In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at Bulova watches and answer the question: is Bulova a Good watch brand?
We’ll start by looking at the history of Bulova watches and their place in the watch industry. Next, we’ll discuss the quality of Bulova watches in terms of materials, workmanship, and accuracy.
Finally, we’ll talk about where you can buy Bulova watches, how to spot a fake one, and what their warranty covers.
History of Bulova
Joseph Bulova, a 23-year-old immigrant from Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic) founded Bulova in New York City in 1875.
Bulova began his career as a jeweller. Before arriving in the U.S., he had already had training as a watchmaker.
Entrepreneur that he is, he struck out and opened his own jewellery store on Maiden Lane in Manhattan, New York.
The company is named J Bulova & Co. His highly precise work and innovation earned him an outstanding reputation within the jeweller’s circle.
In 1911, he pivoted his company from making jewellery exclusively into producing and selling clocks and pocket watches.
Starting with a small capital of $50,000, he turned it into $1,000,000 in little time. He achieved this by building a company focusing on efficiency, precision and craftsmanship.
In 1912, Bulova introduced the world’s first manufactured wristwatch. He soon became one of the largest watch manufacturers in the United States.
During World War II, Bulova supplied watches to the U.S. military. The company’s products were also worn by soldiers all over the world.
After the war, Bulova continued to produce quality watches. Eventually, it became one of the most popular watch brands in America.
The company operated as a subsidiary of Loews Corporation by 1979.
In 2008, Bulova was bought by Citizen Watch Co for $280 million.
Despite these corporate shakeups and ownership changes over the years, Bulova’s unique style and quality have endured.
ALSO READ: Is Citizen Better Than Bulova?
Firsts of Bulova
Being as innovative as they are, Bulova is the first to release many products and innovations.
Desk & Boudoir Clocks
in 1911, Bulova came up with the idea to manufacture desk and boudoir clocks. Bulova is also, at this time, a great manufacturer of well-crafted pocket watches.
First Manufacturing Plant
J. Bulova built the company’s first plant in Biel, Switzerland. Bulova also streamlined its watch production process by standardizing the massive production line.
This allows Bulova to produce timepieces in volumes unheard of at the time. As a result, many other watchmaking companies have to abandon traditional hand-made production to keep up.
First Men-Exclusive Wristwatch Line
Bulova left a permanent mark in cultural America by releasing its first range of wristwatches in 1919. J. Bulova launched an advertising campaign using an iconic visual style for marketing. From here onwards, Bulova becomes a well-known watchmaker to the American public.
First Radio Advertisement
In 1926, Bulova made history by producing and releasing its first radio commercial. The line used was “At the tone, its 8PM, B-U-L-O-V-A Bulova watch time“.
The ad helps to sear Bulova into the minds of millions of Americans, driving up sales at the process.
First Clock Radio
in 1928, Bulova released the world’s first clock radio, the Bulova Companion.
First TV Commercial
In July 1st, 1941, Bulova upped their advertising game by again, being the first to advertise on T.V.
The ad was a simple one – a picture of a clock, a map of the United States, with a voice-over saying, “America runs on Bulova time.“.
First School for Disabled Veterans
In 1945, Bulova opened a school to teach watchmaking to help disabled veterans returning from the war. The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking is set up at Woodside, New York.
This allows many wounded and disabled veterans to learn a new skill to sustain themselves again.
First Entirely Electronic Watch
Bulova released the Accutron on October 25th 1960, as the world’s first fully electronic watch. Its chief engineer is Mat Hetzel. The word Accutron is a combination of accurate (accu-) and electronic (-Tron).
Accutron on NASA’s Space Program
Accutron’s highly precise timekeeping resulted in Bulova requesting NASA to consider using Bulova’s products on the space program. As a result, Bulova developed several technologies on NASA’s satellites.
Bulova has proudly contributed to over 46 U.S. space missions and the first space station of the United States.
First Private Watch On the Moon
To those who know their watches, we all know that the first watch on the moon is the Omega Speedmaster, issued to all astronauts by NASA.
However, during the second walk on the moon, mission commander David Scott lost his watch face. He put on his backup watch instead, a Bulova Moon Pilot Chronograph.
A simple act from Scott made Bulova the first private watch on the moon.
The Bulova Precisionist
Moving to recent history, Bulova released the Precisionist, a Quartz watch with a higher frequency crystal.
It met the market in 2010, boasting accuracy of up to 10 seconds per year. It also has a smooth sweeping second hand like an automatic watch.
Over the years, Bulova products have helped keep time in the Air Force One, served as Presidential Gifts of State to visiting dignitaries, and even became the official watch for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Where Are Bulova Watches Made?
Citizen acquired bought Bulova for $250 million in 2008, ending its era as an American watchmaker.
Despite Japanese ownership, Bulova’s headquarters is still in New York. Manufacturing has moved to Japan, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.
The current Switzerland plant focuses on producing higher-end Bulovas such as the Accu-Swiss and Precisionist/Accutron movements.
Plants in Japan and Hong Kong focuses on mid to low priced models such as the Caravelle watch line.
Bulova has recently opened a European headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland, to enhance its global position.
What Movements Does Bulova Use?
Bulova, in general, uses two movements – Automatic and Quartz.
Depending on collection and price points, movements can be either Swiss or Japanese – which means higher quality and better precision.
Bulova also develops proprietary movements, such as the Precisionist and Accu-Swiss.
The Bulova Precisionist is an excellent example of superior quartz technology. It uses a 262kHz high-frequency movement with sweeping second hand.
Before the watch’s release, only automatic watches have a sweeping second hand.
Another Bulova’s well renowned movement is the Bulova’s ETA2892-A2. Accutron II, Accutron Astronaut, and Accutron Spaceview uses this movement.
Bulova Watch Reputation
Is Bulova a good watch brand? How is the reputation?
Bulova is a popular and loved brand in the watchmaking industry. Its long history also endeared itself as a ‘never say die’ company.
It has also set standards and raised bars on watchmaking multiple times by introducing new innovations.
Bulova watches are robust, well-made, and accurate.
Bulova also kept its prices low so that its timepieces remained available for the general public.
Their higher range products stand shoulder to shoulder with other Swiss watches and higher-end Japanese watches.
Their mid and low-end watchers compete for the market with Citizen and Seiko.
Bulova’s current challenge is with fake, imitation watches. They are cheap and poorly-made, and is tarnishing Bulova’s reputation.
ALSO READ: Is Seiko Better Than Bulova?
Is Bulova A High-End Watch?
In general, Bulova is not a high-end watch. In general, Bulova’s watches rarely cross the $1,000 mark.
Bulova is more well known to be makers of high-quality watches at an affordable price point.
However, models such as the Precisionist or the Accutron are just as good as luxury Swiss brands.
Their vintage timepieces also fetch a high price, rivalling other luxury Swiss brands.
ALSO READ: Best Affordable Watch Brands For Men
Bulova Watches: Pros and Cons
Bulova for sure has a colourful history, but now let’s get into the watch itself. Is Bulova a good watch brand? What’s good and not good about Bulova watches?
Bulova has a stellar history and reputation, and they could have easily raised their price to the level of companies such as Omega or Rolex.
But the good news is they did not, and this serves as nothing but a blessing for the general public that appreciates fine and affordable timepieces.
A few of their models cross the $1,000 mark, with some around $3,000.
Bulova has shown time and again that they are capable of innovating and releasing new technologies to power their watches.
The Accu-Swiss Mechanical and Precisionist/Accutron Quartz movements are known to be some of the most accurate in the world.
Pro: They Listen To Their Customers
Bulova has a wide range of watches that suits many kinds of taste.
They have it all covered, from classic field watches to the high-end quartz with a sweeping second hand.
Some watches, such as the Precisionist, might even turn heads of watch snobs.
Newer Bulova designs can be a bit too ‘wild’, and ‘flashy’, almost like the kind rappers wear. But with more and more luxury brands adopting such design philosophy, perhaps such designs might go mainstream.
Carrying on from their ‘loud’ and ‘flashy’ designs, Bulova has watches that are unsuitable for slender wrists.
While an extra 1-2mm should not be a problem to most, quite some of Bulova’s designs are over 44mm.
When you add in the lug-to-lug lengths, that’s consistently over 50mm, a watch size that many wrists might not be able to carry well.
Are Bulova Watches Worth The Money?
Is Bulova a good watch brand? Are they worth the money?
Bulova watches have a good reputation. Bulova watches are well-made, robust, accurate and affordable.
Some models are much more accurate and well-made than many luxury watchmakers.
To us, Bulovas are worth the money.
You can get for yourself a reliable, beautiful and highly accurate watch at the cost of a few hundred dollars.
How Long Is The Bulova Watch Warranty?
Bulova offers a 3-Year Limited Global Warranty on their watches.
If the watch malfunctions due to manufacturing defects, the warranty covers it. The warranty is limited to the original watch owner only.
Bulova’s warranty details are available in full here.
Where To Buy Bulova Watches?
It goes without saying but always buy from a licensed reseller or platforms that stand by the quality of the products they sell.
I recommend you shop from these two places: Bulova’s website and Amazon.
Bulova’s website does not function as an online store, which means you cannot order online from their store.
What you can browse the catalogue, and list out watches you like.
Arrange an appointment with your nearest dealer, test wear, and decide to purchase or not.
It might pay a bit dividend if you call around and compare prices, as retailers might be offering slightly different pricing.
For a more hassle-free experience, consider buying online from Amazon instead.
Amazon has tight regulations and regularly screens for fake products, so it is doubtful to encounter a fake Bulova here.
Plus, you will be able to read reviews and ratings of other buyers before making your decision.
If this helps, only buy watches with at least 4 of 5 stars.
How To Spot A Fake Bulova Watch?
Spotting a fake Bulova is similar to spotting other imitation watches out there:
- Give the watch a thorough visual inspection – are there any flaws?
- Check on the spellings and letterings used on the watch face, case back, and buckles.
- A new Bulova watch should have a separate bag of plastic, pins and links – if the model you bought comes with a bracelet. If there is none, it could be fake.
- The watch should be sitting on a Bulova pillow.
- The turning bezel should be counterclockwise.
- Ask for serial number of the watch, and check the number on Bulova’s official website to confirm it.
- Of course, always bring your watch to your watchmaker to inspect if in doubt.
If the above still does not clear your doubts, consider giving Bulova a call at 1-800-A-BULOVA.
Their representative will confirm the watch’s authenticity by checking the serial number and the information you provide.
Recommended Bulova Watches
There are many types of Bulova out there, but we would like to recommend a few for you to start with:
#1 Bulova Mens Precisionist – 96B158
Stainless steel with multiple-layer swirl-pattern charcoal gray dial, silver continuously sweeping second hand, luminous hour and minute hands. 42mm case diameter, with 30M water resistant. Powered by Bulova’s precisionist movement.
#2 Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph 96B258
Six hand calendar chronograph, stainless steel screw-back case in silver-tone finish and black dial, sapphire glass. Powered by Bulova’s proprietary, high-performance UHF quartz movement.
#3 Bulova Men’s Classic Stainless Steel Watch with Day Date
May tout this watch as a homage to the Rolex Datejust, what do you think?
Three-hand day/date feature, deep blue dial with silver-tone hands and markers, domed crystal, and stainless steel bracelet with short fold-over double-push closure. Powered by quartz, 39mm case diameter, with 30M water resistance.
#4 Bulova Marine Star Sport Watch
High-performance sport watch. Quartz movement in stainless steel with rotating ratchet bezel ring and black anodized aluminum bezel insert. Black dial, luminous hands and markers, date window at 3 o’clock. 100M water resistance.
So, Is Bulova A Good Watch Brand?
So is Bulova a good watch brand?
To us at WatchPursuits.com, it’s a resounding YES.
First and foremost, it’s their attention to detail regarding materials and workmanship.
But accuracy is not the only metric here. Bulova watches are also stylish and modern.
From sleek and modern designs to classic styles that never go out of fashion, there’s a Bulova watch for everyone. And with prices starting at just $75, they’re affordable as well!
Bulova is definitely a brand worth considering if you’re looking for a quality watch that will last you for years.
You can buy them online or in stores across the country, so finding one shouldn’t be too difficult. And if you do happen to find a fake one, there are ways to tell the difference.
Overall, Bulova is an excellent brand with a long history of quality and innovation. It will fit your needs, whether you’re looking for a new everyday watch or something special for a special occasion. Thanks for reading!