Bulova began in 1875 as a New York jewelry store opened by a young immigrant, Joseph Bulova. The tradition of clock and watchmaking began in 1911 and by the 1920s Bulova had a reputation for producing the finest quality wristwatches. Charles Lindbergh was an early fan of Bulova watches. Today, these timepieces are still coveted by collectors and handed down through families. While each watch has the merit of being an excellent timepiece, the collectible value is harder to pin down. However, with some research, you can determine exactly what your Bulova watch is worth.
Check Bulova research sources on the Internet. The Bulova—Vintage and Antique Watches website (see Resources) has a wealth of information on Bulova, including the company’s history and date codes for the watches. Study this information to discover more about your watch. The more details you know about it, the easier it will be to figure out the watch’s value.
Search for your watch in value guides. Several guidebooks are available that list the prices of collectible watches. Check to see if you can find your watch. Look at your local library or in bookstores for guides such as the “Complete Price Guide to Watches No. 30” by Cooksey Shugart, Richard E. Gilbert and Tom Engle; “Miller's Wristwatches: How to Compare & Value” by Jonathan Scatchard; and “Warman's Watches Field Guide: Values and Identification” by Dean Judy.
Look at prices in antiques, collectibles and jewelry stores. Visit local stores that carry a wide selection of Bulova watches in order to see how different styles are priced. In addition, go online to peruse the selection of Internet dealers. One good site is Vintage Bulova Watches, which has a large selection that is easy to browse. Online auction sites such as eBay can give you a good idea of what people are willing to pay for Bulova timepieces. Search eBay’s completed auction list to find the final selling prices on Bulova watches. You must register with eBay in order to use this feature.
Consult an expert. If you think your watch is of high value, it may be worth it to pay for the services of a professional appraiser. Contact the American Society of Appraisers or the International Society of Appraisers to find a certified expert in this field.
Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.