A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

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  1. #1

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    A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    Hello all,

    First post... but hopefully more to follow as I get "into" vintage watches more and more...

    I'm getting married in November and, though I have purchased gifts for my groomsmen already, I thought it might also be "cool" to buy them some watches form the 40's, given that the "theme" for my wedding is going to be same. I've grabbed a few off of E-Bay (admittedly, not knowing much about vintage watches) and have a few questions.

    Here is the first, an Elgin, which I have dated to 1938 based on the movement's serial number:



    #'s 2 and 3, two Bulovas that I'm having a tough time dating:

    This one has 21J 7AK movement



    ...and this one has a 21J 7AP movement:



    I've searched all over and cannot find "exact" duplicates of these watches though I have found similar ones. Since I don't know much about disassembling vintage watches, I am hesitant to start prying open the cases of these with my dime store eyeglass screwdrivers. Can any hints come from the design, dial fonts, etc.? I'm guessing sometime in the 40's but I can't get any closer than "pre-1948" (due to the lack of a letter code on the case serial) and was hoping that someone could eyeball these and say "thats an 19XX blah blah blah, etc."

    Yes, they're all rose gold (so is my wedding ring) and I've had them wound up and running all day and all seem to keep really good time. Two were recently serviced.

    One other thing I noticed is that these things are *tiny* -are these by any chance women's watches or were they REALLY that small? Any hints on where to purchase "period correct" bands? Last but not least, should I keep these for myself? :)

    Thanks to any help you may be able to provide. I've ordered "100 years of Vintage Watches" from Amazon but there weren't any similar looking Bulovas (or Elgins) in the book.
    Last edited by LesB3; September 21st, 2008 at 01:58.

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    They look like the right vintage to me! Others may know how to actually date early Bulovas (such information does exist in some previous posts).
    "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!

  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    Unfortunately you'll have to open the cases - it shouldn't be too hard with a case opener or pocket knife.
    Check on the movement for the code stamp Bulova used for years prior to 1949. You can find them at the following address:

    http://www.mybulova.com/bulova_movements.cfm

    It's fairly certain you have 1940s Bulovas as rose gold is pretty much a 1940s thing. That 1938 Elgin was way ahead of its time. It's really hard to guess much else from the style of the cases and dials as 1930s and 1940s watches were pretty similar.
    Leather straps are the way to go with these watches which are absolutely men's pieces. Women's stuff from the 1940s was far smaller.

    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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  5. #4

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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    OK, well I "manned" up and took the two Bulovas apart...

    First was (what I thought) the oldest (black numerals). Opened her up and saw a "47." Movement was shiny new and, actually, quite beautiful. Might have been 1/4" thick at most! Guess that makes that one 1947.

    Second one had an "X" making it a 1943 model (doubt it was a 1933). Of course, on disassembling the secong one, the crystal popped out and seems a bit loose. Were these "glued" in or just pressed into the case?

    Both are gold filled and had the same exact backing plate, stamped Bulova Watch Co. New York.

    Thanks for the help!

  6. #5
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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    These types of crystals were glued into place.

    There are various types of crystal glue, but you might find plastic model glue (available at hobby stores) a suitable substitute

  7. #6
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    You will probably want to get these watches serviced if you are giving them as gifts so the watchmaker should be able to take care of the crystal for you at that time.

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

  8. #7
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray MacDonald View Post
    You will probably want to get these watches serviced if you are giving them as gifts so the watchmaker should be able to take care of the crystal for you at that time.
    I second the motion! Especially in this case. If you are giving these as gifts to your groomsmen, the last thing you want is for the movement to stop a week after they get it. :oops:
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
    ____________________________________________________
    "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend, those with loaded
    guns and those who dig!"................Blondie to Tuco in TGTB&TU (1966)


  9. #8

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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    1st Bulova is a 1947 Director, 21 Jewels, cost $57.50 back then
    2nd Bulova is a 1943 Douglas, 17 Jewels, cost $47.50.

    Stephen
    www.mybulova.com

  10. #9
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    Re: A few questions about some 40's (?) Bulovas

    Are there post-1930s ads available on www.mybulova.com now?

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