Bulova 1918 American Maid

Submitted by mybulova_admin on May 1, 2021 - 2:35am
Manufacture Year
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case color
Case Manufacturer
American Standard
Watch Description

Ok, I'm adding this to the website as I'd like to see what others think.

Everything about this watch screams Bulova and Rubaiyat. Dial is a near perfect match to the 1917 'Red 12' Rubaiyat except for the 'American Maid' name.

I've come across 2 or 3 other samples of the 'American Maid' branding, 2 of which are housed in a case also stamped 'American Maid'.

Whilst the style, quality and parts scream Bulova/Rubaiyat it's also the name that is 'very Bulova'....American Girl, American Bride, American Groom, American Boy.

Below I've also listed a few other examples of this name sake as well as a 1918 advert showing 'American Maid' as making ribbon watch bracelets in Providence Rhode Island.

I've listed the case serial number starting with a '2' as I'm sure I'm seeing it there (mis-struck and faint) in a picture also included below. Then again I could just be seeing what I want to see and that first number was just never struck. This could be a clue as to the meaning of the first number if it's not a watch built by Bulova and how the serial numbers were struck during manufacture, with the first number being added by the company selling the finished watch.

Anyway, after a full disassemble, clean and polish and mounted on a period correct (matching) silk ribbon bracelet, this 'maid' once again looks amazing and is keeping pretty good time for her age....just needs a minor adjustment of the regulator after running 5 minutes slow over the last 24hrs.

My wife put it on her wrist and it actually looked fantastic and was a perfect fit. Not sure it will replace her Samsung Smart Watch though.

1918 American Maid - Rubaiyat
1918 American Maid - Rubaiyat
1918 American Maid - Rubaiyat
1918 American Maid - Rubaiyat
1918 American Maid - Rubaiyat
Posted May 1, 2021 - 3:07am

Close up of the inside backcase before I gave it a clean and polish. I think I can make out a 2...or am I going mad!

1918 Rubaiyat American Maid watch case 2867685

Posted May 2, 2021 - 12:42am

In reply to by mybulova_admin

Confirmation that an mis-struck 2 was common. It's my belief that the first number was designated to an assembly plant or manufacture, eg Bulova, Star, Wadsworth etc.

Rubaiyat/Bulova American Standard mis-struck 2 in serial number

Posted May 1, 2021 - 3:09am

The 1918 American Maid Ribbon Watch Bracelet advert.

1918 American Maid Ribbon Watch Bracelet

...and one of two watches I've found that have 'American Maid' on the dial and backcase.

1918 American Maid

This and another example both house a Maxim movement.

Geoff Baker
Posted May 1, 2021 - 9:24pm

Wow, where did you find such a wonderful little beauty? I claim no expertise in this era but really am in awe of it.

I'll agree to what ever name you give her but I rather think 1918 Bulova American Maid should be considered!

Posted May 1, 2021 - 11:00pm

Now knowing that Bulova certainly had a hand in this watch, makes it all the more interesting to think what was happening during this period (1916-1919).

In 1917 the silent film "American Maid" was released, so I certainly see Bulova doing what they did best, even then, and that is capitalise on the popularity of something.

The above case stamped 'American Maid' is interesting. Was it a product of Bulova also? Did they take control of the name and branding? They certainly trademarked it.

Was 'American Maid' a play on words for 'American Made' ?

So many questions about this little watch.

Posted May 2, 2021 - 7:44am

Indeed. So many questions. For example: who is Charles Hancock? He is in Providence Rode Island but at a different address than Bulova. No connection found so far with Bulova. Does the Microlisk website indicate when Bulova registered the name? 

Posted May 2, 2021 - 9:19am

In reply to by Alex

My guess would be Hancock was a distributor, or perhaps he was a jobber / subcontractor. He may have assembled watches from bulk purchased parts, for Bulova or was an independent that  was absorbed by Bulova. We may never know.

Posted May 2, 2021 - 11:29am

In reply to by neetstuf-4-u

The only thing I found so far is that he had a small silver wear factory and a patent behind his name for a (silver) cigar clipper.....