1936 Unknown Bulova

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watchdoc
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Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova

#11 Post by watchdoc » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:24 am

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:
"A man is no better than what he leaves behind"
Cecil B. DeMille

Try to remember, Just because you read it on the internet, doesn't make it true!

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Ninja01
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Re: Bulova Production

#12 Post by Ninja01 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:07 pm

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.

441victor
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Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova

#13 Post by 441victor » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:55 am

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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Ninja01
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Re: Bulova as a US Manufacturer

#14 Post by Ninja01 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:42 am

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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watchdoc
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Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova

#15 Post by watchdoc » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:53 am

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:
"A man is no better than what he leaves behind"
Cecil B. DeMille

Try to remember, Just because you read it on the internet, doesn't make it true!

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Paleotime
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Re: 1936 Unknown Bulova

#16 Post by Paleotime » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:21 am

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.
"Percentage players die broke too..." - Fast Eddie in the Hustler

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