Bulova 1947 Clinton

Submitted by catangen on May 24, 2020 - 12:56am
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Crystal Details
very clean
Additional Information

Another example for the big debate. Knickerbocker, Clinton, Chief or Comptroller ???? For mine, I'm going with Knickerbocker. I take this position because in my research the only real thing I can see that differentiates them is the bracelet type (and maybe the region in which they are being marketed ? Maybe). In an advert you can clearly see many different bracelet types these were offered with and in the only one I can see labeled the 'Knickerbocker' you can clearly see my bracelet type. That ad is however from 1946 and my watch is of coarse a '47 model. That little anomaly doesn't bother too much though. Now lets get to the watch.

Ahhh, the infamous Bugsy. This is what I am going to refer to as a poor mans variant of the famous watch owned by Las Vegas Gangster Bugsy Siegel. His watch said to be made of 18k solid yellow gold, mine is 10k Rolled Gold Plate (hence the 'poor man' moniker). It has a 47 marked 8AH 17j movement, square body with very distinctive and prominent lugs. I love them. It has the original Kreisler mesh bracelet (matching Bugsy's sans the clasp. maybe the 18k came with a more secure clasp??) which is of coarse way to small for my 8-3/8 wrist so I cannot wear this one. the 15mm lug makes it a bit narrow on my wrist anyways, but if it fit, I would take a trip to Vegas just to wear it around the craps table.  

If you have something more solid to positively ID this model, I am all ears. 

Nice proud lugs
laid out in plush Bulova presentation case
Case back
1946 advert
Posted May 24, 2020 - 3:08am

the result of previous discussions is:

1943 - Comptroller

1945/46 - Knickerbocker

1947 - Clinton

1948/49 - Chief

then my vote is 1947 Bulova Clinton

Posted May 24, 2020 - 8:17am

Band and gold vs. black numerals could be a factor, but I think this one is based on year of production. With case and movement dates of 1947, I agree with Jabs

1947 Clinton

Posted May 24, 2020 - 3:13pm

Was really hoping I could get support for it being a Knickerbocker. I would have settled for Chief or even Comptroller. But we cant change what is I guess. I find it odd that all the '47 ads listing as a Clinton show it with a different bracelet. But hey...who's to say that the bracelet that I have on it now is the original? It could have very well been a later replacement. The '47' on the movement is much more solid ground that the bracelet type it currently sports. I will have to search again and see if I can find more of the old discussions and examine what has been hashed out already, but for now, I will bow to the more the more seasoned base and accept it as a Clinton. 

all laid out.

Posted May 24, 2020 - 3:20pm

I do see one little difference between my watch, and the real deal 'Bugsy', the watch owned by Bugsy Siegel that is on display at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. I mean one difference other than the obvious 18k solid vs 10k RGP discrepancy. I can see the second hand is slightly different. On the real deal Bugsy, the second hand has a 'tail', mine does not. The photo in this comment is of the real deal watch. Thoughts on what that? and if the second hand may be an indicator of model ?

The real Bugsy watch on dispaly in the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

Posted May 24, 2020 - 3:25pm

Referencing the above comment, in the 1947 advert that lists the model as 'Knickerbocker', you can clearly see the second hand has the 'tail' on it. As do all the other adverts that list the model as Clinton and Chief. My watch however, has no tail. Hmmm. 

Posted May 24, 2020 - 10:40pm

This model has me stumped as the the real name.   Here is a June and December 1947 ad showing this exact watch and bracelet called a Knickerbocker.  


The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey) · 10 Dec 1947

1947 Knickerbocker

The Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Indiana) · 6 Jun 1947, Fri

1947 Knickerbocker

Posted May 24, 2020 - 10:46pm

Well, now I'm wanting to revert back to my original opinion. Thanks for the backup. lol I really think it is a knickerbocker and that the bracelet is the tell. Every ad I see with the Kreisler mesh bracelet it shows as a Knickerbocker and now I am seeing ads from two different years, 46 and 47. 

Reverend Rob
Posted May 24, 2020 - 10:53pm

Those little sub-second hands do tend to get lost, if it's missing the tail, it may mean it was replaced at some point. I was unaware of the connection to Mr. Siegel, very interesting. 

Posted May 24, 2020 - 11:08pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

I was just browsing the Bulova catalog archives and found that the style of hands commonly seen on this model. and seen here on mine, are called "modern". The "modern" second hand does include a tail. There is another style called "index" that goes with the "index" hand set. This is the second hand that I have on my watch. Now that I have the correct technical data for the second hand I can start my search for proper part. 

There is a short video on YouTube called "Top 5 Gangsters & Their Watches". There Bugsy Siegel is the first one covered. This link should take you straight to the start of that segment https://youtu.be/muh6TJmgPbA?t=81 . The entire video is very interesting. 

Geoff Baker
Posted May 25, 2020 - 9:37pm

I'm going along with the Clinton crowd, based on the year - 1947 Bulova Clinton