Bulova is celebrating their 140th year in continuous business this year, and they are introducing some new lines to celebrate. They are also moving their corporate headquarters back to New York in the Empire State Building, which is neat if you ask me. Bulova of course has an incredible history, and to honor that history they are borrowing a little from their illustrious past. Some of the new offerings that debuted at Basel are pretty cool, but some miss the mark a bit as far as truly honoring their past goes.
Bulova will be using their proprietary Ultra High Frequency (UHF) quartz movement in most of their watches for 2015. While I’m not a fan of quartz, these are really interesting. The Bulova-made movement uses a three pronged quartz crystal that vibrates at 262 kHz, eight times that of a standard quartz movement. This give increased accuracy (to within a few seconds per year), and allows for a continuous sweeping hand. The highlights of the 2015 introductions are the Sea King diver, the Military Collection, and the Accutron II Lobster.
The Sea King is a fantastic moniker from their past, but instead of a true homage to some of their great diver designs of the past, they went for a completely new look. At 50mm, the titanium case is gargantuan. I know that ‘bigger is better’, but I think low to mid 40’s would have been a better size. That said, it is an interesting over all design, and it features a unique bezel locking mechanism on the 3 o’clock side of the case. There will be two versions, a limited edition with a 21 jewel automatic movement, and a regular edition that is a chronograph diver (sans bezel lock) that uses the Bulova UHF quartz movement. The Ltd Ed will have a screw down crown and Helium release valve with a depth rating of 1000m. The chrono-diver is slightly smaller at 48mm with locking pushers, a screw down crown and a depth rating of 300m.
The Military Collection is the best of the three in my opinion. It’s a reasonable 42mm sized steel cushion case that does indeed have that vintage vibe that is lacking in the Sea King. Nice, understated ‘velvet’ black dial with printed numeral hour markers with a coin edge bezel and aviator style white hands really add up to a nice retro look. This one utilizes the UHF quartz movement and is rated to 100 meters, not that you’ll be diving with it.
Lastly, the Accutron II Lobster is another more successful attempt at borrowing from their past, as it takes its design cues from the rare vintage Accutron day/date Lobster. Like the original, this new one has dual crowns and an internal rotating diver’s bezel. This one definitely has a vintage look to it, especially on the mesh bracelet. It’s on the larger side with its 45mm steel case, and also features the Bulova UHF quartz movement.
Overall, Bulova is making strides with the 2015 introductions trying to get back to their roots with the Military and the Lobster offerings. While I’d prefer to see the Sea King be an homage to their past great divers, the new look tool diver definitely has its merits. Likewise, I’d prefer to see a return to great mechanical movements, rather than quartz. That said, the cutting edge UHF quartz technology is pretty cool, especially for those that prefer the ease of grab-and-go quartz to mechanical. And since most of these offerings will be in the $300-500 range, I think they’re going to be a hit with their intended market.