Bulova 1960 Ensign

6/10 votes
Model ID rating explained.
3
Manufacture Year: 
1960
Movement Model: 
11AFC
Movement Jewels: 
17
Case Serial No.: 
300010
Case shape: 
Square
Case Manufacturer: 
Bulova
Crystal Details: 
Crystal is flanged, 25.10 mm in the bezel opening and a width of 27.95 mm including flange.
Gender: 
Mens
Additional Information: 

An interesting attempt at water resistance, the bayonet bezel rotates and locks into place. Two piece split stem, and regular water resistant crown with gasket.  I won't be undertaking the restoration of this one til I get some more time, but I thought it interesting enough to post so we can all get a look at it. 

Stamped 'N0' on the movt, but 'M0' inside the case, and this is an indication of a much later movt being placed in this watch. The depth of the case is insufficient to allow for an automatic movt, so the one that is present, the 11AFC, handwinding, is probably close to being correct.  Swiss made case, and dial made by Durig Freres of Bienne. 

A typical hazard for this series was the shearing off of the dial feet, when rotating the bezel to remove it for service. This has happened here, and we will be laser welding the feet back on, and while we're at it, will be refinishing the dial. 

The watch is from a Montana Watchmaker's estate. 

*Edited to reflect change in date of manufacture from 1970 as originally posted to 1960. 

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Geoff Baker
Posted February 15, 2014 - 7:01am

Club 5000Panel Member

VERY interesting Rev! Can't say I've ever seen anything remotely similar. Condition appears to be what I call "rode hard and put away wet!" The 'waterproof' markings are curious as I thought the US Federal Trade Commission  banned that word in the late sixties and here we find it on a 1970 Bulova. It looks like there's two gaskets on the back side of the bezel? Also wondering how a split stem could be gasketed to achieve even resistance to water. What is the notch in the case back for? How does twisting the bezel lock it down, is that a thread I see in the case back? Clearly not a dive watch, why go to all this trouble to make it 'waterproof'?

Unknown, I think.

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 15, 2014 - 8:38am

1970 Waterproof = not Sold in the U.S. or We're looking at a 1960 Case. The Caseback certainly looks 60'ish.

a wild guess would be a 1960 'SURFMASTER'.

currently a 1960 'UNKNOWN'

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted February 15, 2014 - 10:44am

Panel Member

Threads lock the bezel as it is turned into place, with the split stem sitting in the notch. Gaskets in the crown and tube make the stem water resistant, and the bezel being the only other opening, has a rubber gasket around the dial and crystal. 

Definitely not waterproof, of course, but probably was pretty resistant in its day. The crystal is cracked, so I'm going to have fun trying to find another one. 

To my eyes, it does have that 60's look, and may be one of the last to carry the 'waterproof' marking?

mybulova_admin
Posted February 15, 2014 - 10:40pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Am I the only one seeing the 'M0' date stamp?

Also never seen the 'Bulova Watch Company Inc' stamp before.

What's the case number? Looks like 206 30

A very different Bully.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted February 16, 2014 - 6:30pm

Panel Member

Inside the case is 406 30. 

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted February 16, 2014 - 6:35pm

Panel Member

The MO is two letters, and the N0 on the movt are the letter and number as per normal date code. At least that's what I thought, the '0' on the movt is skinny but the other 'O' seems wide? This is a very specific watch, not sure if the AFC was around in 1960, it is similar to the ACC of that period. Both are all-Bulova designs, as near as I can figure out, but based on slightly different ebauches.  

I'm not seeing anything remotely like this in 1960, but still checking. 

edit: the 11AFC dates to before 1960, examples show at least 1958.

mybulova_admin
Posted February 16, 2014 - 4:38am

Club 5000Panel Member

Any chance this is a vintage knock-off?

i can't find anything like the case model number in the parts catalog.

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted February 16, 2014 - 12:08pm

Panel Member

I have seen quite a few vintage fakes, and this doesn't smack of that. The attention to detail is extremely good, and I have never encountered a fake with a genuine movt. 

A prototype maybe, with such a low serial number? Or possibly something that was quickly withdrawn due to some issue, perhaps there were problems with the 'waterproofing'. Maybe someone who collects waterproof type watches may see this, and chime in. Over the years, many trials of water resistance designs were done, from hermetic sealed cases to compressor cases, screw down crowns dating back to 1881. I wasn't really expecting this to be such a rare bird, if it is. 

Bulova Watch Company, Inc., is of course, the full name of the manufacturer and patent and trademark registrant, but I'm trying to find examples of it being actually stamped on any cases.

I also doubt that any one involved in producing knockoffs would do a watch that was so intricately designed and executed, it would take a lot of time and expense to produce a case like this. 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 16, 2014 - 2:36pm

The Case is 1960.

very similar here http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1960-unknown-3380

I will reiterate the possibily of a 'SURFMASTER', until an ad sufaces the subject is an 'UNKNOWN', a 1960 'UNKNOWN' .

OldTicker
Posted February 16, 2014 - 2:55pm

Is the crystal a flanged style Rob?

It looks like it is from the picture and also looks to be flat to the bezel.