My 82 year old Grandma gave me this watch she said she was given it for graduation and that it had been her mother's. Can someone tell me anything about it? I was surprised when I opened it to see it still moving and looked so shiney like new.
Hi, Jaime. Nice watch you have there. It's probably one of the "Her Excellency" line from the late 1940s, but I sure wouldn't swear to that without additional information, like a jewel count and date codes.
The jewel count will be stamped on the movement (the part that runs the watch). If I'm correct, and the watch is a "Her Excellency", then you should see "21 Jewels" stamped on the movement.
There should be two indications of the date on your watch. First, there should be a very small symbol on the movement itself. Check out Date Codes, if you're not sure what you're looking for. Your watch may be late enough in time to have a two-character date code instead of the symbol, so also keep an eye out for "47", "48", or "49" on the movement. You're going to need strong magnification and excellent lighting to spot the symbol/code.
The case will likely have it's own date code. Look on the back for a two-character code, such as "A9". If it's there, it will be near the indication of case composition. If you don't see that two-character code--and you very well may not--then tell me the serial number that is stamped on the back of the case.
While you're looking at all that, you might as well also tell me what the case is made of, e.g., 10K Gold Filled or Rolled Gold Plate. . .something like that.
Maybe you can see more than I do. Inside the case it says Bulova fifth ave
new York but it appears to say something to the left of the bulova. The
back says bulova 10k gold filled on the top. On the bottom it says 1751639
I believe but I don't have a magnifying glass. It does appear to say 21
jewels on the inside. The two I see for sure but the second number I'm not
Unfortunately, the pictures are not clear enough for me to see anything.
Let me ask a couple more questions. . .
In regard to the number on the back that you indicated begins with the number 1, could that first digit be the letter I instead?
What is stamped on the movement close to the crown?
You really need to get a magnifying glass--preferably a jeweler's loupe--to see the date codes and such, particularly on a tiny ladies' watch. You just can't see what we need with the naked eye. The date code or symbol on the movement is crucial to positively identifying the watch.
FYI - the handwritten notes and scribbles on the inside of the back of the case are of no consequence. All the inside of the case tells us regarding your watch is that it was made by Bulova--which is a good thing to verify, for sure.
Okay, well, if we assume that the serial number begins with the letter I rather than the number 1, then late 1940s is still a safe bet for the date. The 21-jewel movement is appropriate to my suggestion of "Her Excellency" as the general model name.
It sounds like we're not going to get any further with the date code, since you don't have adequate magnification. So, let me throw out a vintage ad for you to consider. You can also look at an example of this watch in my collection and compare it to yours (1949 Her Excellency).
If you agree that this is your watch, keep in mind that we still do not have a specific date for your watch, just a name. The "Her Excellency" watches were introduced in 1947 and continued into the early 1950s. The example in my collection referenced above is dated 1949, while this advertisement was published in 1947.