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I've had this a few weeks now, and I suddenly remembered that I hadn't posted it here, so I thought you might like a look of my new looky-likey.

Here it is, the Bulova Marine Star Chrono, a curious beast powered by the valjoux 7731 movement, which was effectively Valjoux's improvement and update on the venerable Venus 188 movement, from when Valjoux took over Venus sometime in the 70s.



Anyway, there is nothing I can find on the web about this range, even the quite extensive MyBulova site has nothing on the Marine Star range until the latest incarnation, started after Citizen bought them, and the modern ones are a travesty compared to the original Bulova standards. Current production also means that any "Marine Star" search is crammed with modern tat.

This is, to me, very close to THE classical military chronograph design, large, open, clear dial with lumed numerals and clear second markers, two-subdials, large, lumed, arrow-head chrono-second hand as per the Heuer Bund, and a 0-60 bezel. And no truncated numerals at all on the dial.

You may also think that it looks familiar. It probably does. It shares the same case design with the Italian military chronographs supplied by A Cairelli, and made by Zenith. The Tipo CP2, not the earlier CP1.

It also shares the same case design (and hands) as the Excelsior Park Monte Carlo, a similarly beautiful watch I hope someday to at least handle.

And here's the thing. This Tipo CP2 case design is from 1970, the Zeniths earlier. But for the period, it is properly large. The bezel is 42.8mm in diameter, it has 22mm lugs. Same diameter (more or less) as my new Chrono-Avenger M1.

The similarity with the CP2 is uncanny, and I wonder whether in fact they share the same case. The bezel script is identical, and the oranged ageing of the lume triangle has occured in exactly the same way as the Zeniths.

There is unsubstantiated rumour that Cairelli stopped paying for the Zenith CP2s in the early 80s, and as a result, Zenith kept back the last batch, possibly up to 500 watches. As a result, there are a few (achingly lovely) non-issued CP2s floating around in collections.

I wonder whether Zenith also went a little further, and sold the cases on to other manufacturers.

This Bulova is very curious, in that it has a very 60s design to it. Nothing odd about that. But it has a unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, and a WR rating of 50m engraved on the caseback. All of these features are much later than the design of the watch (and indeed the movement) would suggest.

So perhaps Bulova bought these cases from Zenith, and decided to release some watches.

Anyone else able to shed some light on this??

I'd love to know more.

Dave
 

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Dave,

(I commented on this earlier on ATG) Zenith itself dates the Cairelli to 1970, which makes it concurrent to this lovely Bulova.

Personally, I'm convinced it is the same case and damn near the same dial, less the circle of red stars. Do the subdials have a circular grain like the Cairelli? Makes me wonder if Zenith contracted out for this watch (all but the movement), so different from the rest of its product line at the time. Perhaps the common root is that contractor? I will need to get an ExPark and a Bulova for study:think::-d

Here are some pix for comparison (the watch is modeled by the trained chimp I keep for the purpose) and a link to my Cairelli post (https://www.watchuseek.com/f27/zenith-cairelli-cp-2-modem-killer-406134.html).






A tasty watch in any of its iterations!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Lou

The sub-dials are grained, exactly as per the Zenith. The only difference I can detect (other than the names) is the H and M hands, with the Zenith having the extra crossbar. However, the Excelsior Parks do use the same hands as the Bulova.

It may be they were assembled by the same people, my knowledge of ownership of the various companies is not good, but I am pretty sertain they did not share the same owner, so a third party is the best bet, or a sale of parts between them.

Dave
 

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To be honest, I think this looks very much like a private-label procurement with either one of the mentioned companies, or a third party, being the supplier of all of these watches.

Just my two bezants' worth ...
 
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