Bulova 1979 -Non-Conforming

Model ID rating explained.
Manufacture Year: 
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38.5 X 31.0
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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
Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted November 1, 2012 - 1:35pm

Panel Member

It's not Asian, not with a Swiss eta movt. As today, that would incur additional expense. I have seen identical cases used in other watch lines, and the 70's were very tumultuous for watch manufacturers. Everyone was struggling with the quartz crisis, and many makers went down. I have serviced several Bulovas with Russian movts, from the 70's. They were completely original and correctly marked, but the movts were Russe. I have one in inventory at the moment, I'll see if I can track it down. 

Geoff Baker
Posted November 2, 2012 - 5:38am

Club 5000Panel Member

Well, I've decided, its a FAKE. I would not label it as Non Con. I would call it what it is.

Did a bit of research yesterday on the ETA 2836-2 and got a bunch of hits on "ETA 2836-2 ASIAN". Apparently these are replica ( you pick the word that makes it not sound like fake) movements. Additionally there is a whole cottage industry of higher end fake watches - I'm not talking about the Rolex Daytona I bought in Greece last year for 15 euro either. Check it out


Who knew I could finally own an IWC Portuguese Timer, in rose gold, for a mere $350?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted November 2, 2012 - 6:46am

There are a plie of 'Military' Watches also   http://www.mybulova.com/node/4642 Chinese counterfeiting is big buisness.

22 Apple stores to Date selling fake Apple products, the employees believed they were working for Apple and it's estimated 1 out of every 3 packs of Cigarettes smoked in the UK are Chinese replicas.

Google Chinese counterfeit.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted November 2, 2012 - 8:31am

Panel Member

Chinese versions of eta movements are almost never marked with eta logo. When they describe the movement as eta 2836-2 Asian, it is just that, an Asian clone of an eta design. This doesn't mean the movements are fake, unless they are stamped eta and they are not made by eta. The designs for several eta movts are no longer protected, and anyone can make them, and many do, not the least of which is Sellita, who were one time offshore contractors to make eta movts for eta. The Sellita version of the 2892 is actually a better design than the original. 

Now, as to the watch being a fake, that is, a non-Bulova made watch, I can't say, I'd have to see it up close. There are a lot of fakes out there, and the ones that can command the greatest profit are the ones most likely faked. That said, I've finally seen a fake Seiko in the metal. (and not a high end model, either) 


William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted November 2, 2012 - 2:37pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Several countries (many of them Asian) are not required to follow US or other countries patent or copyright laws. They manufacture and sell proprietary things all the time.  Usually quite openly.  If they are "required" to honor other countries proprietary claims, there is no enforcement or seldom consequences.  There are, however, laws for these being exported or sold to places where these patents/copyrights are enforced.  They may become "illegal" once they leave the country of manufacture....but when one can go to a website and purchase items like this, get them mailed (possibly illegally) to their respective countries without anyone being "caught", it still happens quite often. 
My question would be:  Does Bulova recognize this watch (and other products like this watch) as one of their products.  This is why I flippantly said "it does say Bulova on the dial, case and movement"- but someone other than Bulova could have manufactured such a product.  This  is also the main reason I like having this watch in the database or somewhere on site; because it may be an example that helps us recognize Bulova-produced Bulova watches.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted November 2, 2012 - 6:30pm

Panel Member

I'm aware, of course, as we all are,  of the disregard for foreign patents, and this results in the millions of fake or replica watches we see all over the internet. My point is it isn't illegal to make an exact copy of certain eta movts, regardless of country of origin. The design has passed into public domain. I've seen a lot of fake watches, but never a movement stamped with a fake eta logo. I'm not saying they don't exist, but it's a detail no one seems to go to the trouble of reproducing, especially in a finished watch. 

I had a closer look at some clear pics of the watch type in question, and it seems legit. The location of the item being Hong Kong definitely rings alarm bells, however. Having said that, I have seen many NOS watches come out of Asia and Hong Kong that are perfectly legit. Sandoz, Favre Leuba, etc. 

The fact that this watch has exactly the same case and dial as some other manufacturer's 'product' is worrying, and is the main thing that makes me question whether it is a Bulova produced watch or not. The 70's, as I mentioned, were dark days for many manufacturers. A lot of companies, in a last ditch effort to save themselves, tried farming out assembly and even manufacturing. They called it the quartz crisis for very good reason, it killed some very notable companies. Many of these companies now have re-invented themselves as high end makers, after being resurrected, and advertise with no mention of their demise, and proudly list their original inception date, as if there was no interruption in manufacture. Breitling is a good example, as is Oris. 

So is it a Bulova? Only Bulova would know for sure. Has anyone attempted to contact them about this particular watch? It would be worth seeing what they had to say. 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted November 5, 2012 - 9:38pm

Club 5000Panel Member

votes to date ( I think) Let me know if I got it wrong:
Unknown:   JP
Frankie:   Bobbee, Fifth, Geoff
Non-Conforming:  OT, Will, (maybe Rev Rob?)

A Frankie is a fake, so it may mean it doesn't belong in the watch database based on convention.


William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted November 15, 2012 - 6:55pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Any new opinions/votes? 
IMO I like this watch, and feel its a useful informative addition to the database. It helps us understand/learn about Bulova History and model ID'ing. 

Posted November 15, 2012 - 7:40pm

Club 5000Panel Member


Posted November 18, 2012 - 1:18am

Club 5000Panel Member

Geoff, how certain are you its a fake? Just becaiuse it came out of China may not mean its not a real Bulova. Not all their movements are US or Swiss made.

The fact that they went to the effort to even put the date code on the back inside case cover suggests that it may be a ok. Very hard to say if they were doing this level of quality knock-offs back then.

Unknown still works for me.