Bulova 1973 Sea King

Submitted by Reverend Rob on March 14, 2020 - 2:51pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Additional Information

I'm not sure if we have one like this, the case is made in Taiwan. Very 1970's style to say the least. The movt is in very good condition. Tritium luminous hands and dots at the indices. 

N2 on the movt, N3 on the case.


I'm going to update this as I go along- I have done some preliminary work on the watch, and I can say that the steel is harder than I normally encounter. My cutting abrasives have less of an effect on it, and it takes a lot longer to get any kind of finish, whether textured or polished. There are a few deep scratches on the case back, and to remove them would affect the Bulova markings, so I am leaving it the way you see it in the image at the very bottom.

There are several robust gaskets within this case, heavier than normal. There is a round one that presses against the crystal, and flat one that the locking ring on the back of the case depresses against the case, under the heavy case back. The case back is unusually thick, and heavy.

The crystal itself is the shape you see, but is a flanged type, for lack of a better word- we see these elsewhere as tv screens or the like, with the raised centre portion being the part that is visible, with a larger area around it. In this case the larger round part extends to the inside limits of the case to contact the round gasket. The large case back then presses the crystal against the gasket when the assembly is screwed together. The crystal also has a tension ring along its periphery, and this contacts the edges of the case back, also providing tension against the gasket and case interior. 

When I first saw the ID as being a 'Sea King,' I was a bit surprised, but clearly Bulova put some thought into this. The only thing missing to make this an actual rated dive watch would be a screw down crown, and I'm tempted to make that mod. An actual Bulova screw down crown like we see on the re-issue 'Devil Diver' with its threaded tube would be ideal, and a current stock item. 

The stem is a very solid rod of steel, threaded only where it needs to be. This is due to the quickset function, which means pulling on the stem to change the date. 

I'll post some more pics as I go along, this is one of the few times I actually have a 'before' pic, I usually forget to do that. 

Taiwan cased Bulova
Taiwan cased Bulova
Taiwan cased Bulova
Taiwan cased Bulova
some refinishing on Sea King HH
Posted March 15, 2020 - 8:14pm


sea king hh

1973 Sea King "HH"

Just like this one

Reverend Rob
Posted March 15, 2020 - 8:54pm

Incredible, thanks Bob!

I'm seriously thinking of restoring this one, there'e some solid steel here, but haven't looked at the crystal type yet. That might be the tricky part. Too bad the band is missing. I see we do have a couple of other ones in the db.

The line books give us a very good glimpse into these models, along with their original bands/bracelets. 

Kathy L.
Posted March 16, 2020 - 11:53am

Nice match Bob!  Cool 70's vibe for sure.

1973 Bulova Sea King "HH"

Posted March 16, 2020 - 3:07pm

1973 Bulova Sea King "HH". Definitely worth a restore.  That is one we don't see very often.

Geoff Baker
Posted March 16, 2020 - 10:21pm

I would Rob, it's worth it I think. 1973 Bulova Sea King HH

Reverend Rob
Posted March 16, 2020 - 11:12pm

I added a picture (above) with some refinishing on the case and caseback, and here is a side pic of the back to show the robustness and depth:

SeaKingHH back

Reverend Rob
Posted March 16, 2020 - 11:17pm

I'm going to polish the crystal, but it does show signs of stress. Does anyone have a NOS crystal for this one?

Posted March 17, 2020 - 11:57am

In reply to by Reverend Rob

It looks like Bulova crystal 1514 is the correct one for this case (T3262 and 3263; I don't see a T3263 in the book). I don't have one of these, and did not find it referenced in the G-S data I have.

Posted March 17, 2020 - 9:25am

Looks 100% better, well done!

Reverend Rob
Posted March 17, 2020 - 6:41pm

Okay, so basically the 11AOCD evolved from the 11AN family, and so becomes automatic, with variations including quickset date. I'm guessing the 'O' denotes the quickset.

This is accomplished by pulling the stem out further than the setting position. This allows the tail of the setting lever to kick another lever inwards which rotates by 180 degrees, a two lobed cam which meshes with the quickset gear. Each pull advances the calendar disc by one number. When you are doing this, it is important to make sure there is play between the two things, if for example the quickset gear is tight against a date disc tooth, and the date disc pawl is engaged between teeth, it will be too tight to move while running. The date disk gear with its two projections must be backed off from contact two gear teeth worth. This is the correct alignment.

As you can see by the annotated pic, this model has the floating minute wheel, and the centre pinion is NOT the cannon pinion. We've discussed this elsewhere, the third wheel has a slipping minion that acts as the cannon pinion, and must be lubricated properly during service. This one was still snug, but when they get loose, sometimes they cannot be tightened and the only solution is to replace them, which can be challenging. The quickset mechanism is under the Sautoir, or setting lever spring, which as you can see is more of a plate with a thin arm to act as the detent.

11AOCD dial side