Bulova 1959 SVP

Submitted by gmmy775 on May 21, 2019 - 12:34pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Movement Serial No.
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case Manufacturer
Crystal Details
29.9 mm in watch
Additional Information

Bulova Surf King 17j 11AF ss  D803550 L9_L9 stem wind swiss

Case Measurements:  33.75Width mm w/o crown, and 4.95Depth mm w/o crystal

Case Material:  stainless steel

Crystal in watch:  29.9 mm round

Lugs:  18.00mm

Crown:  4.75 mm w/ male half-stem

Movement: Unable to remove crystal to inspect.  Presumed to be Bulova 11AF, Swiss manufactured from 1959 to 1967, w/ sub second sweep.  11AF is only 2.9 mm in height, one of a handful of movements that would fit in this unusually slim case.  Typical inscriptions on 11AF movement:  BULOVA WATCH CO; 11AF [in a box]; Seventeen 17 Jewels; date code; Unadjusted; Swiss; BXW [import code]

Inside Back:   Unable to remove crystal

Back:  closed, top-loader. Inscription from top to bottom:  BULOVA; Patent No. 2871654; L9; Stainless Steel Case; Anti-Magnetic; D803550; Water Proof; Shock Resistant;

Note:  One of very few mid century Bulova cases I have owned that bear a patent number. This is speculated to pertain to waterproof design, and may include a proprietary tool to remove crystal.  Crystal is very low-profile, as is the watch case.   Standard Bergeon crystal lift tool cannot get sufficient purchase to compress and lift crystal, though it will leave marks on crystal edge.  Watch runs well.  Has a sub-second sweep…photo was taken with a 4 second exposure and it disappears

1959 Bulova SVP II watch
1959 Bulova watch
1959 Bulova watch
1959 Bulova watch
Posted May 21, 2019 - 1:41pm

It is indeed an 11AF movement, seventeen jewels, swiss made. I'm currently working on the 1962 model year of this exact same watch. I believe it is a Jet Clipper, variant unknown.

It has a split stem system so you have to pull the crown/stem out, then push down on the crystal which will separate the case from the bezel. Once separated you can remove the crystal and then the movement from the case bottom. The crystal needs to house the reflector ring. It is a unique crystal design I'm finding very difficult to find a new one.

Posted May 21, 2019 - 1:51pm

In reply to by bourg01

Hi Bourg

There are four identical Surf Kings, one with the black dial, and three with the white (CW variant) in the 1960 model database.  Also there is one on ebay.  I did remove the crown first, but was unable to lift the crystal, and was only able to make marks on the crystal because of the extremely shallow design.  Even with the crystal on the watch was only 8.15mm thick.  Good luck finding a replacement, I did not find one

Posted May 21, 2019 - 2:48pm

If your measurement of 29.9 mm crystal is correct, then it looks like a GS PA-462-7H.

Mine measures 28.3 mm out & off the case which is a GS  PA 437, However niether of these crystal show that they are for a reflector ring and the ridge to hold the ring down in place is clearly there on the original.

The PA 457-35 is 28.83 mm and is showing it's for the "Jet Clipper AB (I think this is what I need ), and the PA 462-17 at 30.05 mm shows it for a reflector ring but doesn't identify any model. I think this may be the one you'll need. Oops maybe at 29.92 mm it's the PA 462-6R.

Kathy L.
Posted May 22, 2019 - 10:29am

Maybe one of the many SVP models? Ad is from 1959

Posted May 22, 2019 - 3:25am

I am in the process of obtaining some vintage catalogs for cross-referencing crystals.  As far as the crystal in this watch----I misread my vernier caliper...it is actually 27.85 mm in the watch.  And it definitely has the reflector ring.  It was 6am and I was frustrated from not being able to get the crystal off.  Would the reflector ring make it more difficult to compress?

Anyway, there are 4 (four) identical Surf Kings in the 1960 Bulova Models database.  They all have the same markings on the back, including the patent number.  They all are super thin, and have 18.00mm lugs, which in my experience is unusual, as most have some fraction between 17-18mm.  I have found a number of them as a Surf King online as well, both on the bay and on etsy.  All but one have white dials, which from the database dialogue seems to indicate a Surf King CW.  The SVP watch looks very similar, though I don't know what year that ad is, and I don't know if it has the patent no. on the back.  I am definitely on board with paying $1 a week for a Bulova!  What seems unusual to me is the crystal, as the dome is so low as to not allow my crystal lifter to get any grip before it slides off.  For all I know it is another Unknown, or could be any number of similar appearing models.  I am just drawing my opinions from what I gleaned from the database.  Thanx for the efforts

Kathy L.
Posted May 22, 2019 - 10:33am

In reply to by gmmy775

Sorry I should have said the ad was a 1959 ad.  I will have to look for it again to get the exact date.  Looks like Ken nailed it below with catalog dates for the two models.

Posted May 22, 2019 - 3:59am

A moment of illumination.  I went back to the 1960 Model database and re-read the string of dialogue for the second Surf King.  This is a watch belonging to member NYCnat, and member Fifth Avenue Rest... is explaining to NYCnat that the watch has a press fit bezel.  You hold the lugs with both hands and press the crystal with your thumbs.  The crystal and back pop out in one unit with the movement sealed inside.  That explains why the crystal is so low, and why I could not lift it with a professional tool.  I actually have another Bulova with this same configuration, a 1956 Sea Clipper.  The Sea Clipper is twice as thick though.  Now that I have seperated the components I have an exact measurement of the crystal:  28.35mm diameter, and the height is 3.75mm.  This is the first time I have ever laid actual eyes on an 11AF.  It is unbelievably thin.  I definitely want a new crystal for this watch.

Posted May 22, 2019 - 5:43am

I lean towards the Surf King, we have several identical watches in the database

Posted May 22, 2019 - 7:23am

I believe we are looking at two possible models, the S.V.P. and the Surf King (new for 1961).

The SVP I and the Surf King AW (11200 ref#) used the white dial.

The SVP II and the Surf King BW (11201 ref#) used the black dial. The black dial is indicated in the 1961 pricelist for the SK BW.

All of these were listed at $24.75.

I can only find ads for the white dial versions, but the black dial being the next number in sequence seems highly likely.

Since the Surf King was new for 1961, then it would be likely that the SVP was the model pre '61. My vote is for S.V.P. 'II' in 1959