Bulova 1957 Ocean Clipper

3/10 votes
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Greetings all - my first post here.  Attached is a pic of my Bulova - one of a few that I have.  I received this watch about 6 years ago in a box of junkers that I bought as I needed a stem from a Wyler.  I ended up having a love hate relationship with it, as it would often stop - so I would forget about it, and on and on and back and forth.  Then, one day, I gave it *one* more chance, and I've been wearing it ever since - never stops, even after my wife accidentally washed my pants with it in my pocket.  Regrettably, I can not seem to get into the case.  I've pushed on the crystal, gently attempted prying, and well, it runs well, so I just haven't wanted to mess with it any more than I have.  After spending lots and lots of time looking at old adverts and other pictures here, there - and everywhere, as well as relevant threads on this site and others, I've come to the idea that this particular Bulova is either a Sea Clipper, or Ocean Clipper.  I assume the movement type would likely give further evidence, but I am hopeful perhaps someone can chime in on which of the two it may be based on the picture.  I realize this watch looks like it's been kicked under the seat of a U-Haul truck the last 30 years, but - well, I just happen to really like it.  

On the back case, it is waterproof, antimagnetic, self winding, shock resistant, stainless steel case.  There is no gold or yellow.  The numbers on the dial are raised - and the markers are distinctive.  The hands look to be luminescent in part.  There is a serial number on the outer back case as well, which I *think* is not relative to anything - unless what I've read about those numbers is incorrect.  It is number 214380.

Any help/ideas - would be most greatly welcomed.  





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Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 6, 2014 - 4:07pm

Panel Member

I like this model. I strongly recommend getting it serviced, especially if it has gone through a wash cycle. Even small amounts of moisture can cause major problems. 

Case is a snapback? Otherwise the watch is front loading, and comes out after the bezel is removed, and would have a split stem. 

Mechanical watches should be serviced every 4-6 years, oils dry up, leaving residue behind which can act as an abrasive. Metal on metal, especailly in a humid environment, can cause serious damage. Even the ruby jewels can be abraded, leaving pink, highly abrasive dust. 

Posted March 6, 2014 - 11:12pm

I will definitely get it serviced soon.  It appears the watch comes out the back, stem and all (doesn't need to be detached from the movement)  I've been told it is removed by pressing on the crystal and that it will make the caseback snap out.  I've tried, but - no go. Afraid my thumbs are going to go right through the crystal.  I'm sort of a sledgehammer watchmaker, so I guess I'll wait for a pro servicer to remove it, unless someone has some hints to impart on me.   

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted March 7, 2014 - 6:33am

The bezel housing the glass looks like it may detach from the Case, if so the Movement/Dial assembly will then 'flop out' from the front.


I'm not convinced of the dual identity in this instance:

The 'OCEAN CLIPPER' ad is 1957,  the subject Watch is also dated 1957.


The 'SEA CLIPPER' ad Dates to 1959, the question is do We see the 'SEA CLIPPER' advertised prior?

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted March 9, 2014 - 3:52am

Club 5000Panel Member

Good point Mark.  Checking for earlier Sea Clipper ads?  I  have not found any yet....

Posted March 7, 2014 - 12:52pm

Panel Member

WELCOME. I have one of these dated 1956. The entire works, crystal and case push out the bottom of the bezel. My experiences tell me yours is probably siezed due to dirt and perhaps even rust. I had o soak mine in liqued wrench and then heated the bezel at the lugs. The heat will expand the bezel slighly and you should be able to pop the seal and the case will come free.

Good luck with it.

Posted March 7, 2014 - 1:55pm

I have not seen any Sea Clipper's dated prior to 59 - in fact, I've been looking at these ads long enough, that with the exception of my own, I'm getting quite good at the other Clippers lol.  I am going to try and get the movement out in the hopes that perhaps some secret lies in it's id.  Thank you for the suggestion in how to work it free; I will give this a try for certain - very helpful!

Geoff Baker
Posted March 14, 2014 - 6:10am

Club 5000Panel Member

I've been watching the Sea and the Ocean from the fence on this one. I'm thinking "Ocean" based on the year.....

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted March 14, 2014 - 8:30am


I would have to agree.