Bulova 1945 Military Issue

Submitted by Plurr on November 12, 2020 - 6:50pm
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Additional Information

Really love the look of this watch.  Unfortunately it does not run.  I was quoted $150-200 for service and cleaning.  Do you think that price is high?

Inside Back
Posted November 12, 2020 - 8:54pm

Thank you for posting.  I love military issued watches.   The case style seems to date from the 50's or 60's so the movement from the 40's seems out of place.  I am not sure if the military reissued movements and recased them but will let the other panel members weigh in.  I also would expect the dial to be lumed so it might be a replacement.  

Posted November 12, 2020 - 10:41pm

I think the Ord. Dept was renamed Ord. Corps in 1950, so I would date this one by the movement at 1945. I don't believe I have ever seen this case before with the "peg" lugs. It is certainly military issue and I would assume the face has been refinished. My gut feeling is it's an original with movement being an age match to the case.

I'm going with 1945 Military Issue (Generic/unknown) pending further research.

Posted November 13, 2020 - 4:19am

I agree with the dial being an oddity. Not your typical lumed military dial.

Case and movement are 100% Bulova and military era, but the dial seems very unusual.

1945 Bulova Military Issue

Geoff Baker
Posted November 13, 2020 - 9:22pm

1945 Bulova Military Issue is a good ID

I think $150 USD is high for service on a mechanical watch

Reverend Rob
Posted November 15, 2020 - 4:47pm

If I might chime in here regarding prices, and a bit of background for those wondering what it's all about. (those familiar with my rants can skip this) 

My price for mechanical service, that is a CTR, for a mechanical watch starts at $190 USD, and I am considered very low. Most of the services I do are far higher than that.

In the first place, your mainspring is a 40 dollar item, depending on the model. It should always be replaced during a CTR. Crystals can sometimes be buffed out, but you can add at least 20-30 dollars for a new one. I have tens of thousands of crystals on hand, but usually I have to order the one needed from a Material Supply House. $20 plus $10 shipping means a $30 crystal at the very least. 

What is a CTR?

Full disassembly, preliminary cleaning and inspection, followed by cleaning in a machine utilizing Industry standard cleaning fluids (A type of high flash Aliphatic naphtha). Repair and replacement of all worn or damaged parts, followed by full re-assembly with demagnetization, timing and regulation. Balance jewels are usually cleaned separately utilizing Perchlorethylene or Trichloroethylene. The same is used to clean hairsprings. There are no fewer than three types of lubricants in the barrel alone. Automatic modules require different types of lubrication, especially reversers and ball bearings. Moly is often used in Chronographs at friction points in the Chrono mechanism. Fix-O-Drop (or Epilame) is a type of oil fixative as the name suggests, and must be carefully applied to the pallet stones and cap stones of the balance, as well as any and all cap jewels in the train. I usually include case cleaning and polishing with my service.

Hairsprings almost always need to be carefully adjusted to maximize accuracy. These are easily destroyed and modern ones can actually shatter, being made from Silicon. Our vintage Bulovas utilize the old style blue steel hairsprings for the most part, but there are also Elinvar and Nivarox ones as well. Here is a well written piece:


It costs $75,000 CHF and three years to train a watchmaker, followed by five years of apprenticeship. My store has an occupancy cost of over $2000 per month. The tools needed to kit out the shop for both watch and clock repair as well as retail sales, is well over $100,000.

I am a member of a Guild, and held to a code of ethical practices. 

There are ways to cut corners on all this, obviously, but this is considered the Industry standard. 

My store will be closing this coming Spring due to poor retail sales and high overhead, but I was constantly 18 months behind in repairs for the 10 years I was working for myself. While I was apprenticing, we were two years behind at all times. 

Posted November 17, 2020 - 4:09am

In reply to by Reverend Rob

I believe that true watchmakers such as Rob are totally under appreciated at what they do. In our throw away society and a world were it is cheaper to buy another than to have the old fixed, I feel sorry for truly skilled professionals like Rob.

My hope is that with the ever growing increase in the appreciation of fine mechanical timepieces, the skills that Rob has will once again become a necessity of life as it once was.

I cannot recommend highly enough the work that Rob does.

If you own a vintage timepiece, regardless of what you paid for it, if you plan of wearing it regularly you really should consider having it serviced every few years.