Bulova 1940 Eleanor

Submitted by NicoleSchrock on February 20, 2016 - 8:47pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
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Watch Description


I have a Bulova watch that belonged to my Great-Grandmother that I hope someone will be able to help me identify. 

Watch History:

Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about the watch. I know it belonged to my Great-Grandmother because her name is inscribed on the back of it, and it was in my grandparents' possession until their death in 2001, and then my aunt's possession until last year when she passed away.  Finally, it came into my possession.

My Great-Grandmother's Biography:

Born:  August 28th, 1905

Married:  December 5th, 1923 (this is when she became a Vaughan, which is the last name inscribed on the back of the watch, so I know it dates to after 1923)

Died:  March 11th, 1986

I do not know for what celebration the watch was a gift for.  It may have been for a wedding anniversary, but I am not sure.  If it was for the birth of a child, the watch would date to 1924 or 1927. 

I know the watch was made in Canada (on one of the links) and the case box (red velour) the watch came in says "Bulova:  Canada's Finest Timepieces (Toronto)". 

If possible, I would love to find out the make of the watch and the year.  I would love to recover a piece of my family history that unfortunately has been lost to time.  The watch still winds and works perfectly, although the crystal is scratched. 

I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to identify the watch on my own.  I have not opened the back of the watch because I am afraid of damaging it. 

There is a number on the back of the watch:  "L456625" or "1456625" and it says "Bulova Quality".  There is no date code on the outside. 

On the inside of the front of the watch, it just says "Bulova" and then "Swiss" at the bottom. 

I have uploaded several photos as well since my knowledge of watches is abysmal. 

I hope someone can help.  Anything I can learn about this watch is much appreciated.

Thank you,



1940 Bulova Eleanor watch
1940 Bulova watch
1940 Bulova watch
1940 Bulova watch
1940 Bulova watch
Posted February 21, 2016 - 1:59pm

Welcome Nicole; thank you for sharing your watch and story. It is going to be difficult to pin-point the year of your watch without seeing the movement, but I would guess it is from the late 40s. Typically the first numerical digit of the case serial number will help to determine the year pre-1950s, but your watch s/n looks to begin with the letter L; so the date stamp on the movement will be most beneficial. The model that is the closest match is the 'Eleanor', as seen in this 1948 ad snipet:

If you are able to open the watch, or have someone skilled do that, you should be able to find out more information regarding the movement model and date, as well as case gold content (likely rolled gold plate). I did not see an ad match prior to 1948.


William Smith
Posted February 22, 2016 - 12:03am

I agree the closest is the Eleanor.  Nice Family heriloom.  Also agree w/ Ken on the date being a guess based on ads and your example.  

Posted February 22, 2016 - 2:47am

Really looks as Eleanor

Geoff Baker
Posted February 22, 2016 - 7:20am

Hi Nicole, thanks for sharing your story, this really is a wonderful watch. Other than rings, I don't think there are many things more personal than watches. As a collector I think heirloom watches are just plain the best. Imagine how often your great grandmother wore and looked at this lovely little Bulova! It appears to have the original band on it which makes it even more special.

My guess is a anniversary or birthday gift. Thinking the s/n might start with a 1 could date it to 1941 which could be in line with a 20th. 

Please, if you intend to wear it, have it professionally serviced and have a new crystal installed. By the way  one of our members is a professional watchmaker in Canada.

My ID suggestion is also Eleanor.

Posted February 28, 2016 - 5:29pm

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your help.  We had a small family get together this weekend, and I was able to share this information with my mom and my aunt, who were both excited to hear about their grandmother's watch!  My aunt had never seen the watch before (or doesn't remember), so I believe this watch hasn't seen much wear since my great grandmother's passing. 

Ken, the ad you posted looks exactly like my watch.  Thank you so much!  If it is from 1948 that would be the year of my great grandparents' 25th anniversary, an anniversary well-deserving of such a beautiful watch, I think.  The fact that the ad mentioned Christmas also seems to follow since they were married in December. 

Thank you to everyone else for the verification.

Geoff, I am planning on wearing the watch.  I feel it would be shame to keep a family heirloom sitting on the shelf when it still works perfectly.  You mention that one of your members is a professional watchmaker here in Canada.  Would s/he be able to service the watch and install a new crystal?  I'm not sure who to go to to handle such a matter.  If so, I would like to contact them, if you don't mind directing me to how I can contact them.  This would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks again!


Geoff Baker
Posted February 29, 2016 - 7:33am

Nicole, I'll send you a PM (private message)