Bulova 1972 Ambassador

Submitted by oliverb on June 19, 2012 - 12:29pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Model
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case color
Case Manufacturer
Crystal details
Acrylic, appears original
Watch Description

I have been a watch enthusiast for more than 50 years but not always an active collector. For the past two years I have been adding to my collection of Accutrons but a recent post on Watch Talk Forum about Bulova 23J auto watches  piqued my interest.  Since then I have acquired 8 auto winds and re- sold two of those. I now have three 23J autos and three 30J autos. This is my latest - a 30J micro rotor that just arrived yesterday. The case is EGP and in near-mint condition. Top is polished but for a small etched ring around the crystal. The edges are etched and the case bottom is brushed. Case back is SS one-piece screw in. Case back markings are: Bulova, Gold Electroplate Bezel and Stainless Steel Back with the serial number and N2 date code. Crown is signed "Bulova". Crystal is acrylic and appears original. I say this because there were some surface scuffs that polished out and the case does not appear to have been abused.  The dial is reddish in the center, fading out to a dark red around raised, gold hour hash marks.  Minute marks painted on between hour hash marks. Hands are GP with a luminous light green section from middle outward. Markings on dial: Bulova, 30, Automatic and T SWISS T at bottom. The movement is clean, running  and auto winding well plus appears to be keeping reasonably accurate time. The band is not original but a new replacement that complements both the case and dial. While doing research, one statement I came across was that watches with these movements did not sell well. It is curious that the movement has a date code of M8 and the case date is four years later at N2. I know there is sometimes a year, maybe two, between movement and case dates but this seems a little wide to me. I am wondering if the movement was recased at some point. The watch is supposed to be factory original. I could not find a case style like it in the ads. Whil researching, I did come across a 218 Mickey Mouse Accutron with either a very similar or exact same case style. IMHO, the watch is stunning and, if not original, I plan on leaving it just as it is.  Any info would be appreciated. Many thanks!

Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Bulova watch
Posted June 19, 2012 - 12:50pm

Almost certainly an Ambassador, several in the database, there's even one with "Ambassador" on the dial, with zero ticks!? Type the mvmnt. no. in the search box and look, Oliver.

Posted June 19, 2012 - 3:45pm

Yes, I did see somewhere that these movements were almost exclusively in the Ambassador line. I did check out the other Ambassadors but none with this case. Still curious about the gap between movement year and case date.

William Smith
Posted July 7, 2012 - 5:49pm

So Ambassador ad showing subject movement. ...but the time difference between movement and case is pretty significant.  Does this move into the realm of non-conforming?

I'm comfortable w/ one tick based on how it is listed now. 

Posted July 7, 2012 - 9:45pm

oliverb, can you please confirm the case and movement date codes.

Posted July 8, 2012 - 8:10am

Yes, dates of "M8" for the movement and "N2" for the case are correct. Nothing looks unusual about how the movement fits in the case.

William Smith
Posted July 8, 2012 - 2:45pm

On subject watch dial, it's signed T SWISS T .  Do we know or have a theory about the differences between dials signed simply SWISS and those marked like subject watch?  This may prove useful in ID'ing this watch and others. 

Oliverb - in your last ppg of "additional information" field, you said:

         "The watch is supposed to be factory original."

Why did you think this?  If you got the watch from a dealer who had it for 30 years in his back room this could have more meaning that if an eBay seller stated this in the auction listing.   Thanks

Posted July 17, 2012 - 8:40am

In reply to by William Smith

Sorry I didn't respond to your question earlier. The watch was listed as a piece that had been in the family. That's all I have to go on as to it not having been "built up".

Reverend Rob
Posted July 8, 2012 - 3:40pm

The "T" indicates Tritium lume. My understanding is that the two T's mean dial and hands. Some watches did not have lume on the dial, for example. 

The micro rotor Autos did sell less well, not the least because they aren't as efficient at winding, and if you sit still a lot (like I do at the bench) they will actually stop. This I can confirm from experience. If I am out and about, walking and doing normal things, I don't encounter any problems. Sitting in an office or at a computer all day wouldn't keep this watch wound. Methinks at this rate, future watchmakers will evolve having large eyes, tiny fingers and vestigial legs.....

That said, the top grades are these 30j versions, and it is an excellent movt, and was groundbreaking at the time. This is what prompted Hamilton to aquire Buren in the first place. (This is a Buren 1322)

Posted July 8, 2012 - 3:41pm

Dials with a "T", usually at the bottom, means the lume used is Tritium, as opposed to, say, Radium or other light reactive chemicals.