Bulova Commander AQ 1974 Variant with 2 Date Stamps on Movement Bridge

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by jshopper1, Mar 20, 2017.

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  1. jshopper1

    jshopper1 Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2009
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    I posted this watch over at myBulova.com. All they could say is that it does not conform to available advertising for 1960s Commanders. Has anyone ever seen one of these, specifically this dial and hand combination which separates it from the 1960s Commander AQ?

    Dial.JPG

    The 10COAC movement has 2 stamped date codes, N4 (1974) on the left and M9 (1969) right.

    Movement Scan 001.jpg

    Zoom in to see the date stamps better.

    Movement Date Stamps.jpg

    The case back is stamped N4 (1974) as well.

    Case Back.jpg

    Notice that my case back is stamped "Water Resistant," not "Waterproof" as were 1960s case backs. My case back has "3314" stamped inside indicating that the 10COAC movement is appropriate for my case.

    After searching the myBulova site I found another watch cosmetically identical. The owner did not open the case so we don't know what movement is inside. Its case date code is N3 (1973).

    http://www.mybulova.com/watches/1973-unknown-7246

    I searched the internet and found 2 more identical watches. The first is on a private sales site KlongtonWatch.com. This is no longer an active sale so we may discuss it freely.

    Click Here

    The second site is also a private sales site (not ebay) but is still an active sale so I cannot link to it. Suffice it to say that it also is an identical watch with N3 (1973) movement and case date stamps.

    Here are my questions:

    Why did Bulova not advertise this 1973/74 variant? No media advertising for this variant exists that we know of to date. Could this be a product of the Bulova presentation and incentives division not intended for commercial jeweler distribution? Was it common for Bulova to produce limited production runs and not advertise them?

    Why does my watch have 2 movement date stamps? Other watches only have 1 movement date stamp. Was my movement assembled in 1974 with NOS 1969 inventory parts and restamped? What about the other watches with only 1 movement date stamp?

    Does anybody have one of these or any advertising to justify them? Can you open your watch and tell us the movement date stamp(s), case back date stamp, serial number and the 4 digit number stamped inside the case back?

    It would be a fool's errand to speculate on the number of these variants produced in the 1970s. Bulova must have had a minimum order to justify the new dial. Surely if 4 exist then more must have been assembled. I hesitate to use the R word here (rare). I don't believe Bulova created only 4 of these. Some must still be out there.

    Best regards,


    Dennis Lockwood
     
  2. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I can't answer your questions, but I like the look of the watch. Thanks for showing it to us.

    Robert
     
  3. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

    Dec 19, 2013
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    Dennis, although what I speculate cannot be carved in stone, so to speak, the 70's were especially hard on Bulova as a corporation.

    Not only were they "cash strapped", they were also in the process of being sold to Lowes corp. So, I would say, there wasn't a lot of advertising dollars being spent except for their best sellers.

    Near as I can tell, after the sale, Lowes wasn't initially quick to advertise.

    I believe your watch is "authentic" and not a so-called frankenwatch. The span of years on the date codes on the movement is unusual, but not unexpected. If your watch was returned to a Bulova Service Center with a service problem, they typically would just swap out the movement if it wasn't a "quick fix" issue.

    Another example of this would be the Bulova's homage to the AP "Royal Oak" that was released towards the end of the 70's. AP introduced their iconic watch in the beginning of the 70's and was designed by a "former" Bulova designer who left Bulova an went to AP during this tumultuous time for Bulova.

    Although we may never see a "ad" for your watch, and a lot of those watches for this period ended up in the scrap heap, consider yourself lucky to have one of a very few surviving watches!

    PS.... Dial variants were VERY common with Bulova :chuckling:
     
  4. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2007
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    According to Mr. Ranftt's site, this watch was initially made around 1967.
     
  5. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

    Dec 19, 2013
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    Yes, A version of this watch was made in the 60's, but as we can clearly see, the date codes on both the movement and case are clearly 70's.

    A lot of questions, not many answers, yet.
     
  6. stuperdude

    stuperdude Registered User

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    Wild shot in the dark here but, since that caliber began production in the mid '60s, my guess might be that the plate itself was made in '69 and stayed in inventory until being re-stamped and used in a fully assembled movement in '74.
     
  7. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    That would be my guess. But I would keep it - I've looked at hundreds if not thousands of watches in the last few months and that movement is the first one I have seen like that.

    Robert
     
  8. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

    Dec 19, 2013
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    Agreed Robert.

    Here's what we know for sure.........

    1. Case is definitely marked N4 for 1974.
    2. Movement has dual date codes for 1969 and 1974. 5 years apart.
    3. All of the above are clearly "Bulova" parts.
    4. Everything else is purely speculation...

    I sent a pm to a retired "Authorized Bulova Service Center" employee and ask for their opinion, since this was during their "time frame" with the company and is possibly something they have seen before. May take a few days to get a response.
     
  9. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Thanks. Can't wait to hear his answer.

    Robert
     
  10. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    It seems that Stuperdude wins the prize for being closest to what possibly is the answer to the question.

    By way of a member on another forum (WUS) who asked the retired Authorized Bulova Watch Repair Center, here is her response.................

    So like I thought originally.............watch is legitimate.
     
  11. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Oops, my bad. I should have said "his/her answer". Sorry Samantha.

    Robert
     
  12. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    She says "No problem" Robert:chuckling:
     
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