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 pocket watches. 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.
This watch, dubbed the “Stars and Stripes” by the collecting community stands out with its red, white and blue dial and large, both for the 70’s and today, 43mm case. Even though Bulova had already introduced, and found significant success with its Accutron movement, this watch is powered by the ever popular Valjoux 7736 making it even more appealing to collectors today. Bulova jumped on this popularity in 2017 and began to offer a reissue of this watch which they continue to offer today. If you ask us though they missed the mark with the reissue. They upped the case size to a gargantuan 46mm and replaced the mechanical movement with a quartz movement. While similar in design they changed the soul of the watch for the worse.
This particular example was a gift to the seller from a friend whom he met flying in and out of the Hidden River airstrip in Florida. After many years of treasured ownership and use he feels as though it is time to part with the watch.
The 43mm stainless steel case is in excellent condition. It features the correct brushed finish on the sides of the case and polished finish on the top of the case and lugs. The notched bezel is also in excellent condition. The signed crown and pushers appear correct for the reference and are thought to be original. The signed caseback shows the majority of the wear and features several deep scratches, but is correct for the watch. The watch comes on a period-correct Speidel USA bracelet.
The Dial and Hands
The red white and blue dial and hands which give this watch its “Stars and Stripes” nickname are in excellent condition. The lume has aged beautifully and evenly across the dial with no flaws to note.
The watch is powered by a Valjoux 7736 automatic chronograph movement. The watch is running. The service history is unknown.
|Model||Chrongraph C "Stars and Stripes"|
|Movement||Automatic, Valjoux 7736|
|Dial||Red, White and Blue|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Speidel USA Stainless Steel Bracelet|