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NOTES ON THE WW2 BULOVA SERVICE WRISTWATCH "Click" to Login or Register 
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Is anyone interested in WWII Bulova Service Wristwatches? Watches of this brand may be found in GI wristwatches with offset second hands and sweep second A-11 Navigation wristwatches.

After finding a rare slice of time to uncover my bench, I began to examine some Bulova A-11 watches in need of care. As with the other brands of WWII A-11 flight watches (Elgin, Waltham, Hamilton), Bulovas are foun in various brands of chrome plated cases. The common A-11 cases are of - three-part type (screw on bezel and back) two-part type (only the back unscrews - movements are fitted to a ring and inserted dial-first into the back of the case).

The two Bulova’s I examined were both housed in two-part Keystone cases. One of them needed a dial (from a salvaged movement).

In the course of this operation, I found that the same Bulova hacking movement may be found with either a large or small diameter dial. Of the two Keystone brand cases with Bulova markings, one would not permit the larger diameter dial to be inserted, only the small diameter dial would go into the back. The other case was large enough for either type of dial. This is the first I have noticed any differences in the size of A-11 Bulova dials. Has anyone else noticed a dial size difference? Anyone collecting Bulova miltary watches in particular?

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 1863 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
I have a few of these watches.They are usually good runners,and parts are pretty easy to get.
I even have one in a silver case.
There were three different movements in the watches.The basic caliber is 10AK,which has a small second hand.
Another is the 10AKCS that has a sweep second hand.
The third is the 10AKCSH that has a sweep second hand with a hack device.
There were 15 jewel and 16 jewel movements.The 16 jewel movements are the sweep second watches.
The 10AK movements were the school watch at the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking.Needless to say I am very familiar with them.
Later on( the 60'S) Bulova used a 10BNCH movement and also 10CNCH and a few others too I think.
You have a couple of good watches that should last for another 60 years.
Good luck,
Julian Smith
JBSCW 1960
 
Posts: 188 | Location: Warrenton, North Carolina U.S.A. | Registered: January 12, 2003
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Thanks for your insight regarding Bulova military wristwatches, the quality and reliability is excellent.

I have some original books and materials from the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking - excellent quality. Over the years I have heard nothing but great things about the Bulova School it must have been a great experience to go there.

About the silver cased Bulova in your collection, is it a military marked watch? If so, is it an
A-11 or Army Ordinance watch?

Thanks,

Greg
 
Posts: 1863 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Could anyone supply sample photos. I have a soft spot for Bulova's, and have never seen a military version. Regards!! Mark
 
Posts: 3713 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
posted
I have 3 Bulova military, one a ww2 A-11 with 6B/234 marking over it on the caseback (RAF re-issue, 10AKCSH hacking movement) and other two are post war navigation watches cal. 10BNCH. I can second the quality of these watches, I have one regulated to +/-5s a day and the other to about +/-15s, not bad for 50 yrs watches. The two post-war Bulova are shown 2nd and 3rd in the scan below. The 1st one is Hamilton 2987 USN and the last is Elgin UDT.

 
Posts: 39 | Location: Bdr Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia | Registered: June 08, 2005
posted
The silver cased Bulova has the same markings that the other Bulovas have.
type A-11
Spec.no.94-27834
serial no. AF42 22283
part no.10AKCSH
order no.W 535 AC-31412
Bulova Watch Co
hope this helps
Julian Smith
 
Posts: 188 | Location: Warrenton, North Carolina U.S.A. | Registered: January 12, 2003
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Welcome Lau Siew Ming, and thank you for the picture of part of your military watch collection.

Is the 2nd watch from the left a Type A17A Navigator watch? The third watch from the left also appears to be a Navigator's watch but I'm not sure of the type.

So far, I'm aware of Waltham and Bulova A-11 wristwatches supplied to the Royal Air Force in WWII. So far, all the Walthams have had only RAF marks on the back, while the Bulova's have all had the RAF marks stamped over top of the USAAF markings. I'm not sure why this is, but it makes the Bulova A-11 USAAF/RAF issue an interesting watch to collect.

Given the often poor condition of so many of the well used plated cases used in WWII vintage U.S. issued wristwatches, those cases made of silver or nickle silver are desireable.

Best regards,
Greg
 
Posts: 1863 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
WOW! EekThank you!! SmileHigh regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3713 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
posted
Thanks Greg. The 2nd from the left is marked WATCH NAVIG., Type A-17A, SPEC. MIL-W-6433A, while the 3rd is marked WRIST WATCH, MIL-W-3318A. The latter has a 16J 10BNCH movement. I noticed that almost all Type A-17 has 17J movement, other than some earlier Waltham with the 10616 calibre/marking (the later 10617 has 17J). Apart from the hand, dial layout and the caseback marking, the two Bulova looks very similar, both in parkerized 2 piece Star case. I am not sure which one pre-dates the other, do you have any information on this?

I also find the USAF/RAF marked Bulova A-11 interesting. Another example I can recall is the MOD issued Hamilton 3992B with broad arrow stamped next to the US Government on the movement itself.
 
Posts: 39 | Location: Bdr Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia | Registered: June 08, 2005
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
The watch third from left has hands of an earlier style, but otherwise, I have no idea if it is earlier or maybe the same date as the 2nd from the left A17A model. These two watches are pictured in Whitney's book, but he does not say much about them other than providing the case back information and that they are post-WWII.

Given the markings on the case back, my best guess is that the 16 jewel Bulova was a general issue wristwatch. In contrast to the 17 jewel A17A which is clearly an air navigation watch.

The 4992B with a broad arrow on the movement is interesting. They would have had to take it out of the case - maybe while it was being cleaned - in order to stamp it without damage. I like the way they would have had to pay such close attention to detail in order to cause them to mark the movement like that!

Best regards,
Greg
 
Posts: 1863 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
Picture of Wayne Hanley
posted
Greg
I just acquired a Bulova silver alloy A-11, noticing this A-11 looking smaller as compared to another A-11 case I have. I measured both cases. The silver alloy case is 30.0mm diameter,outside crystal diameter 25.4mm, while the same specification the other case is 32.0mm,outside crystal measurement 27.7mm. Because the specs are the same on both A-11s, I am having difficulty proving that I have the silver alloy A-11 hack watch case that is 30.0mm in diameter, when the chrome base metal cases are 32.0mm. Silver A-11 shown in pic below.


30.0mm A-11 Silver Alloy Case
TYPE A-11
SPEC.NO.94-27834
SER.NO. AF43-34290
PART NO. 10AKCSH
ORD.NO. W535AC-33934
BULOVA WATCH CO.

32.0mm Case-Chrome Plated-Brass Base Metal
SER.NO. AF43-133504
same specs except for serial numbers.

Sorry in the delay on your request LOL
Wayne

 
Posts: 370 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 10, 2007
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Hi Wayne,

Looks like new. Thanks for sharing it with us.
 
Posts: 1863 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
Picture of Wayne Hanley
posted
The dimensions for my type A-11 hack watch have been authenticated. My case measures 30mm or 1 1/8 inch diameter w/o crown. 30mm is certainly within the limits 1 1/16 minimum & 1 5/16 maximum reference in mil-spec Figure 1 at the bottom of the page.

Thanks to Jay Milner of vintagebulova.com for Figure 1 of SPEC.NO.94-27834

 
Posts: 370 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 10, 2007
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