Bulova 1960 Military Issue "3818A"

5/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.
2.01
Variant: 
3818A
Manufacture Year: 
1960
Movement Model: 
10 BNCH
Movement Jewels: 
15
Case Serial No.: 
A6352
Case shape: 
Round
Additional Information: 

Stainless Steel Case measures 39mm lug to lug x 32mm wide non inclusive of the Crown while using Calipers.

Original Black '24 hr' Dial shows Luminous and White printed numerals, tracks and Bulova logo are printed White. Hour and Minute Hands are Luminous filled and the sweep Center Seconds hand is Steel.

Crown is Steel.

Anti-magnetic dust shield between Caseback and Movement.

Caseback screws on and is stamped as shown.

 

In May of 1961 President John F. Kennedy sent 400 U.S. Green Beret 'special advisors' to South Vietnam to help train South Vietnamese Soldiers in methods of counter insurgency in the fight against Viet Cong guerrilllas:

First introduced in 1956 this Vietnam War era United States Military issue MIL - W - 3818A would be the last Military piece produced by Bulova.

The Bulova 3818A is shown on a N.O.S. era correct Nylon one piece strap.

 

 

Not For Sale
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
Bulova Watch
shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 13, 2011 - 7:42am

We also have to remember that any branch of service can "locally purchase" a needed item, if aircrewmembers needed and wanted a certain watch, it is not unreasonable to believe that the Air Force upper echelon could and would procure A-17 watches for use outside of official military contracts. Its a relatively common occurance, and would not be easily researched at all.

And we have no idea how many of these were made during the contract period, the numbers could easily be high enough that they were still on hand into the '70's, and the quality is good enough to continue to use untill supplies are exausted, which is also a normal disposition of older issue items. The ORD and general use watches were a disposable item, but in my experience, any watch intended for use by aircrews was not, and would likely have been turned in, or the servicemember would be charged for it.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 13, 2011 - 1:51pm

Shooter

The simple fact I am pointing out is MIL-W-3818A watch was not designated for Air Navigation Watch, it says so right in paragraph 1 that It is a General Purpose military watch. Reference MIL-W-3818B that we have a copy of. The famous 10 pointed stainless steel back case tells the difference when compared to the MIL-W-6433A Watch Navigation A17A.

Let's leave personal opinions out of ths argument & just look at the facts Please!

Bulova watch

 

 

 

 

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 13, 2011 - 7:28pm

I was speaking to the A17, and personal experience is factual, my father was issued an A17 in the late 60's, he still has it, it still runs, he used it in Vietnam. If thats not factual enough then I dont know what is. You were issued one in 1970, that is a fact, and quite some time after Bulova lost the contract (6yrs or more) and the Military stopped buying them on contract.

The reason Bulova has no official navigational watch during that era is because they never submitted one for contractual evaluation. That doesnt mean that the military suddenly stopped issue of all Bulova watches, they used up stock on hand. That is a fact. You were issued one in the '70's, my father, one in the late '60's. I wasnt trying to say that the 3818 series is a nav watch, only that your issue of an A17 in 1970 does not mean that they were still a contractually and official milspec current production watch and purchase on contract as per any mil spec, or that Bulova even continued to make them,only that they were still issued. As far as the possibility of the Air Force purchasing A17 watches after Benrus aquired the new contract, it is as likely as any other conjectual statement that has ever been tossed around on here before, my experience is that if a pilot wanted a particular watch that would meet specs, it was locally procured (locally doesnt mean in the immediate vacinity, just that the local command authorized its purchase from where ever) and it was authorized for use. We did it all the time. If an Air force wing of say 300 pilots and 150 navigators had a consensus that they didnt like the Benrus, it is not beyond any realm of reality that command would procure the watch that they had been issued for many years. It is as likely as not, but no, not factual, at least we cant prove it is.

Fifth, the same mvmnt in the two watches would not necessarily mean they could both be navigational watches, they may not have been tested or even built to the same standards, ie adjusted to however many positions, iso to so many degrees of fluctuation, water resistance standards, shock standards time keeping standards etc. This all cost money to test each and every watch, and each and every watch was tested, a general issue watch that didnt need to be tested as well would be substantially less expensive.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 13, 2011 - 2:38pm

....the infamous 10 pointed Stainless Steel Caseback ( decagonal ).

Both the Bulova A-17A and 3818A use the same 10 BNCH movement, Dials are very similar also so I don't see where one is a Navigation piece and one is 'General purpose' - the Watches are basically identical.

Wayne,

Are there any other MIL SPECs' listed in Your IHC member compiled chart that are being manufactured at the same time?

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted April 13, 2014 - 5:39am

FifthAvenueRestorations wrote:

....the infamous 10 pointed Stainless Steel Caseback ( decagonal ).

Both the Bulova A-17A and 3818A use the same 10 BNCH movement, Dials are very similar also so I don't see where one is a Navigation piece and one is 'General purpose' - the Watches are basically identical.

Wayne,

Are there any other MIL SPECs' listed in Your IHC member compiled chart that are being manufactured at the same time?

 

The A17-A was issued to Air Force flight personnel,  and had a 17 jewel 10BNCH.

The 3818A was issued to ground forces, and had the 15 jewel 10BNCH.

Both watches had different hands,.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 14, 2011 - 2:11am

Fifth

The spec list was made available by a retired Aircrew Equipment Curator at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

Shooter

We agree that there is a difference between a A17A Navigation Watch and a MIL-W-3818A General Purpose wrist watch & that stringent testing is the difference.

When I was in the Air Force, I was issued the A17A & I carried it in my shaving kit as a backup, It was not mandatory that each aircrew member wear one. At the time I didn't realize that it was one of the most accurate & reliable manual wind watches ever made. In my 20 years on flying status my offhand observation is that most of the people that I flew with wore whatever they wanted. I have no quarrel with your comments, whatsoever.

The real Master Navigation watches that were issued to & used by Navigator's was the Hamilton model 23 & 4992B. I was fascinated by those watches at the time & have one of each in my collection today.

My gripe is that every watch that appears on any auction is that if it has a dial that looks like an A11 or an A17A the seller knowingly or unknowingly will call it a Pilots Watch when they are not. Folks are being taken to the cleaners thinking that it's the real thing when it isn't. The world has just gone thru the worst financial ripoff because some people know that other people are Gullible.

 

 

 

 

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 14, 2011 - 9:38am

I agree with you there Wayne, It sux that people cant be honest and present things just as they are instead of trying to up their profitability with a whitewash of miss-information. I actually had a Hamilton (I think 8day?) clock in one of my Hueys. Only in one, it had no tags for calibration or service, and we could find nothing in any current tm (1987) about it, but it ran and seemed very accurate even tho it likely hadnt been service since who knows when. I wish I had pilfered that one and replaced it with the current 24vdc crap clock.

I would love to get ahold of or put together an A17, if anyone has a case, or other parts let me know, I cant afford to buy a complete one and I dont care if its absolutely correct, in fact it will likely get cathedrals just because I lovem so much lol

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 14, 2011 - 11:21am

So, what have We established so far?

The Bulova MIL-W-3818A was manufactured between MARCH 12, 1956 and OCTOBER 17, 1962 and that Bulova was out of the Military game not long after, certainly before MAY 4, 1964.

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 14, 2011 - 12:10pm

yup

And that after that failure to get the contract, Bulova MILSPEC watches were still issued untill at least 1970, even tho they were no longer contracted, and that we all just love these MILSPEC watches !!

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 14, 2011 - 1:11pm

Another point of interest:

The A-17A Caseback shown above has an order # of:

DA-36-038-ORD-20328

The 3818A Caseback shown in the original post has an order (contract) # of:

DA36-038-ORD-21501

My mathematical genius says 20328 (the A-17A) comes before 21501 (the 3818A)

 

In regards to the Watches issued until 1970, specifically the A-17A's mentioned, were these Bulova's?