1927 Bulova Lone Eagle

I'd like to start this topic by inviting all who read this to post any information they may have about the release of the original 5000 Bulova Lone Eagle watch series in May 1927.

You can read my article "The Bulova Lone Eagle Story" for an insight into my theory about this amazing watch series.

Some points to consider:

  • Did Bulova really sell 5000 watches within the 3 days after the Lindbergh landing?
  • Where were they sold, America or France?
  • What advertising did Bulova use back in 1927 to accomplish such an amazing feat?
  • Why did the corner design change?
  • Is the design of corner cut model that we see today really an art-deco symbol for an eagle?

I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted February 16, 2013 - 7:08am

Club 5000Panel Member

"following the flight, the company sold 5,000 "Lone Eagle" watches in three days"  
I missed that part before.  I've seen this exact story/graphic, with slightly different page layout, in a couple different papers now
And other papers seem to say the same thing. This one is from The Ellensburg Daily Record, July 18th, 1987.   Click graphic for the full newspaper story.  

 
  Year after year, paper after paper, the same words....again in Kentucky News Era January 22nd, 1988.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 7:58am

Club 5000Panel Member

PS. sorry this forum topic was closed....its now re-open for comment and further discussion.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted December 7, 2012 - 8:12am

Clock at 3 O'Clock on the Spirit Of St Louis dashboard admin.

Black Dial, Sub Seconds Dial under the 12 with a notch cut in the dash for winding the Crown, which is at 6.

: )

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted December 7, 2012 - 3:51pm

Club 5000Panel Member

The color of the dial on the clock is much darker than the other instruments in the panel.  Perhaps a latter addition?   Must not have been a date the cockpit pic was taken, or Mark woulda entered that info.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 7:47pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Clock looks to be different in condition to the rest of the dashboard which may suggest a later addition to cover in the hole. Why have a heavy clock onboard when you can save on weight and wear a wristwatch. Every little bit helped!

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted December 7, 2012 - 6:38pm

If We revert back to John H. Ballards recollection of the events that transpired post Lindburghs' flight I think We find an important clue.

Mr Ballard recollects that "the Company (Bulova) also rushed 5000 of its $37.50 model Watches to jewelers with "Lone Eagle" Cases.

 

I don't see an ad showing the cut corner "CONQUEROR" or "LONE EAGLE" offered for sale at $37.50 but I do see this:

$37.50?

and The Watch in the ad above appears to match the Watch presented to Lindburgh.

JP
Posted February 8, 2013 - 8:06pm

Panel Member

Notice the difference of horizontal bezel and how it melds with the lugs in the 37.50 drawing but not so in the photo of the watch Mark has presented.

 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted December 7, 2012 - 7:32pm

Club 5000Panel Member

And the "shape" of the lone eagle "Lucky" wore in the artists depiction of items carried on the flight- from Stephen's post above- doesn't look like anything we thought was early Lone Eagle.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 7:45pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Nor do the sandwhiches look like the ones he ate on his flight :-)

Looks like the Series III....or does it look like the President model presented to him......?????

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 7:37pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Yeah, I just noticed that too and wonder if there is some confusion over the later Tonneau model that sold for $37.50. It also has a LE box but not the "Lone Eagle" is not stampled the top cover....but inside.

We can almost certainly say that the President model above was not the one boxed and marketed, only presented to CAL.

Its a thin theory but I'm wondering if Bulova chose the 'President model' as the presentation piece to coincide with the 'Presidents medal' that was also awarded to CAL upon his return to the US.

Putting some of these clues together its now starting to appear that Lindbergh had two Bulova watches given to him; one pre-flight (which he apparantly wore) and one post flight upon his return to the US.

Its assumed CAL received the President model watch on June 12 1927, yet jewelers started marketing the LE only 5 days later (as early as 17 June 1927) saying that the watch contained a letter with CALs endorsement of his Bulova watch.

An important question now re-surfaces....was the watch mentioned in the letter the one he was presented on the 12th of June or was it a watch previously given to CAL (and possibly worn during the historic flight)?

An important clue may be the address that CAL sent his letter to.

352 Fifth Avenue........at what period did Bulova reside at this address? Did they change address during this time period? May be something...maybe nothing....but I feel that the letter is a clue to the time period.

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted December 7, 2012 - 8:56pm

admin,

Mr Ballards recollection is that "the Company (Bulova) also rushed 5000 of its $37.50 model Watches to jewelers with "Lone Eagle" Cases.

The 29714 'PRESIDENT' model in Silver or Green Gold filled is priced at $37.50 and also matches the presentation Watch (the solid 14k version?), I wouldn't write the possibility that the first 5000 were Presidents off.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 9:01pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Nope, I would totally disagee with this notion Firth. The President model was purely the post-flight presentation piece IMO.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted December 8, 2012 - 3:31pm

I don't think that the Lindbergh presentation watch is a President model.

We see no ads for an unengraved President in the DB, and I have not seen one in looking at thousands in the Wiki links.

The movement holder inside the case is different than any other watch in the watch DB, apart from one other, and this belongs to Mark, also a plain cased model and this holds a 9 A movement.

All other photos of the case holder on the President models in the watch DB do not match the CAL presentation watch. Below is the CAL movement holder, and below that is the 1926 Pesident with 9 A and unengraved case. Not e the matching hinge extension blocks.

Below are a 1928 President with a 9 AN movement (notice the different holder, though same mvmnt as CAL watch), and a 1926 President with a 9 A movement,

I am of the persuasion that the CAL presentation watch is the 39744 model, not because of the price, as the ad quoted is from 1924, and the only ads I can find for a mans watch at $37.50 are for the Norman and one 1926 ad for the Senator, but because of the shape of the case, which matches, and not one ad for the president does.

 

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted December 8, 2012 - 4:07pm

I remembered this Feb. 1928 ad, no names or numbers for the watches in this ad, but the price and the watch at bottom left look like a match for both the price quoted above, and the CAL presentation watch, at least to me.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 8, 2012 - 5:56pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I would agrre that the presentation watch is more than likely the botom left corner watch. My gut is still saying its a President model.....some more digging will hopefully tell if my gut is right or wrong.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted December 8, 2012 - 6:11pm

Here is the watch in the ad above, side by side with a 1927 Pesident ad.

Those lugs do it for me!

JP
Posted December 8, 2012 - 4:19pm

Panel Member

What is being considered a clock in the cockpit may be an altimeter with the notch at 6 o'clock being the stem to change the numbers in the colesman window to reflect the actual altitude at take off time or when in a known altitude area.IMO

Kudos to all who have been able to contribute to this great article and I hope Stephen is able to find the "rest of the story" some day soon.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 8, 2012 - 7:52pm

Club 5000Panel Member

From what I can read it the SoSL has an 8 day Waltman clock....why add the extra weight of an 8 day clock for a 33 hr flight when a wristwatch would suffice. Still all speculation.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 8, 2012 - 7:39pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I've wanted to put a timeline together for a while now, but there were just too many unknowns. We are now starting to fill in some gaps and as such the following timeline is starting to take shape.

Bulova Lone Eagle Timeline
11 June 1927 Lindbergh rerturned to the US
11 June 1927 Lindbergh presented with a Bulova watch
13 June 1927 "Lone Eagle" first used by Bulova
17 June 1927 "Lone Eagle" trademark for watched filed by Bulova
http://trade.mar.cx/US71250675
17 June 1927 First advert by Castle NY to sell the LE with box and letter
(sometime prior to this date CAL sent Bulova letter of appreciation)
19 June 1927 Drake advert with box and letter
2 July 1927 Last Saturday Evening Post advert to show the Conqueror
27 August 1927 First Saturday Evening Post advert to feature the LE

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted December 9, 2012 - 6:03am

JP, I don't even know if the instrument panel in the pic is original, as the wicker/cane support looks like an old bookshelf to me!

The pilot in this 1925 ad used to use a half-empty (or half-full, depending on your viewpoint!) bottle of whiskey for a trim/attitude gauge!

So, did Lindbergh have a clock in his cockpit, or any gauges at all at the time of his epic flight?

EDIT:- I could have sworn I posted this ad the first time! Here it is anyway.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 8, 2012 - 10:06pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Here is an old post I just found on the IWC185 website (http://ihc185.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9886009961/m/4181056311) that states.

Excerpt From The Bulova Watch Company's "Record of Firsts."

On Friday,May 20,1927 Charles A. Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field, NY, on history"s first trans-Atlantic solo flight-in The Spirit of St. Louis with a Bulova watch on his wrist. (It was the only timepiece aboard; Lindbergh had refused to install a clock, which weighed more than a watch,on the instrument panel or a radio.) As soon as word was flashed from Paris, France, that Lindbergh had landed there at 5.22 p.m. .Saturday May 21, New York time, Bulova rushed 5,000 Bulova "Lone Eagle" wristwatches to jewelers. More than 50,000 more were retailed later. (Henry B. Fried)

The statement above which claims that there was no clock aboard the Spirit is in fact no true.
On 4 April 1927 Capt Charles Lindbergh San Diego, Calif purchased a 8-Day Watham Clock and other instruments to be installed on the Spirit. The Waltham Airplane Clock Model XA was installed prior to the Atlantic flight on the instrument panel to the right of the Air Speed Indicator (Far right)

PS A letter I received from The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum states: The records show that the Waltham 8 Day Airplane Clock Model XA was installed on the instrument panel when the aircraft was received by the Smithsonian during April 1928

I have been unable to find out if Charles Lindbergh wore a wristwatch or what make during his historic flight.

Frank Menez

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted December 9, 2012 - 2:05am

Club 5000Panel Member

Stephen- the IWC thread is a good read, and really doesn't give us much "evidence" :)  Thanks for your last post in that thread.  Hopefully it will revive the topic after seven years.  Maybe Frank and others will check back in on that thread now.
 
Perhaps we can place some version of your IWC 185 post in the NAWCC wristwatch forum, under a similar thread.  Cary Hurt may be another resource, along with others at NAWCC.  I can place there for you, perhaps to revive interest in that thread.  Or you can post it there???  I'll look for a link to that discussion. 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted December 8, 2012 - 10:44pm

Club 5000Panel Member

This is GREAT stuff.  I like the timeline too!  The pieces are coming together.

JP
Posted December 9, 2012 - 1:18am

Panel Member

I didn't think the clock was there on the flight and lo and behold here is the proof.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted December 9, 2012 - 7:30am

Interesting read in the IHC thread, but where is the absolute proof that Lindbergh left the clock in during the flight?

If he says he took it out, maybe he actually did take it out, either for weight reasons or for another reason, because Bulova were sponsoring him.

Just because the Smithsonian received the plane with the clock fitted, does not mean that it was in it at the time of the flight.

Just another view on possible explanations, not a fact.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 9, 2012 - 11:08pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Bob, it's says the clock was installed in April of 1928 when the Museum took delivery of the plane, which indicates that the one pictures may not have been originally on the flight.

The original if it had one may have been stolen or removed for repair, who knows, but it certainly does open up the question that what watch did CAL use if the plane had no clock during the flight.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted December 9, 2012 - 11:28pm

Panel Member

I think it would have been just a little bit nuts to fly without a dashboard clock. After all, what does it weigh, a pound? A wristwatch can be damaged and stopped very easily, even by just banging it against a door or bulkhead, especially in those days. There are a lot of calculations that require an accurate timepiece in navigation, not the least of which are fuel consumption and position. 

I'm of the mind that Lindy was given one model watch as a presentation piece, perhaps hurriedly prepared for him, and another after the fact. His endorsement of a Bulova watch is kind of generic, he doesn't mention a model, but refers to one he has received. One of two? 

mybulova_admin
Posted December 10, 2012 - 1:09am

Club 5000Panel Member

If you read some of the eye witness extracts the SoSL only just made it over a number of obstacles on take off. The plane was fully loaded with fuel to make the voyage and keeping the weight down to a absolute minimum was essential to the success of the flight.

We may never know, but logic would dictate that a watch was worn either as a primary time keeping source or at the very least as a backup.

I still find it interesting that when delivered to the museum in 1928 the only instrument missing was the clock, which just so happens to be the only piece of equipment replaceable by something you can wear.

Thought....

Hey we need a clock for the flight.... No probs got that covered....ok install it there on the right side of the panel.....check....

Days later.... Crap the planes too heavy for take off, what weight can we lose?

Hey it's nothing more than a thought.

"The above events may not have actually happened and are the random thoughts of one Stephen Ollman"

mybulova_admin
Posted February 15, 2013 - 8:18am

Club 5000Panel Member

"Lindbergh convinced the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the flight, and a budget of $15,000 was set. The Ryan Airlines Corporation of San Diego volunteered to build a single-engine aircraft to his specifications. Extra fuel tanks were added, and the wing span was increased to 46 feet to accommodate the additional weight. The main fuel tank was placed in front of the cockpit because it would be safest there in the event of a crash. This meant Lindbergh would have no forward vision, so a periscope was added. To reduce weight, everything that was not utterly essential was left out. There would be no radio, gas gauge, night-flying lights, navigation equipment, or parachute. Lindbergh would sit in a light seat made of wicker. Unlike other aviators attempting the flight, Lindbergh would be alone, with no navigator or co-pilot."

 

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lindbergh-lands-in-paris

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted December 9, 2012 - 11:47pm

Now I get you! I thought it meant the clock was already installed, and that was why Mr. Menez in his article states that there WAS a clock on board during the flight.
But is that what was meant? That phrase "The clock was installed when the Smithsonian received the aircraft"(sic) is pretty ambiguous to say the least.
Where does he get the info that the clock was installed PRIOR to the flight?
This is not revealed to us in his article.
The only verified information in the article comes from someone who was there at the time, and says there was NOT a clock, though this person was admittedly a Bulova employee.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted December 23, 2012 - 5:31pm

Club 5000Panel Member

So we found another newspaper article which mentions Lindbergh "wore a Bulova" on the flight.  The article ran in "The Fredonia Censor" (New York) page 3 on Wednesday, September 14th, 1927.  There was also a large Bulova Watch Advertisement on bottom of the same page, but no mention of a Lone Eagle model (nor were any of the Lone Eagle models pictured in the ad).

If anyone want's the full newspaper PDF please PM me.

 

mybulova_admin
Posted December 24, 2012 - 3:09am

Club 5000Panel Member

I believe it reads....

A.Aronson jeweler, 328 Main street, Dunkirk N.Y has been appointed distributor of Bulova wrist watches in that town. Colonel Lindberg wore a Bulova on his famous flight and the new Miss America, chosen last week at Atlantic City, is also the possessor of one of these popular watches. Mr Aronson is local watch inspector for the New York Central Railway.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 26, 2012 - 3:12am

Club 5000Panel Member

If the above has any truth to it and CAL did in fact wear a Bulova on this flight, then he was presented with at least two Bulova watches. The one pre-flight which I hope one day we see is the Conqueror/Lone Eagle model and the other upon his return to the US post flight (the President style model)

The search continues.....

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted February 8, 2013 - 7:12pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Here's a newspaper ad from July 3, 1927. It's from the Milwaukee Sentinel.  Advertised price for the Lone Eagle is $50.  This ad was published about five weeks after the actual flight.  Mentions the box and letter.

mybulova_admin
Posted February 9, 2013 - 3:54am

Club 5000Panel Member

Updated timeline.

Bulova Lone Eagle Timeline 11 June 1927 Lindbergh rerturned to the US 11 June 1927 Lindbergh presented with a Bulova watch 13 June 1927 "Lone Eagle" first used by Bulova 17 June 1927 "Lone Eagle" trademark for watched filed by Bulova
http://trade.mar.cx/US71250675 17 June 1927 First advert by Castle NY to sell the LE with box and letter
(sometime prior to this date CAL sent Bulova letter of appreciation) 19 June 1927 Drake advert with box and letter 2 July 1927 Last Saturday Evening Post advert to show the Conqueror 3 July 1927 Milwaukee Sentinel advert with letter and box 27 August 1927 First Saturday Evening Post advert to feature the LE

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted February 11, 2013 - 7:07am

I don't suppose these are any help?

            Check the date, June 27, 1927.

 June 27, 1927 Bulova Lone Eagle

   This July 15th. 1927 ad says:  "an exact replica of the watch worn by Col. Charles Lindbergh".

Notice it has the "old style" enamelled corners.

                July 15, 1927 Bulova Lone Eagle

This October 1927 ad has the open case, but the watch is hard to see.

mybulova_admin
Posted February 11, 2013 - 6:22am

Club 5000Panel Member

Bobbee, hope you don't mind me updating the images you posted. I cleaned them up a bit.

The 3rd advert is amazing and the first advert of the period to actualy show the correct case. This proves that the first releases did in fact come in the long brown rectangular version and not the green box.

1927 Bulova Lone Eagle watch with original presentation box.

Notice how these 1927 adverts all indicate that CAL was either presented or wore this model, which would highly suggest that he was given this model watch along 'with' the President style (upon his return)..thus 2 Bulova watches.

With all this evidence its certainly starting to look like it may just have been possible that he did in fact wear/have the Conqueror/Lone Eagle model around the time of his flight if not during his flight, we certainly have written statements to the fact.

Updated timeline.

Bulova Lone Eagle Timeline
11 June 1927 Lindbergh rerturned to the US
11 June 1927 Lindbergh presented with a Bulova watch
13 June 1927 "Lone Eagle" first used by Bulova
17 June 1927 "Lone Eagle" trademark for watched filed by Bulova
http://trade.mar.cx/US71250675
17 June 1927 First advert by Castle NY to sell the LE with box and letter
(sometime prior to this date CAL sent Bulova letter of appreciation)
19 June 1927 Drake advert with box and letter
27 June 1927 Huff's Jewelry store advert "watch presented to..."
2 July 1927 Last Saturday Evening Post advert to show the Conqueror
3 July 1927 Milwaukee Sentinel advert with letter and box
15 July 1927 H.A Tibbals advert "replica of the watch worn by...."
27 August 1927 First Saturday Evening Post advert to feature the LE
October 1927 First advert showing the presentation box (factory set)

 

mybulova_admin
Posted February 15, 2013 - 7:23am

Club 5000Panel Member

Interesting to see CALs fast promotion from Captian to Colonel, pre and post flight.Captain Charles Lindbergh 1927

May 25 1927 (post flight) he was still referred to with the rank of Captain. Was he promoted upon his return to ther US?

June 11 1927, referred to with the rank of Colonel upon return to US from France. Has anyone seen any ealier use of the Colonel rank.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted February 15, 2013 - 8:30am

  

      July 1927 Edition of Boy's Life. Two excerpts, great photo's and article written by Col. Theodore Roosevelt.

 

mybulova_admin
Posted February 15, 2013 - 8:41am

Club 5000Panel Member

At the moment I'm trying to find any photo of CAL wearing a watch. I have only found one so far....seems he either wasn't a big wearer or he had them well hidden under his shirt cuffs or flighing suit.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted March 11, 2013 - 10:03am

June 17th. 1927 ad.

                    Coming Lindbergh - June 17, 1927

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted March 11, 2013 - 5:53pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Great!  Gotta be an East Coast newspaper or maybe a trade mag spot.  June 17th... quick turnaround time.  Gotta be talking about the Watch, as I doubt this jewelry store was hosting the Man.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted March 12, 2013 - 8:24am

There is another ad, following this one from the same shop dated to June 25th, saying the watch is now on view in their window.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted March 12, 2013 - 8:29am

Club 5000Panel Member

...and I bet by this time, they had the nice brown boxes saying Lone Eagle on the top and inside.  They moved quick-Bulova- and really played up this flight to the max.  Their bottom dollar max, but they were a smart company.  

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 11, 2013 - 10:27am

Panel Member

Check out the Perlage on the fuselage!

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted March 11, 2013 - 10:32am

Imagine having to do that, instead of a little bitty case back!

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted March 29, 2013 - 3:54pm

Does this look like he is wearing a watch, or possibly two, on his left wrist? Can't be sure.

Photo dated May 14th. 1927, at Curtiss field, three miles from Roosevelte field, waiting for the weather to clear for the historic flight.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted March 29, 2013 - 4:23pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Looks like he has something on his wrist!

mybulova_admin
Posted March 30, 2013 - 8:05pm

Club 5000Panel Member

You guys must have way better eye sight than I do :-)

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted March 30, 2013 - 7:51am

Looks like CAL DID wear a wristwatch on his flight, or at least he wore one to his meeting with the King of England at the end of May, 1927. Nearly half way down the article snippet from the Lowell Sun, May 31st, 1927.

"Finally, glancing at his wristwatch,".

Could this be the Bulova watch he supposedly wore on the flight, or given to him after?