Bulova 1925 Norma

Submitted by Janet on December 17, 2012 - 10:17pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Crystal Details
12mm X 22mm - glass bevelled and cut to fit case shape
Additional Information

Movement has asterisk as well as what looks like a circle - so could be 24 or 25 vintage ??? or later ??

The 6N - 16 jewel movement is not in the database so this is a new one for movement  DB.   

Case is 16.5mm X 26.75mm.  Lug end to lug end is 29mm White gold filled ?kt.  Writing in case is very feint.

Band looks to be original with 32 faceted sapphires roll set.  Do not know if these are real or simulated.

Edit:   The closest picture that I can find in the DB is "The NORMA"  1924 image 11 of 36, but this has a 15 jewel movement.    

Edit 2:  6N movement now added to the movement data base.        These models are also close, but I do not think they are right -  6720??, 7805??, 6722??

Bulova watch
1925 Bulova watch
1925 Bulova watch
1925 Bulova watch
1925 Bulova watch
Geoff Baker
Posted December 22, 2012 - 5:26am

That's a cool little watch Janet. Agree Unknown

William Smith
Posted December 23, 2012 - 3:47pm

four votes for unknown to date.  Will, Geoff, JP, Admin. 

Posted June 16, 2015 - 11:37am

A very nice watch, although I think that the main picture is a bit deformed due to the close up and the kind of lens used to make the picture. The history on this watch: I call it the "Clock" shape after the shape of the clock of my grand parents standing on the radio. The shape started life as the 6720 in 1922. It was advertized only as 18K and gold filled, so never in 14K. In the first ad with names from the Corsacana Daily Sun in Texas of December 1924, this shape gets the name Norma. Interestingly, this ad is for the gold filled version and you see immediately a difference with ad that shows the solid gold version. The later has laurel leaves engraving on the bezel all around. The gold filled version has a 4 flowers sitting at East-South-West-North. A deliberate act to show difference between solid gold and gold filled cases? The case signature is used in both 1924 and 1925 gold filled watches. After that (1926) it changed, adding the patent date and also the American Standard name came back. The movement is from 1925, a 6N. During 1924 and 1925, Bulova had a whole range of movements with 16 jewels that were never advertized: the 6E, 6M, 6N, 6R and 6W. Only the 6P and 6PP had 15 jewels. For what I have seen, the split of watches with oval movements of that year were 40% the 15 jewel 6P or 6PP and 60% one of the above 16 jewel movements. The 16 case number I find with both 1924 and 1925 movements. The 16 was the last series of numbers starting with "1" before the new system with the first digit being the year came into effect. Since some cases exist starting with "4", and the second digit always a "0", this must have happened towards the end of 1924. Hence you see these 16 numbered cases with both 1924 or 1925 movements. Nice detail: see the side engraving of this watch. It is with this triangular flower motive. This is quite unique since this shape never had this kind of side engraving. It normally has some curly branches with leaves engraved on the side. All in all, conclusion is that this watch is a very early 1925 clock shaped watch and therefore I vote for: Norma.

William Smith
Posted June 16, 2015 - 1:26pm

This Dec 1924 ad states the fill version as 15 jewels, and the solid at 17 jewels.  Before this date, other ads call solid gold watch 6720, and I'm "guessing" the fill  version was 6721, and the ads didn't state this difference.

W/ a 1925 movement, and a fill (Bulova Quality) case without the first digit of case SN relating to year within decade of manufacture, I think we have a pre-1925 case fitted w/ a 1925 movement.  

Norma ID works for me. I'd go tentative, as we could have an earlier case (1922/23) w/ a "sympathetic" movement swap.

What year do others think this case was made? 

Posted June 16, 2015 - 1:37pm

for me still Unknown

Posted June 16, 2015 - 11:19pm

I think the case is made in 1924 and the watch is assembled and shipped out of the factory/sold in 1925, hence the double date code on the movement. Since Bulova decided to name this shape "Norma" by end of 1924, and this watch shipped in 1925, I still vote for "Norma".

Why do I think this case was made in 1924? When you study all the gold filled case signatures, you will see that the case signature of our subject watch, being "Bulova Quality, filled" is found in cases with a 14, 15, and 16 number as well as in cases starting with a 4 (1924) and 5 (1925). So, while Bulova establishes in 1924 a new code system with symbols for their movements, they also introduce a new date coding system for their cases in that year. Makes sense, right? The cases I studied starting with a 4, all have as a second digit a "0", while the 5 cases of 1925 have "0" and go counting up until "2". This means that the switch from old (14/15/16) to new (4) must have happened towards the latter part of 1924. Taking all this into consideration, it just doesn't make sense to me that 16 cases were actually newly produced in 1925. Why continue with an old coding system, when a new system has been put in place for both movements and cases? Yet you find 16 cases with a 1925 movement. In the tally I did on the 8 cases I could find so far with a 16 number, I ended up with 4 1924 movements, 3 1925 movements and the movement of our subject watch that has a double date code. For me this is an indication that they were clearing stock of 16 cases into early 1925 and a confirmation that the coding change for the cases therefore must have happened towards the end of the year 1924.




Posted June 20, 2015 - 11:24pm

In reply to by Alex

It may also mean that they were getting rid of 1924/25 stock movements in 1926 cases. The only idea I can come up with why they continued to use this type of case coding is that one of their factories was still using old tooling machines which had not been updated to the new coding standard. It's impossible to say when these coding standards changed, but at least we are seeing some of these patterns emerge.

Posted June 17, 2015 - 10:37am

We have previously established that in the first half of the 1920s Bulova use to code their cases (the gold filled ones at least) starting with a '1' then the number of the year'

11xxxxx = 1921
12xxxxx = 1922
13xxxxx = 1923
14xxxxx = 1924
15xxxxx = 1925

Up until now I had only seen this pattern go to '15xxxxx' before changing to the newer pattern of starting with the year number. Exampke 15xxxxx => 5xxxxxx = 1925.

So could this case be from 1926 ('16xxxxx')? The 1925 movement sure suggests so.

So I'm still at a 1926 Bulova Unknown. I could go a tentative on the Bulova Norma, but would really like to see a later advert showing this case.

William Smith
Posted June 21, 2015 - 1:23am

In reply to by mybulova_admin

Great info on the early fill cases and second digit of SN to year!!  

Posted June 17, 2015 - 11:29am

There isn't any advert of 1926 until now. It seems the watch was just not that popular unless new ads pop up. I have done the tally on all watches in my collection, Watchiphilia and myBulova together but they seem not to support above hypotheses. I will do the tally again on cases with the number 15 and share the findings. Maybe we should have this discussion outside the evaluation of this watch.