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Below are images showing the two patent dates that often cause confusion.Watches manufactured prior to 1926 are difficult to date with certainty.
Dating a watch this way requires opening the case and noting every detail of the movement and case and then comparing those details to the list below to see where the watch best fits in the timeline.
Consultation with online movement lists may provide at least ballpark information regarding the date of the watch. However, it is important to note that all such movement lists are based on observations of examples rather than any official Bulova documentation.