American Standard Cases Revisited c1919 through c1924 & later

Submitted by William Smith on September 23, 2012 - 8:40pm

I'm curious about is the American Standard cases and their various hallmarks between c1919 to c1924.  Can these case hallmarks help date the movements they contain? Some of our early watches (1921/23)  have been "dated" using the first digit of case serial number. Some have not.  With uncertainty of a firm date when movement signatures change from Bulova W. Co. to Bulova Watch Co.  we now have a tentative range for this change-1921-1924ish.  We don't use these Bulova signatures to date movements.  Could early American Standard case hallmarks help narrow that range and address strength in correlation between first digit case serial number and production date?

There has been some previous discussion here, but not specific to early American Standard.
Retracing Bulova History

and Lisa included a nice summary for the 1930's examples here:

But earlier...  Below are a few of the c1919-c1924 American Standard Case examples in our database: Some have the "coat of arms" symbol as seen in the 1921 model 155 watch below. Note 14k case.

The time similar 1921 model 156  (below) has same "coat of arms" but is gold filled. Case SN begins with "1".

And we see this 1921 unknown with the "globe" symbol. Case SN begins w/ "1"

And yet another similar to above; entered as a 1925 unknown, also w/ "Monogram Quality", the "globe" and case serial number beginning with a 1.

...the 1922 Lady Maxim has the American Standard "Globe" and Case SN starts w/ (2).

....member syfre reports the "coat of arms" hallmark in the Am Std case for this 1924 model 154. case serial number starts with "1".

Some of my questions/thoughts:

1. What's the difference between the "globe" and the "coat of arms" symbols?
       Is there overlap in the time periods we see these two symbols?  If not, when did they change?

2. Can we say anything about movement dates based on the date change of symbols?
      Could this strengthen the correlation between first digit of case SN and movement date method for this time period?

3. When did Bulova purchase American Standard Case Co? 
       Wouldn't Bulova immediately upon purchase stop using the American Standard marks and simply sign Bulova?

4. When did we stop seeing other brand watches housed in American Standard cases?  
      Did American Standard stop making cases for other watch brands before or after Bulova bought the company?

Posted September 24, 2012 - 8:06am

Too many questions for one thread.  Could the 'Shield' indicate a Case manufacured in the United States and the 'Globe' indicate a Case manufactured elsewhere or manufactured for International use.  

The Shield is most definately a United States reference and the Globe is, well it's a Globe - not hard to figure out. The Shield could be an indicator of a Watch Cased in the United States and the Globe an indicator of a Watch cased elsewhere. eg: Switzerland?

Issue Dates of these 2 American Standard trademarks will hold clues, possibly answers.

'Old Glory'  'The Great Seal of the United States' ca 1913.

edit: The Shield and the Globe may have to do with proper Taxation / Tariffs.

Posted September 24, 2012 - 10:45am

"The American Standard Watch Case Company was founded in 1920 and formerly located on Sprague Street. The building at 425 Dexter Street was constructed in 1942-43. A newspaper article reported that American Standard Watch Case Company led the trade in the late 1920s. The building was modernized in 1945 with an addition to accommodate a cafeteria for the company’s 850 employees. The company was bought by watch giant Bulova in 1948 (RIHPHC 1979, 1981; Woodward 1986)"


American Standard Watch Cases will not pre-date 1920.

William Smith
Posted September 24, 2012 - 11:22pm

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

Thanks for answering when Bulova purchased American Standard.

Reverend Rob
Posted September 24, 2012 - 1:58pm

Interestingly, I see Bulova owns the trademark for "American Standard", and the "American Standard Shield Design", Biel and New York, 1918. Did Bulova partly own the American Standard Case Co?

William Smith
Posted September 24, 2012 - 11:23pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

Thanks for pointing out the Sheld Design.   I'll go look around for more info on that (and possibly the globe symbol).

Posted September 24, 2012 - 2:46pm


I'd have to say Yes.

Written History tells Us Joseph Bulova (then doing buisness as J. Bulova Co.) owned a Watch manufacturing facility in Bienne (Biel) Switzerland.

Much of the published  information on the  purchase or sale of Companies could be accredited to things changing hands 'on paper', as is often done in the Corporate World.

American Standards' formation in 1920 could be accredited to Joseph Bulova and His master plan to produce (Case and Time) Watches in the United States. If J. Bulova Co. owned the American Standard trademark I would say this is a definate.


William Smith
Posted September 24, 2012 - 11:21pm

I did see Bulova had the trademark for "American Standard" as seen below:

And also found a few more details on this particular trademark registration:

With the following description of the filing above, click for webpage displaying full record:

If Bulova claims used since 1 August 1918, does this fit w/ the beginning date of 1920 for American Standard Watch Case Co.?   Sure is a long time between Bulova first using "American Standard" (1918), filing for trademark for  "American Standard" (1927), and then eventually purchasing American Standard in 1948. 

I also see Bulova trademarked the "arching" MONOGRAM, which is seen in this  1925 unknown  American Standard case (which has a case serial number starting with "1").

What I didn't see was a trademark for the American Standard "Shield Design" Rev Rob mentions above.  Rob- was this Shield Design trademarked first used in 1918 or filed in 1918?

In a post by OldTicker, he scanned in some pages with trademarks, one of which was referenced as "American Standard trademarks" containing this snippet below.  Not seeing American Standard, but seeing several close names and a shield symbol (and MONOGRAM?):

A little further up in OT's post, there's a Bulova Trademarks page, containing this snippet below, which looks like a "globe" on the right, but other than appearance, not sure if it has any relation to the American Standard "Globe" symbol.  I didn't see a filing or first use date for the Bulova snippet below.

I'm wondering if we can say something about the date of the cases based on the "Globe" vs. "Shield" and use this to check how well the first digit of case serial numbers fit movement production year (since we are using first digit of case serial number to date some of these early movements).  If American Standard was making cases for other watch manufacturers in 1921-1923 AND not yet wholly owned by Bulova, would the first digit of the case serial numbers necessarily follow the patterns seen for first digit as year of production?   
I'm looking for a way to "set the clock", so to speak.


Posted September 25, 2012 - 5:33am

In reply to by William Smith

The pic above showing the "goddess of time" next to the globe must be 1922 or after, as the goddess was first used in that year. Does this mean the globe trademark was not used until that year too?

Edit:- Which came first, the "chicken" or the "egg"!  ;^)

Posted September 25, 2012 - 7:21am

The Egg.  

Not to veer off course but I want to get this in.

American Watch Case Company.

"Surviving from their inception in 1893 until 1939, the American Watch Case Company was based in Manhattan, New York,  and specialised in the manufacture of fine-quality gold pocket watch cases".

The image above appears on page 111 of a Jewelers trade book (unknown title) Dated 1904. The upper highlighted area indicates American Watch Case Co's address as 13 Maiden Lane, New York - The premesis of Joseph Bulova while doing buisness as J. Bulova Co. Of other interest is a secondary address in Toronto Canada, another known location of Bulova Watch Co. manufacturing.


Posted September 25, 2012 - 7:15am

Looks like ol' Joseph had his fingers in many pies from an early date, hmm?

Posted September 25, 2012 - 7:19am

Yes, oddly enough I just read of an old lathe found which belonged to American Watch Case Co - the lathe was built by Ardee manufacturing of Ohio.

Posted September 25, 2012 - 7:28am

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

Now that IS weird, considering Joseph named his son Arde!

EDIT:- I wonder which came first there, too?

William Smith
Posted September 25, 2012 - 7:20am

I'd seen "American Watch Case Co." but didn't put the addresses together with Bulova.  Indeed interesting. Also found another horological trademark index here: 
They list "American Standard Shield Design" and "American Standard", unfortunately with no date or graphics associated with the shield design entry.

American Standard
Bulova Watch Co. Inc.
Kleinuhren; Biel, Schweiz; New York, USA; registriert am 1.8.1918

American Standard Shield Design
Bulova Watch Company, Inc. / J. Bulova & Cie.
Biel, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Schweiz; New York, USA


Posted September 25, 2012 - 7:50am

I'm noting that American Watch Case Co is referred to as manufacturing "Pocket Watch Cases"

Joseph Bulovas' first fully Jeweled Gent's Wristwatch was manufactured in 1919+/-, according to historical records.

Back to the original notion:

Are We correct to Date the older Bulova pieces Cased in American Standard by seriel number as established 1924 - 1949.

If Bulova owned the Case Company why not?  We're close, very close and the definative answer is before Us, somewhere.

Posted September 29, 2012 - 9:58am

Scratch the original notion for dating American Standard Hallmarked Cases (and the Movements they contain) as these Cases do not follow the trend of Bulova Watch Cases manufactured 1924 thru 1949.  The Watch below is branded 'Rubaiyat' on the Dial. The Caseback is hallmarked American Standard with the Globe below. Warranted 20 Years. The Case Serial number is 100885. The Movement inside is signed Bulova W. Co Swiss and is absent of any Model identication on its Bridge as recently exampled in better detail here

The most informative information is found on the outer Caseback.  Inscribed 12 - 25 -19

--> Content removed due to mis-use of images. ADMIN

Posted September 29, 2012 - 9:58am

Totally screws the case SN dating then. Is this your watch, Mark?

Posted September 29, 2012 - 10:14am

For the Dating of pre 1924 Cases bobbee, Yes it does.

The Watch is not in My personal collection and has not entered the Model database for identification.

Posted September 29, 2012 - 10:24am

Really good looking, and excellent condition. Gold fill looks nice, not bad for 20 year guaranteed!

Good to have in DB anyway.

Posted September 30, 2012 - 9:21pm

Correction: I made a previous statement indicating Joseph Bulovas' original address in NYC as 13 Maiden Ln, that is incorrect. Joseph Bulovas' address was 57 Maiden Ln. which is not the same location as American Watch Case Co. at 13 Maiden Ln. The article above was published in the New York Times - May 4, 1895.…  Note there is no mention of Watchmaking, Watch Cases or Watches in the article. Joseph Bulovas' occupation is listed as Jeweler, trade as Jewelery.

gotta love the internet.

Posted September 30, 2012 - 9:32pm

Could 57 Maiden Ln have been his residence? The article doesn't specify but I would think that they would mention a juror's home address rather than their business address.

Reverend Rob
Posted September 30, 2012 - 9:47pm

That sounds right to me. He was originally listed as a jeweller, and in 1920, they moved to 5th Ave. The wristwatch was a new phenomenon, and Bulova seems to have been on board along with a few other companies to recognize its significance early on. 

Posted October 1, 2012 - 5:56am


The clues are there.

Most written History denotes Joseph Bulovas' first location as a 'small premesis' on Maiden Lane and from what I have researched 13 Maiden Lane was a 'large glass superstructure of several floors' with 3 addresses 9,11 and 13 Maiden Lane.

Posted April 12, 2014 - 7:42am

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…

ReverendRob wrote:

"That sounds right to me. He was originally listed as a jeweller, and in 1920, they moved to 5th Ave. The wristwatch was a new phenomenon, and Bulova seems to have been on board along with a few other companies to recognize its significance early on."

Bulova actually moved to 5th. Avenue in June 1921.


In the 1895 NY Sun article commenting on the above-mentioned court case, we see Joseph's work address and home address are two different locations.


Posted October 1, 2012 - 7:47am

13 Maiden Lane NYC

13 Maiden Lane New York City

Posted October 1, 2012 - 1:09pm

Below is Artist John Mackie Falconers' rendition of what was 55-59 Maiden Ln. New York. The rectangular sign which is centrally located in the image next to the Road states '59 Toys', a Toy shop which would make 55-57 Maiden Lane on the left the property of J. Rucklass -Tailor.

The painting is Dated 1851

The locale is at the Corner of Maiden Lane and Williams St. where the Federal Reserve building now stands.

The origins of Maiden Lane.

"Where Maiden Lane is there was once a narrow stream or spring water, which flowed from about the present Nassau Street. Women went there to wash their clothing, so that it came to be called the Virgin's Path, and from that the Maiden's Lane."

above excerpt from the book: Nooks and Corners of Old New York by Charles Hemstreet.

William Smith
Posted October 2, 2012 - 8:01pm

I'm thinking:   American Standard Watch Case Co. only made cases for Bulova.  They were a wholly owned subsidiary of J Bulova Co. from c1918 onward.  The examples we see with other company movements in Am Std cases are either "subsidiary companies" owned by J Bulova  (e.g. Rubaiyat W Co), or marriages from early movement swaps.  The Am Std cases which are signed 19K 1/12 rolled gold plate were possibly for foreign markets. 
We see various groupings of the following case markings:
-American Standard
-Bulova Quality
-Monogram Quality
-The "shield"
-The "globe"
-various metal content marks
-some patent dates for dust-tight technology (or what ever it was called)
-and serial numbers whose script and form are similar to both each other,and the Bulova Case SN's of later years.

So far, besides those listed directly above, we see: American Standard Watch Case Co; The "American standard shield"; Rubaiyat; American Standard Watch Co; and some "others" are either trademarked by Bulova or are a subsidiary thereof.

I think "Rubaiyat W Co" was probably a subsidiary of J Bulova; it's "a Bulova" of early decent, and this would fit the "only Bulova in Am Std cases".   
We just don't have the smoking gun...yet

 what are others thoughts? 

Posted October 2, 2012 - 9:19pm

"I'm thinking:   American Standard Watch Case Co. only made cases for Bulova"

I'm thinking the same.

J. Bulova Co needed a U.S. based Case manufacturing facility for whatever reason:

To manufacture a 'superior' American Watch? - Supply/Demand? - Tax purposes?

Prior to everything needed to manufactured in Switzerland and imported.

The Rubaiyat W. Co Movement and Case would come prior to Bulova W. Co as a predessor and not a subsiduary.

According to the Providence Preservation Society the American Standard Watch Case Company was founded, here in the United States, in 1920 on Sprague St in New York.  I'm almost certain they did not pull this data out of thin air.

This does not entirely mean J.Bulova Co were not stamping their Cases as such (American Standard) as early as 1918 at a facility in Switzerland, casing Movements and importing the completed Watches.

If this be the case the Globe hallmark would be pre 1920, the Shield 1920 and on ?

We're close to an answer but the fact is We don't least I don't.

William Smith
Posted October 2, 2012 - 9:30pm

I'm a little unsure of the Rhode Island Historic Preservation HC data.  They state
The company was bought by watch giant Bullova in 1948 (RIHPHC 1979, 1981; Woodward 1986), who still used this factory as of 1981.
...but we see in the Bulova Company Report of 1931 that American Standard Watch Co was a subsidary of Bulova Watch Company INC...which sounds like the parent corporation of all these subsidaries and companies.  Perhaps the historic society got that change in ownership wrong, or it was simply a "company name change" w/ Bulova Watch Co INC owing it all along.  This leads me to question other statements in this source.  Besides citing themselves, I'm looking for the Woodward 1986 citation.  It certainly is a another piece of the puzzle.

Reverend Rob
Posted October 2, 2012 - 9:34pm

I'm thinking it (Am Standard) was wholly owned by Bulova. The existence of other watches in the same cases, yet using known Bulova ebauches, and the fact that Bulova still offers this service to other companies, ie. they supply movt and case, you stick your name on it, seems consistent. 


William Smith
Posted October 3, 2012 - 8:02am

In reply to by Reverend Rob

They probably did this w/ more than Am Std cases.  All kinds of things Bulova had going on.

Posted October 3, 2012 - 8:18am

This sheds some light. December 3 1919. Note the board of directors.

1919 Watch Importers Organise

Posted February 5, 2016 - 10:37pm

I now believe that cases marked with:


pre-date 1920 as we are now seeing a number of Rubaiyat watches that are clearly pre 1920 branded with this marking.

Posted December 11, 2023 - 8:54am

Incorporation of the ASWCCO

The American Standard Watch Case Company was incorporated in Providence Rhode Island prior to February 1921, at that time the logo for American Standard Watch Case Company changed to the Shield Logo. Now at this time the old American Standard Watch Case Company Started by Adolph Bulova in 1916 was located at 9 Maiden Lane in 1921. 


In February 1917, the American Standard Watch Case Company was wholly owned by Adolph Bulova and located at 22 Maiden lane. In March 1919 it is listed as being located at 2 John Street.


In case you are wondering: Adolph Bulova also owned the Rubaiyat Watch Company and the Hudson Watch Company in 1917, both are also listed as being located at 22 Maiden Lane. The address is significant as 22 Maiden Lane was the location of J. Bulova Co in 1916. In 1917 J. Bulova Co is listed as being at 2 John Street. 

1917 rubaiyat

1917 Hudson

1917 J. Bulova

My concern is seeing American Standard cased watches with a globe listed as 1922 or worse yet 1923 when the logo changed with the incorporation of the company in very early 1921 from my research. 

I know Rubaiyat Watch Company, Hudson Watch Company, and the American Standard Watch Company existed prior to February 1917 as they are listed in the 1917 business directory that was published in February 1917. My assumption is that Adolph Bulova had been building Rubaiyat, Hudson, and American Standard Cases through contracts with one of the watch case companies operating on maiden lane since at least 1915. In 1916 he formed the three companies on his own, I personally wonder if Adolph was not the drive behind what becomes the Bulova Watch Company and not Joseph Bulova. 

1915 Watch Case Companies

The list of Watch Case Companies in Manhattan, NYC in 1915.