14K GF - or Chrome?

 Hi All,

We all know and love the earliest models from the 1920s and early '30s, which were chromium-plated (chrome was popular at the time).

So - if they are chrome-plated, where is the 14K gold? There's only base metal underneath, of course. Did Bulova come up with some sort of chrome/gold mixture?

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted September 16, 2011 - 2:24am


Check each readable ad Bulova ad from 1925 to 1930. During that period there were no chrome watches for men that I know of. When Bulova started to produce men's watches they were all 14K or 10K Rolled Gold Plate or Gold Fil. In 1925 Bulova made one mens watch that had a sterling silver case. In the 1920 Bulova had three colors of gold available. Yellow, white were most popular and on the President & Executive a green gold color was available. Of course some Bulovas were available in 14k gold. By 1930 Bulova determined that white gold over base metal was most popular and have stuck with it. Bulova didn't have good luck with the chrome plated WWII military watches, they tended to pit & corrode. Generally Bulova will produce what they believe will sell.

I'm not a metalurgist, but an avid collector. We gain this information from actual watches and the ads. Read the ads & you will notice that most of the silver colored watches Bulova made were of white gold over base metal.

If you run into this Sterling Silver cased beauty, please let me know.



Posted September 16, 2011 - 2:52am

 Okay! Thank you very much.

By the way, did you see the platinum Bulova currently on eBay? 

Posted September 16, 2011 - 7:23am

Club 5000Panel Member

Platinum Bulova's are a premium and usually sit at the top of the price list. Very rare to find one, but they do exist.

shooter144's picture
Posted September 16, 2011 - 1:14pm

A ladies model, at $299 with 5 days lleft...My guess is it will hit $600....

Posted September 17, 2011 - 5:40am

 I was thinking of the Gentleman's platinum watch w/ diamond dial. Here's the eBay number:

(Reference to active eBay item removed)

These cases and dials were fabricated for other makes as well, such as Hamilton, Agassiz, Solvil, etc.  It's getting close to being a bargain. . .


FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 17, 2011 - 7:44am

2 finishes available on the early Bulova's. A 'bright' finish or what they are calling oxidized in this ad.

The bright finish  Cases have an added layer of Rhodium plating.

The metal underneath the plate is the Case composite which in the example above is 14K Gold fill.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted September 18, 2011 - 2:21am


You have rocks showing a Templar & a Templan in the same comments box. LOL Just could cause some confusion to some of our fans.

The Templar ad is the first I have seen with the plating option. First I have heard of Bulova using rhodium also! Shawn Bourg made a custom watch for me & the case is rhodium plated (left). Lone Eagle (right). Can't tell much in the pictures. Comparing these two watches side-by-side on the desk, the rhodium appears to have more depth.



shooter144's picture
Posted September 17, 2011 - 3:25pm

looking at that mans auction, YIKES!!!!!

Posted September 17, 2011 - 6:36pm

 That is an odd watch. I'm not an expert, but YIKES!!!!! is also my first thought.

Posted September 18, 2011 - 12:32am

 Rhodium - that's it! It's obviously something harder and of a different color than white gold. It looks like chrome to me - somewhat slippery, and nearly as hard wearing.

Thanks Fifth Ave.