Bulova 1930 President

Submitted by neetstuf-4-u on March 10, 2023 - 3:43pm
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Watch Description

I bought this one blind. No clear photos and no indication of movement or age. I was pretty sure it was a non-Bulova case based on the fact the engraving pattern is like I have never seen and there were no visible stampings on the back. I thought it was likely a "President style" replacement case.. Even so, it looked cool and was apparently green gold.

It arrived in the mail and even in hand I had doubts. Upon opening it, I found the case back is stamped Bulova inside with a serial number dating the case to 1933 with a 1927 Pat. date and 14K Gold Filled. Movement is dated 1929 with a serial number. Movement is really dirty, but with some coaxing, it started to run. Starts and stops, but balance looks good. Watch is mounted on a period black leather band that could very well be original based on style, buckle and how crudded up the spring bars were.

I have no idea what it is besides "All Bulova". Never seen another.

Posted March 10, 2023 - 5:07pm


Posted March 10, 2023 - 8:57pm

Well, I dug deeper into the site and Here is an identical one on the same pattern leather band. ID'ed as President

And another! ID'ed as Unknown.

Both examples are dated as 1925 with cases marked as American Standard Bulova and Bulova Quality; and neither has a sub seconds dial..

Geoff Baker
Posted March 10, 2023 - 9:24pm

This is one of those 'toss up' ID calls. I'm more inclined to update the ID on mine to Unknown and match this to it. We never really did establish any validity to the President ID. I'm going to say Unknown on this one AND mine. Surprisingly, I see this model on eBay quite often. I'm really surprised to see a 1933 date code on it..

Posted March 10, 2023 - 9:37pm

In reply to by Geoff Baker

I was quite surprised by the case date as well. When I was researching initially, I was looking later than 1925 (1929 to 1933) per dates on subject watch and never saw yours. I'm always on the lookout for oddball models and haunt eBay on a daily basis; I don't recall ever seeing one of these before.. 

Posted March 10, 2023 - 10:09pm

I just went through some old parts and found this none-working 9A example.

It's the same President model as Geoff with a very close case serial number of 5217619 (Geoffs is 5217451).

1925 Bulova watch - Green Gold Case

Yours is almost a marriage of the front of this watch with a later back case/movement.

Bob the back case looks like it has a hinge. Does the front case look to have the remnants of where it would have attached?

Posted March 10, 2023 - 10:32pm

In reply to by mybulova_admin

Case and back have matching hinge parts, but the pin is either snapped or missing. I first questioned whether it was a replaced case back but it seems pretty unlikely as it is a perfect fit. Movement is dated 1929.

EDIT: I just looked at it again and the pin is present but snapped at both joints. The outer tubes affixed to the case (on the lugs) can be seen in the photos of the back and movement, with hinge at right side of image.

Posted March 10, 2023 - 10:15pm

A surprise watch! I saw it for sale and was tempted, having seen several examples all from 1925. Turns out your watch is from ........ 1930! Bulova went into 1930, not using the last digit, a zero, but using the 3. So, the first series starts with 300xxxx. This continued into the 301xxxx. And then changed back to the convention for the next series: 003xxxx. Database checks indeed learned there are no serial numbers with 000xxxx and 001xxxx as would be expected following the convention. Also, this case signature WITH material indication, was used from 1928 until 1930. Case signatures changed as from 1931 until 1933, not indicating the material. Case signatures are very important to determine the year since Bulova was more consistent in their signatures than the case serial numbers that have quite a few exceptions, this 301 being one of them. More details in my book of course. What to call this watch? Given the 17j movement, it is a clear member of the President family, that has the 17j movement as an important feature. But probably I would go for "Unknown".

Posted March 10, 2023 - 10:39pm

In reply to by Alex

Interesting observation, Alex. So, you are suggesting that by the serial number anomaly and case markings this watch is a 1930? That would give credence to the movement dated 1929 being original. Cool!

Posted March 11, 2023 - 5:19am

In reply to by neetstuf-4-u

That would also tie into a 1929 movement. The notion of the strarting '3' is exciting. I find it highlty plausable as Bulova started their early watche case serial numbers (1917/18/19) with a '2' and then in 1921/22/23/24 with a '1'.

I'm certainly leaning towards a 1930 Bulova President, but would like to dig a little deeper.