Accutron "Shut Off" Question

Submitted by Jimbo56 on February 3, 2023 - 10:21pm

I have been collecting Accutron watches for a couple of years now and currently have 28 watches in my collection (it seems to be an addictive hobby).  Recently, I started collecting Hamilton electrics too, given their place in electric watch history. During my research on Hamilton watches, I read that they could be "turned off" or "shut off" by simply engaging (or disengaging as it may be) the hack function that stops the watch's function. My understanding is that this preserves battery life and wear/tear on the movement.

My question is this.  For the Accutron 218 movements with the hack function, can those be "turned off" like the Hamilton watches?  Also, despite the 214 crown on the back case, can a 214 be "turned off" the same way?  Or, are Accutrons different in some way preventing the preservation of battery life doing this?

I'd be interested in hearing various thoughts on this. Thanks!


Posted February 4, 2023 - 10:38pm

I had the same though a year or so back and placed my 218 into the hack mode thnking it would 'turn off' the electronics. When I re-engaged several months later the watch would not start which was due to a flat battery. Upon doing some research into matter I did find a number of comments saying that placing them into a hack position for extended periods was not recommended as the electronics were still active and as there was no resistant contol caused the battery to drain quicker.

I was recommended that Acutron be left engaged and running when not in use, even for long periods. This is how I treat my 218. It's always running and the battery typically lasts a year.

I too would like to hear what others have experiened or comments on to hack or not to hack.

Reverend Rob
Posted February 5, 2023 - 12:28am

I'd like to add that the same is true for Quartz watches. Hacking them may save slightly on the battery draw, but they are still active. If you leave a quartz watch un-running (dead battery or hacked) for long periods of time, they may not start up again. The motion works will 'stick' and require a machine to 'push' the hands utilizing a safe, rotating magnetic field. This is a result of the oils becoming resinified, and the small impulse energy of a quartz is not enough to re-start the watch.

In general, you should never let magnets get anywhere near quartz or mechanical watches, even cell phones can magnetize or stop watches. The Witschi Cyclonic is often the only way to un-stick watches, especially those that cannot be dismantled. I still have a couple of Accutrons, and I keep them running.