Bulova Chrono dial question

Hello all;

I've just received a 1940's Chronograph 


I have some questions about the dial though. What are the re-dial options for a dial like this? I know that it effects the value, but I'd rather have a cleaner looking dial than what I currently have. It is oxidized, or is that something else at work? I plan on sending it in for service, it needs some finessing of the chrono mechanism. I wonder what a decent cleaning will do.



Posted September 22, 2015 - 6:52am

Club 5000Panel Member

Personally I don't think a redial on this watch would hurt the value at all, especially if it's well done. That's just my opinion, others may differ. It comes down to personal choice.

It's a great rare piece and something that should be fully restored so it can last another 60+ years.

Geoff Baker
Posted September 22, 2015 - 9:05am

Club 5000Panel Member

IMHO - These old watches, all my Bulova watches in fact, are antique items from which I draw great personal joy. I have no issues whatsoever having watch my Bulova watch dials refinished as new. I have a couple of old watches that I will not redial because they are so originally pristine that I believe it would take away from their originality. If I felt that they were extremely valuable or priceless treasures I would absolutely leave them in unrestored original condition, but they aren't. This ain't the Mona Lisa or a Faberge egg, it's a great old Bulova from the 1940's that to YOU would look better all bright white. I say rush it in for a new paint job, it's your watch and you will draw more personal joy from it!

BTW cost to do so would most likely be less than $100, depending on where and how it goes. My watchmaker uses International Dial. I like their work.

Posted September 22, 2015 - 11:00am

The dial right now looks like base metal, brassy in color, with discoloration around the numbers, probably due to lume. I haven't seen any advertisements with the watch featured, so I have no idea what the original color of the dial was. I've seen them described as copper in sale blurbs online. Any ideas?

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted September 22, 2015 - 6:49pm

Panel Member

Just my HO, but I think this watch would really pop with a refin dial. You can get International to do whatever colour you want, I'm guessing the original color was a bronz-ey metallic? I've seen these with Butler finished silver or a matte silver, and they look spectacular. 

I've had good results with IDC, especially with Bulova dials, but they do a great job on everything, especially two tone dials. 

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Reverend Rob
Posted September 23, 2015 - 12:17pm

Panel Member

I should mention, since it does come up a lot in daily service, that dials are essentially un-cleanable. You can remove surface dirt, but old dials are oxidized, burnt with Radium, and silvered dials react with airborne pollutants. In the past, various organic and petro oils used in watch repair would also decay and off-gas. Add to this sun damage, water incursion in the form of simple humidity or otherwise, as well as glue decay.