1963 Bulova Super Compressor

Buy for: $2,400.00

The History

Founded by a Tiffany & Co. employee, Joseph Bulova, in 1875, Bulova Watch Company came to be recognized as a supremely impactful American wristwatch manufacturer, the likes of which there are few. After a period of focusing on pocket watches, Bulova was one of the first brands to see a tidal wave coming in the space of wristwatches. Joseph took a very American approach in refocusing his business. Rather than building handmade watches built on a tradition of craftsmanship a la Ferrari, the brand went the way of Ford by building all of its watch components with as many common parts as possible to facilitate mass production. Amazingly, this focus did not come at the expense of accuracy as Bulova was praised for its simplicity and timekeeping from the outset of its wristwatch business. In 1919 the brand’s first full catalog of women’s wristwatches was introduced and by 1923 the same was the case for men.

Through the 1920s and 30s, Bulova, now under the leadership of Joseph’s son Arde, can be attributed with a large part of a boom in the popularity of wristwatches among Americans. Although hard to imagine today, wristwatches were viewed as childish when first coming to the market because men were attached to their large and status symbol pocketwatches. By introducing the product set to women first, Bulova began to build a market and desire for the wristwatch. While the brand introduced wrist watches for men in 1923, popularity only hit after a series of genius marketing techniques. In 1926, Bulova created the first American radio advertisement with the phrase “it’s eight o’clock Bulova Watch time” heard by millions. That same year Arde publicly offered a prize of $1000 to the first pilot to fly nonstop across the Atlantic and privately gifted a watch to Charles Lindbergh. Prior to leaving for his famous 1927 flight from New York to Paris, Lindbergh wrote to Bulova “Many thanks for the Bulova Watch Prize offered… The Bulova Wrist Watch, which it is my pleasure to wear, keeps accurate time and is a beauty.” In 1927, Bulova released their “Lone Eagle” men’s wristwatch with newspaper ads showing a copy of Lindbergh’s letter. The Lone Eagle was a massive success and the mass American watch market was born.

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The Reference

While commonly associated with many different watches over the years the name Super Compressor is actually a trademarked name for specific case designs made by the case manufacturer EPSA (Ervin Piquerez S.A.) from the 1950s through the 1970s and utilized by various watch brands. The defining characteristic of the Super Compressor is the case sealing method that was designed to become more waterproof as the watch went deeper and deeper into water and ambient pressure increased. Many Super Compressor cases are also distinguished by their dual crowns at 2 and 4 that were used to wind and set the watch and rotate the internal diving bezel. This Bulova is a great example of what a vintage Super Compressor should be and the correct non-cross hatched crowns and EPSA divers helmet logo on the caseback just make it that much cooler.

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The Case and Bracelet

The 36mm case is in very good honest condition. The case retains all of the correct components including the signed caseback with the Super Compressor diving helmet insignia, non-hatched Bulova signed crowns (a rarity in the world of Super Compressors), and acrylic crystal. The watch comes on a non original bracelet that is in matching condition.

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The Dial and Hands

The Dial and hands of this watch are in great condition and are absolutely the highlight of this piece. The lume on the syringe hands, dial, and rotating dive bezel has aged to a fantastic caramel color evenly across the dial and remains remarkably full.

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The Movement

This watch is powered by a Bulova caliber 11ALAC automatic movement. The watch was recently serviced by the seller and is running well.


Seller JSchemel
Auction Number 314
Location New Carlisle, OH
Brand Bulova
Model Super Compressor
Reference Number N/A
Movement Automatic, Bulova caliber 11ALAC
Year 1963
Dial Black
Case Width 36mm
Case Material Stainless Steel
Band Material Stainless Steel
Clasp Type Deployant
Original Box No
Original Papers No
Seller Type Individual

Buy for: $2,400.00

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