Bulova 1920 Precision

Submitted by slsummers on October 11, 2023 - 12:43pm
Manufacture Year
Movement Jewels
Case Serial No.
Case shape
Case color
Case Manufacturer
American Standard
Crystal details
Watch Description

Here's an example of an early ladies' Bulova watch nicely described here: https://mybulova.com/watches/1920-rubaiyat-9086; although the dial is signed "Bulova Precision" and the movement is jointly signed "Bulova and Favre".  I found another watch with a non-engraved octagonal case and "Bulova Precision" dial here on the watchophilia site, although the 1919 date does not align with the branding progression mentioned in the Rubaiyat post. 

Everything but the date and engraved case appears to match the watch found on watchophilia.  I realize watches from this time are difficult to date with certainty.  I'm seeking your assistance choosing the correct date.

Model Name: Precision

Case Date: Unknown

Case Serial: 1012693

Case Signature: "American Standard, Warranted 25 Years" with a globe symbol

Movement: No caliber designation, 15 Jewels, 3 Adjustments, Swiss, signed "Bulova W. Co" and "Favre W. Co."

Movement Date Code: None

Movement Serial: None

Case Dimensions: 25.5mm without crown

Case Type: Hinged back, snap bezel, octagonal

Case Back
Posted October 11, 2023 - 5:20pm

1919 might be correct. At the moment we've grouped these into the 1920 bucket, but I'd love to think that one day we'll be able to better understand when these were actually made. 

Over the last few weeks I've revisited many of these watches, looking for something tangible to use to help determine the year. Nothing has jumped out yet, other than seeing old adverts that use the same case, crown and guard shapes dating back to 1917. 

I recently found evidence that Arde Bulova started trading the American Standard Watch Case Company in 1917. In 1915/16 the directory of boroughs didn't have the same listing.

This might mean that 1917 is our starting date for serial numbers. We now just need to determine if they used a numbering scheme to indicate the year of production as they did from 1923 onwards.

ID wise I'd still group as a 1920 Bulova Precision

1917 Bulova, Hudson, Rubaiyat and American Standard Watch Case Company general directory of the boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx city of New York

Posted October 11, 2023 - 8:21pm

Dear Slsummers, very nice watch you posted. The “Bulova Precision” dial signature is always in combination with a Marc Favre movement, meaning your watch is fully original. Favre was absorbed by Omega in 1955 so their movements must have been very good, hence maybe the “precision” on the dial. Dating your watch is very difficult since Bulova only introduced a logic on dating cases and movement in 1924. Hence, dating your watch can only be based on the format of the signature in combination with the serial numbers. The signature format is what I call the “globe signature”. It preceded the “shield” signature and succeeded the “American Watch Case Co” signature. The globe signature serial numbers range from 1000095 to 1091769, meaning about 100 thousand have been made. Looking at production volume, derived from case serial numbers during 1922-1925, this 100 thousand number most likely corresponds with 1 year. The shield signature is with almost 100% certainty introduced around spring 1922, meaning that the globe signature was introduced early 1921. This also corresponds with some advertising in newspapers that start to appear as from May 1921. Hope this helps. 

Posted October 12, 2023 - 6:24am

In reply to by Alex

I've recorded a round engraved ASWCCo case with a serial number of 1000036 (Rubaiyat dial), which is the lowest I've seen. The end point for the globe signature I've recorded is 1090597 which is close to your 1091769 Alex, and a starting shield signature of 1092778.

I certainly suspect numbering started at 1000001. Wouldn't that be a find!

These case designs were used right throughout 1917 to 1921.

Kathy L.
Posted October 13, 2023 - 10:56am

Here is an ad from 22 Oct 1919 The Macon Telegraph.  

1919 ad

1920 Bulova Precision

Posted October 14, 2023 - 6:30am

In reply to by Kathy L.

That's interestimg. Advert also say Rubaiyat. This seems to be a very early recognition that Rubaiyat was associated with Bulova.