19k Bulova Phantom

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by Ethan Lipsig, Jun 20, 2014.

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  1. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I know there is little collector interest in 12-size watches, especially Bulovas, but its uncommon, top-of-the-line Phantom model should be worth collecting. They all are elegant and thin high-grade Swiss watches. No one really knows who supplied the movements to Bulova, but Audemars Piguet, C.H. Meylan, and Les Fils de Louis-Elisee Piguet (aka Frederic Piguet, now part of Blancpain) are thought to be the suppliers. I just acquired my third example. Like my first two, it is an open-face watch with a metal dial with applied gold Roman numerals and blued steel hands. My first two Phantoms are in 18k cases, and their movements are serial numbers 330 and 503. My latest Phantom is in a 19k white gold cushion case, marked American Standard and has no serial number. I understand the 19k case to be how the first Phantoms were cased. I think my new Phantom is a very pretty watch.

    IMG_3714 (640x581).jpg IMG_3720 (640x632).jpg IMG_3723 (573x640).jpg IMG_3726 (595x640).jpg IMG_3729 (640x185).jpg
     
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  2. sderek

    sderek Registered User
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    Wow. That is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I didn't know Bulova sold anything of such high quality.
     
  3. Marty W

    Marty W Registered User

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    Ethan:

    I have been dealing in gold for over 40 years now but have never seen anything marked 19k.

    What I have seen are 9, 10, 14, 15, 18, as I have written and in fraction form and also all of the various marks from the near east and the orient for 20, 21, and 22. There was also a 16k used but never marked, as that was used in dental work.

    Have you ever encountered 19k before in your travels or collecting?

    Marty
     
  4. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I have a lovely 19.5k and enamel pocket watch.
     
  5. Marty W

    Marty W Registered User

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    Those odd karat content cases appear to have been made by individuals rather than by commercial companies, something which I did not think of at the time.

    It would take a superb craftsman (or several) to be able to fabricate such items, but I know that men like that were very much around back then. 'tis sad that they have all but vanished, at least in the U.S., these days.
     
  6. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    I've seen a few with the 19K mark in my years of collecting, I'm pretty sure that I have a few (stashed away) including some early ladies pocket/wristlet watches. The Phantom is a "Grail watch" on many collectors lists. I picked up a "Hudson Maxim" pocket watch that caused quite a stir over at another collectors site concerning the "Bulova connection". Early  HudsonMaxim.JPG
     
  7. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    Marty, as to your observation, "'tis sad that they have all but vanished".
    We can thank the "scrappers" for their disappearance.
     
  8. Marty W

    Marty W Registered User

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    Hawk53:

    You are 100% correct, and there is absolutely no way to stop them. Perhaps some day they will be affected similarly with something of interest or importance to them.

    It would be nice if a company was formed to produce cases in and of the old style, but that would take a considerable investment, probably in the 7 figure range. Do you think that any of that old machinery may still be sitting in a warehouse somewhere, just waiting to be resurrected? That would be nice......but today is a day for dreaming.
     
  9. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    #9 Hawk53, Jun 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
    Marty, there was a company located in Orange County, Ca. that did produce exact replica watches from various manufactures and various periods, I had them bookmarked but can't seem to find it now?

    Update: Found em!
    do a google search for Circa Timepiece.
     
  10. Marty W

    Marty W Registered User

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    Hawk53:

    I did and got many hits, so I looked them over briefly, and they appeared to be only wrist watches, but I'll keep digging into it.

    I really think that if a company was formed to produce pocket watch cases of the quality of the old ones it would not take long for them to be in the 'black'. However, I am not 100% sure if that's not just hopeful wishing on my part.

    It would be nice if others on this board chimed in with their opinions so we could get some other input.

    Wadda you say gents.................how about some talk on the subject?
     
  11. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    You're right, after looking them over again it's not the same as it used to be. Shame, they used to have some nice replicas, now just wrist watches and I'm not sure they're still active anymore, none of their contact info is working?
     
  12. sderek

    sderek Registered User
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    There is at least one person still making cases...
    I happened upon this information a few years ago, and of course, added it to my website.
     
  13. Marty W

    Marty W Registered User

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    I was not speaking about a custom case maker doing one at a time orders but a manufacturer set up like Crescent or Fahys with standing stock that collectors could order from.

    I imagine that there are a few artisans today who can fabricate a case to order, but off-hand I do not know of any, and of course the expense of those type of custom orders would probably be prohibitive for most of us. I know that it would be for me.
     
  14. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    #14 Hawk53, Jun 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014

    Nice article, too bad they didn't give his full name or contact info. You happen to know who he is, or how to contact him?

    Never mind, I found the page with the phone & address info.
     
  15. sderek

    sderek Registered User
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    I'm just happy that the art hasn't completely died out. I suspect you'd have to have something pretty desirable to justify spending the money to have a new case made.
     
  16. Kevin Scott

    Kevin Scott Registered User

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    About stopping scrappers from melting watches, yes there is a way to stop them. They would not be melting the watches if collectors would be willing to pay over melt for them. Keep in mind that if they put the watch on Ebay it would have to bring about 20% over melt for them to net the same price as they can get quickly with no headaches etc. And they can keep or sell the movement when they melt. True, some watches will still be melted by people with only a little knowledge of watches.

    Saw two watches recently and was asked if I had any interest in them.
    One was a 14k OF full box hinge 18s. JS was the casemaker. Not a cut hunter, not converted from a HC. Someone had put a 16s movement in it, and made a lever cut out at 11 o'clock. Total weight was 95 or 97 dwt. That is heavy. Figured it was very close to $2000 in melt. Some collectors would not have a problem paying 20% over melt for this case, since it was unusual, well made, good looking, and heavy. But it had moderate wear on the case, plus the issue of the cut out. Based on my experience trying to sell watches with over $1000 in gold, and what I see on Ebay etc, I said the watch has to be melted. If it did not have the cut out, I would have taken a chance on the watch and paid $100 over melt. Even with the wear on the case which would eliminate alot of collectors.

    The other was a 18k heavy 18s HC, with a Elgin BW Raymond KW that had been converted to SW, LS. Very nice job. They even expertly filled in the KW hole in the dust cover. Some wear to the engine turned case. At almost $2000 in melt, I said I don't think collectors would be willing to pay. Passed on it, but said I would buy the movement.

    Unfortunately, now some dealers have stopped calling me because so often I have told them I can not beat the melt price. Even though I am willing and able to take some risk on a watch. So once in a while, they are probably melting watches I would pay over melt for, plus pay the movement value.
     
  17. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Marty W., the 19.5k case I have was made by the W.W.C. Mfg. Co (Western Watch Case Mfg. Co.), not an individual.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Marty W

    Marty W Registered User

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    Ethan:

    I imagine that this was possibly a special order of some kind, but why a variation in karat content just leaves me with absolutely no thoughts or ideas.

    Marty
     
  19. Harvey Mintz

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    Ethan -

    You asked, so here it is:
    Bulova Phantom.jpg

    The contrast isn't quite enough to make the markings easy to see, so --

    The movement is marked:
    19 Jewels
    Nineteen
    8 ADJ
    Eight
    Bulova Phantom 12P

    The case is marked:
    Platine
    Bulova W Co
    Swiss
     
  20. okiejohn

    okiejohn Registered User

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    I just stumbled onto this old thread while looking for information about one of the earlier pocket watches I ever collected. It's a Bulova Phantom movement, with a "Rubaiyat" signed dial, and a Bulova signed 18k gold hinged back open face case. It's an 18j, 8 adjustment, I would guess around a 12s size. I believe the serial number is 600, at least that number is on the movement (or is the "caliber"/grade? I'm not really familiar with european markings) .

    Unfortunately it's not currently running, but perhaps one of these days I'll take the plunge to get it looked at and hopefully repaired. My understanding is, the Rubaiyat name was trademarked by Bulova, circa 1916-1917.

    If anyone has any information on this watch, I'd greatly appreciate anything!

    24982652_1_x.jpg 24982652_3_x.jpg 24982652_2_x.jpg 24982652_4_x.jpg
     
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  21. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    Nice Phantom
     
  22. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Moderator
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    Unheralded Bulova made some AWESOME watches in addition to the mostly-seen low end stuff. I LOVE the Phantom series and here is a little known tidbit for you. Among the few GENUINE Cartier wrist watches after the EWC period, were Hamilton, Patek, LeCoutre and .... drum roll... yes, Bulova. Somewhere I have an 18k gold Bulova Cartier dial complete with hand stamped numbers. (not a faked up watch either).

    Cheers and good find!
     
  23. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    EWC? European Wax Centre?
     
  24. gatorcpa

    gatorcpa Registered User

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    EWC = European Watch Company. Many Cartier watches (mainly those produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre) were engraved with that name, even though neither the movements or cases were produced by Cartier.
    gatorcpa
     
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  25. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Again, good to increase my knowledge of the world. Don't recall seeing any of those brands sold in Australia with EWC engraved on them.
     
  26. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Here is an E.W.C.-signed Cartier example, but it doesn't have any connection to Australia.

    IMG_1329.JPG
     

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