Bulova is a watch company that has been around for over 150 years. But is Bulova a luxury brand? Is it positioned in the same category as Rolex, Omega, or Breitling?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. For many watch enthusiasts, Bulova watches are not considered luxury goods because they are priced more affordably than other brands on the market.
However, some people believe that Bulova definitely deserves to be called luxury due to its history and long-standing reputation for quality craftsmanship and innovation.
As this question can be rather divisive, we’re going to dive into the topic in more detail below. If you’re looking to purchase a watch from Bulova, keep on reading and let us guide you into making the right choice!
The History of Bulova
Although you may not think it, Bulova is actually among some of the oldest watch companies in the world. It was founded and incorporated in Queens, New York City, as the J. Bulova Company in 1875 (the same year as Audemard Piquet) by Joseph Bulova, a Bohemian immigrant.
By the 20th century, it became the Bulova Watch Company, and then sold to Citizen, a Japanese conglomerate, in 2007.
With its company’s headquarters based in New York City, Bulova is an American company and watch brand that is part of many records in history.
In fact, it is the first watch company to introduce a woman’s only line of watches, the first company to introduce the first electronic watch with a tuning fork in history, and also the very first to advertise their watches on the radio.
When the Bulova brand was acquired by Citizen Watch Co., the company created The Precisionist, a watch with three fork quartz movement that became the most accurate analog watch, with a precision of 10-15 seconds per year.
Bulova also produced the CURV watch, which is the first watch in the world that curves ergonomically to the wearer’s wrist, hugging it in the right places.
With such a rich history, you must be thinking: Surely, Bulova is a luxury brand, right?
Quality Of Bulova Watches
When it comes down to quality and craftsmanship, as well as affordability, many say that Bulova is considered an entry-level luxury brand. However, it’s not up to par with Rolex or Breitling when we hear the word “luxury”.
However, if you’re new in the world of high-end or luxury watches, Bulova is an excellent brand to go with as their prices are reasonable, fair, and great value for your money.
Plus, their watches come with a stainless steel case and strap. Overall, they have a surprisingly impressive collection of good-quality watches and multiple great designs to choose from, either from their own website or big retailers such as Macy’s.
As their watches are sold by other retailers, it’s not uncommon to see them with discounts here and there. This isn’t something that higher-level luxury brands like Rolex would ever do, and even if it disqualifies Bulova from being “true luxury”, it’s definitely good for your wallet.
Below are just a couple of women’s best-sellers that we’re loving – there are hundreds more available online!
It’s also important to note that Bulova’s watches have three different kinds of quality levels: quartz watches, automatic watched and analog watches.
To break it down further, Bulova gets its watch movements ( aka the “heart of the watch”) from three countries: Switzerland and Japan for automatic watches, and Hong Kong for quartz watches.
Quartz watches are powered by a battery or a solar cell which makes them the most accurate of all watches, but also these are the cheapest as there isn’t prestige associated with the manufacturing of these watches.
Automatic or mechanical watches are timepieces that are powered by the movement of their wearer. You don’t need a battery, nor do you need to manually wind the watch: pretty magical! As long as you wear the watch, it’ll tell time perfectly.
Bulova’s High-End/Luxury Watches
In the 1960s, Bulova released the first fully electronic watch in world history. Derived from the word “accurate” and “electronic”, the Accutron watch uses a 360Hz tuning fork instead of the classic balance wheel.
Because of this, the usual ticking sound of mechanical watches is gone and instead, Accutron produces a pitched hum. Its accuracy is up to 2 seconds per day, making it an instant hit and more importantly, the most accurate watch on the market during that time.
If you’re looking for a vintage watch with a rich history, then the Accutron series will be perfect for you. It is the most iconic watch from Bulova, and precisely for this reason, it was launched as its own stand-alone brand in 2020, with higher prices than Bulova.
The first Accutron created was called Spaceview 214, which features an open dial that shows the mechanics of the watch, similar (but still quite different) to the Spaceview 2020 featured above.
Another watch in the early series is the Accutron Astronaut, with roots tracing back to when Bulova lent its watch expertise to NASA during the 1960s space race against the Soviet Union from Russia.
Thanks to Accutron’s tuning fork technology, Bulova helped with numerous satellites and machines.
Now if you prefer modern watches, then the Precisionist series from Bulova might be to your liking. Its unique quartz movement uses smooth sweeping seconds which is definitely one of Bulova’s unique selling points thanks to its proprietary 262 kHz high-frequency movement.
It is said that this kind of fluid sweeping movement was only seen in automatic watches before the release of the Bulova Precisionist series.
Plus, Bulova also produced a chronograph version of the Precisionist model, with its 1/1000th of a second accuracy.
This watch is definitely not for minimalists, since it’s quite heavy and big (around 260 grams) and it’s also built like a tank.
You can also customize your Bulova Precisionist watch strap with either stainless steel, leather, or rubber. A Bulova Precisionist watch is sold at around $975. For unmatched accuracy, precision, and history, $975 already sounds like a very sweet deal for a high-quality watch.
Bulova’s Price Range
For an entry-level luxury brand, Bulova watches are quite affordable. Most of their affordable models are in the $250-$800 price range but can go up to $1,250 and even more if you’re looking for a premium watch model or just an expensive Bulova watch.
Most of their notable models, though, are within the $300-$700 range.
How To Spot A Fake Bulova Watch
Just because a Bulova watch isn’t as notable as other brands like Rolex or Omega, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its own share of knockoffs. At the risk of buying a fake Bulova watch, pay attention to these points that you need to take note of:
1. Watch Face – Most Bulova watches bear the name “Bulova” somewhere in the watch face. It can also bear names of different series (i.e. Accutron, Bulova Precisionist).
2. Back – Like the watch face, you should also check the back since it bears clues as well. Bulova watches have different symbols depending on the year of production, like asterisks, engraved codes, and digits bearing the year of production.
3. Design – Look out for the Art Nouveau style – Bulova watch models are full of it, as well as Art Deco style.
4. Weight – Of course, authentic watches are definitely heavier than fake ones. The Bulova Precisionist watches weigh a whopping 260 grams, so you get the idea – it’s because they use real, authentic materials.
When it comes to warranty, most Bulova watches have a 3-year Limited Global Warranty that covers failures in the watch, as well as defects. If your watch breaks down by itself, Bulova will either give you your money back or replace it with another model within the same price range.
However, this warranty is only applicable to its original owner – meaning, if your Bulova watch is pre-loved or bought second-hand, the warranty won’t apply to you.
Conclusion – Is Bulova A Luxury Brand?
Since Bulova isn’t really in competition with notable luxury watch brands like Grand Seiko, Rolex, or Omega, Bulova is considered to be an entry-level luxury brand or a high-end watch brand. Their price range is too affordable to be called a luxury brand, as luxury watches typically retail for $2,000 and above.
With this in mind, you could definitely call Accutron a luxury brand, considering that it’s now branched out and become a stand-alone brand.
With this said, Bulova is still much better than known brands like Fossil, Timex, and even Tissot watches in terms of quality and pricing. Overall, Bulova is a nice in-between watch brand that you can definitely add to your collection if you’re starting one.
It’s a high-quality watch brand with a reasonable price point, perfect for dipping your toes in the world of watches. Like its rich, long history, this durable watch will also serve you for a long time.
For their reasonable and affordable prices, they really don’t disappoint in terms of aesthetics, high accuracy in time, and durability.