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.

mybulova_admin
Posted April 4, 2010 - 7:10pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I received today a very interesting hi-res Bulova ad. I was very interested to see that this ad had the date of issue printed on the reverse. I had previously thought the ad to be for early 1927 (pre May 1927) as the ad features the Bulova Conqueror, the predecessor to the original Lone Eagle.

Here is the ad.

 

However  to my suprise when I flipped the ad over and enhanced the date I found the following

The date of the ad is July 2, 1927. What is interesting about this is that Bulova had reportedly re-released this model as the Lone Eagle for Lindbergh's landing on 24 May 1927. Its interesting that Bulova were still selling this as the Conqueror a month or so after the event.

My search will continue to find the earliest ad to show this watch as a Lone Eagle.

mybulova_admin
Posted November 6, 2010 - 12:03am

Club 5000Panel Member

Here is an interesting ad dated 19th June 1927 from the Athens Messanger, Ohio.

Looks nothing like any of the model we know of.

Bulova Lindbergh watch ad 1927

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 20, 2012 - 11:53am

Club 5000Panel Member

Is this Drake ad the earliest Lone Eagle ad we have seen?  Who know why it shows this particular watch.  Maybe it's all Drake had on stock to sell.  The ad doesn't come out and say the watch pictured is the Lone Eagle.  It's a ploy to get folks into their store-based on two recent popular events (CAL's flight and Bulova's dedication LE watch) .  It is likely the store didn't have any of the watches we know as Lone Eagle, but couldn't pass up the marketing opportunity to draw in customers. 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:09pm

Could it be a picture of the watch he wore on his flight, as highlighted by Stephen in the bottom sheet?

mybulova_admin
Posted November 6, 2010 - 12:08am

Club 5000Panel Member

A 1927 theatre slide featuring the Charles Lindbergh, the Spirit of St Louis and the Bulova Lone Eagle watch.

1927 theatre slide with Charles Lindbergh and the Bulova Lone Eagle watch

 

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 6, 2010 - 2:12pm

Stephen

Croped for emphasis, Ad 8-27 is the first ad of the Lone Eagle that we have & that I know of. This date also coincides with production of casebacks showing patent JAN.11.1927  & also the closing of the nine on the dials.  Knowing that Bulova would use old dials & casebacks until used up, confuses things a bit more. I think Bulova also used their existing Conqueror corner-cut case until used up. Businesses are like that! Yeah they are! The art deco eagle that is on the Lone Eagle corner-cut case is a good theory. However, it would answer a lot of questions if we had a date certain for the conversion. Bulova didn't always tell the truth in their advertising, as we well know. I think the transition to the Lone Eagle corner-cut, was probable unannounced.

The 5000 watch sellout in 3 days? Was this an advertising ploy or a fact?. Which brings up another question. I have never seen a picture of a real watch with the Conqueror corner-cut design, where are they?

Last Conqueror Ad- 1927-7-2

First Lone Eagle Ad 1927.8.27 

Last Lone Eagle Series I Ad 12-17

The ads that are on-site do not depict the Art Deco Lone Eagle cut-corner design.

mybulova_admin
Posted November 7, 2010 - 12:26am

Club 5000Panel Member

Wayne I agree with all that you said.

Here is a picture of the only 18K Bulova Conqueror that I have ever seen. Note the corner disign, but also not the 9 and cathedral hands.....weird...I believe the hands may have been updated.

I think my theory of Bulova changing the corner design to represnt that of a Lone Eagle is a stretch, but plausable as we see 1926 and 1927 14K Gold Filled Conquerors using the common design.

Bulova 18K Conqueror

The last ad I have in my collection showing the coner cut Lone Eagle is April 14 1928. There are a few others before.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 7, 2010 - 1:14pm

The Conqueror pic is a beauty. I notice that the dial has a few wrinkles e.g. No numbers in the seconds bit, no silver circle in the seconds bit. The number seven has a straight downstroke & a bend. Unlike any of the Conqueror ads. I wouldn't put my money on it being authentic.

 

mybulova_admin
Posted December 19, 2010 - 5:44am

Club 5000Panel Member

Cross Post: http://www.mybulova.com/node/1129

mybulova_admin
Posted May 19, 2012 - 11:44pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Just came across this snippet from "The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation" book.

Bulova Charles Lindbergh

mybulova_admin
Posted May 19, 2012 - 11:50pm

Club 5000Panel Member

And this from "The Big Jump - Lindbergh and the Great Atlantic Air Race"

Bulova Charles Lindbergh

EDIT 7/12/2012

In reading this again its interesting to note the following statement.

".....and made sure that the only recommendations he made were for articles or projects directly associated with his flight or his interest."

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:44pm

The Watch (allegedly) presented to 'Lindy' looks nothing like the 'LONE EAGLE' as We know it.....

 

carry on.

: )

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:48pm

What about the one he wore on the flight? This can't be it, right? Not if he was presented with it after the flight, and why present it before?

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 20, 2012 - 1:45pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Bobbee   Story goes Bulova gave Lindbergh a watch-some watch-any watch- before the flight.  He may or may not have worn the watch on the  flight, but since Bulova had sponsored his efforts, he was motivated to say he wore a Bulova on the flight. He most likely did.  He got this dedication watch (above) from Bulvoa a couple weeks after the flight, presented to him on the Memphis- most likely right after the Memphis returned to the East Coast June 11th.  He may have worn it for a week and then just given it to Blythe, or he could have worn it for years, gifting to Blythe much later.  Who knows.  We are talking about at least three different watches here:

1. the one he wore on the flight

2. the one he received from Bulova (onboard the Memphis)

3. the Lone Eagle CC watches released sometime after May 21 and most likely before mid June.

Watch 3 could have been ready for market by June 11th- maybe- and perhaps was first sold upon his arrival back to USA - nicely coinciding with the gifting of the Bulova dedication watch (2). 

 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 20, 2012 - 1:18pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I think the regiospicific Drake Jewelers ad above suggests jewelers were leveraging the successful flight and the recent nic-name "Lone Eagle" while awaiting production/arrival of an actual Lone Eagle watch.  Bulova may have had the watch ready, but wanted to make sure the name "Lone Eagle" was going to take and hold before re-tooling for production.  Just when they released the LECC named as such is the big part of this mystery. 

I bet we find the first watch named Lone Eagle was sold in America, as they could not have had it ready by the end of May, let alone upon Lindbergh's successful arrival in Paris May 21st.

yugioh1776
Posted May 20, 2012 - 1:34pm

This is just a thought, but According to "The Big Jump - Lindbergh and the Great Atlantic Air Race" article clip he HAD on a bulova watch during the flight.... maybe the one he had on was a Conqueror and that why they change the name to the lone eagle.... this is only a thought on how they decided to change the name.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 20, 2012 - 1:56pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Yes the watch he wore on the flight could have been a conqueror, or it could have been any Bulvoa watch.  When did Lindbergh receive the watch he wore on the flight?  Six months before the flight?  Six weeks before?  Six days before?  I've read various stories, but don't remember now.  I think the conqueror watch was easily renamed the Lone Eagle, regardless of it it was the watch he wore on the flight.  I doubt Bulova made the decision to change the conqueror to the lone eagle CC based on the fact Lindbergh may have worn a conqueror on the flight.  It would be a nice story if this were the case though.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 20, 2012 - 1:38pm

Like in Stephen's last post above?

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 20, 2012 - 2:48pm

My head hurts. Me go bed now....

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted May 20, 2012 - 5:57pm

The first paragraph of the 1927 Drake ad clearly states "The Original of this Model was given to Lindy" - and We know what the Watch presented to Lindburgh looks like, unless it's bogus.

Watch and ad Dated 1926

 

NOVA
Posted May 20, 2012 - 6:11pm

I don't see what the watch and ad that you presented, Fifth, have to do with this.  Different ad, different watch from any under discussion.

As for the language in the Drake ad, I think that supports the idea that the watch shown in the ad was the first Lone Eagle and looked nothing like the enameled version we think of as the first LE.  The ad implies that the original of the watch was given to Lindbergh, while the copies will be sold to the public.

I do think it is interesting how little the watch in the Drake ad resembles the watch alleged to be the one given to Lindbergh.  The alleged Lindbergh watch looks like a Minute Man and is not characteristic of the era.  Of course those photos--wherever they came from--appear to be wildly distorted.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted May 20, 2012 - 6:18pm

NOVA,

The Watch has everything to do with the discussion as it is the same Watch alleged to have been presented to Lindburgh. 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 20, 2012 - 6:13pm

Got me some of those  hands, "Luminous Squellettes" are they called? PM if interested. 1 pr only.

mybulova_admin
Posted May 21, 2012 - 7:44am

Club 5000Panel Member

Let me state first up that it is my opinion (and has always been) that the Drake ad above was a cheap grasp at marketing a watch flogged off as the Lone Eagle. I doubt the drawing even comes from a Bulova watch....no BULOVA on the dial....

So please discount the Drake advert. It was posted purely as a show of the marketing that went on around this watch during this time.

Secondly, there is no evidence that Lindbergh wore a Bulova watch during his flight. The articles which I posted above are very recent and thier facts are unsupported (I wish they were true and general knowledge) and possible even taken from an early theory I posted 6 years ago.

I have read a number articles that stated that he wore a Longines watch during his flight.

The watch presented to Lindbergh by Arde Bulova is not the "Lone Eagle' but a President IMO and after having a great deal to do with the owner and seeing similar period pieces with the same engraving from Bulova , I belive it is authentic.

It is also becoming my belief that the magic 5000 was NOT sold to the pubic in those 3 days after the flight but were more than likely sold / pre-ordered to Jewelers all over the country in that time period. (side belief is that this watch was NOT sold in France). This would give Bulova enough time to assemble, distribute and market the watches. I have always had a problem with how Bulova marketed and sold the original 5000 to the public within 3 days, surely impossible. BUT Bulova do not say they were sold to the public, only that they were sold. They then likely hit the streets in August 1927.

We have the last advertised Conqueror advert on 2 July 1927 and the first (that we know off, not including the incorrect Drake ad above) Lone Eagle advert on 27 August 1927. There is also the popular Santa Fe Watch Co, Topeka, Kansas Advert and North & Son Haskins movie slide above.

It is still my firm opinion that the movement set was pre-order along with a batch of cases used as both the Conqueror and Lone Eagle prior the flight. At what exact point Bulova decided to rename the Conqueror to the Lone Eagle is anyone's guess, but it would make sense that it was post flight.

Finally., I am not aware of any stories (other than a very early theory I had, which I now believe to be incorrect) that tells of Lindbergh having a Bulova watch pre his historic flight.

The letter and famous saying was as a result of the watch being given to Lindbergh by Arde Bulova upon his return to the US on June 11 1927.

 

 

mybulova_admin
Posted May 23, 2012 - 3:16am

Club 5000Panel Member

Lisa, at the risk of repeating myself I've posted plenty of comments about this. You may want to take the time to review all that I have written in the past about what "I believe" (not fact) is the defining aspect of one of the 5000.

And again, disregard the Drake advert. They watch used is a vanilla watch drawing and not even a Bulova. You're right they probablly didn't have a image of the watch on hand so decided to run with a generic picture of a watch. To suggest that the Drake watch advert shows what the LE looks like is just plain wrong IMO.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 23, 2012 - 5:32am

Club 5000Panel Member

see 1926 conqueror thread at http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1927-Lone-Eagle-53

It's related to this thread, and didn't show up in recent comments queue.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted May 23, 2012 - 5:48am

I may discount the image in the Drake ad as a stock image used for print purposes but I still think the wording in the ad suggests the first commemorative Watch was the same design as the presentation piece.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 23, 2012 - 6:14am

Club 5000Panel Member

Gang- I can discount the Drake ad-however, it still exists.  See my comments above. The watch pictured may have been any watch they had in stock. We have not seen this as a Bulova model that I'm aware of.  Does anyone "recognize" the Drake watch (below) by any name/timeframe?

Stephen- I thought the theory was the Conqueror had been discontinued at some point in time pre-May 1927- about the time Arde offered a $1000 prize to whoever completed the first successful trans-Atlantic flight. The date of this prize offer is onsite as 1926 (see http://www.mybulova.com/lone-eagles-bulova-watch).  The "special order" Conquerors, whose name was unknown pre May 21st, were possibly "ordered" at about the time of the prize offer.  They would be prepared and held by Bulova to sell at a later date upon successful flight.  Some time very shortly after Lindbergh's flight, the "5000 special order" watches were sold as commemorative watches, but not necessarily marketed as the "lone eagle".  The later 1927 patent date cases were, however, advertised and sold under the name "Lone Eagle" (in the brown leather display boxes below).
 


Although some ads for Conqueror were seen as late as July 2, it may only mean the remaining Conquerors were being sold off up to successful flight date.  There was a lag time before the Conqueror ad could be discontinued post May 1927.

Wasn't that the theory?

I have some questions

1.When and where did the "five thousand in three days" story first appear?  Was it first seen on the Bulova timeline on their website or is there any other documentation of the first 5000 sales/existence?

2. Is there any documentation indicating Bulvoa special ordered and/or set aside 5000 Conquerors to be sold at a later date? If so, when did this happen?
                             
3. Is there any documentation before May 21, 1927  indicating Arde offered $1000 prize money to the first to complete the flight?  If so, when did this prize offer happen? [the newspaper article in the link above only says Lindbergh got $1000 prize money from Arde, it doesn't say this was a previous-standing prize offer]

4.  Were the 5000 watches the last "conquerors" produces as such, while all watches produced thereafter were produced as Lone Eagle?

5.  How did we determine the serial number range for the cases of first 5000?  There are Conqueror watch records which fall within case serial number range for first 5000 but are ID'ed as Conquerors.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 23, 2012 - 7:08am

Club 5000Panel Member

These questions were for evryone/anyone, not just Stephen.  Although he will be most familiar w/ the topic, we all have followed this watch closly.

mybulova_admin
Posted May 25, 2012 - 10:46pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Will the advert below now finally confirms what I have always stated, that the original 5000 LEs came in the long narrow brown box. Later releases of the CC were released in the square boxed version as shown in the LE Story.

mybulova_admin
Posted May 23, 2012 - 7:58am

Club 5000Panel Member

The 'answer' to the majority of Will questions above is "we will more than likely never know'.

One thing I do know for certainty, is that 'all' the watches that I have seen that I would consider as part of the 5000 group fall into a movement serial number range, with no other watches being in that range. I've not noticed this in any other model (although it must be said that I have only paid attention to the LE series)

ALL 5000 (IMO) have the same movement detailing, points of which are not found on any other movement of that era (up arrow) being the main one.

ALL 5000 (IMO) have a 1926 date stamp and a 1926 case.

ALL 5000 (IMO) have a 10AN. The watches that I believe to be from the Conqueror model have either a 10AP or 10P and have a date code of either 1925,1926 and some (1927) and the serial number is 1.xxx.xxx

We will never (IMO) have any hard evidence of how all this played out and I have always maintained that the Lone Eagle story was only 'my theory'. I have never stated it was fact.

So to summarise IMO.

  • Corner Cut models  with a movement dated 1925 (not many of them but they do exist) = Conqueror
  • Corner Cut models with either a 10AP or 10P movement = Conqueror
  • Corner Cut models with a 10AN, 1926 date stamp and movement serial number starting with 22xxxx = 5000 LE
  • Corner Cut models with 10AN or 9AT (I think only 9AT)  = late 1927 and early 1928 LE

Hard evidence from Bulova or a US jeweller....I have absolutely none.

 7 years of recording serial numbers and details of Corner Cut models I have plenty.

For those that question and want hard evidence. Then call these watches what you will as I firmly believe we'll never get that evidence you seek. So a theory may be the best answer we get.

I have stated for the past 7 years that if anyone can show me evidence to the contrary I will bow down and gladly include it in the "lone Eagle Story". This watch deserves that.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted April 6, 2013 - 3:46pm

http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1929-governor-4109

This has a SN close to the "5000", but is from 1929.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 2, 2015 - 9:41pm

Club 5000Panel Member

 

Movement is not original to the case and therefore not correct and is prior to the LE series, as is it also only 15 jewels. So forget this watch as is has absolutely nothing to do with the LE series.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted January 3, 2015 - 8:34am

mybulova_admin wrote:

 

Movement is not original to the case and therefore not correct and is prior to the LE series, as is it also only 15 jewels. So forget this watch as is has absolutely nothing to do with the LE series.

What about this one then? Smack in the middle, with no explanations.

http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1927-conqueror-6002

mybulova_admin
Posted January 3, 2015 - 7:26pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Think about it Rob, this movement comes from the exact same time period and batch and can be explained by Bulova using it in a exisiting 1927 Conqueror. 

This still does not negate the theory that Bulova ordered and stockpiled a number of 10AN movements in 1926 for this event when it would eventually happen.

When Bulova offered the $1000 prize money in 1926 they would have at the same time manufactured these watches ready for when a pilot/s made the flight, again this is just a theory.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted July 23, 2015 - 11:42am

mybulova_admin wrote:

Think about it Rob, this movement comes from the exact same time period and batch and can be explained by Bulova using it in a exisiting 1927 Conqueror. 

This still does not negate the theory that Bulova ordered and stockpiled a number of 10AN movements in 1926 for this event when it would eventually happen.

When Bulova offered the $1000 prize money in 1926 they would have at the same time manufactured these watches ready for when a pilot/s made the flight, again this is just a theory.

 

I have searched relentlessly in papers from dozens of countries and never found any evidence of Bulova offering $1,000 in 1926.

The first we hear of it is in May 1927.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted May 23, 2012 - 8:10am

Stephen,

Your thoughts on the presentation piece?

I'm finding it dificult to accept that this Watch is not Dated within the inscription on the Caseback, it's not like there isn't any room.....

mybulova_admin
Posted May 25, 2012 - 10:36pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Mark, I guess you missed the date engraving in the clasp?

:-)

We also have providence of the watches history and previous ownership.

NOVA
Posted May 24, 2012 - 3:43pm

A new LE ad from the New York Times and dated June 17, 1927.   I think this might be the ealiest one we have?  Nice to have something to counter the Drake ad, which ran a couple of days after this one.

mybulova_admin
Posted August 12, 2013 - 6:18am

Club 5000Panel Member

I believe that this is one of the earliest adverts we will see for the Lone Eagle watch and a great find by Lisa. I hope to find one myself to add to our collection.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 25, 2012 - 1:26am

Club 5000Panel Member

can even see the corner design.  E gads, Great ads!!  Lisa and the LOC rock!

mybulova_admin
Posted May 25, 2012 - 10:22pm

Club 5000Panel Member

As stated in the LOC post, this advert is an extremely important one for me as it shows what is stated to be the first advert (and in NewYork no less) of the LE. I have always wondered how Bulova marketed the LE after the flight and now I know.

This advert ran in the countries largest news paper 25 days after the flight and I would strongly suggest that Bulova had heavily pre-planned the production, marketing and sale of this watch.

This advert would further suggest that Bulova 's official statement that the watch sold out 3 days after the flight would add weight to the idea of Bulova pre-selling these to their authorized jewellers across the country, thus allowing them ample time to take delivery of the watches and prepare their own marketing and adverts.

I think Will Smith was the first person to suggest this to me many years ago. Will I figure that you are as excited about this Advert as I am.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 26, 2012 - 1:16am

Club 5000Panel Member

I'm tickled pink.  And I bet there are more at LOC and elsewhere.  Thanks again Lisa, and sorry you and I live so far from the LOC Stephen. 

NOVA
Posted May 26, 2012 - 8:39am

As explained in my LOC posting, I spent much of that first day searching for newspaper articles on various subjects.  One of those subjects was the Lone Eagle.  In that search I found the article posted below from the Boston Globe. 

Sorry for the highlighted words.  Those indicate search terms that I was using, and I could not find a way to not print the highlights along with the article.

Note, in particular, the way Ballard describes what they shipped after the flight.

The earliest use of the name "Lone Eagle" as applied to Lindbergh that I found (doesn't mean it was the earliest, rather than just the earliest I have found so far) was May 22, 1927.  However, the fact that I found it in two papers on that date makes me think it originated somewhat earlier.  I'm thinking that maybe a lesser paper first published it, and the "big boys" then picked it up later.  There's much more research to be done.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 26, 2012 - 12:28pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Well this is just fantastic.  A nice May 22nd 1977 article remembering this event.  Now we are getting somewhere! 

NOVA
Posted May 26, 2012 - 12:55pm

Maybe, but it is a 50-year old remembrance by the former President of the company, who certainly would have an interest in not exposing a lie.  I think we should keep that in mind when considering its import and hope to find corroborating evidence.

I do think his description of what was shipped is telling and lends credibility to the story.  Namely, his wording indicates, to me, that they took 5,000 of their already made watches (i.e., Conquerors) and shipped them in Lone Eagle boxes.  So, the watches already existed, and all they had to have made in a hurry were the boxes to put them in.

I don't think this information gets us closer to proving those watches were made as early as 1926, nor do I think we have reason yet to think they were intended as commemmorative watches when they were produced. 

mybulova_admin
Posted May 27, 2012 - 2:42am

Club 5000Panel Member

Lisa, am I missing somewthing in your aguement?

Movement stamped 1926.

Case stamped 1926.

What part of this suggests that the watch wasn't manufactured in 1926?

We also have a proven batch of 10AN movements that at this stage fit within a 5000 range.

I am not stating that these were specifically ordered for this particluar flight, but I'm sure that Bulova had the foresight to know that someone one day soon was going to make a successful flight. The watch could have very well gone be another name, but it was called the "Lone Eagle" because of Lindbergh.

 

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 7:01am

Club 5000Panel Member

It would be great to think that John H Ballard's memory is actual fact, but tere are a few points I take issue with.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 26, 2012 - 12:57pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I'm just happy that someone said it prior to seven years ago.  It's was and remains a very popular watch, so there's more documentation out there somewhere..... and the lack of corroborating evidence is, in a way, evidence.  It's still "just Bulova" that's been saying this so far.

mybulova_admin
Posted December 7, 2012 - 6:45am

Club 5000Panel Member

Here is another newspaper clipping (courtesy of Robert Butler) indicating that Lindbergh wore a Bully during his flight. The clipping is from 1977 and interesting corresponds with the above 1977 adverts that no doubt were part of the 50th anniversary of the event.

Bulova Charles Lindbergh The Lone Eagle

Anyone ever seen inside the Spirit of St. Louis? Does it have a dashboard clock?