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Bulova 1964 -Unknown

Model ID rating explained.
0

Manufacture Year: 

1964

Movement Model: 

11ALC

Movement Jewels: 

17

Movement Serial No.: 

-

Case Serial No.: 

310112

Case shape: 

Round

Case Manufacturer: 

Other

Crystal Details: 

30mm diameter (I think it's acrylic as I can see bubbles in it with a 20x loupe)

Gender: 

Mens

Additional Information

I have trawled the internet, also your adverts and I have not been able to find an exact match. The closest I have found is this watch, https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/solid-gold-bulova-watch-244515644 this also has a Dennison manufactured case but the batons on the dial are different. I think that watch also has an acrylic crystal with bubbles in it, they are a problem to me as the shadows they cast look like dark spots on the dial (there might also be actual dark spots as well) but no matter, I'm getting it replaced with something better as mine is cracked as you can see.

The case and back are both 9ct gold, the back has a Birmingham anchor hallmark and the 1964 date letter P, this ties in with the m4 movement. So it is probable that the back is not a replacement but was made for the watch. I understand that Dennisons were a case manufacturer for prestige brands.

The watch is running great and keeps very good time.

I'm hoping you guys can identify it. It was given to me by my late father before he died so it will not be for sale. He was an engineering toolmaker, his hobby was repairing clocks and watches and he came across this one in a random box of watches, some working some not, offered as a lot at an auction in Nottingham.

Not For Sale
[1964] Bulova watch
[1964] Bulova watch movement
[1964] Bulova watch Dennison made back
Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Panel Member
Posted October 3, 2018 - 10:03am

Welcome to my Bulova, and thank you for adding your watch.

Is the case back stamped 'Bulova'? 

DrWho
Posted October 7, 2018 - 3:06pm

When my father gave it to me it was engraved, it was given as a 21st birthday present to someone and that's basically what the inscription said. As I recall there was nothing else engraved on the case back. My father said for me to get the engraving filled in and he'd pay for that and that's what happened. At the time it was filled (1998) the watchmaker that filled it valued the watch at £800 for insurance purposes.

I also have a 1965 Omega gold watch and that too has a Dennison case. Must be one of the last produced, as Dennison A.L.D. production ceased in 1967.

This page http://dennisonwatches.com/history/ gives a fair bit of information about the company. They were famous for making cases for companies such as Rolex, Omega and Longines for the British market but it doesn't mention that they were known for collaborating with Bulova. It does say they were a shareholder of Omega.

The link to the very similar watch I gave also shows that watch as having a Dennison's manufactured case, perhaps this was the Bulova strategy during this period, to send the movements only? It would seem that Dennisons were only manufacturers of cases, selling them to manufacturers. Rather than manufacturers of cases, buyers of movements and then sellers of assembled watches under the movement manufacturer's name.

Since 2015 the company has revived and they are now sellers of upmarket watches with cases of their manufacture incorporating ETA automatic mechanical movements.

Fascinating stuff isn't it?

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Panel Member
Posted October 3, 2018 - 11:43am

Definitely a European market watch, it bears no US import codes. Bulova sourced gold cases from manufacturers that often differ from the usual sources they used for non-precious metal cases. 

As far as I know, Bulova cased the watches themselves, so they would have ordered the cases and done the work in the Swiss Factory. 

Definitely fascinating stuff. 

As far as what model it is, it looks a bit like a Sea King, but these were usually stamped 'Waterproof' on the dial. Still looking.

DrWho
Posted October 3, 2018 - 11:52am

I thought that it looked like a Sea King. The case back is screw down, but there's no seal on it at present. When I take it to have the crystal replaced I'll ask them if the rest of the watch appears to be watertight.

It'd be nice if it is, one thing less to worry about when wearing it.

Geoff Baker
Club 5000Panel Member
Posted October 4, 2018 - 4:56am

I love these heirloom watches, I also have a Bulova I received from my father over 40 years ago. It will be the last watch in my collection.

This one is a dilemma. My first impression is that it's not a Bulova watch in that it doesn't have Bulova marking on the case. I do understand that it's possible that it was filled when the original personalization was 'removed' but it seems unlikely. We have not, to my knowledge seen any Bulova watches cases in Dennison cases and I suspect it might have been a marriage. 

For now I'm suggesting this one is Non-Conforming (not all original Bulova signed components) although I'm willing to reconsider if comes to be known that Bulova used this case manufacturer.

Either way, the beauty of this watch is it's provenance. Congratulations on having this wonderful keepsake from your father. 

DrWho
Posted October 4, 2018 - 5:44am

It could well be that it's a marriage, as looking more closely the lugs are not the same as any Sea King.

From the watch dial to the hole for the strap post they are parallel and they do not taper. They are the  same size rectangular section along that length. That is the same as the very similar watch in the worthpoint link I gave when adding my watch. The date letter mentioned in that link is not a '2', that date code was never used by Birmingham, it will be a 'Q' as it looks more like a '2' than a 'Q'... https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham.html (same date codes used for silver as for gold) that makes the casing of that similar watch a 1965 casing, within a year of mine.

The person behind the revival of the Dennison company in 2015 is an avid collector of watches in Dennison cases. I'll see if I can contact him to see if he can shed any light on what Dennison were doing with cases and Bulova movements  circa 1964.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Panel Member
Posted October 4, 2018 - 10:42am

It would be a safe bet to assume that no vintage watch is water resistant.

There are exceptions, and usually these are dive watches that feature screw down crowns. For any water rated watch to retain its original rating, it must be serviced every 1-2 years and have all the gaskets replaced.

This is the official line direct from Breitlng. In addition, hot water will void any warranty and rating, partly due to the fact that rubber shrinks in heat.  The watch may exhibit water resistance for longer periods of time, and they often do, but in order to be warranted for water resistance it must be serviced frequently. 

Vintage watches were rarely, if ever 'water-proof', and in fact the term is no longer used. Water incursion is usually through the stem on these non-screw crown watches, but failure of the crystal, or crystal gasket (if there is one) is also a possibility, as is the failure of the case back gasket.

I always tell my customers to assume their vintage watch it is not water resistant. Old watches will also 'respirate'. Wearing your watch warms it right up and it will expel a minute amount of air, and if you take it off, it cools. When it does, it starts to suck ambient air into itself. This is a microscopic amount, but if that air is steamy from a hot shower running, the watch pulls that right into itself. So if you take off your watch to have  a shower, placing it on the bathroom counter, it may well respirate some of that moisture. I see this a lot.

In addition, a watch will always have air inside it, and whatever the amount of moisture the air carried at the time the case was closed is now trapped inside the watch. If the watch gets cooled suddenly, like in a cold rain or being dropped in snow, it may condense water on the inside of the crystal. This is also what it may do if it has leaked, but it is best to get it checked out.

For vintage watches, it is best to keep them away from water, and cover your wrist if you are caught in the rain.

The vintage watches we see here are often not even dustproof, so extra care is needed when wearing these. 

As for this fascinating watch, the fact that there are two of them in Dennison cases suggests that it may have been a normal occurence. I suspect this is due to the fact that it is a non- North American watch, and this may indeed turn out to be a UK thing on its own. 

 

Geoff Baker
Club 5000Panel Member
Posted October 7, 2018 - 5:49am

Panel - your thoughts?

jabs
Panel Member
Posted October 7, 2018 - 5:54am

Non-Conforming for me

Andersok's picture
Andersok
Panel Member
Posted October 7, 2018 - 6:56am

Not too sure about this one, going Unknown.