Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?
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  1. #1
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    Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    I bought an old military style 17 jewel Bulova watch tonight and was wondering if anyone could tell me about. It's supposed to be 29.6mm across without the crown. I tried to find out for myself but really couldn't come up with much. These are the sellers pix, their pix are never very good and they never have a shot of the movement.




    It was the plain screw back case back that drew my attention so I grabbed it while I had the chance. I've bought several watches off this seller in the past, they've always looked much better in person than in their photos. It's supposed to be running, and I got it for $19.95, so I figured I really couldn't go wrong since it's a Bulova.

    Edit: It resembles this 1953 Seabee, and taking into account the screw down back that's probably what it is. It will be here later this week and I'll post my own pix then:




    Here it talks about the Bulova Watertite and Seabee:

    Bulova - Watertight, Watertite, Seabee, Magellan | Watchophilia.com
    Last edited by OCDood; June 18th, 2013 at 09:06.

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Strange to label this a military style watch. It is a relatively normal dress watch. From the style it dates to the late 40's to 50's watch. Without a movement pic there is little to be said definitively.

    I wonder when Bulova started putting date codes on the back. This one appears to have none.
    "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
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Bulova date codes on the case started in 1950 with L0, so unless this has been recased, it's pre 1950.

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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Strange to label this a military style watch. It is a relatively normal dress watch. From the style it dates to the late 40's to 50's watch. Without a movement pic there is little to be said definitively.

    I wonder when Bulova started putting date codes on the back. This one appears to have none.
    I don't see what's so strange about it, small watches like that are often referred to as military themed watches, the Watertite among them:

    Bulova - Military Themed Models | Watchophilia.com

    The Seabee, if that's what it is, is associated with the Watertite as evidenced in the link in my initial post, and a Seabee is a member of the US Naval Construction Force:

    Welcome to Navy Forces Online Public Sites

    Last edited by OCDood; June 18th, 2013 at 15:58.

  6. #5
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Quote Originally Posted by OCDood View Post
    I don't see what's so strange about it, small watches like that are often referred to as military themed watches, the Watertite among them:

    Bulova - Military Themed Models | Watchophilia.com

    The Seabee, if that's what it is, is associated with the Watertite as evidenced in the link in my initial post, and a Seabee is a member of the US Naval Construction Force:

    Welcome to Navy Forces Online Public Sites


    Wow... I did not realize the term 'military' was used so loosely. Using the 'small watch' characteristic means the bulk of the round dress watches of the 40s and 50s were 'military'. Seems to me to be something eBay vendors use to build interest in their sales for the noobs who don't know better. I don't think that is any better a description than 'boys' watches - another term they seem to throw about.

    It is still an interesting watch. Early 'waterproof' watches were solutions to one of the worst problems of most casing of these times - lack of water resistance. But the advertising of the time got so out of hand the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) banned the term in the early 50s. Back then these watches were for general consumption. Even if they were sold to the 'Seabees' their market was not military. Oh well... terms of art evolve. I blame eBay!!

    We still need movement pics to say much more. All we can say now is the lack of a date code means pre 1950.
    "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!

  7. #6
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Wow... I did not realize the term 'military' was used so loosely. Using the 'small watch' characteristic means the bulk of the round dress watches of the 40s and 50s were 'military'. Seems to me to be something eBay vendors use to build interest in their sales for the noobs who don't know better. I don't think that is any better a description than 'boys' watches - another term they seem to throw about.

    It is still an interesting watch. Early 'waterproof' watches were solutions to one of the worst problems of most casing of these times - lack of water resistance. But the advertising of the time got so out of hand the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) banned the term in the early 50s. Back then these watches were for general consumption. Even if they were sold to the 'Seabees' their market was not military. Oh well... terms of art evolve. I blame eBay!!

    We still need movement pics to say much more. All we can say now is the lack of a date code means pre 1950.
    Wow... I did not realize I was going to get such a response to casually referring to it as a military style watch, especially from a moderator. I obviously didn't know anything about the watch or I wouldn't have asked if anyone could tell me about it.

    Don't blame ebay or the seller, they listed it as a "Bulova Men's 17 Jewel Silver Tone Manual Wristwatch". Blame me for thinking I could ask if anyone here could tell me about this watch and actually get an informative response without it being implied I'm a noob. So far, I've been the only one who has had anything definitive to post about it, or the subject of military style watches, but am glad to have been able to inform you on the subject.

    I've bought several watches from this person and they never have photos of the movements, but have got some really good deals from them in the past. They'll ship today and it should arrive by weeks end, I'll post pix of the movement when it arrives.

  8. #7
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    There is nothing military about the size in that I fully agree with Eeeb. it just happens that this is the average size of a 1940's watch. They are often referred to as military style because of the centre seconds with a finely graduated seconds ring on the dial, normally with lumed numbers and hands. In the 1940's the governments could not afford to issue watches to all in service, even if they had wanted to and so it was natural for the various watch companies to sell watches designed to appeal to servicemen, hence the military theme.

    Given the price of military issue watches and the resulting fakery and general misuse of the term military by sellers trying to cash in on the prices of the genuine issued items, use of the term 'military' is one that is best used carefully rather than casually.


  9. #8
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Quote Originally Posted by OCDood View Post
    Wow... I did not realize I was going to get such a response to casually referring to it as a military style watch, especially from a moderator. I obviously didn't know anything about the watch or I wouldn't have asked if anyone could tell me about it.
    There's a lot of misinformation out there in the internet; Ebay is as much a victim as a perpetrator. Regardless, those of us know better do make a point of trying to correct the misuse of terms when they appear in the forum. Don't take it personally; it's as much for the "noobs" that read the post as it is the OP. Watchuseek posts often rank highly in Google searches, so it's important that we try to address misconceptions in order to reduce their proliferation.

    By and large, a true "Military" watch is one that was purchased by a government agency for the purpose of being issued to active military personnel. If you're going to refer to any watch that might have been used by someone who might have been associated with some organization that might have been affiliated with someone who was in the military..., then the term becomes meaningless since it no longer tells you anything about the watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by OCDood View Post
    I've bought several watches from this person and they never have photos of the movements, but have got some really good deals from them in the past. They'll ship today and it should arrive by weeks end, I'll post pix of the movement when it arrives.
    Without a movement picture, it becomes a gamble, and that's often the only way you can get a good "deal" these days.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    There's a lot of misinformation out there in the internet; Ebay is as much a victim as a perpetrator. Regardless, those of us know better do make a point of trying to correct the misuse of terms when they appear in the forum. Don't take it personally; it's as much for the "noobs" that read the post as it is the OP. Watchuseek posts often rank highly in Google searches, so it's important that we try to address misconceptions in order to reduce their proliferation.
    Well so far all it's done is to take the thread off track from me asking if anyone could tell me about an old Bulova with a screw back I just bought to a debate on the pros and cons of referring to small watches as military style watches. If it's that important to the anal retentive members here I suggest they start their own thread on the subject and take their debate about it with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    Without a movement picture, it becomes a gamble, and that's often the only way you can get a good "deal" these days.
    Most of the watches I've bought from this seller were Soviet watches I knew something about and could tell the condition of from the level of wear on the outside of the case. This and the Delbana automatic I posted about the other night, which I also referred to as a military style watch, are the only other vintage watches I've purchased from them and the only ones in my collection.

    I own several Soviet watches from the 50's and am aware that 30mm-35mm was the approximate standard size of a watch from that era. I believe I've posted a couple in the WRUW thread.
    HOROLOGIST007 likes this.

  11. #10
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Info on a vintage screw back Bulova?

    Quote Originally Posted by OCDood View Post
    Well so far all it's done is to take the thread off track from me asking if anyone could tell me about an old Bulova with a screw back I just bought to a debate on the pros and cons of referring to small watches as military style watches. If it's that important to the anal retentive members here I suggest they start their own thread on the subject and take their debate about it with them.
    Threads are like kids; once they leave your house, you can't always control who plays with them. ;)
    Eeeb likes this.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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