Bulova 1938 American Clipper

Submitted by What Does Your… on March 5, 2022 - 12:20pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Cresent Moon
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case color
Case Manufacturer
Watch Description

Hello everyone., I took this watch in trade for some fountain pens based on pics the owner sent me.  We agreed that it was a 1938 American Clipper.When the watch arrived after we agreed to the trade (I shipped my pens and he shipped thew watch and we traded tracking info,) I opened the package to find this watch. The dial has clearly been refinished at some point, but I don't know when. I'm not sure if it is an American Clipper.  Watchopihilia has an advert and correct American Clipepr listed.  Doing research online it's clear the previous owner used ebay images to send me. Please have a look and let me know what you think.

Thank you.


Bulova Amercian Clipper
March 5 2022
March 5 2022
March 5 2022
March 5 2022
Posted March 6, 2022 - 9:43am

Thank you for posting your watch.  A great looking one indeed.  The dial to me looks 100% original.  The giveaway is SWISS on the dial.  Most refinishers do not take the time to replace that.  I can't recall seeing an American Clipper with full stick hour markers.   I think we have one ad showing this dial on a Kirkwood but the case that ad shows a different case.   I tend to believe this to be variant of the American Clipper.  BTW the name American Clipper comes from the new airliner that was introduced by Pan AM.  It was the largest plane in it's day and was a flying boat.  


What Does Your…
Posted March 6, 2022 - 4:57pm

Thank you for looking this over and for your thoughts JimDon5822.

The hour markers aren't applied like on the American Clippers I've seen but are painted and flat.  That's what makes me think a refinished dial. If it is an unusual variant that will be exciting, butI 'm feeling like I won't be that fortunate.

I'll post a couple more pics of the dial at different angles to help with an assessment.




Posted March 6, 2022 - 7:00pm

The American Clipper "C" is the black dial with plain gold case.

The dial is an interesting element. Possible a replacement from another model (eg the Kirkwood). I image both the American Clipper and Kirkwood used the 10AE movement so the dial feet would fit.

I'd ID as a 1938 Bulova American Clipper "C" noting the likelihood of a dial replacement or redial.

Posted March 6, 2022 - 9:01pm

Pretty sweet watch man.... I agree it's an American Clipper C.

What Does Your…
Posted March 7, 2022 - 7:07am

Thank you mybulova_admin and plainsman for your input.  And thanks to the panel for taking the time to examine this one.  Very much appreciated.

So an American Clipper C with an asterisk regarding the dial.

A friend commented why would someone go to the trouble and cost of refinishing a dial on an old Bulova.  I guess he has a point.

I found this Clipper sold on a watch site and the dial has the indice and Arabic numbers but like my dial, they are not applied markers but flat painted markers.  Maybe Bulova was using different processes or dial makers?



Posted March 7, 2022 - 9:04am

The dial is original.  Some Bulova dials had printed markers and my Kirkwood has the same printed dial.  it is a 100% original Bulova dial but it is either an unknown variant or possible dial swap at the factory, at the jeweler or by a collector at some point.   Either way the watch is a stunner and in my opinion makes no difference. I actually believe the stick markers on the art deco case is the best combination for this watch so you should wear it with pride. Also can you upload a full picture of the front of the watch with the dial.   Thank you. 

Posted March 7, 2022 - 10:37am

Beautiful watch. I'm inclined to say it's an American Clipper with a replaced dial or an unknown variant. I'm still looking, but at this point I'm most comfortable with an ID of

1938 American Clipper (no variant)

as the "C" presented with a different dial configuration

What Does Your…
Posted March 7, 2022 - 6:59pm

Thank you JimDon5822.  I was disappointed when I first saw it and had listed it for sale but I wore it today and it really does look great.  I just need to get a better strap.  I feel this is a keeper.  Also, could you post a link to the Kirkwood?  I've included a front pic of the watch.

And thank you neetstuf-4-u. I appreciate your assessment with this.  I'm glad it has been named and will be included for anyone else doing research.






Posted March 7, 2022 - 9:17pm

Here is a picture of a 1934 Bulova Kirkwood that is similar to the dial style of the subject watch, all be it a white version.

1934 Bulova Kirkwood advert 

What Does Your…
Posted March 8, 2022 - 6:51am

Thanks mybulova_admin.