This one has me intrigued. . .

I picked this up in a lot of two, where the other one was the one I was really after.  However, this one is worth some discussion, I think.  Here are the facts:

  • 10AN 15J
  • Shield symbol on movement, i.e. 1929
  • Movement serial number of 65645 (or something close to that. . .very hard to read)
  • No signature on back of case
  • Inside of case reads, "B.WC.Co. . . Conqueror. . . 746952"

What intrigues me about this watch is that I don't think you can argue that the dial was made for any other case.  It has too distinctive a shape and it too perfectly fits the shape of the bezel. This is not, to me, a clear cut example of a Bulova dial placed in a non-Bulova case, i.e., a Frankenbully.

What do you guys and gals think?

We have certainly seen that "fish" design on other Bulovas from the '20s.

What do you guys know about Bulova and B.WC.Co. in the '20s?

Could this simply be a replacement back for an otherwise genuine Bully?

GVP
Posted January 25, 2012 - 4:26pm

 First i have seen with BWC co on. Love the watch though...I WANT ONE! :)

Geoff Baker
Posted January 25, 2012 - 5:57pm

Club 5000Panel Member

ME FIRST!!!!

Lisa that is extremely cool ( drool). Ladies? With a 10 AN, I say not, It could be a recase with a dial made / painted with 'Bulova". '29 Shield could be a '39 then too  - I'm thinking of the sweep seconds.

Conqueror - oh dear I don't even want to think what that could indicate, talk about a can-o-worms.

Great watch though, PM with shipping address is on the way.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:03pm

Panel Member

 A very nice example! The movt is an FHF 324, with early centre seconds, in production from 1925-1937. Breguet overcoil, and available with up to 21 jewels. Bulova used this under quite a few other calibre names in other watches also. So pardon the naive question, but does this mean it is a conqueror? Or does that have nothing to do with the model? 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:12pm

The Brooklyn Watch Case Company was located on Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn. New York.

'Conqueror' is going to relate to the Gold content of the Case.

12K Gold-Filled, guaranteed for 21 years - according to the NAWCC.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 26, 2012 - 12:23am

Club 5000Panel Member

Agree with Fifth, I've seen this case before. Not a Bulova case.

plainsmen
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:06pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Pretty cool looking watch Lis...

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:09pm

Way too big to be a ladies at 27.5mm x 27.5mm.  That is, for example, larger than the corner-cut Conqueror and Lone Eagle.

As to Geoff's other points, we do have ladies' models with a 10AN, though, again, this is not a ladies'. Those watches also date to the late '20s.

As for it being a 1939 model (rather than 1929):

- Defintely not a '30s style case

- 1939 is too late for the 10AN

- the fish motif is a '20s design

- we do have an example of a sweep seconds hand in 1930.  It also runs a 10AN. Here's the listing:  http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1930-unknown-2296

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:16pm

In 1937 Bulova leased part of Joseph Fahys (then owner of the BWCCo) Sag Harbour manufacturing facility.

Case grades here

http://mb.nawcc.org/showwiki.php?title=Joseph_Fahys_and_Co

NAWCC.

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:20pm

So it is 12k gold filled as indicated by "Conqueror".

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:30pm

Yip, as stated above Lisa.

Members of the NAWCC also believe the BWC Co case to be an aftermarket replacement.

http://mb.nawcc.org/archive/index.php/t-82356.html

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:44pm

Well, that's what one member said about one person's watch.  We don't know what he would say about this watch.

How would a watchmaker go about finding an "after market replacement" case to fit that dial? 

Seems to me much more likely that Bulova made this dial for this case, for whatever reason.

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 6:30pm

If you check out the link I posted above to another early 10AN with a sweep seconds, in that discussion you'll see that Jay posted pics of a similar watch to the one under discussion in that thread.  The interesting part is that his case is also made by B.WC.Co.  It's also a '20s model.

OldTicker
Posted January 25, 2012 - 9:45pm

B.W.C.Co. was mainly a pocket watch case maker until Fahy's bought them out in the late 1890's, Fahy's continued to sell cases under the B.W.C.Co. name, and made many different cases, including the wristwatch Cushion style like yours to fit many different lignes for many different movement manufactures

Pocket watches were "Custom made" in front of you back then, you picked out the brand & quality of the movement, the style of dial, the style and quality of case, (open or hunter, solid Gold or filled)) and the watchmaker put it together and you paid him for the result.

Your watch is the same as a pocket watch was back then, its not a factory made watch, and you can probably find a Elgin, Waltham, or Hammy with the same exact case, but a different movement and dial.

I have never seen a 1920's-30's Bulova advertised with a Cushion style case, they are all snap fit cases, and the easiest way to tell the difference is the stem will always have to be removed to get the movement out, the case will always have a locating pin for the back cover, and usually the front bezel can be removed just like the back cover, making it a 3 piece case.

I have no doubt that Bulova did the same as the rest of the "Big Three" of watches back then, sold movements to watchmakers for custom made watches to get their foot in the door, you have to remember, wristwatches were mainly sold to women in the early 20's, most men still had their pocket watch, and probably had to be "educated" on how to buy a wristwatch to replace that pocket watch they were so used to. This was one way of doing it.

IMHO, yours is a.............................. ; )

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 10:28pm

Well, we're all entitled to our opinions.

I can't say that I followed your reasoning regarding early pocket watches and their applicability to this late 1920s/early '30s wristwatch.  By the time this watch was made, wristwatches had been mass-produced for years.  I don't see some watchmaker sitting there cobbling together watches on demand in 1930.  But then, I wasn't there, and, as far as I know, none of us were.

I also didn't follow you about the different case types and what they have to do with this watch.  This watch has the same snap together case that we quite often see in Bulovas around this time.  The crown does not have to be removed, there is no top bezel to remove, etc.

As far as the overall shape, it is not that different from some of the ladies' models from the '20s.   Take, for example, Bob's 154:


NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 10:37pm

Also, if I follow your reasoning on how a watchmaker would invent this watch, then he would have to have this Bulova dial lying around for someone to choose for their particular ensemble.  Where, then, would this dial have come from, made to fit this particular case so perfectly, and not seen ever before in any other watch?  Are you saying that the watchmaker also made the dial, then forged the Bulova name on it?  If Bulova would not have, at that time, made a case this shape, then you must think the dial is a complete fabrication also, correct?

Really, I just can't work out the scenario you are proposing.

OldTicker
Posted January 25, 2012 - 11:52pm

The case maker made the dial or had it made with the blessing of Bulova for the case.

OldTicker
Posted January 25, 2012 - 10:47pm

Can you remove the movement completely from the case?? with out removing the stem??

It's what is called a Cushion case because of its shape (like a chair cushion), or better yet, a 3 piece case, Top cover (Bezel), Frame, caseback...The movement is secured to the frame, on most of these (not all) you can find a tab, or opening to insert a case knife to both pop off the front and back cover.

Wristwatches were introduced in the late teens early 20's and ladies were the first marketed, check out the watch bible on some history of wristwatches, the men's followed, and that is about the time Bulova got into the game.

 

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 10:55pm

I stand corrected.  The case is how you described it.  The top bezel comes off, as well as the back, leaving the movement in its housing.  The stem would have to be removed to release the movement.

But we already know that this is not a Bulova case.  That's really not the question, at least not in my mind.  The question is how did this case end up with a Bulova dial that was clearly made to fit this particular case?

I just don't think that your proposed scenario presents a logical, believable explanation for that.

 

OldTicker
Posted January 25, 2012 - 11:36pm

Try to imagine you were living in the late 1920's-30's, Nothing was wasted, money was backed by Gold, most people were living on $1300 or less per year, unemployment was starting to climb, you, scrimped and saved all you could, (Kind of sounds like 2012 except for the Gold part)  if your wristwatch case was broken, you didn't throw it in a drawer and buy a new one like today, you saved up to have it fixed, and as cheaply as you could, unless you "had a silver spoon in your mouth".

When the stock market crashed, what do you think most people did when they needed a new watch??...They either went with out, recased/refurbed their broken one, or bought a "new" used one that had movement that had been traded, serviced, and recased in a new B.W.C.Co Conqueror case for much less that the New factory made Bulova.

I am sure that Bulova caught wind of this and was more than willing to supply new movements to any Jeweler that requested it just for a market share. Casemakers, movement makers, dial makers probably all pulled together to survive the times, and it should be a lesson that we should learn in 2012.

 

bourg01
Posted January 25, 2012 - 11:45pm

Panel Member

I would concurr with that thought train, back in that day a watch was very expensive and a treasured item. Folks just could not go buy a new one, even if they were very well off.

NOVA
Posted January 25, 2012 - 11:55pm

I think it's interesting speculation with no actual evidence to support it.   The fact is that we don't know everything that Bulova did or did not do, because we don't have the records.

OldTicker
Posted January 26, 2012 - 12:01am

I personally don't think it is all speculation...I have heard my Great Uncles, Great Grandfather, Grandmother, and even my Grandfather/Grandmother talk about what times were like in 1900-1940, and if you think we are having tough times now..."you ain't seen nothing yet" : )

NOVA
Posted January 26, 2012 - 12:29am

I'm not speculating about tough times, then or now, but I am most definitely suggesting that you are speculating about this watch and how it got made.   You have no facts.  And, frankly, I think your scenario still makes no sense.  This network of watch forgers--case makers, dial makers, movement makers--and the watchmakers who cobbled it all together--so perfectly, like this watch--to supposedly save people money when their own watch was broken just seems downright silly to me.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 26, 2012 - 12:30am

Club 5000Panel Member

Lisa. It may help me if you could determine the exact serial number of the movement.

NOVA
Posted January 26, 2012 - 12:55am

I got another pair of eyes on it, and my initial read appears correct:  65645.  The only digit in question, for either of us, was the last one--the 5, which is partially obstructed.  But we're pretty sure it is a 5.

 

mybulova_admin
Posted January 26, 2012 - 2:28am

Club 5000Panel Member

There has to be a reason why we are seeing so many of these various non Buova cased dials and movements. I've just come across a number on ebay that all look authentic as far as everything seems to be original, but non of them match anything we see in the vintage adverts and they all have a 3rd party case. More often than not they also have a 10AN movement.

These are not re-casings as the dials suit the case perfectly as is the case above. However we just don't see any of them in the vintage adverts.

Did Bulova sell their movement and branding rights to other smaller casing companies, so they could on-sell a Bulova watch cased in their own case....Its certainly a way to make money. As long as the quality was equal to what Bulova expected I'd imaging Bulova would have been more than happy to sell their movements and branding rights to other smaller companies, especially watch case making companies such as the Brooklyn Watch Case Company.

We may never know the truth but the theory is out there and it may be all we ever have.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 26, 2012 - 2:30am

Club 5000Panel Member

Another thought...I wonder if all these have another thing in common...they are all 15 jeweled movements.

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted January 26, 2012 - 3:32am

Its not hard to fathom that BWC co would call up Bulova and say ' We want to buy 1000 dialed mvmnts to put in our cases', toss in a a drawing showing complete case and dial specs and an price offer. Bulova would then  toss out a counter offer, show what changes would have to be made to the case to fit their mvmnt, and VOILA we have you watch Lisa. Im am more than sure that this was common practice back then, as you do in fact see cases (exact matches) perfectly housing mvmnts from several watchmakers, both pocket watches and wristwatches. A quick look at vintage chronographs will show this quite clearly, with Breitling, Omega, Heuer, and many others  selling their mvmnts to other watch companies, and case makers.. Its a very common occurance, expecially in the early days.

In later days, most of these companies made their own cases but still sold mvmnts.

The question of having Bulova on the dial tho, is still un answered by any known facts, but I think one can reasonably think that a newer company with quality movements may be able to include their name on the dial, I dont see any case company having issues with that, after all, they were not watchmakers and should not have any reasonable expectation of being considered one by having their name on a watch dial instead of the company that made the works. Many companies did do that with higher end watches ( put their name on a cased mvmnt where they only made the case ) but they also did make full watches as well.

I know we like facts, but having none, theory is the next best thing, especially ones backed in common practice in that specific field.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 26, 2012 - 7:23am

B.W.C. Co. never produced Watches, only Cases. Aftermarket (replacement) Cases came with a Dial, giving a Watch a 'new' look.

if a Case is not stamped with the Bulova Hallmark then stay away, unless You want a recased Watch.

NOVA
Posted January 26, 2012 - 11:30am

Admin and Shooter -

I can definitely see the logic of Bulova selling their movements and dials to a smaller company that only made cases.  That may have been a way for Bulova to make more money--as well as the case company--and those watches may have been more affordable for folks during tough times.  Everybody wins.

To me, that theory not only makes sense, but it also gives this watch its own, legitimate place in history.  It is not a mere Frankenbully, in the sense that some random person just randomly selected those parts and stuck them together.  This watch was planned.

I also do not believe that this watch was ever "recased" as Fifth indicates.  This dial was intended for this case from the get-go.

So, I'm going to keep this lovely thing and give it a place in my collection.  I don't care if you guys want it posted on this site or not.  Although to me, it's as legitimate and orginal a vintage watch as any other watch on here, and likely more so than some.

- Lisa

P.S. Admin - All of the ones I've seen--including the orange and white dial jobs discussed in another thread--run 10ANs.  You may be on to something there.  A surplus of 10ANs in the late '20s?  Bulova in financial trouble in the late '20s and/or looking for other ways to sell their products and get their name out there?  It was still pretty early in the game for them at that point.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 26, 2012 - 4:51pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Totally agree.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 27, 2012 - 7:13am

1932, I believe.

Geoff Baker
Posted January 27, 2012 - 8:45am

Club 5000Panel Member

Speculation, I believe

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 27, 2012 - 9:37am

Geoff,

That's an opinion You are entitled to but You're missing the point.

The Caseback is signed both Bulova and L Co.

I can get the Date of the Watch Model to 1927 (ad in the database), although the movement appears to be a swap I cannot make out its Datecode.

 

Geoff Baker
Posted January 27, 2012 - 9:56am

Club 5000Panel Member

Mark - you posted a photo of a case back (with a 1921 and 1924 patent date) and the statement that it's a 1932 watch. I see no dial, I see nothing else of the case and I see no movement, therefore I believe your date is speculative. I'm not sure what point I've missed.

There is no indication that the ad in your next post represents the case back you've pictured. Are they the same? If they are, per my observations in the post about case back date codes and what you've stated above, I say you have a 1927 Olivia with a possible movement switch.

There is every indication that Bulova procured solid gold cases from manufacturers other than American Standard and I agree that you have a photo of one. If your theory of case back date codes can be proven against American Standard manufactured cases, it cannot be assumed that it is the same for the other cases Bulova used from other manufacturers.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 27, 2012 - 10:01am

I would have to agree but would that discussion best be held in the Case Date / Case Seriel number thread?

http://www.mybulova.com/node/3753

 

 

NOVA
Posted January 27, 2012 - 11:09am

I would also add that one example of one case where there are two signatures does not, and can not, disprove the theory posited above that Bulova sold their 10AN movements and dials to other companies such as B.WC. in the late '20s.

Different things can happen at different times between different parties for different reasons.

And, at this point, we have a lot more evidence that Bulova did sell their workings and dials, then evidence that they did not--not just this watch, but Jay's referenced above, and the growing list of orange and white dial jobs.  I bet all of us have seen examples of this repeatedly over the years.  Those watches were just dismissed as Frankebullies rather than given serious consideration as having some other reason for their existence. 

I think it's time we stopped making assumptions about what Bulova did and did not do 80+ years ago and started considering other possibilities based on the evidence before us.

NOVA
Posted February 13, 2012 - 10:34pm

Hmmmm. . . look what I found.  Another one nearly identical to the one that started this thread.

I'm sure it's just another random "recase". . . a Frankenbully. . . yeah, right.  I'm buying that one, and I've got some ocean front property in Oklahoma I'd like to sell you too. . . .

According to the seller, inside it reads, "B.W.C. Co. Conqueror 747239".  Imagine that.

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 13, 2012 - 11:14pm

Of coarse it does. BWC Co manufactured many Cases (that came with Dials to fit).

Look closely at this example. - The Hour and Minute Hands are a little too long and the outer register is calibrated for a sweep Center Seconds Hand, which the Watch is not showing.

IMO this is a replacement Case.

NOVA
Posted February 13, 2012 - 11:45pm

Please. . . a "replacement" case with a unique Bulova dial that just happens to be obviously made for that case.  Here we go again.  

And now we have two examples of it.

The "re-case" idea is a hair-brained theory with no facts whatsoever to back it up.

No matter how many examples of the same watch I show you, you'll say the exact same thing. That is what we call a closed mind, and it is not a very reliable path to the truth.

 

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted February 13, 2012 - 11:24pm

Looks like it takes a seconds hand to me but it's missing.

 

NOVA
Posted February 13, 2012 - 11:44pm

That would make sense, as the one I posted in the beginning of this thread has a seconds hand.

Elgin Doug
Posted February 14, 2012 - 12:10am

These are fascinating!  I'm intrigued, too!

I believe it's likely to be original and not a recase for somewhat different reasons:

First, I don't think the fit of the dial and the case is necessarily indicative of this being original, since I've seen replacement cases that came with dials marked 'Elgin' or other watch company without being marked 'Movement', the common indicator of a replacement case.  There's one on Ebay right now, in fact - 190638342734 - that looks to be the NOS version of the case I posted a thread about some months back.  It looks at first glance to be a 1940s Bulova Senator case, but it's not. 

So, the dial/case match is suggestive but not indicative.

BUT!  One thing that gave that watch away as a recase was that it was an anachronism.  The Senator didn't come out until 1940, whereas the movement in that watch dated to the mid 30s.  The case was of a style significantly later than the movement

In this case (haha) the movement and the case are not mismatched that way.  The case looks late 20s/early 30s, and the movement is appropriate for that time.  This argues against a recase.

Next, the Brooklyn Watch Case Company was absorbed by Fahy's in the 1890s, then Fahy's went out of business in 1931, so if the movement is from 1929 or 1930, what's the likelihood somebody (some-TWO-bodys) recased one or two-year old watches in the Great Depression?

So, I believe, but cannot definitively state, that this watch is as it was originally sold. This suggests that Bulova's business arrangements regarding watch casing in the  might be more complicated than is thought.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 14, 2012 - 6:56pm

The Dials come with the Case and they are replacements. Waltham, Elgin and others have been seen in them - Google BWC Co.

although Astor(?) did get in a bind and was sued by Bulova for using their movements.

But, they would not have used the Bulova Name on the Dial.

Elgin Doug
Posted February 14, 2012 - 7:07pm

I just said that I had seen matched replacement cases and dials. 

And I DID google BWC Co.  They were, as I just said, bought by Fahy's in the 1890s, and Fahy's went belly up in 1931.

You see, it's the TIMING that's the problem.  When do you propose this 1929 watch movement was recased in a case made by a company that went out of business in 1931?

Do you know for an absolute fact that Bulova never used Brooklyn Watch Case Company cases?  Remember absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.