Bulova 1940 -Non-Conforming

Submitted by Benjamin Barrera on February 5, 2020 - 11:34am
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Crystal Details
Rectangular with curved top, 21.2 x 17.6 mm
Additional Information

Unknown 1940 Bulova

There is no trace of the stainless back ever being stamped with serial number or other markings.

Original crystal fell off and was lost!  It was rectangular with flat sides and a rounded top

The most interesting feature is the guilloche pattern on the dial.  I have seen similar dials from the 50s-60s but I found nothing like this in the ads from the 40s.  The sides are ridged like many watches from the 50s, so I was surprised when I opened the watch and found the omega date symbol that indicated 1940 for the movement.

Dial removed from case
Side view
Benjamin Barrera
Posted February 5, 2020 - 11:56am

I am not sure if this watch is 100% original because I don't believe it left the factory in this configuration.  The absence of markings on the back, could it be a replacement?  The movement has a lot of scuff marks, as if it was rattling around in a drawer for many years.  The styling of the watch looked to me like it was from the 50s at the earliest but the 7AP movement was used from 1936-1944.  The crown is loose so it's definitely been worked on in the past.

Right now I am guessing it's a 50s watch that was repaired with an earlier movement.  I'll check the ads and database but perhaps someone will know the model from the distinctive dial.


Benjamin Barrera
Posted February 5, 2020 - 1:10pm

OK, after searching the database and reading about the non-conforming watches, I am guessing this is a 1940 movement in an aftermarket case and dial.  The "B" in the "Bulova" logo is larger than the rest of the letters, that's another giveaway that the dial is not from the Bulova factory.  I saw a very similar case used for a 1951 Academy Award, apparently that was the inspiration for this aftermarket case and dial.

Kathy L.
Posted February 5, 2020 - 4:08pm

A nice watch but would agree this is a Non-conforming 

Posted February 6, 2020 - 6:57pm

You are correct in your identification, this is a Bulova movement in a non-Bulova replacement case. This is quite common; the owner took a badly worn watch to a jeweler (likely mid 1950's) and had the case replaced in a newer style - presto, a new watch for a much lower price using the old "engine". Wear it and enjoy it!

1940 Non-Conforming.

Geoff Baker
Posted February 6, 2020 - 9:55pm

Yeah, sorry Benjamin, this one is Non-Conforming

Benjamin Barrera
Posted February 14, 2020 - 4:14pm

Thanks, everyone, for all the help and information. Of course, it's always best to have a Bulova in original condition but this one is still part of Bulova history.  How third parties made replacement cases and dials for Bulova movements, how Bulova sued to get them to stop making Bulova dials, these are interesting stories.  Part of the fun of vintage watches is the stories they tell, and while this one is not original, it still tells an interesting story.  Best of all, I love the styling and it's in very nice condition, running well and keeping good time.  I can't ask for more from an 80 year-old watch.