"The grill is the thrill"!

This ornate Bulova 640 was manufactured in the USA circa 1957/58. It is unique amongst transistor radios of this era for as collector Michael Jack points out it looks more 'Victorian' than 'Space Age'. It features a fabulous gold filigree speaker grill set in an intricate pattern of vines and leaves. The Bulova medallion doubles as the tuning dial. It is embossed on the back "Bulova Watch Precision". 

Bulova released their first transistor radio, model 250 in 1955. This radio was a re-branded Regency TR-1 and was almost certainly made at the Regency factory. They also released a leather clad version of the 250 with the same model number. Another early Bulova radio, model 270 was built by Raytheon in 1956.

This radio is coat pocket size and measures 6 x 3 x 1.5 inch / 152 x 76 x 38 mm.







This Bulova 640 would have appealed to customers frequenting the high end Jewelry stores who sold Bulova radios exclusively in the 1950's and 1960's. It is certainly a classy looking radio and would have sparkled just as brightly as the many jewels surrounding it.

Curt Reed, of the 'Antique Radio Forum' has the following to say about Bulova radios;

"I know they were very expensive, as compared to similar sets, but in my opinion, they were the top of the line. I know when I was growing up, there were people who had transistor radios, and there were people who had Bulova sets. And the latter usually drove Cadillacs and the former drove Chevy's and Fords."




This 640 series uses 5 transistors made by RCA and Raytheon. These transistors were in use from about 1957 onward. It uses the same chassis as my Bulova 620 'Comet' and like the 620 it has a thick cardboard insert covering the circuit board and inscribed "Built with Bulova Watch Precision" in attractive gold script.