Trying to identify an unusual 1955 mens mechanical watch

 Hi folks

I am trying to identify an unusal 1955, mens 21 jewel mechanical. I have search this site and numerous other vintage watch sites to no avail. There are several photos attached. The case is simple, but the chrystal is quite unique. Any info would be much appreciated. Bill

 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 8, 2012 - 10:53am

Panel Member

My guess would be that is the original crystal, as it is complimentary to the case. Fancy or faceted crystals are not unusual in watches of this vintage, but the movt in your watch is a good one. This was the base calibre for automatics that were to follow, like the BPAC. Do you have a picture of the entire movt? This watch would be easy to restore, as it it is already in overall very good condition. I strongly recommend not running it until it is properly serviced, as it can be damaged by running dirty or dried out.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted March 8, 2012 - 12:15pm

What Year is the Movement?

BillM54
Posted March 8, 2012 - 1:47pm

Thanks for the quick replies!!

How do I tell what year the movement is?

Can you recommend a shop in the Houston area where I could take the watch for restoration/repair?

BillM54
Posted March 8, 2012 - 1:50pm

I meant to attach this to the last message

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted March 8, 2012 - 5:04pm

the Movement Datecode is the 2 digit stamp showing at 6 0'Clock in the image above.

L9 ?

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted March 8, 2012 - 5:33pm

Bill,

Can you measure the crystal lengthxwidth in millimeters to the tenth? I've found a crystal in a catalog that appears to be the correct shape listed for a Bulova "Pelham". I don't see a Pelham listed in the model db nor the ad db btw.

Darren

BillM54
Posted March 9, 2012 - 11:56am

I have  a metric ruler around here somewhere. I'll get the measurements to you asap..    thanks

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted March 9, 2012 - 2:45pm

Digital calipers would be best and can be had for about $35. No need to rush.

BillM54
Posted March 10, 2012 - 1:05pm

Greetings!   Does the crystal need to removed to measure it?  Or do I measure the exposed length and width?  I haven't tried removing  the crystal.  Was kinda nervous just taking the back off the first time.

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted March 10, 2012 - 1:36pm

Removing the crystal and cleaning up the bezel would give you the most accurate measurement but if you can measure the crystal with calipers it will help point us in the right direction. Measure as accurately as possible because there could be dozens of crystals that are within 2-3 tenths of a millimeter of yours. Be careful not to scratch your case if using a metal instrument.

Darren

 

BillM54
Posted March 10, 2012 - 1:55pm

Thanks Darren

Does the crystal simply push out?  This is really my first time being inside any watch, other that replacing batteries. Also,  would you know of a reputable watch smith in the Houston area?

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted March 10, 2012 - 3:31pm

Simply? Probably. It may or may not be glued in. You have to be careful and apply even pressure to the case so as not to torque it or bend it in any way. Also, don't press too hard on the lugs. They can break off. Of course, you  have to use your best judgement.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted March 8, 2012 - 5:51pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Hi Bill The date code should be visible in the area circled below

NOVA
Posted March 8, 2012 - 7:23pm

The main picture is taken from so close that it's difficult to tell what we're looking at, but it may be a Hadley.  There are a couple in the database to use for comparison.

BillM54
Posted March 9, 2012 - 12:01pm

Hi..  I have attached a fuller pic of the face at the end of the thread..  thanks for your assistance

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted March 8, 2012 - 7:55pm

Both Hadley's in the db are cushion or rectangle/4 curved sides. The subject watch appears to be tonneau shaped. Otherwise they do appear similar.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted March 8, 2012 - 9:08pm

The textured Dial has been seen in the 'SENATOR' but the 21 Jewel movement is incorrect.

'56 Case with a 1959 movement: I'm thinking non-conforming.

Originally, possibly a 'SENATOR'.

BillM54
Posted March 9, 2012 - 11:00am

I will do my best to measure the crystal. I've got a metric ruler around here somewhere!

Indeed, the marking on the movement is L9 and the case says L5.  The watch belonged to my Dad, who had it since new. Mom has no recollection of it ever being needing repair, of course that could be a long time ago...    Non conforming sounds so ominous, especially when in italics!  The metal, stretchy band says Foster on it. Could this be orignal?  I'm inclined to put a nice leather strap on it when I have it serviced.  Do you know a shop in teh Houston area that I could use?

Here is a better pic of the whole front view

 

BillM54
Posted March 9, 2012 - 11:09am

BTW..  I would like to say, that I have been a member of a number of online forums over the years..  mostly for cars, and you fine folks are by far the most responsive, knowledgable and professional people I have dealt with.  Especially to a non horologist like myself.   Thank you !!!   

plainsmen
Posted March 9, 2012 - 2:25pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Not a problem Bill... most of us are amatuers that have just been learning along the last few year and suddenly became... wow... pretty much subject matter experts, or as much as one can be when all the history of these old models was lost in the 70's-early 80's.

BillM54
Posted March 10, 2012 - 11:13am

This has been interesting for me. The watch belonged to my Dad, so at the end of the day, the value or originality isn't the key..   Just trying to figure out  what it is. I wish I had ssked him when I had the chance.  I'm sure you understand. My Son who is 29 has recently become intrested in watches. Newer stuff.. mostly brands I've never heard of. But he does know that older Bulovas are special. So this will be his eventually, and having an understanding of the piece will make it just that much more special to have.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted March 9, 2012 - 12:39pm

The Case looks like the 'RUXTON'

IMO

plainsmen
Posted March 9, 2012 - 2:25pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I've seen this model before.... not with that crystal though.  Hrmm...

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted March 9, 2012 - 3:02pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Hi Bill   Try not to be put off by a "non-conforming" watch.  I think of them as customized or otherwise modified from the "original" configuration of the watch model at date of production.  The site is working on a category in which these watches will fit which denotes their uniqueness as Bulova which are non-conforming to the model exemplified in the vintage ads we have to date. There are some "rules" to be in this category. Generally some combination of: Bulova signed dial, Bulova movement, Bulova manufactured case. We would not consider a Bulova movement in a case manufactured by another company as a "Bulova", so that configuration would not be listed on this site at all.  Sometimes folks get one of these "marriages" and they are not aware it's not all Bulova parts, so to speak.  Those are often listed here in a forum or as an unknown until folks here can help the owner determine that the parts are not all Bulova. Then they can either be deleted from the database or remain in the forum threads if the details of the non-bulova watch are a common issue folks run into (but this is the exception for them to remain on site, and would only happen if the particular marriage is often misidentified as a "Bulova" - to help new members learn).

There are myriad reasons for a "non-conforming" Bulova watch.  Perhaps the owner was doing the dishes and his Ruxton got wet.  He went to the corner jewelry store to try to get it serviced.  The jeweler could have said "this is your lucky day. I have another bulova movement w/ 21 jewels and it's a more accurate movement then your original 17jewel which came in the Ruxton.  I can put it in the watch for the same price it would cost to service your old movement".  Maybe at this juncture, the owner saw a Bulova signed dial which would fit the Ruxton case, and they liked it's looks more than the "original Ruxton configuration" and asked the jeweler to add this dial while swapping the movement. 

Since all "parts" are Bulova, this new "Bulova" customized to the owners preference would end up in the non-conforming category on this site.  While the owner searches for a model name for the entire watch, one doesn't exist.  It's been customized.  But in the thread of the discussion,  things like "looks like a Ruxton case" or "nicer movement than the original 17jewel movement" help the owner determine what their unique Bulova watch is made of.  In many examples, in my opinion, some of the nicest looking Bulova watches are these unique customized watches. 

Hope this takes a little sting away from the often misunderstood "non-confirming" title. 

BillM54
Posted March 10, 2012 - 11:14am

bump...

This has been interesting for me. The watch belonged to my Dad, so at the end of the day, the value or originality isn't the key..   Just trying to figure out  what it is. I wish I had asked him when I had the chance.  I'm sure you understand. My Son who is 29 has recently become intrested in watches. Newer stuff.. mostly brands I've never heard of. But he does know that older Bulovas are special. So this will be his eventually, and having an understanding of the piece will make it just that much more special to have.

geezer_D's picture
geezer_D
Posted March 9, 2012 - 5:58pm

Will,

That is possibly the most encompassing and pleasant description of "non-conforming" that I have heard presented recently.  My compliments on your wordsmithing ability.  

BillM54
Posted March 11, 2012 - 3:07pm

Hi All,  after viewing this thread, http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1953-ruxton-2819,  I'm sure that my watch isn't a Ruxton A.  Very similar though. There is a model mentioned called a Moonbeam.  I haven't been able to find a picture of one. Does anyone have a photo of a Moonbeam? Thanks again for all of the input I have received.  Bill

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted March 11, 2012 - 3:43pm

               1955/59 'UNKNOWN                                                 1953 'RUXTON'

The Case of the 'UNKNOWN is the 'RUXTON. The numeral type and placement on the Dial is also a match as are  the 'open' Minutes and Seconds registers...... which doesn't change the fact that there is a 1959 Movement in a 1955 Case.

BillM54
Posted March 11, 2012 - 4:38pm

They are very similar, I agree,  but mine has completely flat sides, (see image above, I don't know how to put them side by side) where the 1953 has detail shaped into the sides that continues from the corners. Someone said the Moonbeam looked a lot like the Ruxton, which is why I asked.  If the 1953 is a Ruxton A,  maybe mine is a Ruxton B...   if there is such a thing. Interesting that this Ruxton also  has an odd shape crystal. I bet I've looked at hundreds of '50s Bulovas online and have not seen one other with a crystal like mine.  Is it THAT unusual?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted March 11, 2012 - 7:17pm

Bill,

If there is a 'RUXTON' "A" then there is a "B" and possibly a "C", "D", "E" and "F" ect and no, fancy Crystals are not unusual in fact they were very popular in the 1950's.