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Bulova 1959 Bulova 23

3/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.

Manufacture Year: 


Movement Model: 


Movement Jewels: 


Movement Serial No.: 


Case Serial No.: 


Case shape: 


Additional Information

Signed 4x Dated 2x

Circular Stainless Steel Case with Scalloped bezel measures 40mm lug to lug x 30.5 mm wide non inclusive of the Crown while using Calipers.

Original Black Dial shows Silver applied Arabic numerals at 3, 6 , 9 and 12, applied Silver Dauphine Arrow tips with luminous accent the remainder. Dial Center is Phonograph textured,  Bulova logo, Seconds track, 23 Jewel and Selfwinding insignias are printed White. Hour and Minute Hands are Silver Alpha style with luminous along with a Modern style sweep Center Seconds Hand.

Stainless Steel Caseback stamped L9 screws on.

Waterproof Crown is signed Bulova.

Original Bracelet is Kreisler.

U.S.A. made 23 Jewel Selfwinding Automatic Chronograph, 6 Adjustments, Heat- Cold- Isochronism- 3 Positions. Railroad grade.

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Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted February 28, 2011 - 2:40pm

Railroad Quality probably. Railroad Grade, I don't think so. Do you have data showing it was RR graded (Railroad Approved)?


FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted February 28, 2011 - 3:33pm

The time keeping capabilities of the 23 J Bulova movement were of precision equal to or greater than Railroad grade at the time. 

There is no mention of the Bulova '23' being RR graded or approved, if You find documentation to the contrary please let Me know as I will list it as 'Railroad approved'.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted February 28, 2011 - 4:00pm

Railroad grade means that the watch has been tested & approved for railroad use. The watch has never been approved for railroad use. I can't read the above ad, does it mention railroad? It's confusing terminology that i'm questioning, not Bulova quality.




FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted September 7, 2011 - 1:09pm

Railroad approved: A Watch has been tested and approved for Railroad use.

The 23 Jewel Bulova Automatics were of Railroad Grade, Railroad Grade does not necessarily indicate a timepiece had been approved for Railroad use.

shooter144's picture
Posted September 7, 2011 - 3:35pm

The way I understood it, each individual time piece was tested to standards, not just a particular group of movements or watches. To be Railroad Grade means to have been specifically tested as such, and then so marked to indicate such testing was done. It is entirely likely that this movement and watch combo would meet those standards, however on a site dedicated to the PROPER identification of watches, to state so without it being marked or documented, discredits the intent of of this site, and takes from the value of a properly marked and documented Railroad Grade watch...

Panel Member
Posted September 7, 2011 - 2:05pm

Either way, Sweet find Fifth. She's a beauty!

shooter144's picture
Posted September 7, 2011 - 3:24pm

Agreed, that band is fantastic !!!

Elgin Doug
Posted September 7, 2011 - 3:43pm

Railroad specs, with few exceptions, required FIVE position adjustments, in addition to heat/cold and isochronism, as well as the ability to run within 30 seconds/week.  Calling it 'Railroad Grade' is pushing it, and in a way cheapens  what 'Railroad Grade' really meant - a much mroe rigorous set of standards than most normal watches of the time could meet.

The other question would be where the extra 6 jewels (over the standard 17) are.  RR standards requiring 19 jewel or higher refer to 17 standard jewels plus cap-jeweling the escape wheel, whereas most automatics have 17 jewels in the time train and 0 - 10 (or more) in the autowind works. 

Like the old cigaret ad 'It's not how long you make it, it's how my make it long' - just replace 'long' with 'multijeweled'

(Sorry - I used to collect  Railroad watches).

But as bourg01 says, it is a beauty!  A beautiful piece, especially with the original bracelet!  I love those leather/gold expansion bracelets from that era!

shooter144's picture
Posted September 7, 2011 - 4:35pm

Specs when I worked for the Railroad recently were that it had a seconds hand and was accurate to +- 30 secs in any 24 hr period. We have a lengthy discussion about this somewhere around here......

Elgin Doug
Posted September 7, 2011 - 6:28pm

Yeah, it's funny how, prior to Quartz, precision was only obtained with painstaking design and careful work by the watchmaker, and you paid the premium.  Once Quartz arrived, accuracy was no longer limiting.