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Dating Vintage Watches

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Next up Bulovas.

In the 1950's Bulova incorporated a letter and number system to date the watches they manufactured, these are stamped on the outside of the case back. The code is very simple, the letter represents the decade L=50, M=60, N=70, P=80, T=90 and the number is the year.

Here's an example from 1968 (M8)

r214b.jpg

Image nicked from the web

Cheers,

Gary

Bulova used A8 for 1948 and A9 for 1949.

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Bulova used A8 for 1948 and A9 for 1949.

From my experience, Bulova used '48' for 1948 and '49' for 1949 and the "A" letter codes denote 2000 to 2009

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I have managed to find out a bit about ZENITH

zenithnumeriseriali25ma.jpg

PS "The ZENITH logo (star) changed on the french market for the watches produced in our subsidiary in Besançon from app. 1965 till 1970." : for a stylised 4 pointed star rather than the usual 5 pointed Zenith star

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http://www.nawcc-info.org/walthamdb/LookupSN.asp - for dating walthams, will also give model numbers and some other info from your serial number.

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Rolex

Rolexs are dated by a serial number which is found between the lugs, at the bottom of the case (6 o-clock). The serial number denotes the actual manufacture date. Date of market introduction may vary, expect to add 6 to 18 months.

Here's a list of their oyster model serial numbers and corresponding years.

Rolexproductioncalendar.png

Please don't get all technical on me as I know diddly squat about Rolex blink.gif

Cheers,

Gary

I am confused, I have aa Oyster with a serial in the 279 thousands and it is a 1969 Rolex, that appears not to tie up to your chart, any ieas please

Thanks

Junger

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Just found this chart for Universal Geneve watches from 1930 - 1967. In most instances with UG there's a number on the outside of the case back.

UGserial_list_zpsd335b910.gif

If anyone has information for Universal Geneve from 1967 onwards I'd love to see it.

Cheers,

Gary

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Dating of the ‘English-made’ Smiths watches

Unfortunately there is no published ‘system’ for dating Smiths watches but if the case is solid gold then it’s probably best to use the hallmark date letter – this holds true throughout the production period 1947 to 1970. Beware that many Smiths watches have been re-cased and sometimes movements have been repaired with cannibalized parts so it is all a bit of a minefield. However, the following observations should help in ascertaining the date of production:-

  • Production started in 1947 and the early ones had just ‘Smiths’ on the dial. The movements were nickel not gilt, were sub-second and were marked with an engraved serial number which initially had NO PREFIX LETTER
  • 1948 saw the introduction of the prefix letter to the serial number – starting with A but within the year a ‘B’ and finally a ‘C’ was used.
  • 1952 – DeLuxe appears on the dial – movement serials still have ‘C’ prefix which continues sequentially until 1959. There is quite a ‘spread’ in the serial numbers c.f. dates suggesting that some movements and/or cases were stored for a significant time before use.
  • 1953 – the 17J centre second movement arrives – usually the movement serial is prefixed with a JC but the serial number is in the same sequence as the sub second range
  • 1958 – Shockproofing is introduced to the DeLuxe range but initially the dials do not state this. The top-of-the-range 18J was Shockproofed in 1955 as was the cheap ‘pin-pallet’ range.
  • 1958 – the 19J Imperial calibre 0104 is introduced – no serial numbers are ever used on the Imperials – just the calibre and batch number – sometimes. Imperials are always shockproof.
  • 1959 – DeLuxe dials now marked ‘SHOCKPROOF’
  • 1959/60 – DeLuxe movements are no longer serial numbered – just the batch number is used. The last serial number is ~C46xxxx
  • 1959 – The Astral is introduced – no serial numbers are used on Astral movements – just the batch number. Astrals are always shockproof.
  • 1961 - The 25J Automatic movement (based on the Imperial) is introduced
  • 1960 to1962 - Imperial, DeLuxe and Astral continue with just batch numbers on movements and are difficult to date at this point.
  • 1963 – Some DeLuxe and all Imperial models are rebranded as EVEREST. Rebranded Imperials have a calibre number 0104E or 10104E. Astral range stays as it was. The 25J Automatic calibre number is 10144G.
  • 1964 – Astral dial script is changed to ‘SMITHS ASTRAL’ in line. Previously the ‘Astral’ was printed in italics below the name ‘Smiths’.
  • 1964 – The old 27CS 17J centre second movement is modified to become a ‘slimline’ movement in line with the then current trend for slim watches. This slimline movement becomes THE standard for all the centre second models.
  • 1965 – The calibre number is introduced to all watches – stamped next to the balance.

60461E is the 15J sub second

60464E is the slimline 17J centre second

60465E is the slimline 17J centre second with calendar

  • 1967 – 60466E (slimline 17J centre second with hacking) is introduced. Smiths GS4701 Military Watches appear and use this movement
  • 1968 – 60474E (slimline 17J centre second with calendar – maybe hacking as well) is introduced for the CM4501 Astral Diver. The 60467E (calendar) is also introduced but I don’t know the difference between this and the earlier 60465E calendar. The 60471E 16J sub second is introduced

If you use the hallmark date letter from gold cased DeLuxe watches as the dating medium, it is possible to get some idea of the serial numbering sequence (please bear in mind that there is sometimes a significant overlap as watch movements and cases were stored before use) – anyway it goes something like this:-

Pre 1948 – no prefix letter used with serial number

1948 – A, B and C prefix used.

Year serial number

1947/48 C794

1948/49 C32208

1950/51 C53225

1951/52 C106845

1952/53 C143852

1953/54

1954/55 C204851

1955/56 C253061

1956/57 C340318

1957/58 C356042

1958/59 C408323

1959/60 C445920

This is just a 'first attempt' at dating Smiths and hopefully as more information becomes available it will become more accurate

Edited by aroma
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Thank you... I was able to date my Hamilton thanks to the Grade number on the engine -- 753 --which together with the number 56084F -- the F is in the beginning on the Hamilton chart provided in the link here... 1951-1954... Good enough for me... :thumbup:

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hi can anyone help me with dating my watch??..its a ROSS 17 jewel divers style ....its has 6012 stamped on the centre of the case back,swiss made...but no idea when...I will up upload a picture of it

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Hi, looking to date this Bulova

ersIYpC.jpg

It was my grandfather's and I think it's reasonably old, older than me at least :)

On the back there doesn't appear to be any letter/number combination just the words Bulova and a dancing lady. I may *just* be able to see 1.777.153 really faintly in the bottom. On the back of the strap on each link it says "Speidel USA" - I suppose not an original strap?

Any help would be appreciated. :thumbup:

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Hi, looking to date this Bulova

[pic]

It was my grandfather's and I think it's reasonably old, older than me at least :)

On the back there doesn't appear to be any letter/number combination just the words Bulova and a dancing lady. I may *just* be able to see 1.777.153 really faintly in the bottom. On the back of the strap on each link it says "Speidel USA" - I suppose not an original strap?

Any help would be appreciated. :thumbup:

I can't help date it (other than to say that it looks like late 60s/70s to me in terms of style) but Bulovas were very often supplied in that timeframe on Speidel expanding straps, so the strap could well be original or at least contemporary.

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I would agree with possibly late '60s to early '70s based on the style.

Bulovas have a year code either on the inside caseback or the movement. 1960s are M and 1970s are N - I wouldn't exepct to look outside those decades.

So, a M6 would be 1966 and a N3 is 1973 - easy!

Get good photos - front, back, inside caseback and movement and sign up to Mybulova dot com. The experts are very efficient. Good luck.

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Hi everybody!

I don't know if I'm posting in correct pleace, then sorry if I'm doing something wrong.

I have a watch which I earned of the father of my grand-father (english isn't my native language and I have no idea the correct word to this person). With me, this watch have more than 33 years old and I don't know the correct date that was made.

The clock is a White Star. I think that is a gold watch, so can someone help me to identify their material value?

Behind this clock there is a inscription with that: swiss made 28069

Thanks a lot!watch.jpg

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to see if it is gold, look for marks either saying 375 or 9ct for nine carat gold, or .750 for 18ct. If the case back is gold then the watch probably is, if it is stainless steel it is likely to be gold plated

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to see if it is gold, look for marks either saying 375 or 9ct for nine carat gold, or .750 for 18ct. If the case back is gold then the watch probably is, if it is stainless steel it is likely to be gold plated

Oh, thanks for answer.

I couldn't found marks, just a inscription saying "antimagnetic" in their display.

Is there some place which I can found information about White Star watches?

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