A List of the Most Collectible Bulova Watches
Of course, a list like this is based on personal preference, but I have attempted to consider a wide range of tastes and interests, rather than solely my own. Why such a list? Sometimes the question of which models are the most rare or particularly desirable is asked by a new collector figuring out where to start, or by someone looking to buy a nice gift for an admirer of vintage watches. I've been in both positions, so here's my best shot at being of some help to others similarly situated. Examples of almost all of these models can be found in my collection.
I've listed these in roughly chronological order, rather than by order of desirability. In my view, they are all equally desirable and would hold their own in any vintage watch collection.
- Any of the Lone Eagles, of which there are at least six different models dating between 1927 and 1940. You can see and read more about these models at Lone Eagle Models
- Any 1920s model in good condition (or able to be restored). These are getting harder and harder to find. I have a pretty large collection from the 1920s, so you may want to check it out to see if something in particular strikes your fancy. Bulova: 1920 - 1929
- Any model in solid 14k or 18k gold, regardless of age. I have a number of these scattered throughout my collection. A wide range of models throughout the decades were offered in solid gold. Any of them would make a great gift or addition to a collection.
- Of the ladies' models, those with jewels or enamel on the bezel, particularly the colored enamels, fetch a high price and are, without doubt, stunning works of art. Several enameled models can be seen at Ladies' Models
- I'm a particular fan of the 1920s Ladies' Sports Models, a series which includes some beautiful watches with colored enamel on the bezel. You can see and read more about these at Ladies' Sports Models
- If you like the 1930s style, the 1930 Sky King, 1938 Corrigan, and 1938 Rite Angle cannot be beat. You'll find examples of all three models in the 1930 listings. Bulova: 1930 - 1939
- Also from the 1930s came the extraordinary President with "Wandering Seconds" and the Jump Hour, both marvelous watches to own. Both of these models can be viewed in the 1930s watch listings. Bulova: 1930 - 1939
- Some folks are really into the military issue models, many of which date to the 1940s, and those can demand high dollar if they are genuine military issue and correspond to a particular war (or what is it we sometimes call them--military conflicts?). You've got to really know your stuff here, though, or you might end up with a fake. I have a couple of military issue models, which can be seen in the 1940s collection. Bulova: 1940 - 1949
- The 1940s saw the advent of rose/red/pink gold, so, if you like that look--which has been back in style of late--you can find it in any number of models from that decade. Numerous examples are in my 1940s collection. Bulova: 1940 - 1949
- The 1940s were also known for their military themed watches (not to be confused with actual military issue). There are many of those to choose from, but I particularly like the Blackhawk and Medical Officer, which you will find in my collection. For a discussion of those models, visit Bulova Military-Themed Models
- One or more of the 40+ "Academy Award" models from the early 1950s are a necessity for any serious collection. You can see and read more about those models at Academy Award Models
- The 1950's Photo Flip Up is a magnificent watch (you flip up the top of the watch to show a picture of your dog. . .or whatever). An examle of this model is in my 1950s collection. 1950 Photo Watch
- The 1960's Presidents and American Eagles are unusual and elegant watches, each of which had its own series with multiple variants. The asymmetrial American Eagle is an eye catcher, particularly the model with mismatched lugs. Quite a few of the Presidents and several American Eagles are included in my collection under 1960. Bulova: 1960 - 1969
- In the late 1950s and continuing well into the 1960s, Bulova produced some 23 and 30 jewel models that are very fine pieces of machinery. The 23 Jewel models are pretty easy to find, but the 30s are more difficult to get your hands on. I have a few of these scattered through the late 1950s and 1960s listings. For more information about the Bulova 23, visit Bulova 23 Series
- The Beau Brummell series of watches is a truly elegant line. Most of the models have 23- or 30-jewel movements, and they all have diamonds on the dial. I'm always happy to add one of these to my collection. For more information about these great models, visit Bulova Beau Brummell Series
- The Wrist Alarm of the late 1960s is a favorite of many. I have a couple of examples. 1965 Wrist Alarm, 1967 Wrist Alarm
- Any 1960's Accutron 214, though not particularly rare, makes a very classy gift, and every collection should have at least one. I have a few of these which can be viewed in the 1960s collection. Bulova: 1960 - 1969
- The Accutron Astronaut first appeared in the 1960s and has long been a favorite among collectors. There's also a Mark II Astronaut that's pretty nice. But beware, any of the Astronauts will thin your wallet, for sure. 1971 Astronaut Mark II
- Any chronograph, particularly those with a Valjoux movement, is considered pretty darn cool. You can find Bulova chronographs as early as the 1940s, including examples of the unusual single button chronograph (button is on the end of the crown), but most date to the 1960s and beyond. I have quite a few chronographs, dated as early as 1942 and continuing through the 1970s.
- For collectors, one of the "Railroad Approved" Accutrons from the 1960s and 1970s is a prize, as they are a wonderful example of Bulova technology meeting the needs of American industry. I have two examples dating in the 1970s. 1971 Accutron RR App, 1972 Accutron RR App
- There are a few 1970s models that are widely regarded as desireable, such as the Chronograph C, Accutron Spaceview, and Accutron Woody (of which there are at least two, along with a "Woody" Accuquartz). I have all such models, including three "Woodies"; you'll find them in the 1970s collection. Bulova: 1970 - 1979
- The 1970's Accuquartz is a rare and very collectible model, largerly because so few were made. The movement is a tuning fork (Accutron) and quartz hybrid. Soon thereafter the pure quartz movement took over the market. I have several superb Accuquartz models, including one with wood inlay and one that is solid gold with diamonds. 1973 Accuquartz Woody, 1974 Accuquartz
- If you're looking for something more contemporary in the ladies' line, any of the 1970's Dior models are sure to please, and they are much sought after by collectors. In my collection, you will find ladies' Dior models starting in the early 1970s. Bulova: 1970 - 1979