My IN-18 clock has 14 tubes.  One of them is from 1977, and the others are 
from 1989. I cant see any difference in their appearance. They have been 
running for just over 2 years and I have no problems with any of them. In 
my opinion, the IN-18 is the best-value in terms of cost vs size.

I once read somewhere that IN-18  tubes built in 1982 and 1986 had some 
reliability problems, but I can't remember where I saw that. I know that my 
tubes built in 1989 have soft pins that have mild surface corrosion (it 
seems harmless) and are easily bent, whereas the 1977 tube has stiffer pins 
that have a corrosion-resistant finish.

I dont know who your seller is, but since you are in Germany, I'm guessing 
it could be Dieter. If it is, follow his advice on which tube to use.

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