Taking case back off?

writerdianalee's picture

In an effort to provide more information here to help figure out the year and model of my new old Bulova (my first), I was able to get the bracelet and crystal off - but when it came time to slip the movement out of the caseback, I wasn't sure how to proceed. I tugged/lifted a little on the stem but it seemed pretty snug. I didn't want to work too hard at it. Any advice would be appreciated. I went to YouTube and watched a video of a guy doing it and it seemed like it should just pop out easily. I have one picture of the watch from the front but I know you need more plus it's a png file. Please advise. Thanks. Diana

1955mercury's picture
1955mercury
Posted November 17, 2014 - 10:12pm

Hi Diana. Welcome to Mybulova. Could you provide just a little more information. A picture of the watch would be a great help, but not absolutely necessary. Are we talking about a men's or a ladies Bulova? You titled this "Taking case back off?" But what you're asking sounds like you have the case back off and are trying to get the movement out of it. Can you verify which one you're trying to do? I'm a little confused by why you took the crystal off. That is only necessary to get the movement out of a watertight watch. We need to know if that's what you have. Please don't force anything. You'll damage something. Waiting on your reply.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 17, 2014 - 11:04pm

OK, here it is. Case Serial No. is 806532. And that's all - other than on the opposite end 10K Gold Filled and Bulova. Also Bulova on the stem. Two diamonds, top and bottom. Answer to your question: yes, I was trying to get the movement out of the case back. The crystal just came off with the bracelet - not by itself, but stayed with the bracelet. It appears to be not quite level, too ... it's a little higher on the "6" part than the "12." I fully intend to take it to someone who knows what they are doing but I'm quite rural so it will be awhile. I will try to take more pictures but I'm so tired tonight I just don't think I can plus just realized the camera needs a new battery. More later.....

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 17, 2014 - 11:41pm

1955mercury's picture
1955mercury
Posted November 17, 2014 - 11:54pm

That's a big help Diana. You're dealing with a ladies Bulova. And I'm following you a lot better now. Let's start by explaining a few terms. The crystal is the clear glass covering the dial. It fits into the top part of the case of the watch and that top part of the case is called the "bezel. The crystal looks like it's the wrong one for your watch. That's why it's not level. It doesn't fit the bezel correctly. Your watch has a 6 digit serial number as do a lot of the ladies models before 1949. The men's have a 7 digit serial number and the first number is the year in the decade it was made. For example if the serial number started with an "8" it would mean it was made in either 1938 or 1948. On yours it will require finding the date symbol stamped on the back of the movement and the movement model. But I would highly recommend you not even try to take the movement out of the case back. The ladies model movements have such a close fit in the case back that it is extremely easy to break the balance staff trying to remove them. I'm the voice of experience on that. I ruined the first one I tried to take out and a couple of more after that one before I got the hang of it. Maybe we can ID the model name from the picture and give you a general idea of when it was made.  

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 12:00am

Your help is greatly appreciated. Yes, I had learned about the digits indicating year, and that the six digit serial number with no letters meant it was pre-1950. So I figured I have 1938 or 1948. I have looked thoroughly over and over again through every posted picture from those two eras, and included years just prior and after, and cannot find a perfect match. Found several that it resembled, but nothing with that bell-shaped sculpting that holds the diamonds which is nicely beaded on its edge. I have uploaded two more pictures but I think I have a better one (found a battery and rejuvenated the camera but it's not a high-power for close-in shots). I'm dying of curiosity to see what you experts surmise.  Cheers, Diana (and, no, I won't be pulling it apart again. that was simply terrifying).

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 17, 2014 - 11:55pm

Here's a view of the crystal. Yeah, I know.

Something's wrong here....

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 12:15am

mybulova_admin
Posted November 18, 2014 - 5:54am

Club 5000Panel Member

Diana, with watch model IDing can you please add the watch to the database so that the panel can correctly help you with the model identification.

It may take a bit of jiggling back and forth, but if you're gentle enough the movement should eventually pop out.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 9:08am

I tried adding it but in the end when I had uploaded two photos and clicked "save," the resulting page looked like gibberish - just lots of code. I'll try again. However, there are a lot of things to add to the questions while uploading which I do not have because I was unwilling to pop the movement out of the case back - it didn't seem to want to come easily and I wasn't sure how to do it. So I have as yet been unable to view the movement. Today I'm taking it to a jeweler. I'll ask him to give me information from the back of the movement. My Nikon isn't good at taking close-up shots so my pictures are not as good as I'm sure you'd want. However, I'll provide what information I can because I think we all like to sleuth a little. Thanks - :) Diana

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted November 18, 2014 - 10:50am

Panel Member
 

If I might add my 2¢, I strongly recommend taking it to a qualified watchmaker, unless the jeweller you know is reputable and deals with vintage watches. I have seen many like this get damaged by places that only change batteries day in and day out. It is easy to destroy the balance taking it out and also putting it back in if you have never done it before. 

1955mercury's picture
1955mercury
Posted November 18, 2014 - 10:58am

Ditto that Reverend. Those balance wheels sometimes have about 1/100ths of an inch clearance and one bump and it's damaged.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 4:05pm

Left it with a very qualified jeweler who has been in the business for many many years - he recognized it right away and I watched him disassemble my little beauty in about 15 seconds flat and peer onto the movement. (Drum roll): He believes the year is 1948 (definitely '40s, he said); the Movement is a 5AC. Diamonds are genuine, old single cut. Now: what I want to know is what is the model name?

1955mercury's picture
1955mercury
Posted November 18, 2014 - 4:29pm

That's great news. The Bulova 5AC movement was made from 1945 until 1947 in a 17 jewel format. So that narrows down the search for the model name. I've looked through all the ads here from the 40's and I saw one that I thought might be the one you have, but it was a newspaper ad and not very clear. I don't remember the name now. It started with "Av" or "Ar". Now that we've got the year down to within 3 or 4 years, closer scrutiny on those years will hopefully turn up a name.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 4:06pm

Also: He told me similar models would go for about $200 give or take and that my purchase of it at $45 plus $65 for oiling and cleaning and shining (he said it's running perfectly - what I didn't know is that you don't only wind forward, you wind backward and forward. DUH?!?!?).. He then took me over to a jewelry case and showed me one of his vintage diamond Bulova's for sale from the 1950s that is marked $500. Lovely piece.

1955mercury's picture
1955mercury
Posted November 18, 2014 - 4:44pm

Sounds like you found the right guy. $65 for a complete servicing is a bargain provided he is going to disassemble the movement and clean and oil it. Keep your receipt if you think you might have intentions of selling it to show proof that it was done by a professional. A lot of sellers on the bay use the term "just serviced" in the same sense that a farmer would use to describe a breeding cow. Did you mention fixing the crystal to him?

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 4:58pm

Yes. I showed it to him from the sideways view and he said it's just not seated properly and he'd take care of that. Didn't think it was original but said it's a nice enough crystal that I should keep it. We are going to put a new watchband on it - he said the one that's on it is a very nice band (white gold filled, scissor style) and hard to find and appropriate for the watch's age, but I want one of those nylon cords, in a silver shade. I think it will look real nice when it's all done.  His website is www.venierjewelers.com   Thanks for all the help.

Andersok
Posted November 18, 2014 - 7:14pm

Panel Member

Very lovely watch with a distinct look; however, I am unable to locate a matching ad. It certainly represents the style of 1948, and would look quite nice with a black cord band - model is Unknown at this time.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 7:56pm

I will keep looking and I hope all of you looking at it will too. I think it will add to the value and certainly add to my love of the piece if I can name her. :)  It's going to take 10 days before I have her back again. :( But he said she'd be beautiful by then. :) I am not having the dial re-done, which would cost more and take longer - he felt the dial was in good enough condition to just do what he can with it.

mybulova_admin
Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:01pm

Club 5000Panel Member

 

Again to continue with the process of IDing your watch please try again to add it to the database. Watches should not be ID'd. In the general forums.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:04pm

It is in the database. Sorry if I'm doing something wrong here. 

mybulova_admin
Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:05pm

Club 5000Panel Member

 

Apologies , I didn't see it was agreed. Thank you!

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:12pm

:)  http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1948-unknown-6985  No worries. I should have asked him the movement serial number this morning. 

1955mercury's picture
1955mercury
Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:24pm

It won't have a serial number Diana. Only the very early, like in the 20's had movement serial numbers.

writerdianalee's picture
writerdianalee
Posted November 18, 2014 - 8:54pm

OH! and I was very surprised to watch him roll the stem back and forth - you should have seen the look on my face! I thought --- forward only. Nope. <=== much to learn.