Bulova 1933 Ambassador

Submitted by neetstuf-4-u on September 4, 2023 - 10:37am
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Watch Description

Here is a bit of a curiousity, what appears to be a 1933 Ambassador in a bezel that was thought to be discontinued in 1931. Add to that, it sports a perfectly matched dress dial hiding a 10AR  7 Jewel movement that is double stamped 1936/1937. Hands are mismatched as received. I got it without a band and added the oldest looking one I had the proper width to wear it.

I find no adverts after 1931 for Ambassador in this casing, and only 3 watches in the database with this movement. Those 3 movements are dated 1935 or 36. Is this a previously unseen 1933 Ambassador with a swapped movement or Bulova using up "obsolete" cases in 1936/1937 for cheap unadvertised watches? Whatzit? Keeping perfect time......

Posted September 4, 2023 - 8:20pm

Hi neetstuf-4-u, you are right. The Ambassador was discontinued after 1931. So, what is happening here? This watch is not from 1933 but from 1930. The confusion comes from the first digit. Where you would expect that Bulova went into 1930 using the 0 like previous years e.g the 9 for 1929, for 1930 they didn’t. They started the year using the 3 for reasons unknown other than they must have disliked starting with 0000000. Focussing on the first 3 digits, indeed no 000 can be found, the watches are all stamped as 300. It continued with 301. After that is was back to the convention e.g. 003, 004, etc. 

So, 1930 Ambassador with replacement movement. 

Posted September 4, 2023 - 8:42pm

In reply to by Alex

More confusing info.... There are currently 2 Ambassadors in the database ID'ed as 1930. Both have a serial number starting with a "02". One has a movement date stamped 1929 and the other is 1930.

Posted September 4, 2023 - 9:11pm

And I forgot to mention: apart that by 1933, these typical Art Deco models had discontinued, being replaced by yellow gold tank/tonneau like models, their case signature had also changed. They stopped using the Dust-tite, probably result of cost cutting during the worst year of the great depression, and as a result no patent date was stamped.

Posted September 5, 2023 - 5:17am

A couple things to note. The 1930s Ambassador housed a 15 jewelled movement and with the dial and hand variation I'm going to sat that this is a marriage of parts. I suspect the movement and dail are from another later 36/37 watch and have been house inside a Bulova Ambassador case.

So how to ID? We would normally ID as non-conforming and I'm certainly leaning that way. However we have previous discussed IDing watches where possible as the only known model name where there is a match. For example if a Lone Eagle had a mismatched dial and movement we could technical still ID as such, noting the mistached parts. The same might be said here.


Kathy L.
Posted September 5, 2023 - 1:47pm

I would be good with ID from the case that is specific to the Ambassador noting replacement dial/movement.

1930 Bulova Ambassador

Posted September 8, 2023 - 12:12pm

I can go either way on this one.  Replaced movement, dial and hands.  Not 15J.   

Geoff Baker
Posted September 12, 2023 - 12:39am

I think we ID this watch based on the case. In past we've tended to discount movement/dial swaps in watches of this era and suggest we do with this example as well. To me there is no question the movement is a swap but his case is Ambassador.

PS - Bob - I would not use a band that has adjustable springs as this one does. Over time they do irrepairable damage to the lugs as they are constantly grinding on them.