The Academy have always been very protective over their naming rights and have had many legal battles with people exploiting it, even to the extent of one such case against someone making Oscar shaped Chocolates, who they sued....madness!
However in 1949 they licensed, for 4 years, Bulova to produce an exclusive line of watches which could be marketed under their name starting from 1950 to 1954, this was to cost Bulova $154,000 to use just the name and emblems associated with the Awards and nothing else....
Just a year later when Bulova tried to stretch their rights by advertising the watch as an "Award Winning Design" The Academy sued them with "perpetrating a fraud" arguing that Oscar's symbolic value had been diminished because people would assume that Bulova had earned an Oscar for "best watch design".
The Academy aligned with the Federal Trade Commission to break its contract with the company two years early, making this a very scarce item, popular with watch collectors and film memorabilia collectors alike. Academy models always have ribbed dials and cases. They are always 21 Jewels, they are always dated to 1950-1951 with little variation. The mens watches in original boxes, have been known to reach $2500 at auction.
Bulova Academy Award 1950-1951
We've all seen the glamourous watches that have come out of the Bulova Academy Award Series indivudually, but I don't know if we've seen all the them together and have seen some of the history on how they were marketed as well as their demise.
Just using newspaper articles I'll share what information I've learned.
In 1950 we started seeing several of the big Bulova distributors speaking to the Bulova Academy Award series. They all used the same language about how Bulova ordered it's watch designers two years prior to go to Hollywood and capture it's glamour.
There were many copies of this next exerpt in several newspapers speaking of a willing collaboration of Bulova giving the Academy Awards an influx of much needed money in order to sell these watches:
To further this initial collaboration theme, there was even an apparent "Special Academy Oscar" that was awarded to Bulova for this occasion:
The watches were advertised across the nation over the next two years and were used in many contests as "Award" watches... to include apparently "special" edition watches designed just for the winner of the Miss Brooklyn contest:
It seemed there was no stopping this line, until what must have been a falling out in 1952. There have been rumors of a lawsuit filed against Bulova, but there has been no proof of that. There is however this article articulating Bulova's consent to a stipulation that it would quite using "Academy Awards" or "Oscar" in any of it's further advertisements.
While the run lasted it was a very popular series of watches as we can see from just how many different "Bulova Academy Awards" models were produced in just two short years. Below I will post all the variants that we currently have advertisements for, although we know there are a few others just from price lists. I would please encourge anyone who happens to have one of the missing model advertisements, to post it and I will add it to the list below.
Thanks for the read!
Variants listed: A, B, BB, C, D, F, FF, H, HH, J, K, KK, L, LL, M, MM, N, NN, O, OO, P, Q, R, S, T, W, X, Y, YY, Z, ZZ
Note: Images uploaded by admin on behalf of Plainsmen.