Westfield Watch Company

Hawk53

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In a thread from 2004, there was some questions about Westfield Watch Company. Joseph Bulova purchased the Westfield Watch Company in the mid to late 20's based on searches done by myself and others (watchophilia.com & Bob Butler). We are speculating that Bulova, a wise businessman, did this in order to offer a "lower priced" watch into the marketplace. Bear in mind that this particular "era" is just prior to the "Great Depression" and the country was suffering from trying financial hardship.
The watches produced by Westfield were usually a lower jewel count movement but that didn't mean they were unreliable or junk watches, in fact, quite the opposite. Many have survived to this day and many are found to be running. Westfield adopted the "standardized" parts for their movements made famous by the Bulova Watch Company.
In the coming months, time permitting, I hope to expand this thread and include more ads and pictures of my Westfield watches. In the meantime, take a look at the few ads I put in this thread.



1946 Westfield ad.jpeg 1937 Westfield ad.jpg 1928 Westfield ad.jpg 1928 Westfield.JPG

1946 Westfield ad.jpeg 1937 Westfield ad.jpg 1928 Westfield ad.jpg 1928 Westfield.JPG
 
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doug sinclair

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Might folks be welcome to upload images of Westfield watches in their possession? I don't have any in my current collection, but I'll check my "stash" as there may be a few lurking there that I have forgotten about.
 

Hawk53

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Squite, is your watch two-tone case or all yellow? If it's all yellow, it appears to be a "Clayton" as shown in the second ad. Nice, and it's correct with the 17 jewel movement.
 

Hawk53

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Like it's parent company Bulova, Westfield would name their watches after famous people or events of the time, or major accomplishments in industry. Quite a few manufacturers were "copying" each others designs at the time. Hamilton had the "Piping Rock", Westfield had the "Air King", Bulova had the same case design (yet unnamed, no ads have been found at present).
What I'm wondering is, is anyone aware of possible lawsuits over patent infringement:???: I'm not even sure any of the major manufacturers bothered to protect case designs, but sure would like to find out.
Thoughts:???:?
 

Squite

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Hi Hawk,

It's yellow gold, but it's gold filled, and unfortunately shows some wear on the lower lugs. I got it a couple of years ago on 'the bay' for well under $30, so I think I did all right, even with the wear on the case. I had started a specific thread on this watch last year some time (actually, it was January of this year), where it was also identified as a 'Clayton'. Within that thread are some other interesting sources regarding Westfields.
 

Hawk53

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Still, a nice watch!!! I read the other thread and the only thing I noticed that was in error was where Will Smith said he didn't think that Westfield and Bulova used the same date codes, when in fact we're now discovering that they did. Plus the fact that they used "standardized" movements and quite a few of their cases "mimicked" Bulova cases but in a lesser quality of gold content.
I've managed to hunt down a few original Westfield ads along with the hundred or so original Bulova ads I've purchased and what I've noticed so far is Bulova ran their ads in mainstream magazines like Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, etc. but the Westfields were in smaller publications like "Boys Life" the Scouting magazine. Interesting stuff, so I'm still hunting and digging!
 

doug sinclair

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I found four Westfields in my stash today. Three complete including one gents and two ladie's, and a partial ladie's one. Pictures forthcoming. I will look more carefully, but I could only find a date code on one of them. It was for 1937. One had a repair number dated 1947.
 

doug sinclair

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image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg Left to right. Ladie's, 15-jewel, 6 AS, sweep seconds hand, no date. Ladie's, 15-jewel, 7 WM, dated 1940. Gent's 10 ZL, 15-jewels, dated 1940. Ladie's "baguette", 4 AW (FHF 59 N), 17-jewels, dated 1937. All from my "stash".
 

Hawk53

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Those are nice Doug. I'm working on getting my "stash" dug out and will snap a few pics. In the meantime, here is the earliest ad I've come across so far. Dated November 11, 1920 which is long before the Bulova purchase I believe. 11-11-1920 Westie.jpg Bottom right
 

doug sinclair

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I'll dig around and see if I can come up with a case for the 6AS Westfield movement. That shape is somewhat reminiscent of the 1920s or early 1930s, and that would have been early for a ladie's watch with a sweep seconds hand. That movement doesn't have a date code on it. The code list I have doesn't show date codes for before 1925. I didn't realize that Westfield was an entity before it became Bulova. The Westfield "bracelet" watch in your latest ad was $ 24.75. That would not have been a "cheap" watch in that era. Considering the bargain basement prices on some of the Westfield watches in some of the other ads!
 

Hawk53

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I don't think Westfield started using date codes until they were acquired by Bulova, I personally have never seen one. You are 100% correct, $24.75 in the early 20's was roughly $285 today but the average wage was $1236 per year. From early ads, Bulova was charging in the $50 to $60 range average.
However, according to the horological listings for Bulova it states the use of the name was used as early as May 1917:???: Far be it from me to question the "powers that be" but some of this documented proof just doesn't add up.
 

doug sinclair

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This 6 AS mentioned above has no date code, but the 6 AS calibre number would seem to me to be Bulova. So I wonder if Bulova acquired Westfield before 1925, when it appears​ that they started using date codes.
 

Hawk53

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And the mystery continues. I also have some early Bulova's with clearly marked movements, but no date code. I've compared them to my early Westfields and minus the absence of the date code and the different movement caliber numbers and jewel count, they are almost identical.
If you decide to restore your 6AS and find a case for it, can you remove the dial and take a few pics of what's under the dial, might help in the long term info gathering.
 

Hawk53

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Here's a couple London gold-white.jpg London boxs.jpg Westie 29-39.jpg Westie ladies unk.jpg The first two are "London" model 1937's in gold and white along with original box's. Third is unknown model with shield date code, so could be 29 or 39. Last one is really curious as it's in a 6WM 17 jewel stainless steel case back marked inside "Caravalle Div. B W Co." also marked M2 which would indicate 1962. I'm wondering if this is a "transitional" from the Westfield line into the "Caravelle" line.
More to come, when time permits.
 

doug sinclair

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I wonder if Bulova was using up some earlier dial inventory on a Caravelle model!

The 6AS ladie's tonneau model with the sweep hand that I posted is actually an FHF 332. Beneath the rim of the balance wheel is the number 34 in a trapezoidal shape. The trapezoid doesn't fit the Bulova date codes, but the numeral might well specify 1934. The chart I refer to shows a circle as the date code for 1934. One might well wonder how this one slipped through with a foreign date code. The style seems about right for 1934, or a bit earlier.
 

Hawk53

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Doug your probably correct about the 34 in the trapezoid not being a Bulova date code, I'm thinking it's a id marked by whatever Swiss plant originally produced the parts and due to the "tariff" were shipped incomplete to avoid the tax and then assembled here in the US.
Back to the Caravelle for a min. I forgot to mention that the movement is all Westfield, dial is Westfield marked Swiss and appears to have never been touched (except for normal coa). Runs perfect. My thought was considering the time period, that this may as well been one of the last Westfields made as Bulova was re-tooling prior to Caravelle taking over. Speculation at best for now.
 

Hawk53

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According to one research site, [FONT=Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif]
1962
The Accutron Tuning-fork watch becomes the first wristwatch certified for use by railroad personnel. 1962 is also the year that Bulova introduces its Caravelle line of jeweled watches. Designed to retail at $10.95 to $29.95, Caravelle competes with non-jeweled watches in the same price range.
[/FONT]
 

doug sinclair

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I have found a period correct case for the 6AS. It had contained a Bulova which was the identical movement, without the sweep seconds accessory, and which was marked with the date code for 1928 or 1938. But I believe the style to be of the earlier date. It needs a crystal, a staff, cleaning, 3 hands, and to see if I can brighten the dial a bit. I'll work on it as time permits. My spouse is a retired nurse, but I doubt she will be interested in this retired "nurse's" watch when it is finished. I have spoiled her this past while with karat gold Omegas and Gruens that I have bought for scrap, and restored.
 

Hawk53

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Here's a interesting question and an observation. The question is in relation to the "accuracy" of early hand drawn ads. Does anyone believe that all hand drawn ads were 100% representations of the watches the makers offered for sale? Does anyone think or believe that certain "liberties" were taken? Remember, these ads were usually drawn by in house illustrators, usually by whatever ad agency was hired by the manufacturer.
The observation comes from examining some of these watches and comparing the watch and the original ad side by side using a loop. Bear in mind I'm talking about a confirmed dated watch, case and movement and then comparing it to the exact ad from that same time period usually narrowed to within a month or year by release date. BTW, I'm referring in particular, to the engraving on the actual watch and what's shown in the ad.
Thoughts?
 

Hawk53

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case 005.jpg Here's my "Piping Rock" wannabe. Westfield dial marked shockproof, movement 10B six jewel, and 1929 date code. PP1.jpg PP1 001.jpg PP1 006.jpg Case is marked Providence Watch Case Company Serial #6077696 with a #8 stamped below the serial number.
 

bobbee53

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Hi Hawk, very nice looking watch!
Here is an ad for the Westfield Air King from 1929, there is a resemblance to your watch, but the black enamelled numbers on yours are Roman, while the Air Kings are Arabic.
The case is different too, it is rectangular and the Air King is tonneau shaped, with no engraving. Some pics and ad. 1929DecemberTheAmericanWestfieldAirKingTrojanCrop.jpg 1fb743e9-0303-4330-987c-2294968cb510.jpg
FileServlet-3.jpeg
 

bobbee53

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Your case more closely resembles the Waltham Presentation, sans engraving.

walthampresentation-1.jpg
 

Don Dahlberg

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The thing that I wonder about is how much the watch companies had to do with the design of watch cases. In all my Hamilton research at the NAWCC Library and Research Center, I have yet to find any blueprints, discussions, memos or anything else on the design of watches cases (except military cases under government contract). Tons of dial blueprints, but no case blueprints. So I am thinking that the case companies were the main creators of case designs, probably with consultation and obviously approval of the watch companies. That is why all the watch companies came out with similar designs at the same time.

Something to think about.

Here are some Elgin examples from 1928

Elgin28a.jpg Elgin28b.jpg

Don Dahlberg
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Hawk53

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Don that's fantastic! I'm guessing that maybe the only way to narrow this down is by "date", and a lot of research and documentation. In another thread, I read a post where there was speculation that there was a little corporate espionage going on.
Can you imagine the amount of "tooling" that had to occur in a short time to have these examples out in the marketplace roughly around the same time?
Don, I almost forgot to ask, do you have the magazine info on the ads you posted, or was this in house paperwork?
 
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bobbee53

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I think they were all watching each others designs very closely, there may even have been "collaborations" of sorts, but that is pure surmise on my part. Look at the Gruen Pan-Am watches, and the similar styled Bulova of the mid-forties, also Bulova put out their military styled watches in the early forties, and Gruen did the same. Many designs from just about every US watch manufacturer looked very sim ilar or exactly alike, take the "knotted lug" design hawk posted earlier in this thread.
Concerning the Piping Rock and similar designed watches, Bulova had theirs also, but this one isextremely rare, and I have seen only two examples, one owned by Lisa of watchophilia, and the other by Mike of timemachines. The second one, even with it's Bulova signed case, dial and movement was thought to be a fake on one collector site, but I think with Lisa's find backing it up, minds may have changed, or maybe not.

1930 Unknown 1.jpg MVC-538F.jpg
 

Hawk53

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Bob, don't get me started on "that other collector site" !!! :screwball:
That watch you referred to was sold to another member, and if I'm not mistaken, that's the same site that refuses to accept these watches even though Bulova owned them. Their loss!
 

bobbee53

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"Almost forgot about it". lol!
How could you forget that little gem?
 

Don Dahlberg

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Don that's fantastic! I'm guessing that maybe the only way to narrow this down is by "date", and a lot of research and documentation. In another thread, I read a post where there was speculation that there was a little corporate espionage going on.
Can you imagine the amount of "tooling" that had to occur in a short time to have these examples out in the marketplace roughly around the same time?
Don, I almost forgot to ask, do you have the magazine info on the ads you posted, or was this in house paperwork?
I realized that I made a another typo with the Elgin examples. These are from the 1929 Bluebook, a jewelry supply house (jobber).

Sorry about that.

Don
 

Hawk53

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The above watch arrived, and appears to be the "Kenton" based on bobbee53's 1951 ad as listed on watchophilia. It's sporting a 10ZCC movement 17 jewels with a L4 datecode.
Something I've never seen before on a Westfield is inside the case back, it says Westfield Watch Co. "Importing" "case made in France". Stainless steel.
 

bobbee53

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The above watch arrived, and appears to be the "Kenton" based on bobbee53's 1951 ad as listed on watchophilia. It's sporting a 10ZCC movement 17 jewels with a L4 datecode.
Something I've never seen before on a Westfield is inside the case back, it says Westfield Watch Co. "Importing" "case made in France". Stainless steel.
Cool.
More "input"!
 

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