Bulova 1921 Rubaiyat

4/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.
3
Manufacture Year: 
1921
Movement Model: 
17
Movement Jewels: 
17
Movement Serial No.: 
122147
Case Serial No.: 
1054041
Case shape: 
Round
Case Manufacturer: 
American Standard
Gender: 
Mens
Additional Information: 

Hello everyone. This is my first post so please bear with me...

I picked up this Rubaiyat pocket watch a few weeks ago and was hoping you could help me identify some more information about it. I believe it was manufactured between 1919-1921 based on the markings throughout the piece. Here is what I know:

  • Case Measurements: 42.95mm from 9-3 & 12-6, 50.24mm from 6-crown
  • Case Inscriptions: These are all inside the case... American Standard (with Globe), 25 Years, 14K Gold Filled, Monogram Quality, 1054041 (serial number?), there are also 4 scratched inscriptions on the inside of the case - 47123W, X46926, 19826W, L12129... The letters EGS are inscribed on the back of the case.
  • Movement Inscriptions: BULOVA W.Co, 17 Jewels, 5 Adjustments, Swiss, 122147 (Movement SN?), under the movement (behind the dial at the 9 & 8 position) there is an inscription of 1213982

That's all I know. The pictures I am posting below are exactly as I received it. I really want to restore this watch and get it functioning properly. I am fairly handy so I would love to do the work myself but I want your opinions before I really start digging into it. In case you didn't notice from the pictures, the glass is also missing.

Regards,

Jeff

Not For Sale
Bulova Rubaiyat
1921 Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
1921 Bulova watch
Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted December 29, 2017 - 10:07am

Panel Member

A likely date of 1921 based on the serial number. The movt is a 17R, which is in house for Bulova, produced in their Swiss factory. 

1921 Rubaiyat Pocket watch gets my vote. 

jeffreywlee
Posted December 29, 2017 - 10:22am

This post from 2014 is interesting regarding the serial numbers. Seems to coincide with my watch here. The watch face is so much different than all the others I see from that year.

Reverend Rob wrote:

Just an update on the serial number discrepancy, I have now seen the same thing on 4 watches. The assembly reference numbers inscribed during manufacture on the underside of the parts, to keep them all together, all match the mainplate number. Even the barrel bridge, with its different number on top, matches the plate with the number inscribed underneath itself, so my original assumption that the parts are from different watches is incorrect. This watch is oddly all original. 

Does anyone know of a good set of watchmakers screwdrivers so i can pull the movement out? I looked online a bit but there doesn't seem to be any 'mid-range' sets... it's either expensive or really cheap. I am hesitant to purchase a cheap set because I have had experience with cheaply made tools in the past. It's just not worth it.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted December 29, 2017 - 10:32am

Panel Member

I've mentioned this before, but a good source for quality used tools is at NAWCC Marts and Meetings. Check the NAWCC website for a chapter near you.

jabs
Posted December 29, 2017 - 10:47am

Panel Member

Agree with Rev, 1921 Rubaiyat Pocket watch it is

mybulova_admin
Posted December 29, 2017 - 8:27pm

Club 5000Panel Member

If this is your first time pulling a watch apart...please don't do it on this one.

This watch is a survivor and you will most likely damage it in some way or another, and parts are hard to find.

Can I suggest that if your really have your heart set on fixing it yourself, get a few non-working movements first (any 10 series Bulova movement will do great) so you get to understand the correct strip down and re-assenble sequence. These things have many booby traps for the unaware that will see you cursing the day you decided to give it a go yourself. As I said parts for this will be hard to find.

I'd hate to see this become just another broken pocket watch, let alone a rare early Bulova Rubaiyat survivor.

jeffreywlee
Posted December 30, 2017 - 7:58am

I definitely will not be working on this myself. I just wanted to be able to take the movement out of the case to see if there were any other markings on the inside. I took this to a watchmaker yesterday. The hands were bent and resting on the second hand preventing it from moving. He was pretty impressed the counter balance (I think that’s what he called it... the little wheel that rotates back and forth with teeth on the outside) was not broken for being such an old watch. He also put a new crystal on it for me. I’m unsure of how well it keeps time at the moment but I’m enjoying it so far. 

Geoff Baker
Posted December 30, 2017 - 8:17am

Club 5000Panel Member

Amen, don't learn on the 'special' ones!

Geoff Baker
Posted December 30, 2017 - 8:20am

Club 5000Panel Member

Remarkable watch. epending on when your grandfather was born, this could have been his first watch, are those his initials engraved on the back?

1921 Rubaiyat makes sense to me.

jeffreywlee
Posted December 30, 2017 - 8:56am

So, the story on my collection goes like this... I work for a propulsion company in the space industry. We build rockets and propulsion systems for all things that go into space. Being only 32 years old, I am one of the young guys. Most of us 'young guys' have the Fitbit or Apple Watch which are neat items in themselves but not my style. I have always been an old soul. I love learning about how mechanical things work so I can have a better appreciation for them. I decided to get a wristwatch instead of wearing my Fitbit. That's when it all went downhill. I started researching wristwatches, styles, movements, makers, how they worked, etc. I purchased a 1956 Bulova Phantom off the 'bay' as my starter for about $25. I told my grandfather about my purchase because I always knew he was into watches as well. He told me not to buy anymore because he has some he wants me to look at. Fast forward 3 weeks, I found this Rubaiyat on OfferUp locally listed for $60. I met the guy and ended up snatching this watch for $30. I didn't know exactly what I had when I purchased it but after a bunch of research I knew it was special. That same day my grandfather asked me to come over to his house and take a look at his collection. Of the 3 Accutrons I posted yesterday, the 1961 214 was his watch and the other two (1963 & 1973) were my great-grandfathers watches. He also gave me an Omega that was my great-grandfathers. I don't know much about it other than it is one of those automatic bumper movements and it is from the late 40's-50's. 

And now you know how my obsession has begun. I have picked up a few more items recently but I won't go in depth on them here.

mybulova_admin
Posted January 1, 2018 - 9:10pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Wonderful story! You certainly scored well when you bought the Rubaiyat and I'm really glad to hear that you were able to get it to work again. The wheel you referred to is called a 'balance wheel' and is the heart and soul of a watch (well it is in my opinion ayway). If these go then it can be very hard to find replacement parts, so the fact that your balance wheel assembly is all good is a great thing for the watch.

If you haven't already realised, this watch collecting can become very addictive, especially with Bulova watches and the wonderful community we have here at myBulova, who are all extremely passionate about vintage Bully's