Bulova 1943 Air Warden

Submitted by Aberlow on March 11, 2013 - 12:31am
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Crystal details
NOS aftermarket
Additional Information

Bought this from a panel member in non-working condition. It had a broken mainspring and some rust. After installing a new mainspring and crystal, and a thorough cleaning, oiling, and regulating, it is running beautifully. UPDATE: I have outfitted this piece with the correct hands and a band that more closely matches the original. 

Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
Posted March 11, 2013 - 12:50am

Wow you did a great job with that one! I believe Air Warden... but have always entertained the idea of a black dialed Apollo as well.

Posted March 11, 2013 - 4:21am

Nice one. Should be 1943 due to case SN.
Has had a hand change, should be radium hands, there is a trace of radium still on the dial, most noticably on the 5 and 7.
Air Warden with hour and minute hands change.

Geoff Baker
Posted March 11, 2013 - 6:10am

I agree, Air Warden. Nice one too.

Posted March 11, 2013 - 9:30am

Air Warden. Needs lumed hands. I have hands for it. PM me at JP and we can talk if you are interested.


Posted March 11, 2013 - 11:52am

Thanks for the comment on the case number! It actually means i might have made a mistake putting it back together. I had two case backs one with the serial above and the second with the number: 6505631. would that match the movement date? 

Posted March 11, 2013 - 12:25pm

The serial numbers usually start with the year within the decade. For instance the 6 at the beginning of the one you just posted would indicate 1946 probably.

That being said its very common to have the case and movement be a year or two off. Your case here showing a 3 would mean the movement was made in 1941, the case in '43. Probably put together in '43.

So I think you put them back together correctly.

William Smith
Posted March 13, 2013 - 6:03pm

Here's snippet from 1941 ad above, next to subject watch:
Below, two 1942 ads for Night Hawk

Subject watch date 1943 based on case SN.
All three ads show (or state) radiun hands/dial.  I don't remember if Air Warden ads show/state radiaum? I think most of the examples of Warden in DB have radium.  
Is that a trace of radium left on subject dial at the 5 and 7 numerals???

Reverend Rob
Posted March 13, 2013 - 10:13pm

I'm thinking Nighthawk. Even if the Radium has been removed, the dial remains somewhat radioactive. Radium would have been extremely common in the 1940's. 

I did extensive research into the whole Radium history, and it turns up on clock dials and clock radio/alarms as late as 1978. Watches, however, phased it out and it is rare to encounter it much past the early 60's. This is despite the fact that it was  known as a hazard and carcinogen since the 20's, possibly earlier. 

Posted March 14, 2013 - 12:35am

Yup. The sad thing is the factory workers didn't know it was harmful, but the managers and scientists at the factories did. it is one of the lasting examples of workforce abuse. See "Radium Girls."

I purchased some proper hands so as soon as they arrive the watch will be back to its original hands. Additionally i purchased a band that matches the ad.