Bulova 1979 -Non-Conforming

Model ID rating explained.
Manufacture Year: 
Movement Model: 
Movement Jewels: 
Case Serial No.: 
Case shape: 
Crystal Details: 
38.5 X 31.0
Additional Information: 

We discussed these watches in depth a year or more ago. I broke down and bought one recently. It is New Old Stock, but what exactly will we label it? At my house we call it the China Oval

The inside case back is clearly dated N9 for 1979. The movement is clearly dated P7 for 1987. The movement is marked ETA 2836-2 and bears another mark of DM 02/B18.

All stainless case. Stainless deployment bracelet with Accutron Fork


Not For Sale
Geoffrey L Baker China Oval Bulova Watch 10 27 2012
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
Bulova Watch
Bulova Watch
Posted October 31, 2012 - 12:37am

Club 5000Panel Member

maybe a question we can throw Bulova's way to see if they know.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted October 31, 2012 - 6:54am

N9 Caseback - 1979

P7 Movement - 1987

Watch should be entered as a 1987 model and not 1969.

bobbee's picture
Posted October 31, 2012 - 8:33am

How many watches are in the DB with a several year or more difference between case/movement? Surely our collective memory cannot be that bad! Movements can and do get damaged for many reasons and have to be changed, as I have a Spencer dated 1945 with a much younger movement, still a '45 Spencer.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted October 31, 2012 - 1:14pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Just because somethings incorrectly entered in the database doesn't make it our protocol. A couple years difference between a case and watch is usually what I've been going with.  The protocol I've been following for these "close case/mvnt years" has been to go with the later date in almost all instances. 
If your '45 Spencer example is more than a couple years btwn movement/case date, I'd have to say you have the case and dial of a 1945 Spencer with a movement swap.  If it's a couple years difference, I describe and vote as such.  If there is several years difference, we have the non-conforming catagory for a reason.
I don't see how I can vote for subject watch as being anything but non-conforming with almost 20 years difference btwn case and movement....unless we just disregard any/all movement data and ID based on the case/dial.

bobbee's picture
Posted October 31, 2012 - 1:28pm

Don't know where you get 20 years from N9-1979 to P7-1987, it's only eight.

I did not know that a movement change due to unknown reasons i.e. damage came under non-conforming.

My Spencer movement has a date of 1949, case 1945, yet is entered as a Spencer not non-conforming, should it be non-con?

I wasn't talking about incorrectly entered  information Will, just watches with several years or more difference in case/movement dates.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted October 31, 2012 - 4:23pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I didn't look at the chart for N.  Geoff typo-ed in the root comments and stated 1969. Got it now.
A movement change, within reason, doesn't necessarily constitute non-conforming.  I remember we don't have rules or actual working definitions (unfortunately), so it's up to interpretation anyway.  I kind of use a "rule of thumb" of about two years for movement/date difference, and then there are exceptions.  Like if a 1949 watch with a 1953 movement couldn't be confused with any other watch in both 1949 or 1953, I'm good with naming as the 1949 model because it can't be confused with anything else. And for 49/53 example, if it can be confused based on year of production, I would go tentative with the case production year, not the later movement swap date.
I think your Spencer is entered correctly.  Four years difference, and if the Spencer can't be easily confused with another model during that span, it's a good ID.  I guess we have guidelines, and there are exceptions which help ID a watch that sort of "trump" the guidelines if it's the best ID for the watch to date.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted November 1, 2012 - 6:02am


In this instance We are not seeing a pre-owned Watch, this Watch is new.

Therefore, the earliest the subject could possibly have been assembled or produced (Date of manufacture) is in 1987 the Date of the Movement, as the Movement did not exist in 1979.

There are no hard and fast guidelines, most are judgment calls based on common sense.

1987, at the earliest.


Geoff Baker
Posted November 1, 2012 - 5:51am

Club 5000Panel Member

Sheesh, can't believe I made a rookie mistake like that! Date corrected, good catch boys. I always assumed these to be knock offs, but now I don't feel as strongly as I did before. I assumed that we could put the fake theory to rest but now I'm not so sure. To Mark's point, and as I've always assumed, the sheer number of them available in a seemingly endless supply makes them suspect.

Anybody want to buy a watch? BTW, I agree with a Non Conforming designation and yes Mark I do recall the 'Peru' and as I recall it was legit.

Posted November 1, 2012 - 7:34am

A e-mail to Bulova service dept with the info and a picture just might get you a answer on this one Geoff, and you may be able to help them bust up a counterfeiting ring at the same time!

bobbee's picture
Posted November 1, 2012 - 8:25am

I think Mark could be right, as there seem to be a lot of these on the market, not only with Bulova Dial/ Movements but other makers like Mido too. As Oliver said, he bought a case/dial/hands set on fleabay, so they are easy to get, and simply add the correct/compatible movement. Easy to fake case markings, and the I have seen an identical watch to this with what looks like a very similar if not identical case serial number, ending in 94?, cannot make out the last number.