Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333
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  1. #1
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    Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Looking to get some more info about this watch if anyone can help. Google searches are a bit inconclusive.

    This watch was my grandfathers but i donít know much beyond that. I recently acquired it after going thru my grandmothers items. My grandfather passed away when I was 4 in the early 80s. Iím curios to find out how old the watch is.

    Watch details:
    BULOVA Oceanographer
    Day Date at 3 oíclock
    Case: 36mm
    Case thickness: 13mm
    Strap: 19mm
    ďAutomatic 333 FeetĒ on face above the 6 oíclock
    N5 stamped on back
    T126514

    I did figure out how to set it! Was a bit of a challenge. It has the semi-quickset for the date. Each pull out of the crown will advance the date by one day. So far it appears to be running great, havenít check the timing but it seems close to accurate.

    The watch is really beat up all around. Crystal is very scratched and hard to read thru. The strap it was on was really terrible, a gold/silver elastic bracelet. He was a heavy machinery mechanic in the Southwest; I can imagine him wearing this while climbing under big service trucks in the middle of the desert and dragging this watch thru the sand.

    Iím wondering if I should try to replace the crystal and give it a polish. The watch isnít really my style with the gold/silver combo. But I could wear it occasionally to remember him. Know it isnít worth much beyond sentimental value to me. Thoughts on refurbishing it?





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  2. #2
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    "N5" means 1975.

    Quote Originally Posted by danyamohrr View Post
    Google searches are a bit inconclusive.
    Try Googling "bulova date codes".
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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  3. #3
    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Looks nice and should clean up very nicely unless (very unlikely by the looks of it) there's rust everywhere inside.

    You can try Polywatch on the crystal and see if it shines up to your liking, or get the crystal replaced as part of a service.

    Wouldn't polish the case, though. The back doesn't say anything about the gold content of the bezel, so I'd guess it's plated and wouldn't polish well.

    Personally, unless you're going to wear it once a year for a few hours, I'd get it serviced by a watchmaker. They'll take the movement apart, clean off the decades of grime and grit, and put it back together with fresh oils. Should get it another 5 years or so of trouble-free running. The crystal would be easy to replace during service. There's a sticky post at the top of the Vintage Forum to help you find a watchmaker, and most of us have a preferred one that we'd share contact info for if asked.

    Also, don't discount the effect of a new strap on a gold or two-tone watch. A warm brown could tone down the "bling" factor.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Quote Originally Posted by odd_and_vintage_fan View Post
    Looks nice and should clean up very nicely unless (very unlikely by the looks of it) there's rust everywhere inside.

    You can try Polywatch on the crystal and see if it shines up to your liking, or get the crystal replaced as part of a service.

    Wouldn't polish the case, though. The back doesn't say anything about the gold content of the bezel, so I'd guess it's plated and wouldn't polish well.

    Personally, unless you're going to wear it once a year for a few hours, I'd get it serviced by a watchmaker. They'll take the movement apart, clean off the decades of grime and grit, and put it back together with fresh oils. Should get it another 5 years or so of trouble-free running. The crystal would be easy to replace during service. There's a sticky post at the top of the Vintage Forum to help you find a watchmaker, and most of us have a preferred one that we'd share contact info for if asked.

    Also, don't discount the effect of a new strap on a gold or two-tone watch. A warm brown could tone down the "bling" factor.
    Thanks. I think Iíll try cleaning and polishing the Crystal first. Donít see myself wearing if much, but I do like the idea of bringing it back to life. Going to try a few leather strap options and see what it looks like. Black or brown leather with a gold clasp would tone it down nicely.
    It was likely sitting in a drawer for the last 30 Years, unwound and unused. It seems to be working great so far.

    It does indeed seem to be from 1975, which seems right and fits into its history well.


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  6. #5
    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Quote Originally Posted by danyamohrr View Post
    It was likely sitting in a drawer for the last 30 Years, unwound and unused. It seems to be working great so far.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I'll give you the standard advice that gets distributed around here: Just because it's running well doesn't meant it's not causing undue wear and tear. 30 years is a long time for a watch to sit and the lubricants inside are long since dried out.

    You wouldn't expect a car engine with 30 year old oil to get you very far down the road.

    Still, that it's working after 30 years bodes very well for a quick and easy service with no surprises.

  7. #6
    Member YuriyV's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Very nice Oceanigrapher. Looks complete.
    Give it a service and wear in good health.
    Vintage Zodiac addict.

  8. #7
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Gave it a polywatch polish and did the case with Cape Cod. Really is amazing what they can do and how well they brought this old watch back.
    Got a simple black leather strap to see how it looks. Thinking a brown alligator or embossed might be the right ticket.

    I will keep it to honor the memory of Grandpa, night just wear it now and then.




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  9. #8
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: Identify Bulova Oceanographer 333

    Looks great!!
    Bobby - My original music! Check me out! Thanks!
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