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Bulova 1930 -Unknown

Model ID rating explained.

Manufacture Year: 


Movement Symbol: 


Movement Model: 


Movement Jewels: 


Movement Serial No.: 


Case Serial No.: 


Case shape: 


Case Manufacturer: 


Crystal Details: 

glass dome



Additional Information

I purchased this watch from Timemachines (Mike) recently and am updating the record. It's the same "Unknown" watch we had before with a couple new photos and some new specs. I've changed the year due to the updated serial number (mis-stamped "0" leading) and because there is a second hand stamped Omega date code on the movement above the cresent moon original date code.

There are two known examples of this amazing watch, the1930 Bulova cover of the iconic Piping Rock.

Ownership and Model Year updated 5/12/2013 - previous year was recorded as 1928.

Following is Mike's original description:

"I have had this watch 20 years and just decided to fix her up, I have no idea of the model name, nor can I find any old ads, or pictures of it.  This watch may have been for a different world market, or one of a few prototypes ever made.

The watch looks like a Hamilton Piping Rock with hinged lugs, black porcelain bezal, Rodium plated case, marked "Bulova Quality pat. Jan. 11, 1927"

Comments , and research welcome.  Thanks  Mike"

Not For Sale
Geoffrey Baker 1930 Bulova Unknown Piping Rock Watch 5/12/2013
1930 Bulova watch
1930 Bulova watch
1930 Bulova watch
1930 Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted March 18, 2011 - 4:19pm

I'd be very surprised if the Watch were from 1927 as it appears to have a lot of 1940's attributes and is possibly Watchmaker made.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted March 18, 2011 - 4:57pm


We had a good discussion about this gem before. Could you give us a link to that discussion please. We don't want to invent the wheel again.


Wayne's picture
Club 5000
Posted March 18, 2011 - 5:03pm

Whatever it is, wherever it came from, nice job.  I believe that it is indeed an ultra rare Bulova.  Love the watch.



Posted March 18, 2011 - 7:28pm

Hi Wayne, Here is the discussion link,

 As for the watchmakers remake, maybe you can look at the link posted by Jay at the bottom of the discussion and see the other unknowen bulova on ebay at this time. It will probably change your mind about a individual making this watch.

 It would not have all the Bulova  1927 pant. date, and proper period markings on the movement if it were a made up model.

Also this mistory person would have to have a fortune in dies to stamp out this case as it is stamped out.

 Still alot of fun!  Thanks for looking.  Mike..

Elgin Doug
Posted March 18, 2011 - 8:02pm

On another forum, someone posted a picture of a Gruen from about 1926 with much the same design as this and the Hamilton Piping Rock.  I've also seen enameled-bezel Elgins similar to Hamilton's Coronado.  I think enamel bezels were popular, but not necessarily common.  IIRC, the Hamiltons were both solid gold, whereas the Gruen and the Elgin were gold filled.

At any rate, that's a beauty!!'s picture
Posted April 29, 2011 - 4:21pm

An AWESOME find :-)

And almost certainly a circa 1930- 32 release, with the acquisition of Westfield and the sales success of the Westfield Air King and the various Hamilton's, Illinois, Gruens, etc. and likely NOT the (ahead of it's time, earlier '20s) forerunning round bezel Elgin enameled model, released several years prior?

I would also suspect that whichever case manufacturer/s that were producing these stylizations, were either asked by the above watch companies+ to create more similar designs... Or perhaps the case cos. simply did so on their own accord? But clearly Hamilton "commisioned" the design of the Piping Rock case... So that was likely the RULE, once a say a competitor's similar offering, became a "good seller!"

I had a listing posted here as the BULOVA "AIR KING," only to later find that it was rather an illustration of the 1929 WESTFIELD "Air King!" By as with say Hamilton's acquisition of Illinois in about 1928 (?) I suspect the same holds TRUE with Bulova, etc. i.e. That they either repackaged and/or added a higher price tier model/s with a superior movement, new dial config/s, etc... And likely marketed on the coattails thereafter, with a similar name? (Air, Sky, ... King, perhaps???)  


:-)  Scott

P.S. Hereafter are some similar 1930 ELGIN Romanesque (contrasting, black enamed dial) designs, and the trio ensemble from HAMILTON... I'm not presently finding an image of the forerunner Elgin...


1930 ELGIN Watch Models


And the 1927 Hamilton Legends (The: Coronado, Piping Rock & Spur...) 



The 1929 WESTFIELD "Air King..."


And another similarly encased GRUEN timepiece... So several top American watch companies (and probably also SWISS watch manufacturers like GRUEN, for instance... whom was also a dual citizenship, American - Germany company, about that time...) were utilizing rather similar inlaid enamel bezel designs, from about 1927 through at least the mids 1930s!


Best :-)  Scott

Posted April 29, 2011 - 2:54pm

Pretty striking how much Mike's looks like that Hamilton.  Beautiful watches.  I want one.'s picture
Posted April 29, 2011 - 3:51pm


Yah, and the equivalent HAMMYS sell for $1000.- $5k. USD... The Spur is quite RARE. And the Coronado is fairly SCARCE... However the Piping Rock was so popular, it was sold for DECADES! (20s- 50s...) 

And therefore how many BULLYS or GRUENS are out there, in this cool case? Or (like say the Arabaic vs. Roman Numeral Coronado bezel) were done with this or similar case and/or dial configurations? Let alone, SURVIVE today?? My guess is that MOST opted for the lower priced models, like say the 7 Jewel WESTIE, or equivalent, vs. this Bully, the mid priced Elgins, Gruens, etc. Or say the 14 karat HAMMIES, or high end Illinois or Walthams....


:-)  Scott 

Geoff Baker
Club 5000Panel Member
Posted May 12, 2013 - 4:49pm

5/12/2013 - NEWSFLASH - This beauty has a new address. He's come to live at my house. Thanks Mike - enjoy your new carpet - I certainly will enjoy the newest addition to my collection!! 

Note that I've updated the model year in the description as well.

Club 5000Panel Member
Posted May 12, 2013 - 10:23pm

Fantastic... unknown for now but it would be fantastic to find one.  This I believe is our grail gents... only 2 around that we've ever seen.  Both to folks we know.

Congrats on adding it to your collection sir!