Bulova 1958 Dolly Madison

Submitted by Wynot on January 7, 2017 - 5:27pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Additional Information

This watch was found buried and neglected in a pile of old costume jewelry.  When checking to see if it ran, I checked the crown to see if it moved.  The watch appears fully wound but wasn't running.  I rotated the crown just enough to take pressure off the click and the watch began to run.  I released the crown and the watch stopped again.  When I opened the case, you can see in the pictures what I found.  Here's the dilemma.  It needs, at the very least, a cleaning and service.  I'm not qualified (yet) to perform the service but sending it out doesn't make sense, given the value of the watch.  What to do... 

I can't be the first to have this issue.  What have others done?  Did you sell the watch to someone qualified to bring it back?  Did you learn to service your own watches?  Did you pay to have it done even though the watch's value may not warrant it?

1958 Bulova watch
1958 Bulova watch
1958 Bulova watch
1958 Bulova watch
1958 Bulova watch
Posted January 7, 2017 - 9:09pm

Working 5AD movemets can be purchased online for not a great deal of money.

If you don't want to pay to have it serviced you can always give it a go yourself and start the learning process many of us have taken. It's a hell or a jounrney, but can be very frustrating and rewarding at the same time.

Working on an ID now.

Posted January 7, 2017 - 9:28pm

Closest I can find is this (also available with white dial). But the movement is all wrong.

Self-winding ladies, that's ipressive for the size!

Vintage Bulova advert - Lady Bulova


Unknown for now.

Geoff Baker
Posted January 8, 2017 - 6:42am

Are they diamonds, around the bezel? Is it Marquis?

Posted January 8, 2017 - 11:52am

The bezel is just patterned metal topped with 10K RGP.

Geoff Baker
Posted January 9, 2017 - 5:05am

In reply to by Wynot

That's what I thought. I'm going to have to stick with Unknown for the ID at this point.

Reverend Rob
Posted January 9, 2017 - 1:16am

That's some serious rust. It will have damaged the pivots and arbors, also pinions and who knows what else. Restoring this would be pointless, it would be far better to get a replacement 5AD. There are countless thousands of these floating around Flea markets inside other ladies Bulova watches. Many of them are perfectly viable watches, it's just that they are out of style. I pick them up for less than $10.

If you plan to attempt to service a watch, don't start with a tiny ladies watch. In watchmaking school we started with the ETA 6497, a pocket watch movement. It's very straight forward and easy to service. I should mention that many American pocket watches are NOT as easy to service. It depends on what it is and when it was made, but my point is, it doesn't get much more straight forward than the 6497. We were taught the full CTR, and how to adjust the jewels in the train, the hairspring and the balance. 

I encourage anyone who is interested in Horology to take some classes, in North America you could go to the NAWCC classes or the AWCI. You can take the courses one at a time, and not be tied up for years like you would at a WOSTEP watchmkaking school. (I can recommend Lititz, in PA for this)

It is important to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, a full treatment of the underlying physics can be found in 'The Theory of Horology', the WOSTEP textbook. 

Posted January 9, 2017 - 10:16pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

Thanks Reverend Rob.  There is wisdom in your words.  I'll checkout the ETA 6497.  I wouldn't even consider trying to learn on anything I cared about and these ladies watches are tiny.  This was more a crime of opportunity.  

Posted January 10, 2017 - 4:39pm

Unknown as well

Posted February 17, 2020 - 7:49pm

This looks like a 1959 Dolly Madison "T" from the 1958-1959 Line book.  21J is a match.  The bracelet looks confusing the lugs which look plain.

Dolly Madison T 1958-9 Linebook

.Dolly Madison T 1958

Geoff Baker
Posted February 17, 2020 - 9:15pm

Dolly Madison is a good match but I think I see yellow gold? S variant?