Bulova Military Watches...

Well now we know they weren't all from GI's sneaking them home!  Check out these finds tonight!  Found in 1947 Popular Mechanics...  & Billboard Magazine of the early 1948. 

War Surplus Watches!


FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 25, 2011 - 6:14am

1st ad states 'Used, reconditioned like new', also states Stainless Steel Case - which was not WWII Military issue.

2nd ad is interesting but also states built from 'Genuine War surplus' - which again would be non-issue piece.

Nice find, but these were non issue Watches and would not have the caseback markings of an issued piece, perhaps these are the plain back Watches We are seeing?

Gotta know what to look for in an authentic WWII Military issued Watch.

Posted September 25, 2011 - 9:43am

Club 5000Panel Member

Look at the ad man.  It shows the military nomenclature on the back of the watch.  That IS issue.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 25, 2011 - 12:28pm

17 Jewels in a SS Case it isn't WWII issue, man - read the description.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted September 25, 2011 - 10:47am


Great find. Surplus is as after market as you can get. Looks like the Military again disobeyed the order to destroy all WWII watches. 17 jewel & stainless steel case in the first ad doesn't sound like issue, but the second ad is right on issue description. Think of all the war stories you could tell if you had one of these. Seems to debunk some local war stories also.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 25, 2011 - 12:53pm

blatent post, see below.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 25, 2011 - 12:58pm

We could also buy

These 'really work'!


uum, ya.

and the 1950's iPod!

If the ads are real I doubt the watches could include any nomanclature such as Military issued Caseback seriel numbers.

Posted September 25, 2011 - 1:35pm

Club 5000Panel Member

"If the ads are real."


WTF are you talking about?  I took these ad's from REAL Popular Mechanics and Billboard Magazines that have been scanned and can be found by googling Bulova under Books.

Your just being obtuse and arguing to argue like you've a mind to do in any debate.

That you think that I would go to the lengths to fake ads or post what I even remotely thought were fake ads just shows your ass.

I've contributed more real ads to this site than you've ever thought about possessing or sharing.

Once again you get something in your head and can't see proof of something in front of you... rather you chose to believe some crap you made up in your head with no proof.

Excellent example of "Fifth just being Fifth", which is actually a pretty popular saying around here.


shooter144's picture
Posted September 25, 2011 - 2:00pm

What he is saying is that as issued they were not in a stainless case and by mil spec they were not. These are recased( reconditioned) into a stainless case from surpluss watches and then sold so the case is NOT mil spec but the works and such are. They were likely bought as issued with the ORD marked back but then recased and sold with the original stainless ORD back. At least thats what I read from the ad....

Posted September 25, 2011 - 2:03pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I understand what he's saying...  it's the IF these are real.  Yeah... like I just made that up.

Obviously none of us were around to buy one of these back in the day so all we can rely upon is what these ads say.  So.. the top ad says it comes with the Hex back with the military nomenclature

But of course... that can't be right?!  Why... because you say?

If the military sold off the movements as surplus it wouldn't be that hard to sell off the extra cases and case backs by the bucket.

I can go to a military surplus store and show you a crapload of military surplus stuff with serial numbers all over them.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 25, 2011 - 2:08pm

Dear Jerin,

The first ad's description is completely wrong about what a WWII A-11 'Issue Watch' was, Wayne caught that one.... but they had 'nomenclature'.

The Second ad states the Watches are built to the "exact specifications of U.S. Government genuine War surplus" whatever that means, with no mention of caseback markings or 'nomenclature' of any kind.

Again, U.S. Military Ordnance Department seriel numbers are what they are and always read between the lines in third party advertising.

Yes, Fifth is being Fifth again.

Now who's showing whos' ass ?

Posted September 25, 2011 - 7:40pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Regardless of the what the ads are stating or not stating they are a great indication of some of the marketing around these 'military' type watches. The ads are real as far as I am concerned and we may never really know for sure just how accurate or real the watches being sold were.

It's a nice find Jerin and I appreciate all points of view.

1950 iPod seriously..........wow!

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 4:36am

Photoshop, heh.

Amazing what's out there on the Internet.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 5:59am

Club 5000Panel Member

Fifth, have a look at Google Books.its amazing how many old book and magazines reside in their database.

I don't think Photoshop existed in the 60s.


Posted September 25, 2011 - 10:45pm

Panel Member

Well, If this didn't get heated.

Boys calm down and be civil. Jerin's ads are genuine, no doubt about that and there's no doubting Jerin's contributions to this sight. He shares everything he finds! On the other hand I have seen many ads posted by other members in forums but yet they are not to be found in the database. Dating them seems to be the issue but if they seem to be good enough to present during a discussion, then they should be submitted to the database, maybe with a date tentative flag.

As far as military surplus goes, I have bought NOS cases, movements, hands, crystals, gaskets, balance ass'y complete etc, everything can be found to build a watch and it can be built identicle to issue, less some caseback marks perhaps. Unless your an expert on military Bulova, you'd never know the difference.They may have scraped watches, but not the parts!!

With the way Bulova did things, a war, and the US Army all in the mix, well, who is really an expert to say just what is what.

Opinions are based on information available and how each idividual interperates it. Fifth and Wayne are very well versed on printed data available, yet despite being versed on the same data they have disagreed on issues. Need I say more.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 4:57am

WWII 'Issued' Watches were stamped accordingly to Ordnance department requirements.

Military surplus parts are just that, surplus, unused, n.o.s. therfore un- issued and any surplus Casebacks would not be stamped in accordance with Ordnance Department markings.

What pisses Me off is the attempt to belittle the importance of Military issued Watches to horological History and the sacrifices the Men and Women who wore them made to protect Our liberties....

Great ads, but 100% bullshit IMO. I wonder what the saps who purchased them actually received, Sea Monkeys? Certainly not one of these:


Posted September 26, 2011 - 6:15am

Club 5000Panel Member

Fifth, that's a winderful piece of American and Bulova watch history and I sincerly thank you for sharing it with the members of this site.

I think the main point of difference here is those watches issued as official military timepieces to military personal and those sold aftermarket by either Bulova or Jewelers servicing the demand for these watches post war/service.

Regardless of which is which they are both authentic Bulova watches IMO and have a place in the Bulova history books.

As we have all discussed in the past....there is Bulova Military Issued and then there is Bulova Military style.

I don't  believe that any member of this site would belittle the importance of what the service men and woman of America and the Allied forces did during WWII.

I do believe however that both type of watches (issued and non issued) play an important part of Bulova's history, and that is a major part of what myBulova.com is all about....

....the history of Bulova wtaches.....


Posted September 26, 2011 - 7:51am

Panel Member

Fifth, I beg to differ on your comments about surplus, just go see Ebay item # 300603535925.

Admin, I know it's against site policy to refer to active ebay listings but I think an exception is needed in this instance as this is for


NOS w/ Original Box - TYPE A-11 - A.F. U.S. ARMY !


These are complete watches, not parts. I think it's pretty obvious that many military watches were not destroyed after the war and surplus is just that, NOS un-used military issued inventory that has found it's way to public sales avenues.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 9:36am


Many were not destroyed, obviously.

The vintage ad #1  indicates that the Watches are constructed from used parts or 'reconditioned' - The descriptive text is incorrect for a WWII Military issue Bulova A-11.

After reading 10 times over ad #2 may have merit.

I found these this morning, the movement inside appears to be a 16 Jewel 10 AKCSH dated with a Triangle or a Square.

This Watch has Hands of a Bulova Military 'ORD DEPT', or does it (?) , a Case which appears to be Stainless Steel and a non - decagonal (thanks Wayne) Caseback with Military 'nomenclature' I'm unfamiliar with. Is it a Bulova Type A-11? According to War Department manual AN 05-35A-9 published Jan. 1945, it is not.

The Walthams You show were packed in May 1945, Germany surrendered May 8, 1945.  -Unissued Watches, but ready for and not Watches built from Military surplus parts.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 9:24am

I don't have a "dog in this fight" but just for "Sh"*ts & Giggles" I asked a friend of mine to look at this discussion and let me know what his thinking is.

His background: Lt. Colonel Ret. USAF Navigator, stationed in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Europe and a few other places he couldn't remember ;-) Age: 70 years young and just retired from his second career at Northrup Grumman San Diego designing  the "Global Hawk".... (the kind of stuff that he couldn't talk about, cause if he did, he'd have to kill you! :-0) I've know this man for thirty plus years, and trust what he says!!!

His comment about the ads Jerin found (esp. the first ad) and I quote " Yep, these look just like the watches we could buy every day of the week at the BX"... " personally, I didn't like 'em, weren't all that accurate, especially for flight navigation. You know Bob, I think I've still got one upstairs in one my drawers, I'll see if I can find it  :-0"

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted September 26, 2011 - 1:29pm

I hate to tell war stories but there is a time & place. I have same background as your Nav friend Bob, SMSGT USAF Retired Flight Engineer 24 years - Aircraft flown C-97G 3350 hours, C-141A 1900 hours & C-5A over 2100 hours, flying cargo from point A to point B & retired Boeing Technical Writer/Instructional Systems Designer.  I probably flew with this guy or passed him in the night. The funny thing about the Type A-11 & Type A-17 watches was the nomenclature, "Watch, Navigation." The Navigators I flew with were issued the Hamilton Model 23 Navigation Stop Watch &/or Hamilton Model 3992 Master Navigation watch. The model 23 has a stop watch function & is a really neat timepiece to handle. I wasn't issued these, but I bought one of each for my collection. I was issued an A-17, but kept it in my shaving kit as a backup for my trusty Seiko Navigation Timer GMT.

Bob, ask your Nav friend what watch he was issued and what watch he actually used for navigation. This is not a put-down of the A-11 or A-17 by any means, but an effort to tell it like it really was.

Today's aircraft use Flight Mangement Systems that replaced the Navigator & perform all the navigation functions required for safe flight.

Shown for historical purposes- Hamilton Model 23 Navigational Stop Watch & Hamilton Master Navigation Watch.


Posted September 26, 2011 - 2:17pm

I'll check with him Wayne and pm you when I find out, I for one would love to hear the war stories!! But, your right there is a time and place, preferably over a few beers :-p... I know for a fact that neither of the watches posted by Jerin were used by Pete, and that's just based on his comments when he looked at the ad, and laughed.

I'm pretty sure he probably used a watch similar to the one you used just due to the "accuracy" factor. You sure don't want to rely on anything  that's not accurate while navigating, you might just end up in China or Russia, and that just wouldn't be good...

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 9:28am

haha, His sock drawer no doubt!

Posted September 26, 2011 - 10:34am

No Mark, Actually he has a drawer specifically for his "Decorations" and old watches/ jewelry etc. So are you saying "haha" in the meaning of "bulls&*t" or what???

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 12:57pm

No, in reference to the recent sock drawer discoveries Bob.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 6:12pm

I hear you :-)  Now I'm going to have to start refering all the ladies I've collected as "UN-Mentionables" drawer finds :-0

My damn sock drawers jush have socks!!!

Posted September 26, 2011 - 9:28am

Club 5000Panel Member

"What pisses Me off is the attempt to belittle the importance of Military issued Watches to horological History and the sacrifices the Men and Women who wore them made to protect Our liberties...."


Nobody is belittling the U.S. Military Man's service by debating weather a watch is NOS or used in WWII.

My grandfather was in the U.S. Army in WWII and fought in Italy, North Africa, and then one of the first into the death camps in Germany.

My father and 3 of my uncles were in Vietnam in the U.S. Army.

I was in the U.S. Army Guards.  Joined during the tail end of the 1st Iraq war but didn't end up going.  I have many close friends who did go to the second one, at least one didn't make it home.

That your bringing up servicemen's honor over a piece of equipment is silly.

Geoff Baker
Posted September 26, 2011 - 10:10am

Club 5000Panel Member

....so how bout them Detroit Lions? 3-0

Can we argue about something else for a while? Instead of vintage NON Bulova ads? I think they're neat and prove Jerins point. I think it's cool that he can find this stuff, but I also think he knows it proves ONLY that watches were sold surplus, just like JEEPS and maybe bazookas. They might have been actual surplus, they might have been put together from leftover lasagna, who knows? They might have come home on the wrists of our fathers, uncles and grandfathers!

FIVE stars to all servicemen from ALL countries. TEN stars and 21 guns to those gave it all. Freedom ain't free, anywhere.


Posted September 26, 2011 - 10:42am

The Lions ROCK!!! Lets just hope they don't blow their wad at the beginning of the season :-)



FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 1:31pm

non BULOVA ads, exactly!

Bulova did not produce these, the Companys' who did should have been left visible and not cropped away from the original.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 1:36pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Yeah because Bulova advertised all their own watches in their big Bulova magazine that came out weekly.

Here's the ad sparky...

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 1:41pm

Much better.

sticks and stones dude.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 10:13am

Panel Member

My point is this, regardless of war department documentation currently in hand, there may be documention not yet found that may say it is. Therefore we must consider the possibilites exist and give up the notion that one members opinion is absolute and correct.

We are here to discover Bulova history not discount new finds as irrelevant or of little consequence but to consider possibilites.

Lastly the 1st ad states " Used - Reconditioned like New for Re-Issue". There is no mention they were constructed from used parts. The second ad states they are "Surplus", which could be just as the Walthams for sale now. There's nothing there that says they weren't military issue.That's something Fifth has got into his head and just won't let go of. Making accusations of the ads being false and posting ads of x-ray glasses, Sea Monkeys and the like is just so childish and Personally, I'm sick of seeing this kind of garbage be posted here.

Most importantly Fifth, don't ever acuse anyone here of belittling the Men and Women in the Armed Forces. My Brother pulled a 6 month tour in Afganistan for the USAF and for those 6 months the rest of the Family went through the hell of worrying,hoping, praying that he'd get out safe and sound. Just don't ever make such a stupid remark like that again.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 1:33pm

War Department documentation currently in hand is about as good as it's going to get unfortunately, the War ended 66 Years ago.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted September 26, 2011 - 12:16pm


This paragraph 3 from the TM 9-1575 dated April 1945 indeed shows the markings that were supposed to appear on the casebacks of WWII watches. However, take a look at just your WWII ORD watches that should be maked OF & Type A-11 watches that should be marked OFA that you have logged into the database. According to this document a bunch of your WWII watches would be considered non-authentic. What is supposed to be complied with & what actually gets complied with are two different things, especially in time of war. Strict compliance with this document leaves you with a bunch of Frankenbullys.

Have a Great mybulova day!

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 1:37pm

(f) OF - for 15 to 17 Jewel wrist watches (waterproof case)

(g) OFA - for 15 - 16 jewel wrist watch, waterproof case, Air Corps (*Navigation, Type A-11, substitute standard)

* 'substitute standard' to Me means the standard Ordnance department case type ( waterproof, non waterproof ) markings are substituted (replaced) on the Type A-11's.

The correct Navigation Type A-11 (hack) Bulova specs and caseback markings can be found in AN 05-35A-9.

'FRANKENBULLY's if You must Wayne, I say Bulova WWII Military timepieces ....and please don't refer to the A-17A nor the 3818A as those Watches are from a completely different era.

actually, I thought the iPod ad was genius..

Posted September 26, 2011 - 8:23pm

Panel Member

Fifth, give it up already, You weren't there, you are not an expert and your mind is closed to all possibilities. Quite frankly, get back on your meds because your dilusional comments and insistance that what you have is gospel is just nonsence. You Sir have accused members of changing bridge plates, forging ads, and accused us of belittling our military personal. GET A FR**&^KEN GRIP ON YOUR RAMBLEING. You cannot always be right with your " OPINIONS" as that is what they are, your opinion period!  So why don't you just STFU and let this one go when everyone else is kicking your ass for being so stubborn. Give it up Dude, you have pissed off an aweful lot of people with your comments on this forum. I for one have lost any respect I might have had for you.  Time to stand down,

Regards Shawn

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 26, 2011 - 9:55pm

For the record I have never accused anyone of such things, will never stand down on any opinions and will not bend to fit in with the crowd. Take that for what it's worth.

In 1947 Popular Mechanics magazine also began to run this (paid 3rd party) advertisement.

Did anyone actually ever receive one? Do the research and find out.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 8:48pm

Club 5000Panel Member

As a 42 year old Australian who has a passion for vintage Bulova watches and their history I thank you all for your input. A lively discussion is a good discussion.

I'm sure that this topic will continue to be discussed at length as the second hand on our wrists ticks faithfully by.

I can only hope that is does so in the spirit of what I set this website up for in the begining.

Posted September 26, 2011 - 9:55pm

WOW!!!  My eyes are buggin' out their sockets after this entertaining read!!!....

Thank you passionate Australian Admin for creating this wonderful site for Bulova lovers!


Posted September 26, 2011 - 10:48pm

It's all "fun and games" untill someone puts a eye out  ;-p 

Goodnight Gracie.......

Posted September 27, 2011 - 12:53am

Club 5000Panel Member

Very nice Bob!  HAhaha....

Posted May 9, 2012 - 4:18pm

Lots of the military surplus parts were sold at auction years ago according to a old timer I deal with.  He claims to have bought pallets full of (Bulova) cases, movements, parts, ect.  He claims it took 3 or 4 days to empty a room that he purchased years ago.  Luckily he still had a couple boxes left, which I prompty purchased from him.  

bobbee's picture
Posted May 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

Get them up for sale dude!