Bulova Aviator's Field Watch
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Bulova Aviator's Field Watch

Why We Love It

Military issued wristwatches quite simply one of the coolest sub genres in vintage watch collecting - these were purpose-built timepieces that were designed to accompany soldiers, sailors and airmen in the rigors of service on and off the battlefield, and each and every one has serious provenance - even if we don't know its unique story.

The purchase of some military issued timepieces one sometimes require the sale of multiple vital organs, but thankfully there are more affordable and less complicated ways to enter into the realm of military watch ownership, such as with this beautiful Bulova field watch.

The particular model, a Reference A17A, was supplied to US military aviators in the 1950s and 60s. With its diminutive but robust 32mm corrosion resistant steel case, luminous syringe hands, and a stunning patina showing hallmarks of a life served in the field, it checks all the right boxes for style and story. 


The Story

Bulova produced watches for general purpose use by the US Army, Navy and Air Force (it was too early yet for Space Force...). The inscription “WATCH NAVIG” on the case back signifies that this watch was produced specifically for use by pilots or navigators.

For all Bulova Military watches you can find plenty information engraved on the case back such as  the Serial Number, Federal Stock number and the contract number. A17As such as this example were produced with the MIL-W-6433A specification number which aids in identifying them from being produced starting in 1956.

In October 1962, Bulova submitted the watch for testing on a series of new requirements, and unfortunately, didn’t meet the revised standards. All watches produced from October 1962 are engraved MIL-W-6433B, making this particular example a marvel of a Military watch only issued for 6 years before upgrades were made.

Details

SKU: AS03913

Corrosion resistant stainless steel case is approximately 32mm (excluding the crown). Caliber 10BNCH manually-winding movement. Military contract A17A. Reference MIL-W-6433A. Circa 1959.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing normal wear consistent with age and use. Luminous matte black dial is very good condition with evenly patinated indices and matching handset. Minor edge wear has been touched up by a watchmaker, likely under contract. Unsigned crown. Caseback bears military engravings.

Includes single piece green canvas strap with black hardware.

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