When l started collecting early Bulova ladies watches from the art deco period between 1922 and 1930, and got to learn about how to date them, I was surprised to find so few 1927 watches in the two main on-line databases of myBulova and Watchophilia. Of the total 380 ladies watches I could find, including the ones in my own collection, just 16 were from 1927. Looking at men’s watches, the statistics are not different: just 12 watches over a sample that must be almost double the size of the ladies watches.
The convention is to date the watches on the basis of the first digit of the case serial number, normally a 7 digit number. So case serial 7528946 is from 1927 while case serial 6653422 is from 1926 etc. Although that was a great discovery attributed to Mark Lawrence, in this forum discussion I want to make a case that there is an exception to that rule. And it is an exception that seems to apply to 1927 only, although further research is needed.
The exception is that there seem to be specific series of case serial numbers starting with an 8 or 9 that seem to be actually watches from 1927. They are identified by their (deviating) case signatures. While Bulova started indicating “New York” in their case signature as from 1928, these deviating 8 and 9 series still use the “Bulova – American Standard” co-signed case signatures as used from 1925 to 1927. This was discovered by me while studying how the case signatures evolved over time between 1922 and 1930. Once I had identified those specific 8 and 9 series with the American Standard signatures, I did a double check on their movement symbols. And indeed, over 90% of those cases had a 1927 movement.
In below link you will find a PDF with more detail. It will explain first the general rule of dating your Bulova, followed by the study I did on case signatures, to conclude on the exceptions I found on the general rule of dating Bulova watches of 1927. I finish with a complete overview of all the case serial numbers that carry the “Bulova-American Standard” signatures with 1927 movements.
Hopefully this forum will start a debate leading to a final conclusion how we are going forward from here on dating 1927 (ladies) watches.