looking watch. I would advise that you entrust it to an experienced watchmaker if you have never done something of this sort yourself before now.
 

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I think others are correct that it's a remove through the front type case.

I have one with a similar case (different lugs of course) from 1957
 

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The caseback/movement/crystal almost certainly presses into the bezel from the back. Try supporting the bezel with a couple fingers and pressing firmly on the crystal (around the edges, preferably) - the whole mess should pop out the back. Then you should be able to pop the crystal off, remove the trim ring and stem, and have access to the movement. I didn't bust out the lightbox for this but I'll attach some lousy photos of my current Bulova "waterproof" case. Yours should probably have a similar 11-series movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry for the three year delay, but you are correct sesquipedalian, the movement came apart exactly as you described. I found a nice 11AFC inside that I cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted. It's good to about 10 seconds/day, and was my daily wearer for about a year. Current daily wearer is a 1971 Accutron.
 

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I'd tell you but I fear the NSA may be listening. Hate to have them show up at 4 in morning locked and loaded.

Actually no, I do have a few 18s. I like to think of them as my 401k.

I have unconsciously focused on 218s, mostly because of the parts shortage. I do buy any working Accutron I can afford though. Have maybe 15 restored and another 30 or 40 doa for parts.

Had to teach myself how to repair them, I struggle more with 14s than 18s so that is part of the bend towards the 218s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nothing as exciting as witness relocation, overseas deployment, or jail. Rather life happened, and my two kids are now almost teenagers. I fear that I posted my original message and neglected to have WUS tell inform me of responses, and I only found my 3-year-old post when trying to recover my long-forgotten password.

I did not overhaul this Accutron; my wife bought it for me as a surprise gift and it was in lovely shape. However, I am busy overhauling the 2182 with the scratched crystal in another thread dacattoo,

Here's that watch:
 

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That is a nice one. One thing the Accutrons had going was variety, unusual to see two of the same watches.

Back to the Bulova.
You said,
"I'm new here and seeking advice. I recently purchased a 1959 Bulova and I would like to open it up, but I can't quite see how to do that. I want to open it for four reasons: to adjust it (it's running about 2 min/day fast), to remove two specs of dirt from the dial, to identify the movement, and generally assess the state of the movement."

Two minutes a day is very telling. What is it telling you? I haven't even handled your watch but have a pretty good idea of the problem. Hint: It isn't needing adjustment of the regulator.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Are you gonna send me out to wash the car, Mr. Miyagi?

Working on the 11AFC was a couple of years ago. As I recall I did no adjusting. Instead I took it apart and cleaned all* the old lubricant off the bits (ultrasonic cleaner with some naptha), lubricated it, and reassembled. That got me within ~10 sec/day and I called it good. So, to answer the quiz question, I'd say that it was running fast because I had too little amplitude (thus a shorter balance period) caused by too little energy coming through the gear train, which was mostly a function of high friction caused by little lubrication or just gummy oil.

*I didn't open up the barrel, so the mainspring was not cleaned or (re)lubricated. I don't have spring winding tools, and the fact that I'd already spent 2 hours searching my floor for the click spring made me, ahem, a tad wary of messing with the mainspring.
 

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Someone played with strong magnets maybe?

br
emso

p.s: sent from my s****y phone so sorry for typing mistakes :)
 

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Hi, I know this thread is a tad old but I'm facing a similar issue with a lovely vintage Bulova I purchased. I would need to give it a little fix, but I'm uncertain about how to open the case. I kinda suspect I would need to extract the movement from the crystal side, but I would first like to ask you guys and know your opinion about that. Here are a few (bad quality) pics. I could remove the bezel, but I'm struggling the remove the crystal. The caseback doesn't present anything that could help take it out from the case. Hope someone can help! Cheers!
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap
Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Yellow Strap
Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Material property
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I could remove the bezel, but I'm struggling the remove the crystal. The caseback doesn't present anything that could help take it out from the case.
It's hard to see without a side-view, but it's likely that the plastic crystal can be lifted off the case by applying a case knife or similar. That would open the case and provide access to the dial and hands. Line up the winding crown and split stem so that it frees the movement. Once the stem joint is lined up, the movement should come right out the front of the case.

How do you remove the crown from a split stem? This link has photos of two types of split stem, but in both cases it's best to rotate the stem until the split element lines up so that you can remove the movement; it's tricky because you can't see it, but you'll be able to feel it.

This assumes:
- the crystal is a press-fit on the front of the case
- you have a split-stem, and you can line it up to remove the movement
 

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It's hard to see without a side-view, but it's likely that the plastic crystal can be lifted off the case by applying a case knife or similar. That would open the case and provide access to the dial and hands. Line up the winding crown and split stem so that it frees the movement. Once the stem joint is lined up, the movement should come right out the front of the case.

How do you remove the crown from a split stem? This link has photos of two types of split stem, but in both cases it's best to rotate the stem until the split element lines up so that you can remove the movement; it's tricky because you can't see it, but you'll be able to feel it.

This assumes:
- the crystal is a press-fit on the front of the case
- you have a split-stem, and you can line it up to remove the movement
Thanks a lot for your input and for your help! It is indeed a split-stem, I've now managed to remove the crown. The crystal remains to be removed, but it is a very resilient one! I think I need some more patience and be cautious not to crack it.
Thanks again!
 
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