1940's (?) AIR WARDEN and BLACKOUT models.

Submitted by FifthAvenueRes… on December 8, 2010 - 3:44am


Blackout style looks very familiar - 40's 'Senator'

Stephen Ollman
Posted December 8, 2010 - 4:26am

No doubt a re-badged model. Difference is the radium dial and hands (military style).

Wayne Hanley
Posted December 8, 2010 - 11:08am


Great find on the ad!! I have never seen the traditional Senator step lug cased model use another name, but the ad clearly shows a radium dial & hands with the Blackout name. Makes sence to me. Bulova advertising was always inspired by current events, with a war on, you gotta be able to do it in the dark. Makes me want to go out & enlist!


Posted December 8, 2010 - 8:30pm

Yes, and the Air Warden looks like the Military issues in a 'civilian' case.

Posted December 13, 2010 - 5:55am

 I had one of those Blackout watches once, I assumed someone had re-dialled a Senator with radium numbers and hands to make it a bit different.......now we know they did come like this, i'll be on the look out for another although i have only seen that one before so must be quite rare?.

Posted December 13, 2010 - 11:38am


I've noticed more than one of the Air Wardens floating around lately and what I think was the Blackout in a parts lot that sold  just the other day, it was in pieces but the case, dial and hands were clearly visible. First ever for that one.

Wayne Hanley
Posted December 13, 2010 - 12:49pm

I was outbid on this one on Dec 12.


Wayne Hanley
Posted December 13, 2010 - 1:02pm

This Oridinace watch is the only Bulova military issue that I know of that had a sub seconds dial. It didn't have the hack feature. Then came the A11 hack watch & later the A17 hack watch, both with sweep second hands.

Posted January 2, 2011 - 8:18am


You missed a beauty on Dec 12, looks like a 100%  authentic Air Warden to Me?

I've become passionate lately over the Blackout model, I want one. Considering the U.S. entered WWII late in '41 after the Pearl Harbour attack and it ended 1945 and the earliest Senator of this design I have seen was from 1939, the latest being 1949 this ad and these models would be from a period ranging from 1942 - 1945. Possibly 1942 as an exact date.

Was there a date given on the Air Warden??

G J,

 Do You recall the date of Your Blackout???

Posted January 2, 2011 - 9:08am

Although I think Mark disagreed that this is not an original dial, Wayne posted this a couple weeks ago saying the watch sold for over $300.

Sure looks like it's either a redial made to look like the above watch.... or an original Blackout Senator.

Posted January 2, 2011 - 7:45pm

In reply to by plainsmen


The watch is a figment of someones imagination. The Hour and Minute hands are wrong, the seconds hand is wrong, dial is wrong.

It's very obvious to Me that the watch is a redial and not a very good one may I add. The B and the U in Bulova are way off and the seconds dial is a mess.

The Blackout clearly has a White dial with Black tracks, luminous numerals, *luminous hands, black *sweep seconds hand as shown in the ad.

*See Hands 101 in the archives.


I'd still like to know if Wayne recalls a date given for the Air Warden He missed or if G J remembers the date of His Blackout. My theory says this ad possibly dates the watches production to 1942 - 1945.



Scratch the last question, X datestamp on the movement = 1943, which would have given Bulova 12 months after Pearl Harbour, or a model year to design, develop, retool and produce these 2 watches.

Perfect !!


Stephen Ollman
Posted January 3, 2011 - 1:52am

In reply to by plainsmen

Other than the black dial, which would make sense as a variant to the 'Blackout' they look identical side by side. (oh and I have Photoshoped the minute hand radium paint to give full effect)

Bulova Blackout

Don't forget Radium paint after many years/dacades in the sun can do some serious dial and crystal damage.

Posted January 9, 2011 - 10:59pm

In reply to by plainsmen

Good one, Jerin!

lOOs original enough, to me??? But it's not affiliated with the "Senator" monaker... Just in the same case, of course! (As were other models, BTW...)

BEST :-)  Scott

Posted January 3, 2011 - 1:37am

Check it out Mark... how ironic... found this today from a 1942-43 Sears catalog

Posted January 6, 2011 - 2:44pm


That's sweet!


I'm not convinced of the varient theory, nor of the Hour and Minute hands that appear on the watch being Bulova Hands or matching the ad's. I beleive the Hands are going to be more on the lines of the Hands that appear on the Air Warden, ordenance style which were available for both 23 and 18mm dials. The sub second hand showing makes no sense with the Military theme and looks out of place, (plus it appears as if someone hand painted it Gold?) There are luminous sub second hands available, I have some but the seconds hand in the ad appears Black.

The watch in question is a 1940 model, the United States had no involvement in WWII in 1940, not until late in 1941. By My estimate the Blackout should be a 1943 model, if the Air Warden and Blackout appeared at the same time plainsmens ad proves 25% of that theory and Wayne's watch another 25% as it is has the 1943 date stamp.


Posted January 9, 2011 - 11:08pm

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

Pearl Harbor wasn't even bombed until 12.07, 1941... So no REAL "Military Issue" (American made/issued) watched would have even been RELEASED, prior to early to mid 1942...)


:-)  Scott

Posted January 6, 2011 - 2:50pm

Given the ad I think that's proof enough that this case was used with radium dial and hands and called the Blackout. I think also that common sense will say it was not a military ordinance watch but rather done in the military style for the civillian market which would include military personal purchasing a watch for themselves. It is possible it may have been made specificalIy for sale in the military PX stores. I have seen this with the black dial and given the aged look of the luminous I'd bet it's original.

Rare ? Perhaps, I'll be sure to hold onto the one I have. I have sold this watch in the past but the one I sold had a rose gold bezel.

Well, that's my 2 cents worth.


Posted January 9, 2011 - 11:12pm

In reply to by bourg01

"Dress watches" were typically "pink gold," (aka Rose Gold, today, 90% of the time...) in the mid 30s- late 40s) and were "all the rage" with military officers in particular, in the 40s, here...

:-)  Scott

Posted January 6, 2011 - 3:10pm


The Blackout variant shown is not original IMO, it's dated wrong and the dial is drab green from where I'm sitting. The Air Warden on the other hand is.

Bulova's advertising campaigns followed current events and as stated the U.S. had no involvement in WWII in 1940, the watch in question is a 1940 model. And Yes, these were definately produced for civilians not military. They are however Military themed.

Posted January 6, 2011 - 5:00pm

Actually I see it as flat black and regardless that the US was not yet involved with WWII 1940 is not relevent. The USA was still a military superpower prior to WWII even if they were not yet involved so I don't think that the watch is improperly dated nor do I think that dial is a refinish. Aside from the black color it is identicle to the ad and as I mentioned before, the radium, aged as it is could not be duplicated in a refinish. I've been in this game a long time and what I see looks original. The only way to resolve the question is to inspect the back of the dial. If it was refinished at some point in time it will have a ID # inscribed on the back of the dial. If there's no ID inscribed, it's original.

Posted January 6, 2011 - 6:07pm

Resistance if Futile.. we are the Bourg... you will be assimulated.

Posted January 6, 2011 - 6:12pm


Then We have a difference of opinion, to Me there are too many obvious irregularities in the dial and hand combination plus the date of the watch is illogical as 1943 would make more sense.

It's too bad We cant pull the dial for a look or have and ad to confirm its existence.  My theory is based upon the facts as I see them.

Posted January 6, 2011 - 6:16pm

Hey Jerin,

You've made the connection to my trade name!! I'm a huge Trek fan. Aside from that,  I've stated my opinion on this issue so I'm out of this debate now. 

Posted January 6, 2011 - 6:18pm

In reply to by bourg01

Very nice... I'm a scifi nut myself.  Live long and prosper mr. Bourg

Posted January 6, 2011 - 6:39pm

To Fifth Ave,

Yes, we can agree to a difference of opinion. Mine is based on 8 years of restoring watches, what I have seen and owned.

It would be very cool to pull the dial on that watch and know for sure. Still, at the end of the day your ad confirms the existance of 2 Bulova models that had us all guessing about  before. Regardless of the debate on the black/olive dial, your contribution is awesome.

We certainly don't have to guess about the Blackout or the Air Warden any more. Many Thx from all of us at mybulova.com

regards Shawn

Posted January 7, 2011 - 12:59am

You know what's crazy?  This has seemed to happen several times over the past few months.  We start  posting about something on here and low and behold I find it without looking for it.

Just picked this guy up tonight and I'm already making plans for the redial to look back to it's original form!  A guy can get hands relumed as well can he?

Posted January 7, 2011 - 5:18am


Awesome, looks NOTHING like the varient, as anticipated.

Yes, International Dial Co will do the hahds for $10 or $15 along with the dial, Kirk Dial would be My only other recommendation.

This is an amazing find  I'm green with envy, what Year is the watch dated???

THAT is a BLACKOUT - no doubt in My mind.

^^Please note the Bulova logo lettering is evenly spaced across the dial face, numerals are correct in every aspect and the Hands are spot on, luminous. The seconds track is correct showing the correct hand.

I've been at this a while Myself.


Thank You for all of Your input and interest Gentlemen.



Posted January 7, 2011 - 8:19am

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

Don't know the date year yet.  The guy hadn't shown the movement on the auction.  He was probably 24  yearsish off by saying it was a 1920's circa.   Hopefully he'll throw it in the mail this morning and I'll get it next week.  I'll  try to take some better pics... it'll be a bit before I send it off.

Posted January 7, 2011 - 9:20am

Any one know. Is this an Air Warden with a different dial. The dial has been redone but to the specs of it's original.


Posted January 7, 2011 - 9:51am

Just ran across this in the parts bin.  Similar to the Air Warden.  Note the curved lugs.  Too bad one of them is broken.


Posted January 8, 2011 - 12:19am

Well here's something to gum up the Identification works....  Found in a 1941-42 Sears Ad.

Gentlemen... I present the 1941 Bulova Nighthawk!  (which incidently is a badass name for a watch)

Posted January 8, 2011 - 7:33am

In reply to by plainsmen

Great ad!  Always wondered about that military motif box.  I have one but was never certain what it was used for, now I know.

Wayne Hanley
Posted January 8, 2011 - 5:21pm

I retract my prior statement & deleted it to avoid confusion.


Tthe watch that I was outbid on & the watch you found in the parts bin are not dialed the same as the Air Warden or the Nighhawk. The dials have 3 outer rings, rounded numbers and numbers in the sub seconds dial. However, I see no difference in the dials of the Air Warden and the Nighthawk. 

The cases on all of the above round watches look the same. Could the dial difference be a model year change in dials?


Posted January 9, 2011 - 11:30pm

In reply to by Wayne Hanley

I just noticed that, also... It may well be that the DIFFERENCE between the '42  "Air Warden" and '43  "Nighthawk," is a movement (and name) change, only??? And I emailed "el-ooose" (Philip) to point this out, since the watch I sent him to restore/resell (see my post) is likely then the 1943 "NIGHTHAWK," but with a champagne dial option, vs. the black??? OR... maybe the BLACK dial IS the difference, by 1943??? I suspect that (as par) the movements vary between 1942/3, hence the new MODEL NAME???

:-)  Scott


Posted January 10, 2011 - 7:33pm

In reply to by WatchCrystals.net


Two totally different models - below is an Air Warden. Original I would say.

Stephen Ollman
Posted January 10, 2011 - 8:06pm

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

Not to be a stick in the mud.....but why are all the dials different, inparticular the 9?

Posted January 16, 2011 - 4:56am

In reply to by Stephen Ollman


Eloose's watch is a redial of the NIGHTHAWK design, 9 left open.

vintagebulova's watch appears to be an AIR WARDEN, minus one lug.  : )

The watch I posted is an AIR WARDEN with luminous numerals, must have been an option as I have a TILDON with luminous hands and 'standard' numerals, it's orig.

The first AIR WARDEN posted looks restored and missing the luminous from the hands.

Posted January 10, 2011 - 9:05pm

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

I saw this earlier before you posted it Mark..... the guy doesn't accept offers and doesn't end his auctions early........


Uhmmm... heh... I mean... yeah... I'm guessing.  *whistles innocently*

Posted January 16, 2011 - 4:47am

In reply to by plainsmen


Hey J,

While I'm thinking about it:

I saw a dial cleaning performed by Gus's in Chicago. A much better option for Your 'BLACKOUT' than a complete redial IMO. Keeps the watch original.

Bob's people I believe, nice job.

Posted January 9, 2011 - 2:47am

Ok those that think this is an original Blackout say 'yea'. Those that think it is not say 'nay'.

Posted January 9, 2011 - 10:50pm


Original Blackout shown on right for comparison.

1st observation is it's the wrong color scheme compared to the ad, although probably available in a Black Dial version to Me this dial is not Black it's Green, Grey or whatever, not Black. -  The Hour and Minute hands are completely different from the both the Hands shown in the ad and the watch on the right although I may have seen them on a Vietnan War era piece: note they are thinner and have a longer point than the luminous hands of the 40's era. The sub seconds track is way off as it dips too far down over the 6 and the dial numerals are off also, close but off.

Last but not least the 1940 date is wrong.

Given Bulova's marketing History and in response to Public fear of a second attack  I will bet these watches were made available after the attack on Pearl Harbour, which occured late in 1941 and lead to the United States's involvement in WWII. Prior to this time admin no US citizen would have dreamed of the US shores being attacked, nullifying the need for an 'Air Warden' or for a 'Blackout'.

My opinion is these models will all be dated 1943, 1944 and possibly 1945.

I'm out of this debate as My personal conclusions in this matter have been reached, for whatever they may be worth.




Stephen Ollman
Posted January 10, 2011 - 8:20pm

I'm gonna say 'Yea' just to keep things interesting :-)

I can't see why someone would go to all this trouble to fake a Blackout.

IMO, the colors and variations are simply due to  age and dial options. We all know Bulova are renowed for their variations. I've seen this type of effect on many radium painted dials and hands and doubt its been redone.

Where did identifiying this as a '1940' model come from?

Time (excuss the pun) will tell if we can find (or not) another one like this.

Posted January 10, 2011 - 9:03pm

In reply to by Stephen Ollman

I'm with the Yea's as well.  I was going to say the age thing as well...  I mean... if you were going to redail a senator... why the hell would you pick something so ugly?  must be stock....

Wayne Hanley
Posted January 16, 2011 - 3:42pm

I recon I'll say Yea!

Ya want mo peechers? Do you see the leetle bug with the two legs. If the legs start moving let me know.



Posted January 16, 2011 - 4:51pm

In reply to by Wayne Hanley


I'll take not of the time You edited Your post above, compared to the time I made Mine below.

I thought You'd have something of a little substance to add to this discussion besides childish referrals to bugs and legs, apparatly not?

The date of the movement inside this watch has no bearing on its authenticity, or lack thereof at this time. It could be dated 1943 and My opinion would not change.

Some arguement to the discrepencies pointed out below would be appreciated or maybe there are none?


*note date and time posted.

Posted January 16, 2011 - 10:42am

Sure, post 'em up, this is getting interesting.


The rear of the Dial has been painted over completely, which is a new one to Me as I don't think Bulova wasted their time or materials finishing the rear of their Dials, plus it's as Green as the face.

Given the theory of the 'aged' Dial one would think the rear of the Dial, if painted by Bulova, would remain Black (as in 'BLACKOUT').

Unless of coarse this is a 'GREENOUT' variant?

Yet another strike against.

Notice the width of the Hands (highlighted in Yellow for those of You not playing at Home) not the span across the dial but the width itselff, the known originals are wider.

Also, and once again the sub seconds track is off (highlighted in Red) from the known originals. Not one of the 'SENATORS' I own has a sub second dial that covers this much of the Six. This is an obvious redial with similar hands.

Plus, why the difference in the Colors of Luminous used on the Hands compared to the Color used on the Numerals? ....which incidently had been discontinued from being used by Bulova in 1940.

Too many variantions, there are more.

P.S. In looking at the 'BLACKOUT' ad it's rapidly becoming obvious to Me the someone took that image and copied it for a Dial, as the image in the ad does show an almost fully obscured 6 numeral on the Dial face.

Luckily, We have a known original in Our midst..

Defense rests..





Wayne Hanley
Posted January 17, 2011 - 1:32am


The only reason I made my last comment was in rebutal to your comment dated January 2, 2011 5:18am and I quote

"I've become passionate lately over the Blackout model, I want one. Considering the U.S. entered WWII late in '41 after the Pearl Harbour attack and it ended 1945 and the earliest Senator of this design I have seen was from 1939, the latest being 1949 this ad and these models would be from a period ranging from 1942 - 1945. Possibly 1942 as an exact date."

and again January 11, 2011 @750pm "My opinion is these models will all be dated 1943, 1944 and possibly 1945."

I posted a Yea vote to keep things interesting and put in 3 pics of a Blackout watch. Two of those photos were of the back of the watch. I made an a clarification statement of "Do you see the leetle bug with the two legs. If the legs start moving let me know." Using my dry humor to emphasize to you that the movement symbol was an omega symbol=1940, just in case you didn't see it. Childish maybe but, you if you can't take a joke.

Here is the eBay item number for the Blackout 120671447840. And call it a Spencer if you want.




Posted January 17, 2011 - 3:27am


It is still My contention that these models appeared after Pearl Harbour in late 1941. Date codes of 1942 are possible as inventory from late that Year was used, 1943 more likely.

* Once more, because the watch You show has a datecode of 1940 has no bearing, only if it were authentic which it obviously is not.

Out of the 3 genuine models I have seen ALL are dated 1943, coincidence? GJ states He had one dated 1942, again a possability.

This watch did not exist in 1940, why would it?


Stephen Ollman
Posted January 17, 2011 - 4:48am

A quick question (and being an Australian, possibly a stupid question), but why does this watch have to have anything to do with America and WWII.

Did America cease to a have any military forces in the early 1940s?

This is a military (themed) watch...yes, but why does it have to tie in with WWII?

I'm just asking????