Bulova 1951 His Excellency "LL"

3/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.
3
Variant: 
LL
Manufacture Year: 
1951
Movement Model: 
7AA
Movement Jewels: 
21
Movement Serial No.: 
L0
Case Serial No.: 
4399942
Case shape: 
Rectangle
Case Manufacturer: 
Bulova
Crystal Details: 
Glass domed in center - no facets
Additional Information: 

1951 His Excellency and believed to be an "LL". Raised gold numbers on a single color dial. Movement marked L0 and case marked L1. 10K plated with a gold plated back.

Not For Sale
1951 Bulova watch
1951 Bulova watch
1951 Bulova watch
1951 Bulova watch
1951 Bulova watch
neetstuf-4-u
Posted December 20, 2017 - 8:08am

There seems to be real questions on what the ID of this watch is based on conflicting ads and the similarity to the AA "ZZ". I have a theory I'd like to put out there. After examination of  basically all HE LL , HE "no variant" in this style and AA ZZ models on the site, I see some interesting patterns. First, it appears that the 2 models are in identical cases with different faces and crystals being the distinction between the two..

1949 AA had a gold back and LL had a stainless back (per one ad). The earliest AA ZZ on the site has a serial number starting with a 4, as does this watch and a couple of this style listed as  HE no variant with gold backs

One 1949 ad shows this as a HE with a gold back and bracelet, while another from the same year lists watch with a stainless back and leather band as an LL.

Serial numbers of AA ZZ progress from starting with a 4 and increase to 8's as time passes.

Excellencys in the LL style seem to start at 8 and go up from there (with gold backs). There doesn't seem to be any proof  that this model with a stainless back exists except the ad. One would think that if there were SS back examples out there, one would have made it's way onto mybulova by now.

There also doesn't seem to be any confirmation of 14K plate as the one 49 ad states, only 10K examples. I think that was a misprint.

Is it possible that because the AA ZZ and HE LL were released at the same time, that parts were interchanged at the factory in 1950 and 51 perhaps in response to the AA lawsuit? Build the ones first that aren't in jeopardy of being in question.

It's possible that cases and backs destined to be AA's were sent to be assembled as HE LL's. The apparent discord in serial numbers would say it's likely. Unless there is a documented HE LL out there with a stainless back,  it's my humble opinion that any watch in this case irregardless of back color with a one color face is a HE LL and any with a X Shadow face and with or without a faceted crystal covering it is an AA ZZ.

Geoff Baker
Posted December 20, 2017 - 6:48am

Club 5000Panel Member

I like this model, it's a great design. It always seemed odd to me that Bulova would add the Academy Award line, clearly the firms marquee line and retain the His/Her Excellency line, yet they did. We have several adverts from 1951 showing both lines. 

Lisa wrote an excellent explanation of the 'lawsuit' some time back which, I think,  clarifies that  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was not party to the suit and didn't have any disagreement about the production, naming or distribution of "Academy Award" watches. I doubt there was any assembly line decision about which part to use on certain watches based on that action. I think we've established that Bulova produced the AA line through 1954 and that their dealers continued selling them several years past that date. While the speculation regarding case backs and gold content is interesting I don't think we'll ever know exaclty what transpired. 

To my eye the only real differences between the Academy Award ZZ and the His Excellency LL are the dial shading and the words "His Excellency" on one and "Bulova" on the other. 

I think this watch should be labeled a 1951 His Excellency LL

neetstuf-4-u
Posted December 20, 2017 - 8:57am

Geoff Baker wrote:

 While the speculation regarding case backs and gold content is interesting I don't think we'll ever know exactly what transpired. 

To my eye the only real differences between the Academy Award ZZ and the His Excellency LL are the dial shading and the words "His Excellency" on one and "Bulova" on the other. 

I think this watch should be labeled a 1951 His Excellency LL

Agreed. I spent literally hours researching and did indeed read Lisa's lawsuit piece prior to posting. I'm not saying my speculations are correct, I'm just putting it out there that there are other possible explanations to the perceived inconsistencies. We will never know what happened "on the floor" at Bulova regarding the lawsuit. A middle level manager could have made a knee jerk decision regarding production the day the story broke without adequate information from the front office. It's possible but not probable. Gold backs could have been used on both models after the ad came out saying "stainless" due to a vendor or production problem. "Use AA backs, keep the line moving", and  they just continued as such. Perhaps the ad was wrong and SS backed examples don't even exist. If Bulova first released the HE LL, then spun the AA model off the design as a upgraded model, the first AA's could be assembled with what were originally intended to be LL backs (gold); just a different face.

I guess the main point to my rambling is that there is more evidence and probability that this is a HE LL, than evidence it's not, unless of course someone produces one of these watches with a steel back.

Andersok
Posted December 20, 2017 - 7:12am

Panel Member

His Excellency LL

mybulova_admin
Posted December 22, 2017 - 8:31pm

Club 5000Panel Member

As long as all the watch elements are original, the dial says it all.

Here's an advert showing the 1951 His Excellency 'VV' variant, which for what I can tell, the only difference would be the 'black' dial numbers and hands, although the advert looks to show gold.

However this 1950 His Excellency advert does show the black hands, so would show the 'VV' model.

I'm happy that your's is the 'LL' variant of the 'His Excellency'.

Also I'm not aware of any true Academy Award models having 'Excellency' on the dial, so we can certainly rule out it being part of the 'AA' group.