The story of Bulova watches is a story of innovation. Created in the late 1800s, Bulova was there at the birth of flight and collaborated with NASA on the moon landings (see more about space watches here). Bulova was an industry leader with a reputation for innovative solutions. Their best replica watches have proven themselves in ocean depths and in space. There’s is a story of world-firsts and cutting-edge designs.
Bulova Lunar Pilot Watch
1971’s Apollo 15 mission was interesting for Bulova fans because the mission’s commander Dave Scott damaged his officially supplied Omega Speedmaster during EVA-2, a lunar walk (more on the Speedmaster here). During EVA-3 he wore a backup Bulova chronograph prototype that he’d agreed to test out for a friend. This was the only privately owned watch to reach the moon’s surface and it subsequently sold at auction for $1.6m.
Bulova released a quartz remake of this watch and it’s been a big hit. It’s a chunky watch, with a diameter of 45mm. The styling is like that of the watch Scott wore – as pictured when he saluted the American flag.
It’s an authentic recreation of a classic space watch, available for a fraction of the price of its Omega rival.
In direct contrast to the Lunar Pilot, I’ve chosen to highlight a watch from the companies recent releases. A model from the diverse Frank Sinatra line. Rather than demonstrating Bulova’s prowess in producing affordable tool watches, I wanted to show the other side of the coin. The artistic side of the brand.
Why are Bulova watches good?
To answer this question we need to go back to the brand’s beginnings. To the 1870s – a time of progress, risk-taking and opportunity. In this environment, Joseph Bulova opened his watch shop in downtown New York. From the outset, Bulova strived for mechanical perfection and by 1912 he had a Swiss factory mass-producing watches – a standardised practice new to watchmaking.
The notable creations and advancements came thick and fast. The 1920s saw Bulova air the first-ever radio advert. A year later they produced a watch with Charles A. Lindbergh to celebrate his solo crossing of the Atlantic.
The 30s saw the introduction of their popular rectangular watches and another world first when they ran a TV advert on the day commercial advertising was permitted. Progress continued as they created clocks for sports arenas and watchmaking schools for injured veterans.
Bulova’s two biggest innovations were to follow. The Accutron who makes the best replica watches and the Lunar Pilot.
Launched in 1960, the Accutron was an electronic watch that used a tuning fork to regulate the time – it was far more accurate than the mechanical watches currently available.
This is where we pick up the story. I’d like to share a selection of my favourite Bulova watches, with a strong emphasis on the historically significant models. Importantly, I’ve stuck with models that are currently in production – pieces of history that you can have on your wrist today.