general knowledge questions about bulova watches and this site.

i have three questions i hope someone can answer for me. no. one is ; are members allowed to buy, sell, or trade bulova watches on this site? no. two is; are there some bulova watches that are rarer or more desireable such as the lone eagle and what are they? the third is ; what is considered the difference between ( age wise) a antique bulova and a vintage bulova? what guidelines do you guys use to determine the difference. thank you j foley

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:07pm

I'll take a stab at your first question, since it is, by far, the easiest of the three. You can buy, sell, and trade watches on this site, but such transactions are handled privately through PMs (private messages). When you list a watch in the database, you can check the box indicating that the watch is for sale. Then, if you look under the "Search" tab at the top of the screen, you will see a menu listing for "Watches for Sale". That's another way that folks can see your watch and the fact that it is for sale. If they are interested, they can PM you to discuss terms.  You are also free to PM other members regarding their watches.  Even if the watch is not listed for sale, you can privately inquire if they would like to sell it to you. 

The primary mission of the site is not to provide a forum for selling watches, but rather to catalog the various Bulova models.

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:15pm

Okay, I'll take a stab at the vintage vs. antique question as well.

Vintage has no specific meaning in the context of watches. The term originated as a way to describe wine, e.g., "Wine, usually of high quality, identified as to year and vineyard or district of origin". It later became used as a general adjective to describe something that is old yet still fashionable; i.e., classic. "Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic." The correct way to use the term is to state vintage plus the year; e.g., "It is a vintage 1927 Bulova watch", but few people include the year when using the word "vintage". If you are looking for a time period that makes something vintage, then there is no such rule that I'm aware of.

The word "antique" has a similarly general meaning. In its purest sense antique means "of or belonging to ancient times, especially of, from, or characteristic of ancient Greece or Rome". In a more modern sense, it refers to "a collectable object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its age and quality". Again, there is no specific age or date or range of years associated with the word. I grew up believing anything over 50 years old is considered "antique", but I have no idea where that notion came from.

On this site, we don't place importance on adjectives such as "vintage" or "antique"; rather, we do our best to simply identify watches by their production year and model name.

Posted January 10, 2012 - 12:38pm

Your second and third Questions respectively.

Antique is considered to be anything 100 years old or older. Vintage is anything else up to current date less 10 years. This subject was of particular interest to me when I first started collecting antiques and you wouldn't believe how many people get it wrong. I've been collecting for 50 plus years. So that makes me vintage  ;-)

Since most of the watches listed on this are not over 100 years old, IMO they are considered vintage, not antique.

Posted January 10, 2012 - 12:41pm

Hey, Bob, what's your authority for that?  I'm curious because I have never found any such rules in print.

Posted January 10, 2012 - 2:20pm

As for watches that are more rare or desireable than others, you are going to get a whole lot of different opinions, based on personal preference and individual experience.

You are correct that Lone Eagles are highly collectible, though most of them are not particularly rare.

Anything in solid 14k or 18k is extremely rare and valuable.

The group of watches known as the "Academy Award" (with lots of variants) are highly collectible, and some of them are quite difficult to find.

Anything from the early to mid 20s is a real "find", in my opinion, especially if you can find it with all its original parts.

There are a few later models that are widely regarded as desireable, such as the Chronograph C and the Woody.  In fact, any chronograph is considered pretty darn cool.  (Of course, we're not talking about later, quartz models here.)

Of the Accutrons, any of the Astronauts, original Spaceviews, and 214s are very collectible.

Some folks are really into the military models, and those can demand high dollar if they are genuine military issue and correspond to a particular war (or what is it we sometimes call them--military conflicts?).

I don't collect the ladies' watches myself, but the enameled models, in particular, are stunning and appear to sell for big bucks on the Bay.  SimpleTreasures can give you great insight on the ladies' models, if you're interested.

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:24pm

thank you guys so much. it is so nice to have people of your knowledge at ones availability. i dont collect ladies watches either and have not identified but about one third of my collection. however i have ID a 1950 academy award. its the one with the copper colored ribbed dial. the watch itself is all original parts, however the band is a very cool seasnake, but alas not orginal. would like to hear what other bulova collectors consider rare, understanding opinions will vary. i myself have a red faced 218 that trips my trigger, just think its a very pretty watch. always seems to draw attention when i wear it and lets be honest we all like that. well thanks again. jfoley

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:30pm

Lisa, the US Tariff Act of 1930, The US Customs Dept had mandated the in regards to "furniture" to be legally declared "Antique" it had to be 100 years or older. Since then Society has used (and abused) the term or mis-used the term to refer to everything that is put up for sale. There are may explanations out there, but the explanation I gave is the most commonly accepted and used by appraisers and collectors that I've come across/met over the years. Even "Antiques Roadshow" has used this description and explained the reasoning behind it when their "Experts" are evaluating everything they appraise.

The exception to the rule as far as "useage" is related to automobiles, and that's a whole other ballgame ;-)

I'm certain you saw my disclaimer (IMO) in my prior explanation.

As relating to this particular "can of worms" I always defer to the "known experts" not individuals that play in the field, and haven't devoted their life to this type of collecting, evaluating, cataloging, appraising, or doing thousands and thousands of hours doing the research.

I really liked your follow-up and totally agree about what's "highly collectible" as we all have our niches. As far as the Ladies Models, I'm no where near a expert on these but have been intrigued by them due to their size as relates to the Men's watches (how the hell do they make them so small :-o) and it also doesn't hurt that so many people stay away from them which means I can get them for far less than the men's go for!

Damn, did I just say that out loud????

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:35pm

Thanks, Bob.  I'm really glad to know about the 100-year rule.  That answers a question I've had most of my life, as I have always been fascinated by old things and am a regular visitor to "antique" stores.

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:41pm

There you go :-) I always knew you had GREAT TASTE!

Posted January 10, 2012 - 1:53pm

dear simpletreasures, ive switched a few movements in these ladies watches for my wife. quite a chore in itself when everything fits. i agree with you how do they make them so small!!!!!

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted January 10, 2012 - 4:00pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Many of the watch and camera "shows" i've been to over the years tend to have two "catagories".  Antique, being 100 years or more, and vintage, between 20 and 100 years old.  The folks hosting the shows often used these criteria, as did most of the appraisers/experts/professional dealers at the a rule of thumb.  Many of the "vintage" shows would not allow sales of items less than 20 years old regardless, however enforcing this was a challange.   In this economy, those hosting the shows are not as strict about this "rule of thumb", but want to keep cheap knock-off watches from china etc... out of the shows....but now they have too have their place as collectable...

I doubt if were gonna see an influx of Bulova knock-off copies trying to be passed off as the real thing at an actual "production" scale.  However, as an aside, at camera shows in the late 70's and early 80's, Lica cameras were popular.  There were Lica copies as well as counterfits at the shows too. Several "brands" at production sclae.  At that time, they traded well below the price of the real Lica.  Today this is generally not the case.  The Lica copies now are trading above the price of the real thing.  We won't see this with Bulova watches....and I don't want to remember what I could have picked up a box of "old Bulova watches" for in 1979. 

Posted January 10, 2012 - 6:56pm

William, good to know that even the watch and camera shows (kinda a odd combination if they're done together ;-) at same time/same place) have set their standards so strictly. I also think your right about Vintage Bulovas not becoming a target for knock-offs although there is a company not too far from me that does just that with most of the vintage watches, however they don't represent them as something they're not, thank God....

I know a matchmaker out of Louisiana who goes to watch/gun shows!!!