Bulova Mat Advertising c1955 SCUBA Bob

William Smith's picture

Thanks to brtime (Bruce Shawkey) for making several Bulova Mat Advertising materials available to our Bulova community.  NOVA (Lisa) and I made arrangements with Bruce to have these documents scanned, and we are in the process of determining tentative dates for some of the ads which are not specifically dated.  These ads were a subset of the source materials Mr. Shawkey used for his August 2010 Bulletin of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors article "The Bulova 23".   To see the original article, current NAWCC members can go to http://nawcc.org/index.php/watch-a-clock-bulletin/past-issues-/902?task=view .   Non-NAWCC members may create an account which allows them access to some of the NAWCC resources, but I'm not sure if that includes access to older "Bulletin" articles.  Of course, there's always your local library if you want to read more but have trouble with internet access to the article. 

I'm in the process of getting these ads to Admin for our ad database, but wanted to post a couple excerpts below. Bulova was a master marketer, and these ads are another example of their dominance in the field of multimedia marketing.  I'll present justification for the date for discussion, but in summary there are canceled US postal marks on some of the materials, specific dates listed in ads on the same "mat", and other things suggesting the bulk of these ads are from 1955 (relative dating by models listed; the terms "new for this summer" followed by models for which we have a introduction date from other ads, etc...). 

The "SCUBA Bob" ad is most likely from early 1955. 

and another 1955 ad directed towards young graduates.


The source scans are in much higher resolution, showing fine details of the models included. 

Thanks Bruce and Lisa for your dedication and support of Bulova history and model identification!!

bobbee's picture
Posted June 2, 2012 - 5:00pm

Excellent, really appreciate it guys!

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted June 2, 2012 - 6:30pm

Club 5000Panel Member

The Bob Hope ad series makes reference to his movie "The Seven Little Foys", released in mid 1955.

Posted June 2, 2012 - 6:34pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Certainly looking forward to seeing the ads in high res. the Bob Hope ad looks to have a few new models in it.

Thank you Will and Lisa and of course Bruce for being theses ads into the public arena for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted June 2, 2012 - 7:59pm

Club 5000Panel Member

...and for the his/hers collectors....ad almost certainly 1955.

The Mermaid and I was expecting the Merman or even Mermaster....but no...only the Mastermatic.  Very indicative of the 1950's mindset to have the her version with maid in the model name, while the him version contains master.  Note the "her" version does all the work (you have to wind it), while the "him" version can be lazy (autowind). 

Posted June 2, 2012 - 8:14pm

WOW what a great addition to our data base. Exellent job of getting these valuable ads !!

Kudos to both of you for and outstanding job.


Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted June 2, 2012 - 8:51pm

Club 5000

Still looking for a 55 ad showing a Berkshire with enamel on the bezel. :)

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted June 2, 2012 - 9:09pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Me too Bob.  Don't think there's one in this last batch of 1954/55 ads :) 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted June 3, 2012 - 8:44am

or a 'BERKSHIRE' bezel on an expansion bracelet named the '?'  ?

Posted June 2, 2012 - 10:47pm

The Bulova material referenced at the beginning of this post constituted the bulk of an estate hoard that I located a few years back from a dealer at the NAWCC Mid-America regional in Auburn, Ind. It's amazing that this material survived. Every NAWCC show I go to, I hunt for original company material like this, not only for Bulova, but for most any watch company. It's rare to find it. I can typically find all the printed material related to repair and maintenance --- service bulletins, parts catalogs, and what not. That's because the watchmaker typically saved this stuff year after year because he knew that the watches the jewelry store sold would eventually be coming back to the store for servicing.
But the actual PRODUCT catalogs and other printed materials with photos/images of the actual watches were typically thrown out every year as the new models arrived.
And, these materials are getting scarcer and scarcer, as they are becoming collectible in their own right. When I started accumulating this stuff about 10 years ago, at least back then I could find something "good" about once a month, either on eBay, or at the NAWCC shows. But now, sometimes I can go six months without finding anything! Probably 99% of what's being sold on eBay now as "Watch Catalogs" are current catalogs, or just a few years old. The vintage stuff (pre-1980s) is virtually non-existent.

I would encourage all of you to keep your eyes and ears open for this type of material. I live in the Midwest (Wisconsin) so I have the Midwestern shows fairly well covered. But there are many regionals in the East, West, and South that I don't get to. So DO ask around. If a dealer has ANY kind of paper sitting on his/her table, ask if there's more! The dealer I bought this hoard from didn't even have it out on his table; it was stashed underneath. He had a few items on the table that looked like he bought out an old jewelry store ... signs, advertising clocks, and what not. I asked if he found any old paper in that store and ... VOILA! ... the box was pulled out from underneath the table.

We are fortunate, too, that scanning and imaging technology has come a long way, even in the past five years. Good quality (high resolution) scans of these materials can be made at a reasonable cost so that these images can be preserved digitally (as the original paper materials continue their inevitable decay) and may be presented for all to see.