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 Post subject: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:56 pm 
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Can anyone help identify this one? The date code on the 6AE movement indicates 1936 (square) but the mybulova.com dbase for that movement says it was made in 1937. Anyway, there are no markings on the inside back of case (e.g. "Bulova New York") and the outside back has only the serial number (6112541) and not other markings.

The black dial is pretty nice.

Any thoughts on an ID for this one?


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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:28 pm 
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Have you tried searching the database @

http://www.mybulova.com/search/

??

There is another Bulova specialty site @

http://www.watchophilia.com/

These should help you narrow down the identification, at the least.


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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:22 pm 
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Ninja01 wrote:
Have you tried searching the database @

http://www.mybulova.com/search/

??

There is another Bulova specialty site @

http://www.watchophilia.com/

These should help you narrow down the identification, at the least.


Thanks, have looked at the dbases on those sites. I think the difference is that this is a swiss variant and not made for the US market so isn't in the dbases. The 6AE movement for instance isn't marked US but Swiss.

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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:42 pm 
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Bulova imported most all of their movements and had a import mark "BXW" along with the Swiss stamp.

Look at your movement and you'll probably see the "BXW" stamp.

BTW, Bulova had their own manufacturing facility in Switzerland. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Bulova moveents - Swiss vs. US content
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:00 pm 
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watchdoc wrote:
Bulova imported most all of their movements ...


Well, I don't know the actual breakdown in terms of numbers, but from other sources I've seen that Bulova actually did manufacture many movements in the US. One thread in this site indicates that:

http://vintagewatchforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=555&p=3155&hilit=10BH#p3155

"Bulova is most often considered an American company that imported movements from Switzerland and only cased and timed them here (US) ... Actually Bulova manufactured more different movements in the US than any other company except Elgin."

and I quoted it in one of my posts in this Bulova section:

http://vintagewatchforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4179&p=29997&hilit=Swiss#p29997

I have seen (in books and other sites online) the suggestion that Bulova was just - or mainly - an assembler relying on imported movements (even if from their fully owned Swiss factory), but other data found online - such as in the vintagebulova.com site - suggests this is a great misconception about the company. That data does indicate Bulova was much more, that it did design/develop, manufacture, and adjust/regulate it's own proprietary movements [I'm speaking about the fully mechanical ones, I don't know much about later electronic & quartz era product] that should be considered "American" in the full sense.


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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:49 pm 
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I think we should agree to disagree. I've got over 650 Bulova watches, both Men's and Womens, and very few (if any) don't have the Bulova "Import code" on them, and I've been collecting this particular company for over 40 years.

I also didn't fall for the "Lone Eagle" 5000 myth, which has been disproved as a pipe dream. I also never said Bulova didn't produce some movements in the US, but it's been my observation that the majority came from their factory in Switzerland.

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 Post subject: Re: Bulova movements
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:44 pm 
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watchdoc wrote:
I think we should agree to disagree. ...

I also didn't fall for the "Lone Eagle" 5000 myth... I also never said Bulova didn't produce some movements in the US, but it's been my observation that the majority came from their factory in Switzerland.


Any "disagreement" is not really between you & me, it is between you and the member of this forum who said:
"Bulova is most often considered an American company that imported movements from Switzerland and only cased and timed them here (US) ... Actually Bulova manufactured more different movements in the US than any other company except Elgin."
...
and owners of other sites who indicate Bulova should be considered a serious manufacturer rather than "just" an assembler of watches.

I'm not even considering the "Lone Eagle" into my statements.

Unfortunately, I've never seen historical production data which breaks down their movement output into categories of "in house" vs. "supplied by others"... and further breaks down "in house" into "US domestic production" vs. "Swiss subsidiary production". Thus I won't take any stand on where the majority of production came from and whether is should be considered "Bulova produced" or "purchased from others" ... BUT:

I will say that statements like "Bulova manufactured more different movements in the US than any other company except Elgin" do lead me to believe that Bulovas US-based movement design/production abilities & efforts were more than trivial. The vintage ads describing the Woodside, NY production facillity also show us a rather "non-trivial" production capability (see the scans at the www.vintagebulova.com site if they are still around).

Percentages of Swiss produced vs. US produced movements could have varied greatly over the history of Bulova as a US corporation & in some historical periods US production/design could indeed have been negligible, but I infer (from those sources I mentioned previously) that was not always the case throughout the history of Bulova as an independent US company ... I'm of course disregarding the "modern" Bulova name that is now owned by Citizen of Japan ;)


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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:06 pm 
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Quote:
Unfortunately, I've never seen historical production data which breaks down their movement output into categories of "in house" vs. "supplied by others"... and further breaks down "in house" into "US domestic production" vs. "Swiss subsidiary production". Thus I won't take any stand on where the majority of production came from and whether is should be considered "Bulova produced" or "purchased from others" ... BUT:


And you never will, seeing as ALL Bulova records were lost or destroyed when the company was sold in the 70's.

Quote:
Any "disagreement" is not really between you & me, it is between you and the member of this forum who said:
"Bulova is most often considered an American company that imported movements from Switzerland and only cased and timed them here (US) ... Actually Bulova manufactured more different movements in the US than any other company except Elgin."
...
and owners of other sites who indicate Bulova should be considered a serious manufacturer rather than "just" an assembler of watches.


Problem with this type of logic is that once you put it out there without absolutely documentation to back it up is sometimes taken as "gospel". Unfortunately, you were the one who saw fit to "cut and paste" something that is pure conjecture.

Now if anyone can magically produce actual records from Bulova Corporate I'll be perfectly happy to revise my opinion and maybe eat a little "crow" but I'm not holding my breath. :lol:

Just as a side note, the movements that carry the "BXW" import code were made in the Bulova Swiss plant and shipped over here to the US for final assembly, so technically they are "American movements" since Bulova was/is a "American company" at least up untill they were sold to a foreign investor.

The "Lone Eagle 5000" reference was used to show one of the mythological stories that has since been shown to be fictitious.

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 Post subject: Re: Bulova manufacturing
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:43 pm 
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@ watchdoc:

1. Bulova records - indeed, absence (or withholding) of company records (depending on the firm) does complicate the hobby when collectors/researchers attempt to analyze past practices of a brand. Makes the hobby a bit more frustrating or interesting depending on your viewpoint ;)

2. RE: "cut and paste" something that is pure conjecture.

Well, the post I used for my 1st statement was
http://vintagewatchforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=555
by 441victor.

He goes on to say, "I have been compiling a list of Bulova movements from photos or examples I have seen that are marked USA."
Sounds like there's some evidence behind his statements & his list. He is basically doing what you were doing in making your assertions (Your prior statement: I've got over 650 Bulova watches, both Men's and Womens, and very few (if any) don't have the Bulova "Import code" on them) ... looking at "real world" examples and then inferring information from those observations.

Then, I pointed out actual Bulova literature scans found at the http://www.vintagebulova.com/ site. Those scans are still around, a couple examples:

Image
Image

So again, your argument is with the people who have presented that data. Their data seems no less valid to me than what you have so far presented as "evidence" and seems to me to be based on more than "conjecture".

If you have contradictory evidence from trusted sources, then I just haven't seen you reveal them.

However, that all being said, I just don't want Bulova to be seen in the same light it was presented in a book from the 1980s, REVOLUTION IN TIME, Clocks and the Making of the Modern World by David S. Landes (a Harvard University professor no less) where he numbers Bulova as just 1 of the "American assemblers" in this following passage from a chapter discussing the problems of Waltham (both technical and financial) when it was transitioning from pocket-watch production to primarily wrist-watch production (his time-frame was primarily the late 1920s thru about early 1940s):

"Yet even the healthy American makers were losing ground, not only to the Swiss watch firms but to those American assemblers (Bulova, Benrus, Gruen, Longines-Wittnauer) who bought their movements in Switzerland and merely cased them in the United States."

How ever he got the impression that Bulova was just an "American assembler", I do believe he was incorrect in his characterization of Bulova - which mars an otherwise quite useful book.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulova manufacturing
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:07 pm 
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Ninja01 wrote:
However, that all being said, I just don't want Bulova to be seen in the same light it was presented in a book from the 1980s, REVOLUTION IN TIME, Clocks and the Making of the Modern World by David S. Landes (a Harvard University professor no less) where he numbers Bulova as just 1 of the "American assemblers" in this following passage from a chapter discussing the problems of Waltham (both technical and financial) when it was transitioning from pocket-watch production to primarily wrist-watch production (his time-frame was primarily the late 1920s thru about early 1940s):

"Yet even the healthy American makers were losing ground, not only to the Swiss watch firms but to those American assemblers (Bulova, Benrus, Gruen, Longines-Wittnauer) who bought their movements in Switzerland and merely cased them in the United States."

He misses the mark on Gruen too. A) They did have American production, albeit admittedly for a short time and not many calibers. B) They were most certainly not simply "buying" movements in Switzerland. Gruen's own Precision Factory (later bought out by Rolex) in Biel ran for over 50 years, and for a good chunk of that time all of their production was consolidated in-house. And, C) they also didn't always case their watches in the United States. Many, mostly high-end models, were made entirely in Switzerland. Most were imported to the United States, but many were retailed in European markets, presumably in cooperation with Alpina/Union Horlogere.

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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:24 am 
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Ninja01, saw the "undated" brochure pages on Jay's site quite some time ago. No specifics (having read through the enlarged text) of those brochure pages. Again no definitive concrete new information.

The book you referenced, along with subsequent findings of inaccuracy, sort of proves my point. Even Harvard professors can and will be wrong based on new findings after their work is published

I try not to perpetrate statements as fact, unless they can be backed up by hard facts or in this case, documentation.

I have not ever (in over 50 years of collecting) seen (45 years of Bulova in particular) any "proof" that the "majority" of Bulova movements were made in the US. My collection of over 650 Bulova watches and roughly 300 plus Westfields, have the import code for the respective company's stamped on the movements as I stated earlier. Although I will admit that the majority of my collection are all from the 20's through the 60's, with only a handful from the 70's.

I'm pretty much done with this discussion unless the Bulova records magically appear. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Bulova Production
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:07 pm 
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watchdoc wrote:
... I try not to perpetrate statements as fact, unless they can be backed up by hard facts or in this case, documentation.


Me too. And when I read (and subsequently quoted) the thread from 441victor, I did note that he did an investigation based on a sample set that he put together (same statistical induction methodology you used to develop your thesis of the source of the majority of Bulova production), and also that there were no objections to the validity of his research (or the inferences he developed from it ... or his methodology) raised by anyone responding, despite his solicitation, "I would appreciate any additions or corrections." So again ... he sounds like just as credible a source of info as you.

watchdoc wrote:
I have not ... seen ... any "proof" that the "majority" of Bulova movements were made in the US. ...


I've not seen any proof either way either, which is why I did say earlier in this thread: "I won't take any stand on where the majority of production came from" ... I just don't agree with people who think Bulova's US-based production was "trivial" in terms of either sophistication or quantity.

watchdoc wrote:
I'm pretty much done with this discussion unless the Bulova records magically appear. :lol:


Yeah, me too! ;) Not even sure if we have any "disagreement" of facts (You say the majority of Bulova's production was Swiss-based & I have no info to counter that) ... maybe just see things from a different perspective.


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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:55 am 
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I’d like to put a footnote on this discourse since it’s my post from Feb 2012 that has gotten tangled up in it. When I first started collecting vintage wristwatches I picked ebay as my primary marketplace. Because of the huge range of activity building up there, I needed some limiting criteria to narrow focus my search and the narrow number of watches I would pursuit. One limit was easy, the amount I was able or willing to spend on a watch and the other was more subjective. I decided I liked the idea of collecting American made watches. I could quickly filter out any auctions that jumped over $40 and only search for American brands. Immediately I ran into the problem of what that meant. All kinds of opinions exist about manufacturing and material sourcing and the casing of purchased movements and even corporate addresses. I settled on a simple definition, if the movement was stamped “USA” I was satisfied the company was an American manufacturer. Still a large field, Elgin, Hamilton, Waltham, Timex, Westclox, Westfield, Hampden, Illinois, Howard… Throw in another dozen small hard to collect companies. One of the things that surprised me as I went along looking at thousands of auctions and tens of thousands of pictures was the misconception that Bulova was one of the companies that cased movements that they bought from Europe or at best ones that they manufactured there. Many of the 1930-60 watch models that I desired most had movements stamped “USA”. The US Government was satisfied that they were producing those in American factories and meeting the same criteria as Elgin or Hamilton. When I started keeping better records, I found a list of 31 different calibers had “USA” stamps. I did the post quoted by Ninja01 here back in 2012 just to make that collected information accessible to other collectors and to add it to the discussion Another member DarHin subsequently added a 32nd to the list. 32 wristwatch movements can’t compete with the Elgin material catalog of over 150 counting the women’s movements they made but it is very much in the same league as Waltham and Hamilton. I’ve never offered an opinion addressing the production quantities or qualities of Bulova’s Swiss vs US manufacturing. I am willing to accept the opinion that watchdoc offered in the first line of his opening post that Bulova “imported most all of their movements” and believe it is based on more expertise and consideration of the subject than I can offer up. I’m was trying to make the case that Bulova is an American manufacturer and their watches don’t deserve to be categorized the same as the production of Benrus and Wittnaur. I really love Bulova watches and lust after many of their Art Deco models. I drool like a Chocolate Lab every time Magpie brings out her Lone Eagle. But they use the Swiss 10AN and earlier movements and I have enough problems keeping parts together for my 10BM’s and 10BP’s and fighting online over a balance to get one more A-11 10AKSCH running. I would like to correct one error on the OP inatime’s part. You have probably figured out from this discussion that the “USA” or “SWISS” stamp on the movement plates doesn’t indicate the intended sales market but it’s actual country of origin. Joel


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 Post subject: Re: Bulova as a US Manufacturer
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:42 am 
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441victor wrote:
I’d like to put a footnote on this discourse since it’s my post from Feb 2012 that has gotten tangled up in it. ... I did the post quoted by Ninja01 here back in 2012 just to make that collected information accessible to other collectors and to add it to the discussion... I’ve never offered an opinion addressing the production quantities or qualities of Bulova’s Swiss vs US manufacturing. I am willing to accept the opinion that watchdoc offered in the first line of his opening post that Bulova “imported most all of their movements” and believe it is based on more expertise and consideration of the subject than I can offer up. I’m was trying to make the case that Bulova is an American manufacturer and their watches don’t deserve to be categorized the same as the production of Benrus and Wittnaur. ... Joel


Nice to hear you weigh in on this thread. I was getting a little concerned about what your reaction would be to the "controversy" I unwittingly stirred up by quoting you. I'd also forgotten, for a moment or two, I was not on Facebook & kept looking for that "Like" button to put on your post here :lol:

I'll also just add that I interpreted your statement, "Bulova manufactured more different movements in the US than any other company except Elgin" so that more different movements would mean "number of different calibres" and NOT "overall quantity of movements manufactured". Thus I was not interpreting your statement to imply that the majority of Bulova production was US based, simply that Bulovas US manufacturing activity was "serious" in nature. Just to set the record straight. ;)

Now one final thought, based on various statements in this thread, it is possible that the definition of "US made" vs. "Swiss made" movement, in the case of Bulova (which was a Multinational manufacturer at least for part of its history) may be an artificial or "legislated" distinction rather than a clear-cut, "all or nothing" decision. If substantial work was done by both the Swiss and US production facilities of Bulova on any particular movement, then the method for official assignment of responsibility for manufacture (for record-keeping purposes by government or trade group) sounds similar to the "Swiss Made" designation where there were legislated protocols for deciding just how much of a Swiss watch (materials & labor) had to be made in Switzerland to actually label it Swiss. It may only matter to serious partisans of the countries involved if a "US Made" movement started with a Swiss design &/or ebauche though. For me, I have collected watches from all watch-making continents (America, Europe, and Asia) and find high-quality workmanship and interesting movement design available from each one of them. Thus, for me, whether Bulova was primarily a vendor of Swiss movements or American/US movements or even hybrid movements really does not affect my opinion of them regarding quality level or collector interest.


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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:53 am 
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Well, all in all, it's been a good "gentleman's" discussion and good points have been made on both sides :D !

There is also one more point I'd like to add, and have meant to in previous posts but forgot to (probably a "age" thing) but Bulova did have a habit of making certain of their caliber movements both here in the US and from their Swiss plant. There are also a few I've seen that weren't marked as to point of origin at all. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:21 am 
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Quote:
Bulova did have a habit of making certain of their caliber movements both here in the US and from their Swiss plant. There are also a few I've seen that weren't marked as to point of origin at all. :lol:


Indeed...Late 10ANs are sometimes stamped USA. 10AE, 10AX also. Many others. In my experience, the earliest 21j movements (i.e. prior to the screwdown lower cap jewels) never show a country of origin. They also pre-date the use of import codes.

For what it is worth:

Of 35 Bulovas in my collection - which I have data for - 12 are marked USA, 2 are unmarked, and the remaining are marked Swiss. The earliest USA movement is 1934. Of 14 watches mfg between 1934-1951, 12 are marked USA.

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