Tony Rice & My Bulova Accutron

The Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association had a Tony Rice concert on May 13, 2011.

When I read the interview done by one of our members, I learned about Tony's other passion, restoring Accutron watches. I remembered I'd had one dis-assembled and inoperative for 30 or 40 years just languishing in a little plastic drawer. I pulled it out the afternoon of the concert and took photos (see below).

During the break between sets at the Tony Rice Unit show, I approached Tony and pulled out the plastic bag with the Accutron watch parts. One of the guys asked what it was. I think it was Wyatt Rice who said, "I know exactly what it is!"

The instant Tony saw it through double thick plastic, on a dark balcony, he identified it as a Model 218!

I asked Tony if he'd fix it up and give it a new home; and all I'd ask is that he email me and tell me when he gets it running. He shook my hand and said, "Well, bless your heart. I'll get it running alright."

A little after 11 PM on May 16, just 3 days after the show, as I was getting ready for bed, the phone rang. There seemed to be a bad connection so I didn't immediatley recognize the voice on the other end. He repeated his name, Tony Rice. I was mad at myself for not realizing it was him!

He had already gotten the watch running, completely polished up, and reassembled.

He explained that the problem was the battery manufacturers currently make batteries with more voltage than in the past, causing too high an amplitude to the tuning fork coils. But interestingly, the adjustment is not electrical, but mechanical. He explained the details, but lost me.

He also said that even with the quartz movements ("and you can have your Patek Philippes") nothing can still compete with the time-keeping accuracy of the Accutron.

Tony explained that he used to be into photography, but stopped when the digital age came in. But he had a pretty good cell phone and he would email me a picture if the reconditioned watch. (See the After shot below.) He thanked me again and reassured me the watch has a good home.

I'll never forget that phone call....Thank you, Tony!

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