Bulova 1924 -Non-Conforming

Submitted by tshanno on November 22, 2019 - 8:11am
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Crystal Details
18mm in diameter
Additional Information

So this is going to be an interesting one for me.

I took a chance on this watch and bought it on eBay.  It fits the ad for a Lady Maxim to a T, with identical filigree on the bezel and on the watch face.  It also has what appears to be an original band that is too small for a modern wrist.  If the watch is legit, no adult is ever going to wear it because I don't have it in me to cut that band off.

The seller said she bought the box seperately but thought it might be correct for the period.

The movement looks totally legitimate to me.  The date code is hard to see but its between the "sixteen jewel" marking near the stem and the screw to the right of that.  I can provide a close up if needed.

Both of the full ads for this watch are 1922 and both claim 15 jewels.  However, there are a number of examples in the database with 17 jewels so I assume that's variable.  None have the 10AA movement but that appears to be variable as well and the date range is correct.

What's really bothersome about this watch are the markings on the inside of the case back.  Its not marked "Bulova" or "American Standard" as should usually be the case and as every other example I can find is.  Instead its marked "Guilfora 25 years".  It's a little hard to read because its in script and it could be "Guilford" but I really can't find any indication that there's an upstroke on that last letter.  Perhaps you guys can make it out better.  In any case, it defintiely seems to me to be unusual.

Legitimate Lady Maxim or non-conforming, I'll be interested to hear your opinions.  Thanks.

1924 Bulova watch
1924 Bulova watch
1924 Bulova watch
1924 Bulova watch
1924 Bulova watch
Bulova Watch advert
Kathy L.
Posted November 22, 2019 - 4:29pm

What a lovely piece with an ribbon band and clasp and nice case.  The watch cases at this time were pretty universal.  It could be a Bulova movement was put into a different case.  I couldn't find anything on this case make but maybe someone else is familiar with it. 

I am at Non-Conforming at the moment.

Posted November 23, 2019 - 2:18am

Lovely watch, but.....a non conforming. The 25 year term stamped inside the case was legally banned early 1923, meaning the case is from before that date. However, the movement is from 1924. And the box is from much later date. 

Posted November 23, 2019 - 4:21am

In reply to by Alex

Thanks.  That's pretty cool.

1.  There are actually some 1924s in the database that have this designation, abeit with the usual American Standard markings.  Here is an example:


I note that watchophilia also has some 1924s with the "American Standard 25 years" markings as well.


So there must have been some cases that still snuck through.

2.  I saw this "25 years" and had no idea what it meant.  Can you fill me in on why these companies marked these cases "25 years" and why it was banned?


Posted November 23, 2019 - 5:11am

'25 Years' indicates high quality 'Gold Filled' (not solid gold) and I suspect the case may not be one Bulova used (could be wrong).

The shape was very popular during this period, so I feel that the case has been married to the movement also.


Posted November 23, 2019 - 5:26am

In reply to by mybulova_admin

Yes, I see the point you and Kathy are making on this.  When I first compared the watch to the ad I thought the filigree was identical.  But it really isn't, is it?  The buckle on the watch band is a bit different as well.


Posted November 23, 2019 - 6:06am


Posted November 23, 2019 - 6:39am

In reply to by Alex

So I'm guessing that it was banned because the "high quality" fill wasn't really always significantly higher than in watches simply marked "filled"?  And there was no standard that said exactly what qualified as "high quality"?

Posted November 23, 2019 - 10:10am

"Gold filled" is an indication of a process. "25 years" is a commercial claim how long the gold layer would last. There were too many court cases of dissatisfied customers about that claim. Hence the courts decided to ban this commercial claim. 

Kathy L.
Posted November 23, 2019 - 10:18am

From what I have read James Boss patented the the gold filled/plate process in 1859.  He is also credited with innovation of the "Guaranteed".  Cases would be marked 10 Year, 20 Year, 25 Year, sometimes with Guaranteed or Warranted.  Sometimes the gold content and sometimes not and most gold filled cases were 10K or 14K gold filled or gold plate.  The number of years indicated how thick the gold plating was and that it was guaranteed not to wear to the brass for that many years.  The term was banned in 1924 because some companies were not standing by the guarantee.  

Posted November 23, 2019 - 10:29am

Thanks, guys.  Really nice hanging around this site.  I'm learning a lot.