Where can I find crystals for my vintage Bulovas

Submitted by wakeman33 on July 8, 2022 - 1:56am


I'm a very new watch repair hobbiest. I really enjoy taking apart, cleaning, and putting together watches. But I have struggled to find Watch parts and identify watches. I have two Bulova's I really want to get ready to be worn. The last I need for both watches are crystals.

the first watch I believe I have identified as a 1942 Bulova Alexander. This watch has a very oddly shaped crystal and I have attempted to find one on Cousins with no luck. 

The second watch I believe is a 1961 Bulova 23. From what I understand this is a tension ring crystal. I have purchased 3 different crystals from cousins and none seem to work. It seems like this crystal is a deep recesse tension ring crystal. Does anyone know where I can get one?

I will update with pictures in the mornining.

Posted July 10, 2022 - 11:17am

If the crystals aren't cracked and are acrylic, you might want to try polishing them with a commercially available crystal polish.  It's labor intensive, but I have had very good results doing it.

Posted July 11, 2022 - 11:25am

Thanks for the reply.

I think that maybe with some elbow grease I can bring the Alexander's Crystal back to life

Unfortunately with the Buova 23 there are some fitting issues and cracks. I have tried a handful of different crystals with tension rings, but none have the amount of recess needed for the bulova 23. It would be great to replace this crystal if possible. 


1961 - Bulova 231942 - Bulova Alexander

Posted July 17, 2022 - 2:00pm

I don't think that Bulova 23 takes a crystal with a tension ring. I have the same case with my Bulvoa 23 "OAW" and it has a silver rehaut, which is purely decorative. I measured my crystal as 29.9 mm. It needs to be replaced and I tried a 30.0 and 29.8, and the 29.8 was too small and the 30.0 was too big, so I do think that 29.9mm is the correct measurement, but the thickness of the crystal wall is important as the crystal is sandwiched between what I'm calling the case flange and bezel . The below shows how those parts are situated:

  1. The rehaut, crystal and bezel are not installed, the thick metal case "flange" is clearly visible.
  2. The rehaut is placed inside the case flange
  3. The crystal is placed outside of the case flange
  4. The bezel is place on the outside of the crystal and pressed down

Because the crystal is sandwiched between the case flange and bezel, if the crystal wall isn't the exact correct thickness then the bezel may not seat.


Exploded view


Rehaut seated


Crystal seated


Bezel seated

Posted August 17, 2022 - 8:59am

Here's a trade secret for a modern ROUND crystal replacement. 

GO: www.esslingers.com 

Search Crystals

Now measure out your crystal in milimeters. 

You can find the closest to your measurments as long as the crystal is round. 

You can select, low-medium or high dome and customize to your needs. 

Good Luck

JV-Time & Again