Monday, June 13, 2011

The story of my vintage Bulova military watch

So, this is my watch. Cosmetically, it's condition isn't immaculate, but it has character and I wear it everyday.  It is very special to me for reasons that I'll explain later.  It is unmarked on the face, but it is a Bulova A17A Navigator's model. I have yet to confirm absolutely a date for its manufacture, as some websites state that these were made already at the end of WWII, while others say that they didn't start making this particular style until the 1950's. I regulated it myself through trial and error, and the 17J 10BNCH movement usually runs about +/- 3 seconds a day, which if you ask me is pretty remarkable considering it is at least 60 years old. What is really interesting though, is how this watch came to be mine...

A few months before my grandmother passed away, she moved into an assisted living home and my Mom, my sister and I went to go visit her in her small town in Minnesota. While there, we decided to visit the local antique shop downtown. My usual watch, a cheap automatic Seiko had quit working on me, so I was perusing the smalls cases looking for a replacement, and there it was-- this amazing old military watch looking up at me from amongst the costume jewelry and whatnot. I got the owner to unlock the box and I checked it out. To my amazement it still wound, set, and ran smoothly. Since my birthday was just a few days away, my sister said she would buy for me. I said "thank you" and took it with me to look at the town museum they have set up on the second story. When I came back down, the shop owner was talking to my sister. "Who are you in town visiting?" she asked. I told her my grandmother's name and she said, "That's interesting-- because that is your grandfather's watch you are holding in your hand..." She told me to keep it and that she couldn't charge me for it. Apparently when my grandmother moved, she held a rummage sale to get rid of a lot of the stuff she didn't want to put in storage. This watch was in a shoebox from that sale, mixed in with a bunch of what the shopkeeper called "plastic junk." It was the only thing that she didn't throw out.

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