Bulova 1959 Bulova 23 "Mystery Dial"

4/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.
Mystery Dial
Manufacture Year: 
Movement Model: 
Movement Jewels: 
Case Serial No.: 
Case shape: 
Case Manufacturer: 
Additional Information: 

Picked up this Mystery Dial. Might be worth putting into the databasesince it is different than the others.

First, this one is SOLID 14K Gold, the others are RGP.  The minute hand is Radium filled unkile the others that are not. BULOVA 23 JEWELS at the top, and SELF WINDING at the bottom are both straight across the face unlike the others that are curved to match the face curve, and the 12 and 6 numerals are significantly smaller. The crown is different - don't know if it is a replacement, or from factory.


Ken S

Not For Sale
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Posted January 19, 2013 - 10:23am

I sent a PDF to Admin@mybulova. The PDF Ad is much more clear than the posted JPEG.



  • From that Ad it appears the four watches are shown as “Slim Waterproofs”, but Bulova seems to distinguish between them with the Sea King models shown at the top, the “23” on bottom left , and the New ultra slim “23”. I believe the 1st 3 watches are the Slim Waterproofs, and the “Mystery Dial” is the ULTRA Slim “23” , and should be listed in the database as such.
    • The side view with the man shows a watch that my be the Ultra Slim.
    • Ken S


William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted January 19, 2013 - 3:49pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Ken  We have a few official Bulova model price lists which show the same model names we are seeing in the ads (for those watches which we have ads).  These lists were internal from Bulova to dealers, so are quite reliable.  The most recent list-1964- shows over a hundred different "variants" for the "Bulova 23's" model series, and all those entries show model names "Bulova 23" followed by up to a three letter variant designation to differentiate between them. There are no model names showing "Ultra Slim" or anything else for that matter.  To follow advertised model name conventions used on site, I think the model name will be one of these three letter variants.  Placing a nic-name like "Mystery Dial" in the variant field is OK w/ me (like we have done for the Accutron "Woody").  Since your watch is solid gold, we can narrow down a potential set of variants based on price and other info in the list, but without an ad for the solid gold mystery dial, that possible subset of variant letters would be an educated guess.  

If anyone wants a digital copy of these Bulova model price lists, please PM me with your outside email and I'll send a link for you to download them.  They were originally provided by Bruce Shawkey for the Bulova collectors community at large.  If anyone has any of the Bulova price lists laying around, please consider scanning them and sending us a copy, as they are a valuable resource...and it looks like there were up to four lists distributed by Bulova every year (seasonal updates).

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted January 19, 2013 - 3:33pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Agreed on Bulova 23, unknown variant, but adding a nic-name in variant filed "Mystery Dial" sure helps us class these beauties untill a (more boring) variant letter ad comes along. 

bobbee's picture
Posted January 19, 2013 - 6:40pm

Another solid gold one on a well-known auction site, same dial and case.