Bulova 1965 Commander

Submitted by Reverend Rob on February 26, 2019 - 3:05pm
Manufacture Year
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Additional Information

I really need to get a proper light box as these pics do not do justice to this watch.

USA in house 30 jewel automatic 10COAC movement, cap and KIF Duofix shock jewelled at the escape and fourth wheels. KIF Flector shock setting on the balance. West German made case. I've seen this before on various watches, and we have speculated as to the why of it, some of them certainly exist because they were sold to servicemen at PX's.

At the time, there were not a lot of watch companies doing what Bulova was doing, and a 30 jewel movt is very much top drawer. It's not a chronometer, that is something Bulova seemed to show little interest in. If they had made these slightly larger, they would be red hot right now, as it is the oversize 60's watches that seem to be the most collectible. 

Split stem to facilitate removal of the movt, as the case has no back. This watch is in the queue, but is unserviced at the moment. I started cleaning the edges of the dial to some effect, as they were badly corroded. The reflector ring/tension ring is also missing from the crystal.

Commander, but the advert I found has no variants listed.

1965 Bulova Commander A watch
1965 Bulova watch
1965 Bulova watch
1965 Bulova watch
1965 Bulova watch
Bulova Watch advert
Posted February 26, 2019 - 3:53pm

Wow Rob, Small world we live in. I'm almost certain that watch crossed my bench at one time. I noticed the Luminous Dots right off. I think I redid those dots! The hands would have been left alone because the old lum was intact and I wasn't very good at doing hands because the mix had to be thinner and it was difficult to get it just right.


Reverend Rob
Posted February 26, 2019 - 5:39pm

It's possible, although I got this from the US. 

The watch runs well but the hands do not move at all, so something amiss with the cannon pinion most likely. 

Posted February 26, 2019 - 6:10pm

Did it have a Black or Brown flat, thin, lizard grain band on it? That's what I use to put on most of the watches I sold.

I agree with the cannon pinion having an issue.

Reverend Rob
Posted February 26, 2019 - 7:11pm

In reply to by bourg01

No, it had an expansion band on it. It actually looked ok, but I'm hoping to find something a little better.

Posted February 26, 2019 - 6:22pm

This one is the Commander 'A'; 1965 ad

Also came with an expansion band for $10 more

Reverend Rob
Posted February 26, 2019 - 7:10pm

1965 Commander 'A' looks right to me.

Posted February 26, 2019 - 8:25pm

Now that was easy. Commander "A" for me as well

Reverend Rob
Posted February 27, 2019 - 2:01am

Ok, just a little watchmaking update here...

The cannon pinion was not the issue, the keyless works had been assembled improperly. Basically, on this calibre, the minute wheel is spring loaded and if you just drop it into place it will not contact the cannon pinion properly. The sequence in the transmission is:

The Centre wheel has the cannon pinion friction fit onto it on the dial side. It is tight, but not so tight that it will not slip; this allows the watch to be set when the stem is pulled out. The sliding pinion slides to engage a couple of tiny intermediate pinions which drive the outer rim of the minute wheel, which is in contact with the CP. The CP turns, and the minute hand is mounted on it, so it turns also. The centre of the minute wheel is a pinion, and it engages the outer rim of the hour wheel, which just sits loose on the CP. Thus interlocked, the minute hand turns and the hour wheel turns, which carries the hour hand, albeit at a slower rate: 12:1

What was happening was that the watch was ticking merrily away, and the cannon pinion was indeed turning, but was not in proper contact with the minute wheel. I have included two pics:




Reverend Rob
Posted February 27, 2019 - 1:57am

And here is the full assembly, with the setting lever spring back in place and the hour wheel in place:

Tres simple, n'est- ce pas?

I should mention the reason they do this is to provide some tension to the assembly. Have you ever noticed sometimes setting your watch, you wait for the time signal or the top of the minute (with a hacking movt usually) and then push the crown in to start the watch, and the hand sometimes slips back or forward a tiny bit? In most watches, the wheels in question are freewheeling and loose, so you get quite a bit of slop here, from the sliding pinion, through the intermediate wheels to the minute wheel itself.

Geoff Baker
Posted February 28, 2019 - 5:29am

In reply to by Reverend Rob

Wow - you should teach the class Rob, oh wait.......you just did! Well Done!