Bulova 1952 Sky King

Submitted by neetstuf-4-u on September 17, 2022 - 2:11pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Date Code
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case color
Case Manufacturer
Crystal details
glass - appears original
Watch Description

What the heck is that? I found this one on ebay and it was one I didn't recognize. It has little stylized wings on the lugs. I went through all the ads from 1945 to 1955 as well as all the short ads from 1940 through 1959 to no avail. Went through the entire database - nada. Finally, out of options, I went to the earliest linebook 1955 - 1957 hoping for a miracle and Bingo! there it was. Did a double take when I saw the ID, and immediately did a buy it now - best offer accepted.

I never would have expected the name. Linebook shows hand written date of 1955  next to illustration and description is overstamped "Discontinued". Not listed in 1956 or 1957. Dealer price is crossed out and reduced, leading me to believe the watch was a marketing flop and by 1955 Bulova was selling off overstock at a reduced price to get rid of them.

Watch has a good balance and will run a few seconds with a shake or flick of the balance wheel and stops. Hopefully it just needs a standard service. Dial is pristine and case shows only the slightest plating "tipping" wear.

I have to believe this is a "hen's teeth" watch.


Posted September 17, 2022 - 2:18pm


Posted September 17, 2022 - 6:20pm

That's a good find. I've never seen one like it anywhere before. 

Posted September 17, 2022 - 6:24pm

In reply to by 1955mercury

Me either. I did an extensive internet search as well as mybulova and found only one reference to it's existence in the 1955-57 linebook.

Posted September 17, 2022 - 8:28pm

That is certainly a rare one.   1952 Bulova Sky King. Nice find.

Posted September 17, 2022 - 9:06pm

Another consideration is the Pelham. Same model number 31733. This model shows up in the 53/55/58 pricelists. Here is a 57 linebook image.


There is a SUC crystal that has the bevel and curve in the center that matches the case profile.


Hard to tell the difference between Sky King and Pelham. Maybe the Sky King does not have a beveled crystal.

Posted September 17, 2022 - 11:21pm

In reply to by Andersok

I suspect the difference is the crystal. No bevel on subject watch or the Sky King Linebook entry. I am wondering by dates if the Pelham replaced Sky King with a different style crystal. The bevel line distortion of the dial in Pelham linebook entry is pretty obvious. Watch is a 1952 which predates the pricelist dates of 53, 55, 58 for Pelham . Sky King is marked as discontinued as of 1955 linebook, presumably ceased model production in 1953, switching crystal and name.

I would surmise that there was limited numbers produced as Sky King and they were discounted to get rid of them in conjunction with the Pelham release?

Kathy L.
Posted September 17, 2022 - 9:33pm

Well that is an interesting one!  I would be inclined to go with the Pelham since it was in the 1953 price list.

1952 Bulova Pelham

EDITED:  After reading Bob's comment above that logic makes sense to me so I am going to change to the Sky King.

1952 Bulova Sky King

Posted September 18, 2022 - 6:22pm

Another interesting note is the retail price listed in photos.  Besides the crystal lines difference, the 1955 discontinued Sky King is listed as a retail of $71.50; the 1957 listing for Pelham is $67.50. Different photos. Both have an original factory dealer price of $22.95, but Sky King is discounted/discontinued to $20.95.

Posted September 19, 2022 - 10:54pm

I am still going to go with Sky King.

Posted September 20, 2022 - 7:05am

With cross over models like this I guess we can only look at the small details to help determine which way to lean.

With the distinctive crystal of the Pelham, I'm leaning towards to Sky King myself.