Bulova 1950 Military Issue

Submitted by FifthAvenueRes… on May 7, 2011 - 1:58am
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Additional Information

Bulova 'Type A17A' - Korean War Era U.S. Military issue.

Parkerized Steel Case measures 40mm lug to lug x 32mm wide non inclusive of the Crown while using Calipers.

Black Dial shows Luminous and White printed numerals. Hour and Minute Hands are Luminous filled and the sweep center Seconds Hand is unique with a Luminous Arrowhead tip.

A Steel dustshield and gasket appears between the Caseback and Movement.

10 sided Caseback is Parkerized, screws on and is stamped as shown.

Crown is Steel.


The A17A is shown on its original issue strap.


* 100% correct as found - from the estate of a retired U.S. Naval Officer.

Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
Bulova Watch
Posted November 26, 2012 - 6:42pm

It shows a date, at least.
This watch should be in the Unknown category as so much about it is unknown.

Posted November 26, 2012 - 6:56pm

Darren, if you read the posts above regarding the link Mark himself posted you will see it cannot be 1950, that is a start, yet that date is still on the header.

Posted November 26, 2012 - 7:15pm

When I assigned my 2 ticks it was because I believe the subject watch is a Military Issue A17A.  Without a generally accepted way to date the cases I don't think I could give 3 ticks for any A17A. I'd rather have the subject watch named and mis-dated (by a couple of years) than Unknown. If the Panel votes for Unknown, so be it.

Posted November 28, 2012 - 6:34am

I have removed 'some' comments from this topic. A reminder to please keep 'all' posts respectful and curtious. I'm sure as adults we can discuss these things in such a manner.

Bobbee, your instance on facts is at least providing us with much needed information from a number of sources and members. Its sometime the little things that can tell the real story and I have no doubt that one day we will find the neccessary information to either prove or disprive the date range for this particular release.

Has anyone thought to contact Bulova. I know their records are limited but they may just have kept some of their military records. Its worth a shot.

For me this watch gets Military Issue "A-17A" tentative (2 stars). The case is what it is. Yes the date is in question, but take out the movement and its still a Military Issue "A-17A", there is no denying that.


Posted November 28, 2012 - 9:34am

snippet from the original Military spec spread sheet posted in this thread referred to by Mr Hanley.

* Note the original document claimed the MIL-W-6433A Bulova Type A-17A originally commenced production in 1960, this has now been down revised by the author to 1954 followed by a ?

Official Military documents show the A-17 as in testing in 1947.

Posted November 28, 2012 - 11:50am

So, I've been "edited" too!

Mark, you ought to know the date 1954 followed by a ? is the earliest date estimate, not a middle or high, but the earliest estimated date of production, using all knowledge at their disposal. This is knowledge that you freely use, and respect, as stated by you earlier in this thread.

"Testing" for the A-17, testing being the operative word, and for the A-17, NOT the A-17A.

Bulova did not receive notification of the A-17 required specs until Jan 3rd. 1949.

Documents are the property of Broad-arrow.net

This letter is asking the major market leaders for their comments on the specifications.

How do you suppose that they forwarded their reply to the Military, and subsequently only Waltham produced the A-17, then the Military revised the Specs that then become the A-17A, Bulova and others then do their own development and testing of this new model, then are given the go-ahead for production In much less than one year?

Don't forget that the military were testing the watch in November 1947, but it was thirteen months before the manufacturers were notified in January 1948, do you think things were suddenly rushed through, for a very important customer, who would be ordering many thousands of the watches specified?

One more thing. I have carped on about the date missing on this watch, but after reading the thread linked below, I think I am right in doing so.

Work by the code you wish others to.


Posted November 28, 2012 - 12:12pm


If You note the original estimated Dates of production for MIL-W-6433 (Type A-17) and MIL-W-6433A (Type A-17A) shown in the spreadsheet above the difference is 4 Months.

The estimated Date of production for the Waltham Type A-17 has now been down revised by the spreadsheets author to 1950 followed by a ?

As stated prior My estimated Date of production based on personal research limited to the (this) Bulova Type A-17A is 1950 and until someone comes up with anything definative that will remain a ?

The subject Watch is what it is, a Bulova MIL-W-6433A  'Type A-17A Navigation'.

The Korean 'conflict' occured June 25, 1950 thru July 27, 1953.

Posted November 28, 2012 - 1:54pm

So now the original spreadsheet dates are right? You cannot say that this part is right, and this part is wrong, just to suit your needs and silly theories.

God, I wish you would show some consistency in your posts. Nothing in your posts supports you theory with facts, some of your posts refute it.

You are making this up, how can you date a watch with no date?


Posted April 27, 2014 - 8:27am

Waltham did not begin development of the Type A17 until 1950, and produced them in three batches in 1950, 1952, and 1956.

This snippet from the Waltham Wikipedia entry.

"1950: Waltham develops the Type A17 Pilot Watch and the wrist compass, standard issue equipment for the US Air Force and Navy."

The Type A17-A was developed after the A17, so must post date by several years.

Here is a Bulova Type A17-A with an L5 movement dating to 1955.

Note the Case back serial number of this 1955 watch is only four digits long, while the subject watch has a five digit serial number, and must date later than this example.




EDIT:- This snippet below is a quote from a post here: http://ihc185.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/990103944/m/95210328?r=4993…

by another long-term military watch collector, also a known expert in his field.



posted May 08, 2009 15:14

Thanks for all the kind replies.

Unfortunately I don't have the original Specifications for the A-17, nor the ammendments for the A-17A. From all the examples I've come across in the past 8 yrs (and info from fellow collectors) it seems that the following info is correct in regard to contract dates:

Waltham A-17: 1950, 1952, 1956

Bulova A-17A: 1956, 1959

Elgin A-17A: 1956, 1959

Perhaps other members would like to comment ?

Kind regards,



Posts: 23 | Location: Gallup, New Mexico U.S.A. | Registered: February 25, 2005


Not having seen any Bulova or even Elgin A17-A watches with a correct movement pre-dating 1955, I would have to conclude that the claimed date of the subject is incorrect.

Claims that the 3818A superceded the A17-A are also wrong, as the 3818A is a General Purpose timepiece for groundcrew, whilst the A17-A was a flyers Navigational tool, it says so on the case back.The 3818A had lesser specifications, was dustproof but not waterproof, had 15 jewels not 17.