Dating a vintage bulova watch, 1924 - 1949
Genuine Bulova watches manufactured between and should all have an imprinted date code marked somewhere on the watch.
It is important to note that the conclusions conveyed below are based primarily on ladies' models, as we have very few examles of men's watches dating prior to Case serial number beginning with "6", along with other watch characteristics, indicates as the manufacture date.
Dating cases prior to means you have to largely rely on matching models to source materials and known examples.
1875 - Present
Bulova Serial numbers indicating production dates. Some of the date symbols used for these watches were shared with watches of other decades. They were the first watch company to market watches specifically to women, and the first company to open a school for disabled veterans that provided them with care, employment opportunities, and a marketable skill after the war more below.
Watches manufactured during the s were more decorative than in the previous two decades. Classic Bulova with two-tone dial, ca. Additionally, within each model, Bulova often produced variations of the style.
Rectangular faces were still common, but rounded faces came back into style again. For more information, see Dating a Bulova. I began by collecting pre-WWII Hamiltons, but my attention soon shifted to the wider field of firms that were competing with Hamilton, particularly Elgin, Bulova and Gruen. However, it is important to note that all such movement lists are based on datings a vintage bulova watch of examples rather than any official Bulova documentation.
We share here some of the resources we have discovered over the years. Note that these codes only specify the manufacture date of the watch.
For example, movements made prior to do not bear the standard movement date code found on watches dated through I do believe that the case is by far the most important factor in determining both the date and model of the watch, and all other factors are to be considered but do not necessarily control the outcome, because all other factors--movements, hands, dials--can be changed.
For the most part, these movements were cased and timed in the USA before shipment to retailers. The graphic symbol code system includes some repetition! Engineers and scientists were unsure if a mechanical timekeeping device would work properly in zero-gravity, so it was desired to have both the reliability and accuracy of the electronic Accutron movement.
The case back can also provide insight into the manufacturer. Many observers of Bulova watches are confused by the sometimes seen patent dates stamped on the inside of some Bulova watch cases, and they misinterpret such dates as the time of dating a vintage bulova watch.
A8 is also a valid symbol for and has been seen on watch movements. Typically, the case date code is found on the outside of the case back, but sometimes it is located inside the case back.
Including Date Codes and Date Symbols
That is, the case serial number ceases to have any date correlation, and a new type of date code appears on both the case and the movement. Bulova watches made between and are marked with a two-digit alpha-numeric date code.
That is not the date of manufacture of the case!
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