1959 Bulova Seabee 251W

Submitted by RachelAnne on October 18, 2020 - 4:03pm


New member and hobbyist learning about servicing watches here. I have been playing with a half dozen scrap 11AFC movements and am ready to dig into a 1959 Seabee.

I am hoping someone can tell me the correct crystal for a 1959 Seabee? I have read that the diameter should be 28.2 to 28.3 mm but the one on the watch measures 28.45 mm with the rim of the case measuring 27.5 mm. It also has tons of cracks around the edges or I would reuse it. I have dug through half a dozen old GS catalogs but am coming up dry. (I know, lousy pun)

Also, I have seen at least one photo on here that shows the crystal along with the reflector ring and what I am guessing is an o-ring. Should there have been an o-ring under the crystal?

I will need to get photos up of the watch. The case is in excellent shape, the black paint on the dial is pretty decent but probably 90% of the lume has peeled or discolored and the tiny second markers are all different shades of color.  Might considered sending it to International Dial.

I have not pulled the movement out yet but just peeking in with a strong light the movement looks very clean and bright and I was shocked when I put it on my timegrapher at how well it did. +12 sec/day, 242 amplitude, and 1.6 on the beat error.

Thanks in advance for any info you may be able to provide.


Posted October 19, 2020 - 7:38pm

Welcome and congratulations on starting to work on watches.  I just published on this site the 1950's Bulova waterproof crystal catalog.    I found a listing for the Seabee that says it is a 28.3mm  crystal #1112E-1. I am not 100% sure if this is the same watch or an earlier one.  It seems to be interchangeable with the ones listed below.   BTW...I buy crystal lots on ebay when they pop up.  I got one that was an assortment of 12 crystals each between 23mm and 28mm in 0.2mm increments.   I have used it so many times.   Keep a look out for good crystal lots.SeaBee crystal

Posted October 19, 2020 - 7:42pm

I noticed there were two listings on the above post and I  just found another listing for a Seabee.  This one for a 28.6mm size and a close match 11ACC movement.   .

Seabee Crystal

Posted October 20, 2020 - 2:19pm

Thanks so much! The second one listed the Model 251 which matches the 1959 Seabee. So I will start looking for 1126E crystal.

I do buy the bulk lots on Ebay. I picked up a half dozen old 11AFC movements to practice on. Doing one and referencing off the next if I get lost or break something.  One had a hairspring that had two crossed coils so I decided to remove it from the balance and attempt to untangle and reshape it. I managed to get the spring off and positioned under my microscope and had about 90 minutes of tweaking before deciding I had made it way worse. But it was FUN!

Posted October 26, 2020 - 10:29pm

I have to agree with you regarding hair springs that it’s much more trouble than they’re worth.  I find I’ve ruined so many hair springs it’s not even funny.   Followed by breaking pivots and slipping the screwdriver and scratching the movement. I continue to get better and better and it just takes practice.  Don’t forget to sharpen your screwdrivers regularly and don’t over oil.  I can’t wait to see some of your restoration projects.