Bulova 1957 Bulova 23

Submitted by timeoday on August 2, 2011 - 2:26pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Crystal Details
23.15X23.15 gently tapers down on all four corners. The flange is 25.12mm sq. CMS660
Additional Information

My fathers watch, now mine. Runs ok and self winds. The hands have rust, and some of the rust particles are scattered on the face.

I searched a long time till I found a picture of the watch that shooter144 recently posted here ID-ing his watch as a 1957 Surfmaster. The differences are this one is 23J, and it has a full sweep second hand. In the discussion about shooter114s watch it was mentioned that there is a crystal listed for a Surfmaster-A model, so perhaps that is what I have?

My watch was held together the same as shooters, with four press pins so I removed those and seperated the case from its gold frame, the whole unit pressing along with the crystal out the back.

The watch face is signed "Bulova", "23 jewels" and "Selfwinding". The back is stamped with "patent pending, L7, C271662".  Then the four thin beveled edges of the back are stamped with "BULOVA, *waterproof* Anti-magnetic, Stainless Steel back Shock-resistant, Self Winding. The crown is also signed "Bulova".

Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova Watch
Bulova Watch
Posted August 6, 2011 - 5:59am

Surfmaster A (57)


:-)  Scott

Posted August 7, 2011 - 10:11am

In reply to by WatchCrystals.net

Thanks Scott.

Posted September 6, 2011 - 9:00pm

I had some time and was able to ID the movement model as 10BPAC. Also stamped on the movement is L7, 1957. I will post a picture soon.

Posted September 6, 2011 - 9:43pm

I doubt this is a 'SURFMASTER'

Your Watch is a Self Winding 23 Jewel movement in a Waterproof Case. - My guess is this is an unseen 'BULOVA 23' - the Dial characteristics are the same and they all were 23 Jewel auto's in Waterproof Cases' in the late 1950's.



Posted September 6, 2011 - 10:00pm

My ID was based entirely on chrystal specs, no ad as of yet. The crown is a 2 piece on mine, kind of a ball and split socket arrangement. Look at the stem just inside the case with some magification and slowly turn the crown untill you see the slot for the ball portion to pop in and out of. Then gently rock the movement and crown apart...kinda tricky but  if your carefull it will come apart without damage.

Posted September 7, 2011 - 6:23am

Your 'SURFMASTER' ID is 17 Jewel manual winding shooter.

Posted September 7, 2011 - 4:07pm

 Thanks FifthAvenue for your input. I looked at the Bulova 23's listed here. The difference that stands out between those and mine are that this one has a two piece case. The back stainless case slides into the front gold filled half. The two are then held together by four press pins that press through both sections, one beside each lug and hidden behind the band. I know this is easier to see now that I posted some more pictures.

I dont know if this has any effect on your thoughts on this watch's ID, it is just an observation of mine.


Posted September 7, 2011 - 4:16pm

All  the 23 Jewel Waterproof Automatics were named '23' or 'Bulova 23' as We refer to them and I don't see why this Watch would be any different. No proof  at this time of coarse, just a common sense assumption that this Watch is another '23'.

Only the circular cased models have been seen to date.

Posted September 7, 2011 - 9:55pm

In reply to by FifthAvenueRes…


This just seems too generic to me. I read the vintage advertisement you posted for Jose on his "23". It seems Bulova was very proud of their new 23 jewel movement timed to six adjustments from the looks of that ad. They claim in bold print on that ad the following; "Bulova "23"...twelve distinguished models from $59.50 to $175.00...watch illustrated $95.00"

It seem to me that the marketing team at Bulova would have come up with names to distinguish their "twelve distinguishing models", and not just lump them together as all being Bulova 23. But perhaps I am mistaken.

I can understand how people in the watch business of the day and even now might clump a group of watches together because of a certain notorious build quality or lack thereof. It is just my humble opinion that this falls short of an actual ID for an individual watch. Maybe it would be more accurate to say "unidentified Bulova 23" as we have at least identified this 23 jewel subgroup, but have yet to name the "twelve distinguished models."

And there still remains some evidence that this may be a Surfmaster or Surfmaster "A" based on crystal size.

There seems to be a hole in the information from advertisements on this year.

Posted September 7, 2011 - 4:11pm


Thanks again for your help. I think that the two piece stem is very much as you described on yours. However on mine the section of stem that is attached to the crown is so short that it places the joint of the two stem halves inside the barrel of the case. This kept the two from being slid apart, regardless of position. So in my application the crown is a snap fit. It took me awhile to eliminate all other possibilities and get ther nerve to pry on it. A little penetrating oil on the crown side helped.