Bulova, or anyother, refrence numbers to check authenticity?

Thread: Bulova, or anyother, refrence numbers to check authenticity?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Bulova, or anyother, refrence numbers to check authenticity?

    I am shopping around for my first vintage and was wondering, knowing nothing yet about watches in general, is there some sort of stamped tracking number on watches especially old ones? I am planning to try and start with something lower priced, but really like many of the older watches I have came across so far and would like to refrence them on some site or number so I don't get ripped off from the get go. Bulova came about because I have been seeing a lot of them that I liked that were not really high in price.
    Also any good shopping sites for vintage timepieces would be great too.

  2. #2

    Re: Bulova, or anyother, refrence numbers to check authenticity?

    Lowere priced watches of our days have been lower priced watches in those days. Most of the vintage watches don´t have an indiviudual/series number, some movements do have serial numbers. The Bulovas you have posted on our Public Forum seem to date from the 40ties to the 50ties as far as I can judge it.

    If American wrist watches is your main interest I´d buy a book first: "American Wristwatches - 50 year´s style & design - by Edward Faber and Stewart Unger, Callwey editors. You´ll learn a lot reading about Gruen, Wittnauer, Bulova, Elgin and other brands. Could be a helpful source to avoid to become misleaded.

  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Almonte ON Canada

    Re: Bulova, or anyother, refrence numbers to check authenticity?

    Bulovas made after 1950 are easy to date. Before that is a bit of a crapshoot.


    Another good book to consider is Shugart:


    There are excellent references available for Elgin, Waltham and Hamilton wind-up watches made in the USA prior to say 1965. The Swiss made automatics are not as well documented.

    Gruen records were destroyed in the 1950s so not much is known about them from serial numbers and case numbers. I don't know much about Benrus at all.

    Omegas are easily dated, but these are a higher priced item as a vintage watch.

    Now as to being defrauded: most of the cheaper old watches are not worth counterfeiting but occasionally someone will put together a Frankenwatch from parts. The dial and movement may not correspond to the case. Gruens are sometimes cobbled together.

    The main problem with the cheaper old watches is that they haven't been looked after as well as expensive ones and may be worn out or need serious repair which costs more than they are worth.

    If you buy on eBay you can depend on spending some more to fix the item up unless it's a serious watch dealer that's selling. Then you'll pay more up front anyway.

    Bulova is a nice watch to start collecting because they are cheap, lots of parts are still available, and they were a pretty good watch in their day.

    I think it'd be easier to answer your question if you have some idea of what you want to collect. Is it wind-ups or automatics? American or Swiss? Chronograph or simple time only? Prior to 1950 or later?

    I assume you are interested in collecting wristwatches if you are looking at Bulova. Pocket watch collecting is a wholly different topic.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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