Early Bulova self-winders

Watch brands with roots in North America

Early Bulova self-winders

Postby bobbee » December 7th 2016, 12:51am

Bulova first made automatic wrist watches in the 1930's, "not a lot of people know that". So said Michael Caine, and so say I.

I first came across the Bulova self winding wrist watches while searching for patents for early automatics. One result stood out for a patent filed by Georges Jacot on 26th. November 1930, but the assignor was the Bulova Watch Company.

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#

More research turned up more patents by or for the Bulova watch company, all applied for between 1930 and 1933:
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#
This one is for some reason calling Bulova "Bulowa".
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#

This sent me looking for actual examples, and eventually I saw this for sale on ebay:



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This watch above uses the case front seen in other Bulova models, chiefly the Oakley, my own example seen below.




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As can be seen in the last picture of the automatic watch above, there is a patent number provided. This one is for the "Champagne Watch Co." based in Biel, CH.

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#

It employs a pendulum, the commonest type of power source seen in these early wrist watch patents, but not the most efficient.
This is the method used in the first truly self-winding wrist watch made by LeRoy in 1922, seen below. At least four examples exist of the LeRoy, all with slightly different cases, the first was ordered in March 1922.
I actually have found a patent and newspaper articles referring to an 1890 self-winding wrist watch, but that is another story!



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This company has other self-winding watch patents:
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#

And then, another Bulova auto wrist watch example is found. This one employs exactly the same movement as the Wyler automatic bought out around the same time as the example below. The power is provided with a bellows-type action, pushing a post into the back of the movement which in turn activated a ratchet system.



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Another example, the loose case back that provides the power by turning of the wrist can clearly be seen, as can the setting wheel and winding post in the smaller picture to the left.



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Very rare watches you will find, I have seen only one other example, this one is powered the same as the Leon Hatot "WigWag" wrist watch, patent below.
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... ale=en_EP#



This example has had the dial incorrectly re-finished according to others, as the movement is marked Bulova. There is the possibility that the watch was either made for Bucherer by Bulova, or the dial is a replacement.
I first saw this in an online webinar by Adam Harris.



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Re: Early Bulova self-winders

Postby jason_recliner » December 7th 2016, 1:49am

Holy cow - I'm actually learning stuff over here. Great post!
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Re: Early Bulova self-winders

Postby bobbee » December 7th 2016, 1:57am

jason_recliner wrote:Holy cow - I'm actually learning stuff over here. Great post!


Thanks T, I have some more early stuff going back to the 1890's for an auto w/w for ladies, and an alarm wrist watch that looks like it's for a man. I'll be posting those soon.

Cheers, Bob.
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Re: Early Bulova self-winders

Postby biglove » December 7th 2016, 8:00am

Good stuff.

While I can't imagine wearing a rectangular watch, the Bulova with the blued hands is the tits. Some classy craftsmanship. Wow.
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