Bulova 1944 Air Warden

7/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.
Manufacture Year: 
Movement Symbol: 
Movement Model: 
Movement Jewels: 
Case Serial No.: 
Case shape: 
Case Manufacturer: 
Additional Information: 

Case silver gilt, no plate wear. mvmnt. symbol puts year as 1943, case no. as 1944. Very dirty dial cleaned up well as did the case. Non-original strap is vintage circa 1940's.

Edit: 2013.03.13  Case dimensions added from Bobbee's comments in thread: The case size is: 26mm. dia. 34mm long. 14mm. lug gape.

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bobbee's picture
Posted May 3, 2012 - 2:58pm

 BTW, where can I get some hands from?

bobbee's picture
Posted May 3, 2012 - 3:23pm

I have noticed that the 1942 model of geoff baker's is dated by the mvmnt mark, yet the case serial starts with a 4. As I have dated mine with the case serial no. is that correct?

bobbee's picture
Posted May 3, 2012 - 3:39pm

Just to thrash this one out, if the white dial models are being accepted without any adverts proving this, why are the only two black faced models from the correct era not? I understand the reasoning behind it because of the different number positions, but a totally different colour than advertised without any proof to back it up is highly suspicious, and goes against the way all watches are being judged, i.e. using the database.

Posted May 3, 2012 - 3:51pm

You're quite right to question the validity of the "Air Warden" ID for the white dialed models.  I think the IDs are tentative, at best. 

I would not say, though, that those IDs "go against the way all watches are being judged" for the simple reason that we don't believe we have all the advertisements, and we have, over time, seen watches with a number of different dials, with no evidence that they had different names.  For example, in the 1920s watches, we see the same models with luminous dials and numbers, linen striped dials with gilt numbers, butler finished dials with black or gilt numbers, etc.  Variety is the spice of life, and it makes sense to believe that Bulova would offer a number of options to please customers with different tastes.  They were in the business of making money and not likely all that interested in keeping things simple.

The case style and dial design of the white models do appear to be a good match for the Air Warden, and the dates of the watches are certainly appropriate.  So, there is a basis for the ID, just not an ad that shows the same dial color.

The theory behind the white dialed models is that not everyone would have liked the much more military style black dialed version, so the white was there to please a wider range of customers.  It's a theory, not a fact, and it may not be correct.  That's where the model ratings come in, i.e., to show when a model ID may lack sufficient proof to be reliable.

bobbee's picture
Posted May 3, 2012 - 3:54pm

Thank you for clearing that up for me Lisa, I am still on a learning curve here!

Posted May 3, 2012 - 3:57pm

We are all on that same curve.

Posted May 3, 2012 - 3:40pm

I would go by the case serial number, but not all collectors have adopted that point of view.  The case serial number method of dating a watch is a new discovery, but I believe it is reliable--more so than using the movement, which can be changed, and often was, when the original one had a problem.  I've tested the case serial number method on hundreds of watches, and it works, and, to me, it makes a lot more sense. 

Having said that, if the movement is dated later than the case by no more than one year, I use the movement date for the watch, under the assumption that there was a year change between the case and movement manufacture, but the two were still released together.  More than one year is a red flag that the movement may not be original to the case.

Geoff's watches have been in the database for a long time--longer than the case serial number method of dating has been used.  If Geoff's watch were mine, the date would be changed to 1944.

Posted May 3, 2012 - 4:04pm

Bobbee, in my opinion, you should change the ID to "unknown" for now, not "non-conforming".  Your watch is a fine example of a mid-1940s model, and one we've seen before, so there's nothing to doubt about its authenticity or originality.  We simply haven't yet figured out what to call it.

Posted May 3, 2012 - 4:06pm

Here's an unnamed model, which, while not exactly like either of the models discussed above, is quite similar and gives a third example of this style and its popularity in the mid-1940s.


bobbee's picture
Posted May 3, 2012 - 4:16pm

I see what you mean.

OH DAMN! Just remembered, I've just sent a couple of watch 8AE mvmnts & faces to JP, and the hands on one of them are radiums! Will fit 10BS!