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 dedicated to innovation.
In this article, we’ll provide you with some of Bulova’s best watches for men. The brand’s catalog is vast, 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 determine the precise universal time. It was here that they also developed watchmaking tools and 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. You can learn more about the technology by reading the company’s fascinating story here.
In addition, Bulova also produced the first radio advertisement broadcast in 1926, introduced the Phototimer in sports, and collaborated with NASA space missions.
The company, bought by Japanese company Citizen Watch Co. in 2007, is currently based in New York City. Bulova is a pioneer of many firsts in the watch industry, and we previously wrote this article that discussed these and more. Here are some of the brand’s best watches for men in no particular order.
Best Bulova Watches for Men
Bulova Men’s Classic “American Clipper” Automatic Watch
Let’s start with a watch of 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 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 superb 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.
This line has more than a dozen models. The one that we’d like to highlight is the Curv 98A162, a 44mm five-hand chronograph made with a titanium and stainless steel case, a dark grey dial, and rose gold-tone accents. This has water resistance to 30m, an exhibition screw-back case, and a curved sapphire glass with a black metallization on the outer crystal.
According to the brand’s website, the Curv collection of watches has an ergonomic design and a slim case possible with a chronograph movement before. According to Bulova, this watch is engineered with a high-performance movement which makes it highly accurate: “an aerodynamic statement with a refined, contoured simplicity that exactly follows the wrist.”
Bulova Men’s Chronograph C Archive Series 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, a six-hand chronograph with subdials, hours/minutes tracks, and a tachymeter scale.
However, one possible downside is that 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 an extended period.
This is off Bulova’s Archive series and comes in a special edition box, which includes a separate blue leather strap. You can read more about the watch here.
Bulova Men’s Precisionist Sports Chronograph (98B312)
“Advanced timekeeping at its best” — 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 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 (suitable for serious water activities, but not for diving), also has a curved mineral glass, a screw-back case, and double-press deployant closure.
Precisionist watches are powered by Bulova’s three-prong quartz crystal Precisionist movement, which boasts exceptionally accurate timekeeping (a 262kHz vibrational frequency, to be exact).
Bulova Men’s Futuro Watch
Rectangular watches have a timeless and stylish look that easily accentuates 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 placed at 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. Bulova introduced the Oceanographer dive watch 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. It’s referred to as the “Devil Diver” because it’s water-resistant to 666 feet (and is ISO-certified).
This watch is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement and has a box sapphire crystal with a 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. Check them all out here.
Bulova Frank Lloyd Wright Watch
This is slightly different from the rest of the watches featured in this article. Most of Bulova’s watches may be considered shiny and more “serious” looking, and this one is the opposite: it’s more playful, colorful, and casual. Wearing this watch is like having a piece of art on your wrist.
The Bulova 98A103 is 35mm is an exhibition watch that features the designs of American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright making it a perfect gift watch for designers and architects.
Each figure on the watch uses only 45 and 60-degree angles and two compass curves. The multi-colored numerals are also reproduced from Wright’s original typeface. This is not the only partnership between Wright and Bulova, and some other watches and clocks incorporate his innovative designs. To explore the other items, you can visit this page.
Bulova Marine Star Dive Chronograph
This is another popular chronograph collection from Bulova. The Marine Star has a wide array of different versions (stainless steel, leather, or silicone straps, for instance). One of our favorites is the handsome 43mm 3 subdial calendar chronograph stainless steel piece, which has a silver finish and a blue dial.
This “affordable dive watch” stands out in design and function. Some of the highlighted qualities included the red color accents (which can be found on the date window and the hands), the lume of the sword-shaped hour and minute hands, and the reliable Japanese quartz movement.
Take note, however, that this watch is only water-resistant to 100m so that you can take it in some minor watersports and light swimming, but it should not be immersed in deep waters.
Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph
The Lunar Pilot Chronograph, a watch made for NASA, started when the US space agency tapped the company to produce timepieces for missions. This is one of Bulova’s most historic timepieces.
Bulova ended up partnering with NASA in 46 missions between the 1950s and the 1970s. The company’s Accutron technology, also known as the first fully electronic watch (you can read more about Accutron here), was used in the missions’ panel clocks and timekeeping mechanisms.
The new Lunar Pilot Chronograph is a recreated version of the watch used in one of these missions (the original one was sold at an auction for $1.6 million).
If you’re looking for a revolutionary watch that’s inspired by something historical, this is something that you should take a closer look at. The new model looks like the original but adjusted for the modern wearer: stainless steel strap (nylon and leather are available), luminous hands and markers, a tachymeter, and a calendar. This has Bulova’s high-performance quartz movement, which has an accurate frequency of 262 kHz.
Bulova Men’s Crystal Dress Watch (Model: 96B221)
Bulova’s Crystal collection is for those looking for a watch that stands out—big case, shiny, and dotted with shimmering crystals. One of the watches that has received excellent reviews is the 96B221 Men’s Crystal watch.
This statement 43mm timepiece has a total of 323 Swarovski crystals on all areas of the watch (the dial, case, and bracelet). This has a date window at 3 o’clock, a second hand, and luminous hands and markers.
If you’re looking for a model that has crystals but is not as sparkly, there’s also the all-black 98A240 Crystal watch, which has a stainless steel case and bracelet and has 89 baguette Swarovski crystals.
Bulova Classic Stainless Steel Watch (Model: 96B288)
For our last watch, we’ll feature something versatile and classic-looking. The handsome Bulova 96B288 Men’s Classic has a six-hand chronograph, a stainless steel case with Roman numeral markers, a tachymeter, and a calendar.
This will look good as an everyday watch and still look stylish and elegant on dressier occasions. This also has a double-press deployant closure and is water-resistant to 30m.
Another popular model from the Classic collection that’s just the right mix of simple and stylish is the 96A199 Men’s Classic Automatic model, which has a 41mm stainless steel case and an open heart skeleton design between 5 and 7 o’clock. See other versions of this, as well as other excellent models from the Classic collection, here.
New models: Baselworld 2019 Releases
If you’re interested in learning more about Bulova’s new releases, you can visit this page to get a glimpse of the watches for this year’s Baselworld.
This year’s releases included the Joseph Bulova Collection, an homage to founder Joseph Bulova.
Bulova Archive Series Digital LED Computron
The brand released 16 watches, all made in New York. These are all iconic timepieces from the 1920s to the 1940s. The Computron watch from the Bulova’s Archive Series has a “futuristic” design with its trapezoid case and an LED display at the front.
Thanks for dropping by!
We hope you found this guide helpful! Owning a Bulova watch means that you’re wearing a timepiece that’s trusted and continue to hold an excellent reputation to this day. The brand has been around for more than a century, so you can be sure that the watch you’re buying is reliable, accurate, and of good quality.