1925 Pater example with a 19K 1/12 Rolled Gold Plate case signature

Submitted by William Smith on July 22, 2015 - 1:28pm

Recently, we have been re-evaluating a 1925 Pater watch record which was reported to have a 19K 1/12 Rolled Gold Plate hallmark as part of the inside case back markings.  The watch owner didn't have a picture of the inside case back, so we sent a private message to confirm the gold content hallmark.

She wrote back, with confirmation of both the gold content hallmark, and case serial number being correct as entered in root record.

Has anyone seen a case hallmark that includes the "1/12" part?  I did a global site search, but  I only come up with the Pater example, and a bunch of links to watch bands/bracelets.

For some history on this discussion, I'm going to paste other comments into this thread.

There is a 1924 model 158 watch record, and the photo of the case signature  may  include the "1/12" hallmark in gold content description, but that part of the case hallmark photo is too blurry to make out.


I had asked member Bobbee if he thought this photo above included the "1/12" in the blurry part, and his reply is below:

bobbee 22/07/2015 - 06:58


Look at the "19K" and the "ROLLED" in the above blowup, right between are some smaller marks that looks like "1/12" to me.


I sure don't remember seeing any other cases with the "1/12" part of case signature, but my memory has failed me before.

Thoughts on this, or anyone know of other examples out there somewhere?


Posted July 22, 2015 - 2:32pm

1922 Legislation article.

See the paragraph on "gold filled" within the orange marks. It shows that the fraction must be stamped on rolled gold plate items. By law.



William Smith
Posted July 22, 2015 - 3:37pm

I remember we discussed this legal requirement, and there had been changes in how these gold content hallmarks changed over the early years (1910ish through maybe 1927ish???).  There were also different conventions (requirements) for how gold fill was hallmarked as well as gold plate.  Remember the examples of early fill models with the wording "guaranteed 25 years" or "guaranteed 20 years", etc...  This requirement also may have changed if/when the fraction indicating thickness of plate changed?

This 1923 ad has several "fill" hallmarks mentioned.  The two top watches indicate "25 year...".

Here's one of the typical 19k fill hallmarks from a 1923 158 record.

And a 1924 ad snippet addressing fill.

The main reason I add info on the fill hallmarks, is changes in requirements or laws for fill hallmarks may coincide with the year of changes in plate hallmarks.

I thought we have a few watch records for these early years which have gold plate verbiage without giving the fraction, although by this time, the "law" could have changed to another method of ID'ing gold plate thickness or gold content?

I'm looking for those records now.

Posted July 25, 2015 - 12:04am


Will, it certainly didn't seem to be a common practice for Bulova did it. It's a shame we can't confirm the exact markings on the case. If there is one example there should be others.

William Smith
Posted July 27, 2015 - 12:27am

There are a few period-close examples of the American Standard cases with these signatures, but they don't currently house Bulova movements. Alex found these twp examples below. This first one contained a non-Bulova movement (similar in size to the Bulova 6AA).

and another w/ the 19k 1/12 hallmark, again housing a non-Bulova movement, and what looks like a six digit case serial number?? Maybe there's a seventh digit (3) at the end?



Posted July 27, 2015 - 9:11am

Like Will says, my initial findings are that I do find several 19K (1/12) rolled gold plate from American Standard but all having non Bulova movements. I find 2 Westfield, a Luor, a Hirco and a Hoffrers. And then of course the two examples on myBulova WITH Bulova movements: Tapestry Lady Pater with a 40 case number and the Quothwinter 158 with a 14 case number. The Pater has a 6F movement from 1925, which is not in line with the serial number of the case so likely to a replacement. The 158 has a 10AA from 1924, so in line with the case serial number. The Pater has a case signature not in line with the regular case signature of a 4 numbered case. That should just say "Bulova Quality, Filled" as also the ads indicate. Also the engraving is of an older model and not in line with the engraving of a 1924 model. The Westfield I saw has a case serial starting with a 7. The engraving is however in line with a Bulova of 1924, with 9 triangular flowers, while Bulova by 1927 had moved to Laurel leave side engravings.

So, what to make out of this. My hypothesis: the 19K Rolled Gold Plate cases are NOT originally used by Bulova. They are obviously American Standard (AS).

By the looks of it, in the early days AS supplied many companies/manufacurers/brands with cases. I don't know the detail so maybe someone knows more about it. So obviously, AS had a "19K rolled gold plate" case in their assortment and offered it to the various companies. But I think Bulova didn't use it. The watches in the first ads of Bulova in 1923 indicated all 18K solid gold and a small line also "in 14K". So Bulova is establishing themselves as a Premium brand. Later (1924), still the majority of the watches in a ads are platinum and 18K solid gold, but the small line indicates now also "in Bulova Quality filled" as per the actual signature in the case. See: http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1924-princine-3526

I guess that Bulova was very important to AS. And Bulova was keen on being a premium brand, and like nowadays, you want to keep your designs to yourself. That is why I think that the design (engraving) of the Westfield and the Pater of Tapestry Lady are like older designs of Bulova and not the current designs of Bulova i.e. Bulova in 1922/23 had 5 triangular flowers and by 1924, Bulova moved to 9 triangular flowers, hence other cases can have the 5 triangular flower pattern now; by 1927 Bulova had changed to the laurel leave, hence other cases of that year can have the 9 triangular flowers now, but NOT the laurel leave engraving.

So Tapestry lady Pater has a signature deviating from the normal Bulova signature of a 4 case, engraving deviating from normal and movement that is one year newer than the case, so probably not original. Hence I think, it was not originally sold as a Bulova back in 1924. The 158 is more difficult. 14 cases of Bulova had the same signature at the time, but indicated 19K gold filled, not rolled gold plate. The picture is too blurry to examine the engraving in detail.

So let's keep an eye on these 19K rolled gold plate cases of American Standard. That means extending the search to include other brands than Bulova. To be continued.............

William Smith
Posted July 27, 2015 - 3:58pm

In reply to by Alex

Good observations.  For the "one year difference between case date and movement date".  We have been using the convention of "up to two years difference btwn case date and mvnt date" as a possible Point Of Sale Bulova product.  That's also contingent on other factors, and seems like a long time, but that's what we have been "allowing" during ID'ing process if other factors match.  

One scenario is Bulova makes a movement in December 1934, and then houses it in a Point of Sale model in January 1935, w/ case hallmarked as 1935 by fisrst digit of case SN.  Not too impossible. This could be only a month apart. Now if we go with "makes a movement in Dec 1934 and does not house until Jan 1936, while this has a two year difference, its actually a 13 month difference.  

There are other scenarios folks have presented, e.g. Bulova has a glut of 10AN's laying around (their workhorse of the time).  When manufactured, they get a date stamp of 1926 (triangle).  They are not placed into a case by Bulova until a later time, when they get a second date code indicating when they were actually placed into a model. This may explain the duplicate date codes we see on movements, and the later date code often appears to be "hand stamped" (lighter stamping, or in instances where its stamped right on top of earlier production date code).

I do like the idea that Bulova placed only gold fill (higher end) cases in their Bulova line in early years, and Westfield (and others) did use gold plate Am Std cases this early. This is in line with the ads we have to date, but I'm pretty sure we only have a few of the ads that were out there. This would be facilitated by Bulova owning part of Am Std from an earlier date before they fully acquired.

We previously discussed the possibility that Bulova generated ads for large circulation magazines like Sat Evening Post, Cosmopolitan (which was a much different pub in these days), and  other "expensive" publications at the time and focused on the more expensive Bulova models-like the solid golds or even the "fills".  Times were tough and watches were relatively expensive.   The less expensive Bulova models may have been advertised in newspaper ads, as the "average Joe" may be able to afford a local newspaper but not afford a years subscription to the Sat Evening Post. 

...and there are likely many more Bulova models for which we don't have ads or any documentation, as evidenced by the not-to-uncommon model which is entered on site and is discussed as a "possible prototype" (which I don' think is the case).  

Reverend Rob
Posted July 27, 2015 - 9:51am

American Standard, the watch case company, was owned by Bulova, who trademarked the name in 1918. I'm not sure but I thought we had a timeline for this?

AS is the typical abbreviation for Adolph Schild, a movement maker, and this stamp is to be found sometimes on Bulova movts which are from the AS ebauches. I mention this just to avoid any confusion to anyone trying to ID marks on the cases or movts themselves.

William Smith
Posted July 27, 2015 - 3:06pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

I'm pretty sure American Standard Watch Case Co was not a wholly owned subsidiary of Bulova until the mid to late 1920's.  Bulova trademarked American Standard in 1927, and reported first use as Aug 1918.  I'm pretty sure in the teens and early 1920's, American Standard Watch Case Co was not fully owned by Bulova and during these years, they made cases for other watch companies. They certainly had the rights to do so, from what I'm seeing. 

It could be that Bulova and A.S.W.C.Co were partners since before 1918, or perhaps Bulova owned part of the company untill fully acquired.  I bet the date of that full acquisition by Bulova coincides with the dates we no longer see A.S.W.C.Co cases used by other watch makers, regardless how they were hallmarked.

Posted July 27, 2015 - 10:09am

Yes indeed. I will fully spell out American Standard again and not abreviate to AS!

William Smith
Posted July 27, 2015 - 4:21pm

There are other places we can "look" for information.  One resource may be the Global Horology website, which is "free" to join, and has several threads on Bulova.  The NAWCC boards are also a good resource.  Thier NAWCC Bulletin has published several articles on Bulova over the years, including two articles related directly to MyBulova.com.


Posted July 28, 2015 - 5:00am


I also like the notion that Bulova didn't use these lower grade cases as they really were positioning themselve to provide high quality watches above the norm.

William Smith
Posted July 28, 2015 - 5:16pm

In reply to by mybulova_admin

...and in this scenario or observed pattern, its not like Bulova lost out on part of the "lower end" market, as they simply made money in that market with their Westies without having to use RGP in their flagship Bulova signed models....  

Reverend Rob
Posted July 28, 2015 - 5:47pm

I'm a bit fuzzy on this, as I thought we had sorted this out already. No one except Bulova registered the name 'American Watch Case Co.' and they did so in 1918. There are no other records that I can see regarding the registering of the name. If it existed before under some other name, I can find no record of it, and it is a common practice even today to have companies within companies for tax reasons, eg. XYZ Inc owns XYZ watches and the XYZ standard watch case co, even though the watch company was the grandaddy of them all and came first.

In this instance, we have Bulova registering the trademark in 1918, and then the patent in 1927. Bulova also patented the shield design, but I have no firm date for this. What this suggests to me is that the company called American Standard was Bulova owned from the start, named by Bulova in 1918, and even if they were called something else before this, the actual cases bearing the American Standard stamp are Bulova's own, not under contract to. 

William Smith
Posted July 28, 2015 - 7:46pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

I don't think we have Bulova registering the trademark in 1918.  We have Bulova registering the trademark in 1927, and reporting its date of first use as 1918.  Before the date of registered trademark (1927) there were no "de facto legal rights" to the use of the name, even though Bulova and American Standard Watch Case Co were both using. Therefor, Am Std cases could be point of sale in other watchmakers during this time?
This graphic is from the web, but it is also in the "United States Horological Trademark Index"

I don't remember when American Standard Watch Case Co became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bulova?  I think Bulova may have been using many cases made by Am Std before they fully acquired, as were other watch makers.  ....and it would "make sense" that once Bulova fully owned all of Am Std, they could then stop the use of cases in other watches.  This may have been before the registered trademark patent date, and it took them a while to get to the registration.

William Smith
Posted July 29, 2015 - 3:48pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

[quote=Reverend Rob]

I'm a bit fuzzy on this, as I thought we had sorted this out already. No one except Bulova registered the name 'American Watch Case Co.' and they did so in 1918.

 What this suggests to me is that the company called American Standard was Bulova owned from the start, named by Bulova in 1918, and even if they were called something else before this, the actual cases bearing the American Standard stamp are Bulova's own, not under contract to. 

American Watch Case Co and Amercan Standard Watch Case Co.   Two different compaines, both owned by Bulova at/by some point in time.\

Is there a company called American Standard?  I think your referring to American Standard trademark vs company?

Reverend Rob
Posted July 28, 2015 - 9:18pm

The trademark is showing as registered Biel, Switzerland, and New York, USA in 1918. The patent office filing is 1927. 

Has anyone any examples of other watches in American Standard Cases? I must have missed that somewhere. 


I see that I have commented elsewhere about seeing other American Standard cases housing different brands, now I can't remember what I was talking about, possibly at the time I wasn't aware that Westfield was Bulova? I'm checking my watch service pic files. 

William Smith
Posted July 29, 2015 - 1:42pm

I'm confused on the trademark information for American Standard and its relationship to the Am Std Watch Case co.  Using Mikrolisk horological trademark index, I come up with the following results in table below. (for some reason the "Image trademark" field didn't return images). 

Note the Manufacturer field for the first row.  Bulova Watch Co, inc. This was not in existence until April 1923.  We can see from the last row that the American Standard Shield Design is also listed, and I think it was in use in Am Std cases around 1920/21?  Both Bulova Watch Co and J. Bulova & Cie are listed as in the Manufacturer field.

....and I'm not sure if a Swiss registered trademark would have much bearing on restricting use of said term by a USA company.  While its noted "New York, USA" in the location field, this may be the location of the company, not the country in which the trademark was registered?  

I still believe the date when Bulova fully acquired the American Standard Watch Case Co. will have bearing on when other watch manufactures were no longer using Am Std cases, either with or without the 19k 1/12 RGP hallmarks, and is thus important to the original question in this post.

We have this snippet from a Bulova company report from 1931 (published in mid 1932 as their fiscal year ended at the end of March) .  I see American Standard Watch Case Co, along with American Standard Watch Co, (and many others) were subsidiary's of Bulova.  I believe some of these subsidiaries were wholly owned by Bulova Watch Co after 1923 and J Bulova before- if we can just get the entire pub, maybe we can see who/what Bulova "wholly owned" and from what date.

Here's four other trademark records for American Standard as it relates to Bulova.
The first two are probably just other forms of registration for American Standard by Bulova.
American Standard
American Standard

The last two are held by American Standard Watch Case Co, which is noted as being owned by Bulova by 1927.
Miss America
American Boy