The Bulova Chronograph A, more commonly referred to by its nickname, the “Surfboard,” has been charming chronograph lovers since the early 70s. With a distinctive dial design that subconsciously makes you think of fun in the sun, it has achieved something of a cult following over the last 50 years, and was recently reissued to commemorate its initial release, and to give new watch fans a chance to experience the Chronograph A first hand. While the times have certainly changed since the Surfboard first came on the scene, the watch definitely retains the key design elements that have always left such a positive impression.
The first surfboard was released in 1970 as a specialty chronograph designed specifically for divers. While many chronos of the day were still geared toward auto enthusiasts, the Chronograph A was fitted with a rotating dive bezel that made it useful for recreational divers. The case construction also found itself in dive territory, borrowing much from the compact and lightweight “skin diver” cases that were popular at the time, with prominent and thick straight lugs that gave the watch a boxy shape. Later iterations of the Chronograph A were developed with a softer, cushion style case, which was every bit as much a product of its time.