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Community Member
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎02-22-2006

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

I've spent the last 5 months or so hoping to buy an vintage watch to call my very own. I soon realised that despite the many varying brand names the magic and beauty of a Bulova watch soon caught my eye.

The more I looked the more I wanted....and learnt.

I soon became fasinated with the history behind the Bulova watch and inparticular a watch called the 'Lone Eagle'.

After exhaustingly searching the web for information I soon realised that...well there was none. What information there was, was at best flimsy and confussing.

I soon found that 3 different models were released. However over the course of the past few months I've learnt more and more about these 3 so called 'Lone Eagles'

The story is that Bulova sold 5000 within three days of Lindberg landing at Le Bourget airfield in Paris on May 21st 1927. A further 45,000 were sold throughout 1928, 1929 and 1930.

In 1926 Bulova offered prize money of $1000 to the first pilot to make the transatlantic crossing. With that said I believe that Bulova started to manufacture a watch to commemorate such an historic event and to also jump on the band wagon and market their watches.

I therefore belive that the original 5000 LEs where manufactured and assembled in 1926/27. These are marked on the watch movement with a triangle (1926) and a square (1927). Later watches where marked with a cresent moon (1928), a shield (1929) and a omega type symbol (1930).

Out of the 3 types of watches being sold on ebay, the corner cut, tonneau and stepped, I believe that only the corner cut is the true 'Lone Eagle' as I've found no real evidence that the other two were sold as LEs.

I have many pictures of old Bulova watch ADs and can only find one that actually shows the corner cut watch as the LE. A number of photos going around seem to list up to 6 different types, 3 documented and 3 undocumented. I feel however that this is just a ploy to sell a Bulova as a LE when in fact its not.

I would be most interested in seeing other original ADs or information that may prove that Bulova released more than one model. If anyone knows the true story on the 'Lone Eagle' watch please write a post here.

If you have a question or comment please don't hesitate to add a post. I'm no expect on this matter but feel that I'm becoming more and more aware of what a real 'Lone Eagle' looks like.
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Community Member
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎02-22-2006

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
1926 Bulova Lone Eagle



1927,28,29,30 Bulova Lone Eagle



Original Lone Eagle Watch Ad



Note the difference in the hands and the dial "9"



Comments Welcome.

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Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-19-2009

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
Facinated with the Lone Eagle myself, read up on it a little but many pics out there. The ones you provided were excellent. I've also seen these listed as Lone Eagles:
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Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-19-2006

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
I have something I think may help you. I've just recently returned from Washington D.C., where the National Air & Space Museum is... big fan of this stuff.... yeah? So, being the watch collector I am, I had to take a pic of the Omega Speedmaster that flew to the moon (I have a '92 model). Anyway... you're dying aren't cha... anyway, I have a pretty nice digital of the absolute for sure real Lindbergh LE. In the original case, too boot.

If you can tell me how to post a pic here, I'll post it for everyone.

Kg
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Community Member
Posts: 2,970
Registered: ‎10-13-2005

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
Posting pictures requires that you first set up a picture hosting service such as photobucket, flickr, etc. If you want, you can forward the picture to me at pictures@gregoryswatches.com and I'll throw it on my picture hosting service and post it here for you.

Greg
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Community Member
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎02-22-2006

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68

The Bulova Lone Eagle Story




Bulova 1927 Lone Eagle Corner-Cut


I've been fascinated by the history behind the Bulova Lone Eagle and I’ve learnt a fair bit about the Bulova Lone Eagle watches over the years. This particular series of watches still has my focus and its almost become like finding the ‘Holy Grail’ for actual real information about the first 5000 release and subsequent releases.


Unfortunately Bulova themselves are of no help. I’m not sure their records from the 1920s still exist as they never seem to offer any help when questioned.


From the pieces of information I’ve managed to fit together I think the following happened. (this is all just a theory and would love to find actual evidence)


Pre 1927, Bulova had a particular watch style known as the ‘Conqueror’, a corner-cut, enamel inlay model similar to the first edition Lone Eagle series. I have many low-resolution ads from eBay showing the watch but am not able to really see the description or the fine detail of the corner enamel inlays. A theory I have is that the pattern in the corners varied slightly, but really need to see a good picture of a ‘Conqueror’ to verify this.


The two good 1927 ads that I do have featuring the corner-cut Lone Eagle show a different design than that of all the Lone Eagles I’ve seen on eBay and differs from that shown in the watch price guide book.


18K Corner Cut Design – This is the Lone Eagle design from the two 1927 ads.

Bulova 18K Corner-Cut Design


14K Corner Cut Design – This is the common design as seen on all popular Lone Eagle sales and literature.

Bulova 14K Corner-Cut Design


The theory goes that pre Lindbergh’s flight the Conqueror (with the top design) was presented to Charles as a gift from Bulova. A fitting watch with a fitting name. The 1927 ads that can be found did not bother to change the design used by the Conqueror, but when Bulova realised that they could market this watch with the possible success of Lindbergh's historic flight they may have decided to vary the actual design to resemble that of a Art Deco style eagles head (the bottom design). The watch was then released and sold as the same watch as presented and worn by Charles A. Lindbergh. The same looking watch but with the new design depicting an eagles head. Bulova were great marketers.


Again this is just a theory and would love to be proven either wrong or right.


The back case markings of the first releases of the corner-cut Lone Eagles were all stamped with the Pat date of Jun 10 1924, were as later releases (post August 1927) were stamped with the more common Pat date of Jan 11 1927.


Pre August 1927

Bulova 1924 Case Markings


Post August 1927

Bulova 1927 Case Markings


Trying to find any evidence of the actual May 1927 marketing release is like trying to finding a needle in a million haystacks. I doubt there still exists any but the search has become my ‘Holy Grail’


If you believe Bulova’s version of history, once the original 5000 sold out in just three days they went on to sell more of this corner-cut design throughout the remainder of 1927 and into 1928. However at some point in late 1927 they changed the dial and hands to use a closed 9 instead of an open 9 and cathedral hands instead of the spade style hands. The cathederal hands became a common feature in most 1928/29 and 30's Bulova mens watches.


I’ve complied a small database of 1920 and 30s Bulova watch serial numbers and have yet to see any real pattern to match a year of release. It would seem that they used old movements with new designs as they were made. I’ll hopefully be able to release this once I’ve compiled enough data to make it worth while.


From 1929 onwards a number of other models were release.


The 1929 Lone Eagle - tonneau shaped model

1929 Tonneau Lone Eagle


The 1930 Lone Eagle - stepped model

1930 Stepped Lone Eagle


The 1932 Lone Eagle - stepped model

1932 Stepped Lone Eagle


The 1930 Sky King model

1930 Sky King





There have been two box releases that I have found for this watch.


The 1927 Corner-cut release

Bulova 1927 Lone Eagle Box


The 1929/1930 Tonneau release

Bulova 1929 Lone Eagle Box


I haven't seen or come across any other Bulova cases for the Lone Eagle Series. The Sky King does have its own but I know of only two types for the actual Lone Eagle models. Both boxes clearly indicate on the inside that the watch is dedicated in honour to Charles A Linbergh.






As I discover more about this series of watches I'll post here. You can view a number of Lone Eagle and other Bulova watches on the myBulova.com website and I invite all Bulova watch ownes to add their watch to the site as a reference for future collectors.


I invite everyone who reads this article to let me know if they have a different point of view and especially if they have some evidence of the real story behind this wonderful watch and in particular the release and marketing of the original 5000 Bulova Lone Eagles.


http://www.mybulova.com/lone-eagle-story.htm

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Community Member
Posts: 2,970
Registered: ‎10-13-2005

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
Interesting post! Thanks!

Greg
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Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-21-2007

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
I recently realized that my great grandfather had a watch that looks just like the 1930 Stepped Up version posted on the most recent post. Its the 17jewel one with 14K gold. It says "gold filled" and everything. I am dying to find out how much a watch like this is worth? I don't plan on ever getting rid of it considering its sentimental value but I am very curious how much money I have sitting on my mantle in memory of my great grandfather.

Does anyone have any idea?
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Community Member
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎02-22-2006

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
BUSTACAP33, the problem I've found with the 1930s stepped version is that Bulova made a great number of models with slightly varying design. Particulary the side stepped design which was very common in the early 30s.

The Lone Eagle model came with a matching metal band/bracelet. The inside movement case should be date stamped with a very small omega symbol, indicating its 1930 release. Occasionally Bulova used old left over movements in some of there watches but this one should have the correct symbol.

You can see a full date listing of Bulova watches on my website http://www.mybulova.com/bulova_movements.cfm

Its going to be worth more to you sentimentally as these watches (depending on condition) usually only fetch between $70 and $300 also depending if its sold as a Lone Eagle or just a 1930's Bulova watch.

It would be wonderful if you could post a photo here or better still add a picture and the watch details to the http://www.mybulova.com website.

If it is a real 1930's Lone Eagle its certainly worth holding onto despite the history around this series of watches, its also an important family timepiece and would make a wonder gift to pass on to future generations of your family.

Finally, if the watch works and keeps good time you should consider wearing it. Its a wonderful feeling wearing a vintage wristwatch and I'd imagine even more so if you have a personnel connection with it.

Stephen.
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Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-21-2008

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
I have a 1927 Lone Eagle in its case , My mother is 92 years old and tells me a story of a son of her freind by the name of Preston use to fly with linberg and he gave him a watch . nice watch still in box band is bad but could be repaired .
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Community Member
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎10-28-2007

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
Longines also made a Lindberg model with a movable center dial. There were two models a large 47mm and a smaller version. These watches were sold in solid gold, silver, nickel, gold filled and steel. A mint conditioin solid gold 47mm goes for as much as $20,000.
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Community Member
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎02-22-2006

Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
Forreal56, are you able to post a picture of the watch and box? I would be very interested in seeing it, especially if it was a gift from Lindbergh himself.

If you cannot post here please send to the admin@mybulova.com

Regards.

Stephen
www.myBulova.com
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Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-14-2009

Re: Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68
My name is Charlie Heins. My dad left me a Bulova watch, when he passed away a few yrs back.
I went to and had it checked out. They said it had a date of 1927 in the back. I can send pictures of it . I'm trying to find out if it is worth anything. If you know, please e-mail me. My address is heinsch@centurytel.net
Thank you

Charlie
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Community Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-25-2011

Re: Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68

I wanna see!


please send pics to me brucestillhere@yahoo.com

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Community Member
Posts: 1,888
Registered: ‎03-31-2005

Re: Will the real Bulova Lone Eagle please stand up!!

in reply to namllo68


I wanna see!


Please send pics to me brucestillhere@yahoo.com



Ummm... Charlie posted that over 2½ years ago; I think you're going to need to email him directly at that address he gave (above)...

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