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How to Identify Old Bulova Watches

A vintage ladies' Bulova watch

The Bulova company was founded in New York City in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, who had recently immigrated to the United States from Bohemia. The company began manufacturing fine watches in 1911, and Bulova watches were issued to military officers during World War I. Today, Bulova continues to make watches, and vintage Bulova watches are highly collectible.

A vintage men's Bulova watch

Look at the face of the watch and the back of the watch. Most Bulovas have the name engraved or printed on the face or are stamped with "Bulova" in the metal of the watch case.

Look for a code on the back of the watch. Since 1948, Bulova watches have a two-number code on the back indicating the year the watch was made. Some have a letter and a number rather than two numbers, such as A9, meaning the watch was made in 1949 (see Resources for a complete list of number codes and the corresponding year).

An Accutron watch, made by Bulova

Check the face for other markings or names. "Accutron," "Marine Star," "Caravelle" and "Wittenauer" are all brands made by Bulova.

Ask a watch dealer. If your watch is damaged so that you cannot see any names or number codes, you may need to seek the assistance of a watch dealer or watch professional at a jewelry store that carries fine watches. An expert should be able to identify the watch by opening the back and examining the interior.


Take a picture of your Bulova watch and post it on a collector's site or forum. Other members and long-time collectors are likely to recognize your watch and provide information.


  • Never open the bezel (glass front) or back of your watch; always have a professional jeweler do it.
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