1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

Thread: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

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  1. #1
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    1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Hello all,

    I found this wristwatch a while back in some of my grandfather's things, and I'm curious as to whether anyone might be able to shed light on it. It doesn't appear to have a model name on it, but it looks strikingly similar to images of military ones I've seen- excepting the white dial. Since he was in service during WWII, it would fit with the time period and the fact that I found it with some of his military mementos. So, I have a few questions and I'm hoping you might be able to answer them.

    1. Does anyone know what model this is/its age? If it helps, the watch is 30mm wide (32 incl. crown).

    2. How might this model's caseback be opened?

    3. As far as I know this watch hasn't been serviced since it was originally manufactured (it certainly looks it, anyway). I'm aware that Bulova allows you to send a watch in for service, would they work on this despite its age? Or would I be better off finding someone reputable locally?

    Surprisingly, it still runs though it loses about 5 minutes/hr. Other than seeing if it works, I'm afraid to run it lest I tear the internals up.


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    Thanks in advance,

    Joelb

  2. #2
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Hi there,

    The back looks like it should unscrew to remove it - it appears to have flats for the the specialized tool that would turn it. The movement model number and date code would allow us to put a date on it. The dial seems familiar but I can't put a finger on it.

    I would have it serviced locally by a good watchmaker.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Pre-1940 watch given the lack of the date code. A watchmaker should have the right tool to open the case (I put then in a small vice with taped jaws but I am an amateur).

    There is no military history with this watch. It is a civilian product.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Member Monocrom's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Still runs??

    Damn those old Bulovas are impressive. Not the first aged Bulova I've seen that still runs.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity here and there. Not the other way around." ~ John Cleese.

  6. #5
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Pre-1940 watch given the lack of the date code.
    Sorry to nit-pick but I think you mean Pre-1950. It is generally held that Bulova began marking case backs with the alphanumeric date code in 1950 (i.e. L0). You do occasionally see the "49" or "A9" (the font is funny - it looks like an "A").

    Anyway...

  7. #6
    Member eldarinn's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    To me it looks like the only part here that could be Bulova, and that is still unseen, is the movement.
    All the rest of the parts, from case to dial through hands are not Bulova.

  8. #7
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Thanks for all the input.

    The watch is sealed very very tightly, I've attempted the duct tape thing that occasionally works, but have had no luck. I'm not going to be able to get into it myself easily, so I'd prefer to err on the safe side and take it in to get photos of the internals.

    I have to admit, it is rather impressive that it's still able to run.

    Eldarinn, could you elaborate on your original post? Not being very knowledgable on these I'm not in a position to dispute your statements, but I'm curious as to how you came to your conclusions. I've seen photos of other Bulovas from the '40s and it bears a striking resemblance, but that may not mean anything.

  9. #8
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    I've honestly never seen another Bulova like it, and I'd be curious where you have? The font is too small and too light, the subsecond dial is misaligned, and I've never see a bulova with red hands like that. At the very very least, it's a bad redial combined with painted hands by someone who wanted to make their own, unique looking watch. At worst, it's a very bad fake from decades ago.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    I've honestly never seen another Bulova like it, and I'd be curious where you have? The font is too small and too light, the subsecond dial is misaligned, and I've never see a bulova with red hands like that. At the very very least, it's a bad redial combined with painted hands by someone who wanted to make their own, unique looking watch. At worst, it's a very bad fake from decades ago.
    Well, I was looking at some of the images on the website Bulova - Vintage and Antique Watches | myBulova.com. And now that I've just gone back to look at them it would appear you're completely correct. The hands and dial text simply don't seem to match with the genuine models. Once you start to look at it there are glaring differences. I'm surprised someone would have gone to the trouble to fake this so many years ago or perform such a strange service job, but it appears that one of those things happened.

    Since this is the case, I don't think I'm really interested in having it serviced, and finding original parts (if it turned out to be real) would be a near-impossible task.

  11. #10
    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: 1940s(?) Bulova and a few questions to go with it

    It could be that it was broken many years ago and repaired with other parts locally. The A in BOLOVA is a little bit high and the dial generally looks hand painted. The hands seem to come from a braille watch.
    Last edited by Shum; June 21st, 2013 at 02:08.

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