1940's Bulova in a plastic case?
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  1. #1
    Member PastyDuchy's Avatar
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    Question 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    so I bought a Bulova on ebay with a lovely dial and a 10ax 17 jewel movement looks like the 1940 date code on it. The back is a Veri-thin 2 piece screw back and I believe thats made by Gruen so realised it wasnt 100% original and didn't look that closely at the case but on arrival the case looks very strange and I'm pretty sure it's plastic. so my stupid question is - is it remotely possible the case is right? I'm guessing it's a definite no but as I know nothing thought I'd ask. I'm pretty sure I can tell the difference between plastic and metal but if someone recognises the watch and can tell me I'm an idiot that would work for me. I believe the movements were made in the US at the time due to WW2 and the war is the only reason I'm even entertaining the idea of a plastic case being "right". Still love the dial though - anyone know the model and is it right for the movement? it says waterprotected which may help date it. Final question I know crown are often replaced over time but did Bulova use signed crowns during the war years?
    thanks in advance
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  2. #2
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    The word "movement" on the dial is a dead give away that you have a recase...not a Bulova watch.

  3. #3
    Member PastyDuchy's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    thanks for the info, there does seem to be some age to the dial would it really have come with a plastic case or is it likely to be some really cheap base metal or do you think it most likely that the case is even newer?

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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    Quote Originally Posted by PastyDuchy View Post
    thanks for the info, there does seem to be some age to the dial would it really have come with a plastic case or is it likely to be some really cheap base metal or do you think it most likely that the case is even newer?
    It is hard to tell from the pictures what the case is made of, but this is not a Bulova watch of any kind. Its some kind of fake. I have never seen a plastic case shaped like yours....it probably is base metal. Can you post pics of the back and movement? Hope you did not pay very much for it.
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    I have a modern watch with the same type of super light metal case that is so cheap the strap was cought and ripped a hole in the lug and the same looks to be happening to this watch as well.
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    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodyblue View Post
    It is hard to tell from the pictures what the case is made of, but this is not a Bulova watch of any kind. Its some kind of fake. I have never seen a plastic case shaped like yours....it probably is base metal. Can you post pics of the back and movement? Hope you did not pay very much for it.
    I disagree. It was very common for jewelers and sometimes department stores to sell aftermarket cases and dials to fit genuine movements. That seems to be what has happened here. My guess is that there is a genuine Bulova manual wind movement inside.

    Also remember that WWII severely limited the availability of consumer products made of base metals like copper and tin which were needed for the war. Some of these replacement cases were made of gold over silver or other non-essential base metals. They generally were of a far inferior quality to the original gold-filled cases.

    I do not believe this to be a "fake", which I define as a counterfeit, specifically made to deceive. Just a contemporary replacement case that has survived far beyond its maker's intentions.

    Hope this helps,
    gatorcpa
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    Member Ron521's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    In the 40s, the plastic industry was in its infancy. The most common uses were for electrical insulators, telephones, some radio cabinets, and cameras. I'm not aware of any watch made in the era with a plastic case, as it would have been viewed as vastly inferior and "cheap" in the worst sense of the word.
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  9. #8
    Member PastyDuchy's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    thanks,I realise it's practically impossible to identify the case material from the photo I guess I was just trying to see if anyone recognised the case or knew about the use of plastic or ultra lightweight base metal cases which I hadnt come across before, I hadn't figured the dial to indicate it wasn't an original bulova though I was vaguely aware 3rd party replacement dials and cases existed I thought the dial was too nice and looked old enough to be anything but original - didnt think too much about it basically - lesson learned.
    I can post pics of the back and movement tomorrow if necessary but as stated above the movement is a 10AX 17 jewel with a symbol similar to the omega logo which would date it to 1940 (or strangely 1930 but don't believe the movement was in production until 1940) and the back is definitely not related to either the movement or case - it says veri-thin in the middle and says stainless steel back, antimagnetic and water-resistant in a circle around it (I believe it to be from a range made by Gruen but thats just what I gleaned from a quick search online).
    I would have to say I agree with gatorcpa in that I don't think it can accurately be called a fake as it does clearly state bulova movement on the dial which is correct but realise that many consider a case that doesnt match the movement too be a fake. I am able to return the watch but not sure if I will yet as I bought it because I really liked the dial and also because I bought it from France so shipping while not hugely expensive is probably about 1/3 of the cost of the watch so I wont be much better off and won't have the watch to show for the outlay. Thinking the case was plastic I had been wondering whether I should ask for a partial refund so in effect I would be just buying the movement which I would be happy with. From reading a few replies I'm not so sure I can that as I can't say for sure if the case is modern or old and now can't even be sure its plastic without damaging it. It doesn't sound like it is plastic so I'll probably just take the hit and learn from it but at least I like the dial and the movement keeps good time

  10. #9
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    I would agree that "fake" is a little strong of a word for it. The watch wasn't put together with the intent to deceive - it just isn't an original Bulova model. You are right with regard to the production date of the movement - The 10AX is an evolution of the 10AN and 10AE which were earlier.

    A good running 10AX has value in its own right...
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    Re: 1940's Bulova in a plastic case?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleotime View Post
    I would agree that "fake" is a little strong of a word for it. The watch wasn't put together with the intent to deceive - it just isn't an original Bulova model. You are right with regard to the production date of the movement - The 10AX is an evolution of the 10AN and 10AE which were earlier.

    A good running 10AX has value in its own right...
    A mystery case with a Gruen back.....I guess fake is a bit strong but not by much. I buy and sell 15-20 vintage watches a month and as someone that is always on the lookout for fakes, this I would classify as one (in my mind). Whatever it is, it is not a Bulova. If you put a Cadillac engine in a Yugo, is it now a Cadillac? Would a Cadillac collector think it was one? Now, if the buyer likes it, then more power to him of course.......

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