Bulova 1945 -Non-Conforming

Submitted by MHLloydDavies on April 5, 2019 - 3:59pm
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Hi, Bulova Friends --

Here's another unusual watch. It's a 1945 7AK Triangle movement, and a Duro Watch Case Co. case (or at least back) that has no date code or serial number.

This looks to me like it could be one of those Academy Award models with the curtain dial, made spiffy with "ruby" bars at 12, 3, and 9, and "diamond" circles at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11, and a seconds subdial at 6. The movement seems anachronistic, though.

I've bought another watch with the same spiffy bejeweling (but with no curtain) that I'll post separately. It's a 1949 8BA 49 movement, and it might be a Beau Brummel model. Could that dial design have  crossed-over to this model?

As always --


1945 Bulova watch
1945 Bulova watch
1945 Bulova watch
Posted April 5, 2019 - 5:16pm

Hi Michael, It has the  Academy Award model look, however; the first models of AA weren't released until 1949/50.

The Duro signature indicates the case is a non-Bulova replacement. In your photo, it looks like there was dial text removed under "Bulova", leaving traces of a couple letters. This was likely the word "Movement" or "Rebuilt" which indicates the dial came with the case.

The movement is Bulova, but I'm afraid the case and face are not. This is not uncommon; watches were a big investment and were "rebuilt" instead of replaced. Jewelers also took worn appearance traded in Bulovas and recased them with a flashier aftermarket face and/or more "modern" looking case and offered them cheaper than new watches, like rebuilt as opposed to restored used cars. Here are a couple examples we have documented with Bulova similar cases and jeweled "curtain" faces. These, like yours were probably done in the early 1950's when "AA" models were the rage.



Don't feel bad, it's a very cool watch to wear and enjoy but can't be "collector" ID'ed as a Bulova model per se. We generally classify such watches as "Non-conforming".


Posted April 5, 2019 - 6:46pm

Brilliant sleuthing, neetstuff!

Your explanation makes perfect sense to me. Undoubtedly this is a 1945 Bulova 7AK movement, so I was befuddled by the case and dial face. To my untrained eye, the latter combine the general appearance of the 1950 Academy Award Q model -- including the vertical grills and curtains -- with the bejeweled hour markings of the 1950 Beau Brummel model. The similarities are uncanny, as though this watch were the bastard child of the two.

That probably was the intent when the movement was recased, then; the jeweller (or whomever) capitalized on contemporaneous popular styles. I wonder whether Bulova pursued these as infringing on their trademarked designs.

I'll have to take a loupe to the dial face. It looks to my tired eyes like scratches and not remnants, but that also would be consistent with effacing the dial.

Anyway, I appreciate your sensitivity in breaking the news. I'm not at all upset, because this isn't a modern forgery but a vintage practice. I've mentioned in other posts that I know nothing about wristwatches, but I know a fair bit about vacuum tube/ valve radios. With those, we often see all kinds of Frankenradio monsters that reflect the ingenuity and economics of the day and are collectible in their own right. ("Hey, that Philco radio never had a side-mounted tone control knob!" "Nope, an enterprising serviceman sold the 'upgrade' when he was replacing some tubes.")

And after all, I'm a bit "non-conforming" myself.

I'm much obliged for your kindness.



Posted April 5, 2019 - 9:49pm

It's my understanding that there were a few legal cases relating to copyright and patent infringements. The replacement case/face manufacturers got around it by slightly modifying the case design, something as simple as the number of ribs on the case ends or edge bevel on lugs, and by adding the additional wording on the dial as well as matching a dial style to a case that was never a Bulova combination. Most collectors own at least one. I think I have three presently, and lovingly refer to them as my Bulova "tributes".

I'm a bit non-conforming as well..........



Kathy L.
Posted April 5, 2019 - 10:04pm

It is a great looking watch and a nice vintage piece.  With the non-Bulova case it falls into the non-conforming category for this site but still a wonderful watch for you to enjoy.