Best Bulova Watches For Men
American brand Bulova has been around for more than a century. The brand is known to produce quality timepieces that are equally durable and stylish, but more than this, they are a watch company that is also dedicated to innovation.
In this article, we’ll provide you with some of Bulova’s best watches for men. The brand’s catalog is wide, so we’ve picked diverse models to suit different tastes and needs. We’re focusing on factors such as design, technology, and history, and we’ll also provide some article links for those of you who would like to do further reading.
Bulova: A History
Bulova was founded in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, a Bohemian immigrant who in 1912 opened his first plant that manufactured watches in Biel, Switzerland. Eventually, Bulova also started operations in New York City where it developed innovative timepieces and pursued research on new technologies.
One thing that many may not know about Bulova is that aside from watches, they were also doing technological research—in 1927, the company opened an observatory in New York to be able to determine the precise universal time. It was here where they also developed watchmaking tools, as well as other horological innovations.
Some of these innovative ideas included the development of the first electronic watch with a tuning fork-based technology. This is the Accutron (which means “accuracy through electronic”), which allowed them to make the most accurate timepieces in the world at the time. You can learn more about the technology by reading the company’s fascinating story here.
Bulova Men’s Classic Automatic Watch
Let’s start with a watch off Bulova’s Classic Automatic collection. The Bulova 96C132 is a simple yet strong 42mm stainless steel, black dial watch with an automatic self-winding movement. This also has a is a day/date window at 3 o’clock and a 40-hour power reserve.
This watch has a lot of excellent reviews, with many users praising its simplicity and elegance, as well as its excellent timekeeping. The leather strap is the one feature that is commonly discussed—a lot of users point out its softness and comfort (the one with this strap is the 96C131 model).
Bulova Men’s Curv Chronograph
Like what we discussed in the introduction, Bulova is a brand that focuses on both design and innovation. One of the more recent technologies developed by the brand is the Bulova Curv, the world’s first curved chronograph movement.
Bulova Men’s Quartz Chronograph 96K101
This is for those looking for a retro-looking watch—The Bulova Chronograph C is a Bulova classic watch that has recently been reissued and is one of the brand’s most iconic timepieces. Released in 1970, this is also known as the “Stars & Stripes” watch.
The look is undeniably unique, with its striking hands with the red tips and a navy blue dial on a stainless steel case and mesh bracelet. This 46mm watch has an anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal, and a six-hand chronograph with subdials, an hours/minutes tracks, and a tachymeter scale.
One possible downside, however, is it can only handle moderate amounts of water exposure. With water resistance to 50m, the watch can take minor splashes or exposure to the shower but is not recommended for immersion in the water for a long period.
Bulova Men’s Precisionist Chronograph (98B312)
This is how Bulova introduces its Precisionist collection on its website. This is the brand’s collection of watches with precise timing: 1/1000th of a second and a continuous-sweep second hand. This watch is for those who need a durable and accurate watch for outdoor activities and adventures.
The Bulova 98B312 Precisionist has a lot going on in terms of design, but each has an important function. The forged carbon and black stainless steel case have an eight hand chronograph function, a calendar, and a tachymeter. This is water-resistant to 300m (so it’s good for serious water activities, but not for diving), also has a curved mineral glass and a screw-back case, as well as double-press deployant closure.
Precisionist watches are powered by Bulova’s three-prong quartz crystal Precisionist movement, which boasts extremely accurate timekeeping (a 262kHz vibrational frequency, to be exact).
Bulova Men’s Futuro Watch
Rectangular watches have a timeless and stylish look that can easily accentuate any outfit. The Bulova 96D145 Men’s Futuro is a crowd favorite—this tank style watch comes with a silver stainless steel case and band, with a black mineral crystal. This particular model is made more elegant with the three diamonds places on 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. A bit smaller at 30.75mm, this style is available in gold and blue cases.
The general look of watches from the Futuro line is clean, elegant, and unique. We also love the round dial 98C124 Men’s Futuro, which despite the many elements on the case still looks neat and organized.
Bulova Oceanographer “Devil Diver” Dive Watch
This is another reissued timepiece that has a fascinating history. The Oceanographer dive watch was introduced in 1972, and this Devil Diver Oceanographer is the modern, improved version of it. Some of the main features of this special edition watch 44mm watch include a rotating bezel with striking black and red colors, an anti-reflective coating, a unidirectional bezel, and a double-press fold-over buckle closure.
This watch is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement and has a box sapphire crystal with blue anti-reflective coating.
There are three other versions of this watch. There’s the 98C131 Limited Edition Devil Diver with an orange case and a black and white bezel; the 96B322 Men’s Archive Series with a green case and a black and green bezel; and the 96B321 Men’s Archive Series, which has a blue case and blue and orange bezel.
Bulova produces watches with both traditional mechanical and advanced quartz movements. Neither is better than the other. It’s a question of suitability for purpose and personal preference.
Mechanical: If you’re one of those men who like the reassuring sound of a watch ticking, then a mechanical movement is for you. There’s also something fascinating about the precision engineering involved. Bulova mechanical movements are all automatics, so you don’t need to wind them if you wear the watch regularly. And you’ll never need to hunt for a battery.
Quartz: When it first came onto the market, the quartz movement was far more accurate than its mechanical counterpart. That’s no longer true with quality watches like those from Bulova, but with no moving parts (apart from the hands), quartz movements are more robust. Also, while a Bulova mechanical men’s watch will need servicing every few years, a quartz watch is virtually maintenance-free.
Q. Can I change a Bulova watch battery myself?
A. Bulova recommends that you take your watch to an authorized retailer, though it’s not a difficult job if you have the right tools. Screw backs are hard to open without a case wrench, but one only costs a few dollars. Snap-off backs are relatively simple to open with a small, flat-bladed screwdriver. Batteries are widely available and can be levered out carefully and replaced. That said, if you’re at all concerned about doing it yourself, following the maker’s advice is the safest option.
Q. How often do I need to wind a manual Bulova watch?
A. If you wear it, not at all. All manual (mechanical) Bulova watches are automatics, which means your natural day-to-day movements wind the watch for you. If you don’t wear it for some time it’s recommended that you use a watch winder, a device that keeps your watch ready for whenever you need it without risking possible damage from overwinding.
Q. How can I tell if a Bulova watch is a fake?
A. Watches purchased from reputable sources like major online retailers are unlikely to be fake, so be careful about where you buy it. Bulova watches are made to a very high standard, so the lettering on the back and dial will always be sharp and properly aligned. There will never be spelling mistakes (“Bulovo,” for example). Checking vintage watches is complicated, but Bulova itself can offer help if you contact the company.