Bulova 1938 American Clipper

Submitted by bobgpw on September 19, 2012 - 4:52pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Cresent Moon
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Additional Information

Ithink this is an American Clipper.

Watch ticks away nicely most of the time but is missing the seconds hand!  Unfortunately, someone has damaged the case back so badly that only the first digit of the case serial is visible - an 8.

Any comments on how to restore or enhance the watch are most welcome.

Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
Bulova Watch
Posted September 19, 2012 - 6:12pm

Ha! You outbid me on this one! Still you got a bargain, bob.
Try warm, soapy water and cotton buds on the dial, and if that doesn't do anything, you could try varying degrees of diluted spirit vinegar, and then after fresh water is used to remove the vinegar mix and it is still dirty, try a little bi-carbonate of soda diluted in water, still using buds. Only use these things if you are confident, and rub the dial lightly, as too harsh a cleaning action will remove any painted areas, minute track, sub dial etc.
AC "F".

Posted September 19, 2012 - 6:50pm


Posted September 19, 2012 - 8:08pm

American Clipper "F"

The dial on these are tough to clean up, as bobbee stated, soapy water with vinegar will work, but rather than using Q-tips, try these... http://www.microbrush.com/automotive/products/ultrabrush/

You can apply better pressure, and the fibers don't hang up on the applied numbers like a cotton swab. Don't get the dial too wet, or the printed stuff will come right off.

You will have to pull the dial for the best results.


Geoff Baker
Posted September 19, 2012 - 9:07pm

Agree on "F"

William Smith
Posted September 20, 2012 - 3:44am

I vote for "F".  We see a "white dial unengraved on leather" as a "B" (top image below).  IMO there's probably a "white dialed engraved on leather" as a yet-unknown variant (like the "B"), but we don't have the ad showing us this (yet).  The "F" gives more info than the generic, the case/dial can't be "confused" with any other ad we have to date, and I can always assign two ticks to note this possibility.

Posted September 20, 2012 - 1:29pm

Agree "American Clipper F"

Posted September 20, 2012 - 2:00pm

Thanks everyone.

Bob, sorry this one got away from you, I do think it was a bargain!  Old Ticker, useful link to the brushes, thanks for that.

Is a seconds hand easily obtainable?

Posted September 21, 2012 - 8:54am

1939 ad shows the plain bezel 'American Clipper' on a link bracelet.

In the descriptive text please note the Watch was also available on a "tan pigskin strap".

The Watch on a Tan pigskin strap was sold through this vendor as # 4 K 1164 which has been positively ID'd by a second ad as the 'B' variant.

The Watch on a Safety link bracelet was sold through this vendor as # 4 K 1165 - an unidetified variant.

There is no reason to believe the engraved Case versions do not follow this trend.

"F" in this instace is a guess at best and based on all the evidence incorrect - It's better to enter a generic model record into the database than an incorrectly ID'd variant.

Posted September 21, 2012 - 11:58am

Best to put the nearest model, which is the American Clipper "F". TheAC on leather band probably has another variant letter, but we don't have an ad for it as yet. This watch has what looks like pigskin band, but may not be original.

All those numbers are probably the Vendor's catalogue numbers, and nothing to do with the watch ID.

William Smith
Posted September 21, 2012 - 3:17pm

I agree with both Bobbee and Fifth. :) The Subject watch on leather will turn out to be a different variant, but we don't know what letter yet.  By calling this one the "F" and I tick as tentative, folks get a little more info about this watch today.  It's not going to turn out to be the "F", but the "F" ad shows the watch/case regardless what that unknown "on leather" letter variant turns out to be. 
The numbers in the ad above are vendors numbers which internally are cross-referenced to the unique Bulova product ID/model number.  That's how the vendor ordered the specific watch from Bulova. So we don't get to "see" their cross-reference.  However we do get to "see" what those numbers represent in the instances where we have ads showing us the specific model- as in the "B" variant example give above.  So by proxy, they do help with the ID.

  •  Proxy (statistics), a measured variable used to infer the value of a variable of interest