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Bulova Men's and Ladies' Watch Complete Review Guide

Updated on January 5, 2015

Bulova: American Brand

Bulova is an American watchmaking brand known for its past – rich involvement in the history of the 20th century – and present. It's a manufacturer of affordable stylish watches appealing to wide audiences, while erasing the boundaries of class, status, and gender.

Bulova make watches for men and women, covering an array of tastes and needs; the brand employs Swiss Quartz and automatic movements with chronograph, date, retrograde day, and other complications.

Overall, the versatility of models and movements, combined with accessible prices and an all-American spirit distinguish Bulova as one of the most successful and desirable brands of its order.

History

Bulova stands out not as just an American watchmaker, but as one with a long and patriotic history. In the past, the company equipped United States military forces during both world wars, and continued to collaborate with the government during the cold war, providing NASA's space program with computers.

Bulova clocks can be found on Air Force One and in the White House; the brand also sponsored the United States Olympic Team.

Today the company is run exclusively from within the U.S., obviously taking pride in this fact – though Citizen, Japanese largest watchmaking company, acquired Bulova in 2008, marking the beginning of a global era in the industry.

Brand Philosophy

Bulova's watchmaking philosophy comprises several principles: design versatility, encompassing the casual, elegant, sports, and fashion niches, and readily combining between them, affordability and durability, employing strong materials that don't send the prices through the roof, and, precision, incorporating mostly Swiss Quartz, but also mechanical and solar powered calibers. Depending on the collection – usually either Accutron or Caravelle – and the line within it, one of these principles will receive particular attention.

Collections

Bulova collections include an eponymous line, featuring the popular Marine Star, Crystal and Diamond; the Accutron, a master collection comprising several lines, like the Amerigo and Corvara; the affordable Caravelle; and the exquisite Wittnauer, Harley-Davidson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Additionally, Bulova's history makes its vintage watches particularly valuable. Let's examine these collections more closely:

  • Bulova is the brand's high-end collection that offers fashionable and/or complicated watches often bejeweled with diamonds, the cases moulded from gold. Bracelet and Strap lines provide the line with classic minimalistic designs, Crystal and Diamond focus on fashion, incorporating elaborate bracelets, and such materials as diamonds, mother-of-pearl, Swarowski crystals, and gold. Marine Star fills the complications niche with chronograph, retrograde date, dual time, and other functions.

  • Caravelle Men's and Caravelle Ladies' counters Bulova collection with affordable watches categorized according to segments: Career, Classic, Fashion, and Sport. Straightforward designs, often two-tone, stainless steel, water resistance to 30 meters (100 feet), and clear dials – all organized in a tight package that costs under $200 – distinguish the Caravelle. The collection is notable for its preference to employ bracelets rather than straps, though one distinct line offers almost exclusively strap watches.
  • Accutron Men's and Accutron Ladies' stands between Caravelle and Bulova: it's versatile as the former while displaying luxury bent similar to the latter. These watches bear the famous tuning fork logo, and contain automatic mechanical, water resistant movements of up to 26 jewels. Gold plating and diamonds reoccur as materials of choice for decoration; complications comprise day-date, and chronograph. Subcollections include: Amerigo, Corvara, Curacao, Eagle Pilots, Exeter, Gemini, Kirkwood, Masella, Mirador, Saleya, and Stratford. Some of the subcollections were made especially for the Ladies.

  • Harley Davidson offers watches inspired by the classic motorcycle company. This line is a result of collaboration between Bulova and Harley-Davidson; the watches are officially licensed, and carry the H-D logo. Departments: Bangle, Bracelet, FOB, Pocket, and Strap, made for men and ladies. Some very unusual dial compositions and designs here, mostly evoking speed and passion in one way or another.

  • Bulova Vintage encompasses a large and separate market (usually over 500 listings on eBay) of older watches with historical value. Timepieces usually contain either automatic movements or classic Accutron electronic mechanisms; often watches come in gold and represent collections that are no longer in production. Some of the designs overshadow almost everything Bulova produce today – a mark of a truly classic watchmaker.

  • Wittnauer collection stresses classic elegance and minimalism, offering watches with understated fashion qualities. Lines include Beckett, Ceramic, Crystal, Laureate, Metropolitan, Monserrat, and Warwick. As some of the names indicate, there's a clear artistic bias in the designs – many of which, however, display familiar characteristics: two-tone dial-bracelet configurations, diamonds, gold plating, and others.

  • Frank Lloyd Wright offers avant-guard timepieces that aim to test familiar notions of industrial watch design. The collections included – Cabaret China, Guggenheim Museum, Exhibition, and Willits – employ color, space, and materials in surprising and creative ways that might appear radical to some, but fresh to others.

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