Bulova 1931 Bertram

5/10 votes
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Here's a fun one that I just received.  I got it for a winning bid of $39.99, which I consider a bargain for a neat two tone watch. I've added a nice brown band, and have it on my wrist as I submit this...

 It matches up with one on Watchophilia and an ad for a model called the “Bertram”, but the ad says the Bertram had 21 jewel movements and mine has a 10AN 15 jewel movement.  Lisa's has a 17 jewel movement.  Mine is  running and has the “T” case code, which dates it to1932.  The case number is 1090696, which would date the case to 1931 (which corresponds to the ad for Lisa’s Bertram).  In addition to Lisa's, I found this discussion about a similar watch that has 17 jewels (and a fantastic band) http://vintagewatchforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&p=20760 .

Also, the dial on mine is different from Lisa's and the one in the vintagewatchforums discussion, and they are all different from the one in the ad, which has a radium dial.

So, given all of the anomalies, does this suggest there was a different model with the same case with an option to buy the watch for less with fewer jewels?  The ad lists the Bertram for $57.50 in 1931, which was a pretty pricey watch back then!    Anyway, I would appreciate the panel's thoughts and insights...



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Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Posted April 13, 2013 - 9:39pm

The jewel count difference could be a movement swap or a totally different name for the watch. The serial number indicates that the case is a 1931 model, the movement is 1932 which is not uncommon.

The dial is period correct for the early 30's, it seems that the radium dial started to change to applied numbers on many models in the early 30's, but the hands look incorrect.


Posted April 13, 2013 - 9:46pm

Panel Member

I agree OT. The hands should be Modern and not Spear IMO. Nice watch.

Unknown at this time.

Posted April 14, 2013 - 6:20am

Club 5000Panel Member

Case style is also a match for the 1930 Conrad. Although the advert specifies 21J and does not mention two tone. Wonder if the Conrad became the Bertram.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted April 14, 2013 - 8:03pm

Club 5000Panel Member

The all white Conrad (1930 ad) could have coexited with the two-tone Bertram (1931 ad). Both were 21 jewels. 

Posted April 15, 2013 - 4:03am

Club 5000Panel Member

Check, makes sense.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted April 14, 2013 - 7:13am

Panel Member

I have gone back and looked at quite a few of my vintage watches, Bulova and otherwise. I am finding that 'last three' in Roman numerals quite often. If the scratches on the case rim match the watch's serial number's last three, it is a good bet the movt is original to the case. 

I'm not seeing anything in the pics to suggest the Roman numeral marks, but I have also found them on the inside rim of the case, and under the bezel on the top. 

Posted April 18, 2013 - 4:37pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Unknown for me when all the variations taken into consideration.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted April 19, 2013 - 8:00pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Yea unfortunately Unknown, but it could also be a 1932 Bertram w/ a movement swap?

Geoff Baker
Posted April 20, 2013 - 4:45am

Club 5000Panel Member

Yeah, I've looked through everything we have too, I'm stumped on this one. It's a great watch, afraid I'm going to go with Unknown right now too.

bobbee's picture
Posted April 20, 2013 - 5:41am


                                                   Bertram with a movement/dial swap.

                            Look at the excess wear to the dial showing most prominently on the right.




                                                    But the case is unmistakeable. 1930 ad.