Vintage Bulova military watch
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Thread: Vintage Bulova military watch

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  1. #1
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    Vintage Bulova military watch

    Apologies for cross posting. I posted this on the Military and Pilot watch forum too, but am posting here because of its vintage qualifications.

    I picked up this watch from an estate sale yesterday for $40. The crown sets time, but it does not wind. Other that and a bit dirty, it appears to be in good shape. The band is generic and nothing special. I've asked my watchmaker to take a look at the movement and give me a quote to fix.

    This is similar to my father's Vietnam era military watch, though it feels sturdier and heavier and just looks more high end.

    Based on my brief research, this is a 17 jewel hand winding movement and the watch probably dates from late 1950s to mid 1960s. Does that sound right?

    What are some recommendations for a band? What would the original band have looked like?

    Thanks all.


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  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    Looks like a genuine A17A, at least on the outside...
    The M at the end of the ORDER NO. line indicates 1960s alright.
    When you open the watch up, there should be a Bulova date code- I think that the latest one for an A17A would be M2, but I might be wrong.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    Nice watch, as for strap?
    Something like this
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/111768582323
    Or this
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/380171124659
    Depending on where you want it to look like it went through the war
    Personally I like the second one

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  5. #4
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    I believe the "AF-59" portion of the serial number is a reference to the date of procurement by the military (1959). The movement should have a date code of L9 or earlier if it's original.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    I asked my watchmaker to take a photo of the movement of my A171A. Interestingly, there is no alpha numeric pdare code on the movement denoting the year of manufacture. Anyone know if some of the movements used in the A171A were made with no date code? Thanks

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  7. #6
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    Not rare to see a Bulova movement without a date mark.
    At least late 1950's with the Type A17A's, and probably 1960-ish. Nice piece, I love them.

    Cheers, Bob.
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  8. #7
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    Fuzzy pic...isn't that the date code between the mainspring wheel and the case screw-hole? It's the right movement for the time and the case, so still looking good.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    Yes, that could very well be a date mark. I'll ask them to open it up when I pick it up next week and provide an update.

    By the way, he's quoted me $300 for a cleaning, oiling and adjustment, plus a part that needs to be fixed (stem turns with no traction). Does this seem reasonable for an A17A?

    I was tempted to sell it to give someone else the chance to take on the project, but the more I research this watch the more I like it and the more I want to bring it back to life, add to my nascent collection and wear it occasionally.

    I'll probably think about it over the holidays until my bank account recovers from Christmas!

    Cheers

  10. #9
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Bulova military watch

    300 is a bit steep for a simple mechanical, but that depends on where you are, and the quality. If he's trustworthy, does good work, and warrants the work for a reasonable time, then probably worth it. You're paying for the time of a skilled craftsman who has to maintain a lot of very expensive tools to do his job properly, so as long as his output reflects that, you're good.
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