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Bulova 1940 Chronograph

7/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.

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Additional Information

Hi everyone 

I’m new to this site and I have to say I’m very excited to be here, especially because I would like very much to be able to identify my old Bulova watch. I found this website incredibly helpful and very well done. Thank you for all the information and beautiful images that you have on this website.

I will attach some images with my beautiful old Bulova and hopefully I can get some help.

To me this watch is a one button chronograph model but I may be wrong. I research online  information regarding this model but I cannot find almost anything . That means perhaps that it could be a rare model?

I will very much appreciate if I can get  more details about this particular model. Any information will be very much appreciated.

 Thank you very much.

Not For Sale
1943 Bulova Chronograph watch 1
1943 Bulova Chronograph watch 2
1943 Bulova Chronograph watch 3
1943 Bulova Chronograph watch 4
1943 Bulova Chronograph watch 4
Bulova Watch advert
Kathy L.'s picture
Kathy L.
Panel Member
Posted May 29, 2018 - 11:11am

Welcome to!  Love this watch!  The date is probably not 1940.  The square date code would indicate 1946 and the serial number on the case would indicate 1943.  I didn't find any ads to match this neat watch.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Panel Member
Posted May 29, 2018 - 10:46am

These are getting rare. 

Produced mainly during the war years, possibly for a bid on a Military contract that fell through, the 10BK is based on the Bulova 10AK. The 10AK dates back to as early as 1936.

Both are entirely in house, albeit based loosely on the ETA 735. Since the 735 bears almost no similarities to the Bulova movts, I suspect only the wheels may be interchangeable, but this is speculation. 

Posted May 30, 2018 - 3:18am

Thank you for your comments.

I agree with the date; as you mentioned based on the case number is perhaps 1942-43.

Interesting model; I couldn’t find any Bulova identical with mine. 

So, based on your information is this watch considered as “military watch”?

Any idea if this model was designed for pilots, maybe?

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Panel Member
Posted May 30, 2018 - 9:42am

The classification 'Military' watch is generally reserved for those watches that were produced under Military contract. This watch, as far as we know, was never produced for the Military and as such could be described as 'Military style', or 'Pilot's style.'

It's really only speculation as to why this was produced, many watches over the years have been contenders for contracts, but not all make it. It certainly is a very specific -use type of tool watch. 

Chronographs and stop watches during war time were used for many different purposes, bomb timers, flight timers, fuze timers. 

neetstuf-4-u's picture
Panel Member
Posted May 30, 2018 - 6:36am

A beauty indeed. Finding no adverts or info, it's hard to say who the intended target market was. It's certainly an unusual model. My best guess at this point would be to classify it as generic Bulova Chrono, or perhaps "one button' chrono. Welcome to mybulova!

Geoff Baker
Club 5000Panel Member
Posted May 31, 2018 - 4:53am

 A wonderful watch dsbulova, thanks for sharing it. Knowing that we don't know the name, if Bulova ever gave it one, it will still be nice to get as much information as we can.  Can you tell us what is written in side the case back? I'm curious to know how you came to have this beauty? In terms of ID I think we would classify it as a Chronograph. As generic as it seems, that's what it is. Regarding the date, I'm unclear. A square is generally associated with 1936 and 1946, if we follow our serial number line of thinking the "3" indicates 1933 and 1943. My feeling is that the watch is more 1940's than 1930's but I'm more inclined to 1943 than '46.

194X Bulova Chronograph

Posted May 31, 2018 - 6:21am

Interesting on the inside case cap it says “10K rolled gold plate Sterling base”

Is the watch case base perhaps massive sterling silver?

The case is pretty soft for a watch case!

Posted May 31, 2018 - 6:42am

Forgot to mention...inside the case is written BULOVA -10K rolled gold plate STERLING BASE- NEW YORK 

I will run an acid test this weekend to figure out if the base is massive sterling silver.

To me this 17jewels chronograph movements back at that time we’re considerated high end movements not to mention the sterling gold plated case. Was perhaps a very limited series that were made at that time.

Any ideas were I can find parts for this movement? I have to clean/oil the movement soon.


Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Panel Member
Posted May 31, 2018 - 9:31am

During the war years, stainless steel, brass and regular steel were reserved for wartime production, so it is common to see the Silver base with Gold on top. This is normally called 'Vermeil', and in this case the Gold is RGP so it is a heavy plate. Not as heavy as Gold Fill, but certainly better than Electroplate. 

Parts for the main part of the watch may be interchangeable with the 10AK, but the Chronograph parts will be difficult to source. You may not need any besides a mainspring, I recommend taking it to a certified Watchmaker, they'll be able to tell you what it needs. I always recommend a full service to these old watches, as they are dirty and dried out, running them in as-found condition can and will cause accelerated wear and damage to the movt. 


Kathy L.'s picture
Kathy L.
Panel Member
Posted May 31, 2018 - 9:33am

I have a few watches from 1943 with a sterling base.  The thought is it was part of the war effort.