Restoration 101

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture

I thought it would be fun to demonstate via text and a few visuals what transpires during one of My typical restoration projects. Follow along in the weeks to come as We take a punished vintage Bulova to primo.

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted December 26, 2010 - 5:50pm

Part 1.

The Candidate.

This looked suitable, a late 30's early 40's beaten and neglected nobodywantsme runner called a Senator.

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted December 31, 2010 - 9:54am

Part 2.

The Dissection.

Upon recieiving the watch is disassembled into its basic components, the thrashed flex band and aftermarket plastic domed crystal are disguarded and the case is thoroughly cleaned. Pleasantries discovered are a Rose Gold case bezel, which is in good condition and should polish up nicely and an original copper dial with printed exploding two tone numerals.

Movement models, manufacturing dates and case serial numbers are obtained and a quick check of the Swiss 17 Jewel 8AH reveals it was produced in 1945, winds and sets correctly and is running strong.

A parts list is then compiled as to what the 1945 Senator will need to look presentable once more. A new set of Blued Steel Index style Hands, a new Rose Gold Bulova crown, and a new glass are the most obvious, the crown being the most challenging. 

The dial becomes an issue as it shows dirt from age but doesn't appear to be scratched or worn.

Next We'll pull the hand (lol) then send the 8AH downtown to the watchmaker for a tune up and oil change.

To refinish or not to refinish, that is the question. Time to source some parts...

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted December 31, 2010 - 3:06pm

Part 3.

Decision time.

I decided to try and clean the Senators dial using old school methods. The end results are debatable as some of the numerals are worn more than originally thought, although a marked improvement and leaving a vintage feel the dial will be removed and sent out for refinishing.

Some of the parts needed to pull the project together are beginning to arrive including a new old stock Rose Gold Bulova crown, period correct of coarse....

 

 

 

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 13, 2011 - 8:40am

* Due to recently uncovered information the model undergoing restoration is changed to "SPENCER" not "SENATOR" as previously thought.

ML

Stephen Ollman's picture
Stephen Ollman
Posted January 13, 2011 - 8:46am

Club 5000Panel Member

You gotta love the challange of keeping up with the model names and variants. What do we make of this?

1943 Spencer.

1943 Bullova Spencer

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 13, 2011 - 9:17am

a debate?

: )

vintagebulova.com's picture
vintagebulova.com
Posted January 13, 2011 - 11:09am

Club 5000

The marketing folks at Bulova where known for changing the names of their watches to suit their campaigns.  Can make identification of some a chore.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 15, 2011 - 1:53pm

Part 4.

Our project begins to look like a Watch once more.

The 8AH is back from the Watchmaker and purring like a Kitten.

A new dial was sourced elimating the need to refinish the old Dial and allowing Us to call this Watch original. The correct Crown is installed along with a pair of new Fils style Hour and Minute Hands and Index Sub seconds Hand.

Minty.

The Crystal will go in next.

Time to pick out a nice strap...

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted January 15, 2011 - 1:53pm

Club 5000

Great job Mark you should be proud!!!!

Bob

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 18, 2011 - 7:02am

Bob,

Thank You Sir.

Coming from a discerning collector such as Yourself I sincerely appreciate that. I'm all about attention to detail, preservation of the brand, will not compromise in any circumstance and feel very fortunate to have 3 Generations of Bulova experience in My back pocket.

This project is not My first time around the block as You know and in any true restoration it's either correct or it's not.

ML

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted January 15, 2011 - 3:34pm

I am wondering if the hands on both of the Spencer ads above show modern hands & I believe that index hands are installed on the Spencer under restoration? Can you explain that subtle deviation please?

Wayne

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 15, 2011 - 4:29pm

Wayne,

The Index or 'Fils' style, as they are referred to when Black (or Blued),  Hands came on the watch when I obtained possession, rather than deviate they were replaced with the same assuming due to the Watch's initial condition they were original and correct for this piece.

Mark.

vintagebulova.com's picture
vintagebulova.com
Posted January 15, 2011 - 3:48pm

Club 5000

Nice job.  Looks great.

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 18, 2011 - 6:54am

Thank You.

Next installment We'll finish this Bad Boy up....

ML

Stephen Ollman's picture
Stephen Ollman
Posted January 19, 2011 - 7:14am

Club 5000Panel Member

Found these on ebay. Shows different hands and sub dial...oh and its engraved on the back Jan 1946.1946 Bulova Spencer

1946 Bulova Spencer

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 25, 2011 - 7:03pm

Stephen,

I've seen it both ways, with the Modern style of Hand and the Fils style.  The way I restored the piece is the way it came into My possession and, judging by its overall condition at that time, original.

Fils Hands with an Index style Sub Second Hand.

2 examples of that configuration below, one with an Index and one with a Sweep seconds Hand although I would say the Sweep is wrong with the Fils style Hands:

 

**An interesting observation, and a heated subject in another thread is that in the images You show the Dial has a fully obscured Six numeral, 1946 You said?

Stephen Ollman's picture
Stephen Ollman
Posted January 26, 2011 - 2:15am

Club 5000Panel Member

Not too heated I hope....this is a gentlemens forum after all....

Pistols will be issued to settle future disputes!

:-)

Yes, the watch above was engraved on the back 1946, thats not to say it wasn't released prior to that.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted January 26, 2011 - 3:56am

I have Senator ads for 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948 & a picture of an authentic 1941Senator. I cannot find another ad for a Spencer ad except 1943. A jewlers ad at the top of this string shows a Senator mislabled as a Spencer, and I quote the comments above the ad "Due to recently uncovered information the model undergoing restoration is changed to "SPENCER" not "SENATOR" as previously thought." All of the ad pictures of the Senators show modern style hands and so does the picture of the 1949 Senator. In other comments you are claiming ever everything is correct. I disagree with your assumption that the watch had the correct hands when you recieved it. You have the right as the owner of the watch to modify the watch any way you want & name it any name you want. However, it is not authentic. One wrong label in an ad does not turn a Senator into a Spencer. 

I do agree the Fils hands do look cool on the copper dials!  No Pistols just facts!

Wayne 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 26, 2011 - 8:52am

Wayne,

Very cool, it's the reason Bulova placed them there.

The original Watch was handed down through one Family before coming into My possession.

The Fils Style Hand configuration is 110% correct.

2 more examples below, Fils style Hands on a PARTIALLY OBSCURED 6 numeral Rose Dial matching the 3 examples shown above which is more than enough confirmation for Me.

 

** I do note that the Watch You show has a FULLY OBSCURED 6 numeral, identical to the Watch Stephen posted prior:  Modern Style Hands with the 6 numeral FULLY OBSCURED by the Sub Dial.

 As You stated in a prior thread, We are learning a lot here. Let Us remain open minded.

Out of the ads You posess, do any show the 'SENATOR' with a printed numeral Dial of any style?

I have yet to see one.

Mark.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 26, 2011 - 4:40am

Club 5000Panel Member

Gents, do we actually have any ads showing this exact watch, dial and all?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 26, 2011 - 10:56am

Stephen,

No, We don't have any ads showing either configuration shown in this style Case.

Senator or Spencer.

Mark.

** I do add an additional observation in regards to the Sub Seconds Dials on ALL of  the examples shown in this thread:

1. On the Five ( 5 ) examples depicting the FILS style Hands on the Rose colored Dials with the Sub Seconds Dials PARTIALLY OBSCURING the 6 numeral:

The Sub Second Dial tracks are CONSISTANT ( all the same, identical ).

2. On the Two ( 2 ) examples depicting the MODERN style Hands on the Rose colored Dials with the Sub Seconds Dials FULLY OBSCURING the 6 numeral.

The Sub Second Dial tracks are NOT CONSISTANT ( there is a variation, not identical ).

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted January 26, 2011 - 12:38pm

 

 These are the ads I could find, left to right: 1940, 1941, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1948  . The ad third from left is a 1944 & shows a partial 6. However, all of these Senator ads show the Modern style hands. The copper dials did not show well in ads, hence the lighter dials in the ads.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted January 26, 2011 - 12:59pm

I am thinking a Swiss made vs USA made conflict on the dials. Maybe the movement markings U.S.A. or SWISS can tell us something. On my 1941 Senator dial there is no marking as to manufacture location & the 8AE 17 jewel movement is made in U.S.A.

Wayne

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 26, 2011 - 1:51pm

Wayne,

No doubt those are Senators but none of the ads show a Senator with printed exploding numerals. The numerals are all Gilt Arabic, Hands Modern.

Another trait of the Senators shown are the bracelets. The Spencer appears on a Leather strap which is another established trait consistant of a similar cased design being a different model.

Respectfully,

Mark.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted January 28, 2011 - 3:01pm

The ads depicted above:

1. Should be proof enough that the name for the watch in this discussion is Senator.

2. Two dial editions are made by Bulova for the Senator as the ads depict. The 1944 Senator ad does show the partial 6 dial in the ad.

3. All of the ads depict Modern style hands.

A couple of unanswered questions remain:

What is the manufacturing location depicted on the partial 6 dials?

What is the manufacturing location of the partial 6 movements?

Thanks for an interesting discussion!

Wayne

 

GVP
Posted January 28, 2011 - 7:04am

 Just a thought on the usa-swiss thing. Surely it wouldn't matter. by the 1940s weren't all Bulovas dialled in the USA. The mvt's were just imported or not?

vintagebulova.com's picture
vintagebulova.com
Posted January 28, 2011 - 7:22am

Club 5000

In the 1940's Bulova was producing a lot of their movements in the US.  Some of this had to do with the manufacturing requirments to get US military contracts during WWII. 

Jay

vintagebulova.com

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 28, 2011 - 6:30pm

* I think the ads on file and image observations show indeed this is not a Senator and leans more toward a case style change in the Spencer as the Spencer is clearly shown as having the printed exploding numeral Dial.

Circa 1943 ad above.

Any further discussion should be directed here: http://www.mybulova.com/node/1442

Mark.

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 10, 2011 - 7:15pm

Part 5.

The Finale.

In finishing out the choice of Strap for Our project was difficult, after swapping numerous shades of Brown a final decision was made to mount the Watch onto a basic Black Vintage Pigskin which brought up another issue, a Buckle.

To add a Modern flair to the Vintage 1945 restoration the Buckle chosen was a Rose Pink Gold double button Deployment Clasp.

The finished look of all Pink and Black on this Watch is really striking, besides who didn't like Pink and Black in the U.S.A.  back in 1945.

1945 Spencer.

From Punished back to Primo as promised and ready for next 60 Years.

It's been fun.

ML