my uncle's watch, 1947 Clinton?

My uncle left me this beautiful watch 24 years ago, and it has been in my dresser drawer ever since. It works fine, and I would like to learn the age and model. On the back it says 10k rolled gold plate, and the serial number is 4495152. Based on research I did using your excellent links, I suspect this is a 1947 Clinton. Does anyone concur?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted April 11, 2012 - 7:31am

Very nice, this model is difficult to find with a nice Case.

The Year of manufacture is 1944 based on the Case serial number, the Movement datecode will confirm.

WillRockwell
Posted April 11, 2012 - 8:31am

1944? I had no idea. How many jewels did the Clinton have?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted April 11, 2012 - 8:41am

We see this Case design named differently several times over a Decade, the reasoning why is unclear. A 1945 database ad names the Watch the 'KNICKERBOCKER' - 17 Jewels.

jfoley
Posted April 11, 2012 - 9:20am

 i believe it to be a chief. there were at least 3 case designs of this type called different names. in the vintage ads page 6 picture 19 is the best look i can find of a knickerbocker, on page 7, picture29 is the best view i can find of a clinton, and on page 7 picture35 is the best view of a chief. the first 2 mentioned seem to have straight 7s, and the chief has a curl at the bottom of the 7 as does your piece. keep in mind my computer is old and so are my eyes.

NOVA
Posted April 11, 2012 - 9:44am

Chief is the least likely in view of the ads that we have due to its much later date.  The watch is most likely to be the Comptroller or Knickerbocker, assuming a 1944 date based on the case serial number.  If the leather strap is original, then the Comptroller would be the logical choice.  The gold hands and numerals also match the Comptroller ad.

  • 1943 - Comptroller (17J, yellow gold filled case, gold hands and numerals, leather strap)
  • 1945/46 - Knickbocker (17J, natural gold, basketweave band)
  • 1947/49 - Clinton (17J, yellow gold, basketweave band)
  • 1948/49 - Chief (17J, yellow gold, basketweave/seed band)

I don't think it makes sense to assume that all these models ran concurrently, though it does appear that the Clinton and Chief may have, assuming the dates of the ads are correct.

Attempting to make distinctions between the models based on subtle dial variances is problematic, in my view, because not all the ads are clear enough to make a comparison, and only one of them provides relevant narrative details. 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted April 11, 2012 - 10:13am

Nova,

So what You're saying is model identification could change simply based on which mount the Watch was sold on?

interesting..

: )

NOVA
Posted April 11, 2012 - 10:46am

I said nothing whatsover like that.  I said the watch is most likely the Comptroller based on the date of the ad, the dates of other ads for seemingly identical models, the date of the watch, the descriptions provided in the Comptroller and Knickerbocker ads (or lack thereof), and the particulars of the watch presented.  There's much more to judge this watch by then just a band.

jfoley
Posted April 11, 2012 - 10:26am

i do bow to your superior knowledge of bulovias. however i do think we are assuming a lot. original band? dating by back? im still not sure. i do agree that the ads are very hard to see clearly and im not one that likes or wants to argue, just thought the combined knowledge of this site would be helpful. ive got the exact watch which is what caught my interest. i can see however on my watch and mr rockwells that the 7 is surly curled and the example of the controler u sent is not. i surly dont know if that means anything or not just my observation

NOVA
Posted April 11, 2012 - 10:44am

I did not say or assume that the band is original.  I said IF the band is original, then, based on the case date, the date of the Comptroller ad, the description in the Comptroller ad, and the particulars of the watch presented, the scales would tip toward the Comptroller (versus the Knickerbocker), in my opinion.  The watch is dated 1944, which falls between the Comptroller and Knickerbocker ads, so, based on what we know today, it could go either way.

I do not think it is an assumption that the case serial number represents a date of 1944.  I've analyzed way too many Bulovas to have any remaining doubts about that.  Granted, we have no documentation to prove it.  However, no information has been provided to support assigning any other date to this watch.  1947 was stated, but based on what?

DarHin's picture
DarHin
Posted April 11, 2012 - 11:02am

I believe he based his dating of the watch upon Stephen's unrated 1947 Clinton in the db. Although, Stephen's watch has a 1945 case # and no mention of a movement date code, which I cannot make out in the pics.

It does appear to be the same watch.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted April 11, 2012 - 11:44am

Nova,

and I quote: "The watch is most likely to be the Comptroller or Knickerbocker, assuming a 1944 date based on the case serial number.  If the leather strap is original, then the Comptroller would be the logical choice."

 

That statement alone indicates that the 'COMPTROLLER' came on a Leather strap and an identical Watch named the 'KNICKERBOCKER' came on a woven bracelet.

Without this distinction You have no basis for Your ID.

NOVA
Posted April 11, 2012 - 1:24pm

My ID was either the Comptroller or the Knickerbocker, based on a number of factors, as stated more than once above, though you seem content to ignore most of what I said.  My point was also that the Chief, as suggested, was not the right call.

So, let's try this one more time. . .

The watch is dated 1944 based on the case serial number.  The two logical possibilities for the model ID, based on the ads we have, are the Comptroller (1943) and the Knickerbocker (1945).  The watch falls between those two dates.  The Comptroller ad specifies gold numbers and hands, which the subject watch has, so that's a clear match.  We have no description for the Knickerbocker, other than the jewel count.  Both watches have the same jewel count.  The Comptroller shows a leather band in the one ad we have--it may or may not have been offered with other options, and the same could be said for the Knickerbocker.  However, if the leather band on the subject watch could be shown to be original, then, based on the date of the watch, the dates of the ads, the characteristics of the watch, and the details provided in the ads, I would choose the Comptroller over the Knickerbocker.  But it could easily be either.

 

WillRockwell
Posted April 11, 2012 - 1:58pm

Of all the ads and photos I've seen, the Clinton seems to be the only one that has numbers around the second hand, the Comptroller does not seem to have these numbers.

The band does not say Bulova, it says Faith Quality and Calfskin.

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

Interesting observation.... this Watch is very confusing but I think Nova may have it nailed as far as distinguishing the 'KNIICKERBOKER' from the 'COMPTROLLER' - the strap. We see the same scenerio on the late 1940's 'TUXEDO' and 'CRAFTSMAN'. 

NOVA
Posted April 11, 2012 - 4:47pm

Totally different situation from the Tuxedo and Craftsman, which were concurrently advertised watches, with an advertisement that lists the differences between the two models.  In this case, we have the date of the watch vs. the date of the advertisements as the primary distinguishing factor.  Only when a watch falls between ads, like the subject watch, do we need to look at other possible but unconfirmed differences.  In this case, the subject watch also matches the ad for the Comptroller, in that it has the gold numbers and hands described.  It also predates the ads for the Knickerbocker.

WillRockwell
Posted April 11, 2012 - 4:20pm

Thank you all for your help, the various models are confusing and interesting. I will be putting this watch on Ebay tonight, and will identify it as a probable 1944 Knickerbocker.

bourg01
Posted April 11, 2012 - 5:10pm

Panel Member

Hey Will,

The date code off the movement will be the factor that determines the identity. get the movement year and you have the positive ID. Nova has it all laid out for you.