Bulova Watches Review: How Good are Bulova Watches?

Still wondering if Bulova is actually a good watch brand you can trust or not?

Then you’ve come to the right place!

In this comprehensive review, I will show you everything you need to know about the brand.

From their history, to their world-famous watches, their current ranking among other brands, and more.

So sit back, and let’s begin.

A Brief History Of Bulova Watches

Bulova was founded all the way back in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, an immigrant from Bohemia.

The company was started under a slightly different name, the J. Bulova Company and was changed in 1923 to the Bulova Watch Company, which is what most people know the brand as.

It started out simple, as a tiny jewelry store in New York, but soon grew to something much bigger.

In 1911, Joseph Bulova began manufacturing table clocks and pocket watches, which grew in popularity in New York, and a year later in 1912, he set up a plant specifically for the production of watches, in Bien Switzerland.

After that, the rest was history.

Throughout the years, Bulova has released a bunch of new technologies that pushed the horology world further while also adorning the wrists of people all around the world.

Is Bulova A Good Brand?

is bulova a good brand

The answer to this question will all depend on what you consider a good watch.

That being said, Bulova does check most of the criteria people have for a good timepiece.

If accuracy is what you’re looking for, Bulova has you covered with their incredibly accurate Precisionist movement, which is a nod to one of their most innovative technologies, the Accutron movement which was released in 1960.

When it comes to style and variety, Bulova hits the mark as well.

They have a great selection of sleek and classy timepieces such as those in the Precisionist collection, but if you want something a bit more flashy and luxurious, they also have bejeweled watches from the Rubaiyat collection.

So if we’re talking about classy dress watches, dive watches, and everyday casual watches, then Bulova is definitely a good brand.

You can also see our recent comparison posts on Bulova vs Citizen, Bulova vs Movado, Bulova vs Seiko, Bulova vs Omega, or Bulova vs Fossil here.

Top 10 Best Bulova Watches – Quick Comparison Table

Product imagesProduct namesMovementWater resistanceEditor's ratingPrice
98B104 Marine Star Silicone Strap WatchJapanese Quartz330 feet4.9 out of 5 starscta
96B251 Special Edition Lunar Pilot Chronograph WatchJapanese Quartz100 feet4.8 out of 5 starscta
96B175 Precisionist Stainless Steel Chronograph WatchJapanese Quartz990 feet4.8 out of 5 starscta
96B104 Stainless Steel Dress WatchJapanese Quartz99 feet4.7 out of 5 starscta
96A120 BVA Series Dual Aperture Dial WatchSwiss Automatic99 feet4.6 out of 5 starscta
96B158 Precisionist Leather Strap WatchJapanese Quartz99 feet4.6 out of 5 starscta
96C105 Men's Essentials WatchJapanese Quartz99 feet4.5 out of 5 starscta
98B228 Precisionist Analog Display Two-Tone WatchJapanese Quartz984 Feet4.5 out of 5 starscta
96B015 Mens Classic WatchJapanese Quartz99 feet4.4 out of 5 starscta
96B256 Marine Star Chronograph WatchJapanese Quartz330 feet4.4 out of 5 starscta

If you’re like me, you’d probably love Bulova for their endless stream of innovative watches.

And the best part about their timepieces is that there are so many options that almost everyone would be able to find ones that suit their needs.

But that’s also a setback as well because when there are too many options, we tend to freeze our mind!

And that’s why I compiled the comparison table of the best Bulova watches above for you to make better choices quicker.

And if you really want to find out more about those top-rated Bulova wristwatches, don’t forget to scan through the short reviews below.

They will provide you with more information on why I love these particular models.

1) 98B104 Marine Star Silicone Strap

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Anyone looking for a large men’s watch that’s classy, fashionable, and detailed wouldn’t have to look much further than this model.

Bulova chose a rose-gold-tone for the case on this piece, and it’s by far my favorite part of the watch.

It shows class, while also having an incredibly modern look.

The dial is filled with amazing details that will make any horologist drool, and the three sub-dials are perfectly placed, allowing you to easily use and read the chronograph, while not distracting from the main dial.

Another great detail that I fell in love with is the date window in between the 4 and 5 o’clock position, which is as unique as it is functional.

All in all, this timepiece would be perfect for men who enjoy looking professional and fashionable at the same time.

Pros:

 

  • Unique and detailed design
  • Water-resistant up to 100m (330ft)
  • Can be worn with both formal and casual attire
Cons:

 

  • Weight may be too much for some

2) 96B251 Special Edition Lunar Pilot

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I don’t usually like pilot’s watches.

For some reason, I always think they have too much going on, but this watch is one of the rare exceptions to that.

Let’s start with the dial, it uses a simple black background with white details, which is perfect considering all the things going on in the dial.

On the outer ring of the dial is a tachymeter that matches the three sub-dials (for the chronograph) perfectly.

It has a large 45mm stainless steel case, which is exactly the size this model needs considering everything placed on the dial.

It also runs on Quartz, which means that accuracy is no problem at all, and the exquisite black leather strap makes sure the watch is secure and comfortable on your wrist.

Fans of pilot’s watches will instantly fall in love with this piece, and even those who aren’t fans may find themselves surprised.

Pros:

 

  • Premium design
  • Accurate timekeeping
  • Functional complications (chronograph, tachymeter)
Cons:

 

  • Only water resistant up to 50m (150ft)

3) 96B175 Precisionist Chronograph Watch

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This one is a lot to take in, but that is far from a bad thing.

It is a dive watch with a plethora of incredible details that took me a while to fully absorb, but once I did, I absolutely fell in love with this piece.

As this is a dive watch, it comes with an insane 300m (984ft) of water resistance, a chronograph, luminous hands and markers, a stainless steel case, and a curved crystal.

At first glance, the dial seems too packed, but after some getting used to, it actually gets much easier to read, and much more pleasant to look at.

The textured black background makes the hands and markers truly pop out, and the continuous yellow seconds hand is a great detail that makes reading the time much easier.

Pros:

 

  • Full of useful complications
  • 300m water resistance
  • Large 46.5mm case
Cons:

 

  • May take some time to get used to

4) 96B104 Stainless Steel Dress Watch

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My personal favorite watches are those that keep things simple, sleek, and classy, which is exactly why I fell in love with this model at first sight.

The dial uses an incredibly minimalistic white background with silver-colored stick markers and stick hands.

This not only makes reading the time very easy but also serves as a great compliment to any suit because of its simplicity.

With a dress watch like this, it’s easy to see why a leather strap was chosen as I don’t see any other alternative that would look better.

The band is made out of calfskin which feels very comfortable even when long for a long time and the classic buckle does its job of keeping this timepiece on your wrist perfectly.

Pros:

 

  • Sleek, minimalist design
  • Reading time is a breeze
  • Calendar function
Cons:

 

  • Only water resistant up to 30m (100ft)

5) 96A120 BVA Series Dual Aperture Dial

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Something new and unique is something all watch enthusiasts and horologists welcome with open arms, and that’s exactly what Bulova brought with this piece.

The brown dial is perfectly matched with the leather strap, but its true beauty lies in the intricate dial design.

The dial uses a beautiful bronze tone for the hands and markers, which is one of my favorite color combinations, while the two sub-dials (for 24-hour time) are put in the perfect position to allow easy reading while not being a distraction.

However, in between the two subdials is a window into the inside of the watch, which does nothing but add an incredible sense of class to this piece.

The watch also has all the complications I look for, 24-hour time and luminosity.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

  • Only water resistant up to 30m

6) 96B158 Precisionist Leather Strap

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It’s no secret that accuracy is important because, at the end of the day, a watch with the wrong time on it is pretty useless.

That’s why Bulova’s Precisionist watch got me very excited.

The company claims that this piece is one of the (if not the most) accurate watch on the planet.

Bulova used a variation on the ever-famous Japanese Quartz movement to create a timepiece that is accurate within seconds of a year.

But aside from the incredible accuracy of the watch, it also has an incredibly unique design.

The dial utilizes a black background with textured gray patterns, silver-colored hands, and thick, silver-colored stick markers.

The date window at the 3 o’clock position is placed perfectly to allows convenient reading.

For those who love accuracy time-keeping and unique designs, the Precisionist belongs on the top of your choices for your next watch.

Pros:

 

  • Accurate to within seconds in a year
  • A design that stands out
  • Sweeping seconds hand
Cons:

 

  • Only water resistant up to 30m

7) 96C105 Men’s Essentials Watch

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Multi-function watches are great for those who like having to keep things convenient.

With this one, you can keep accurate time, check the date, check the 24-hour time, and even check the day (which is my favorite feature of the watch).

It has a very simple dial design with a black background and silver-colored stick markers, with two subdials for the date and 24-hour time, and a unique “sub-dial” which you can use to check the date.

With this piece, you’ll never lose track of time again.

Pros:

 

  • Multiple functions
  • Luminous hands
  • Domed metalized crystal
Cons:

 

  • Adjusting the date may take some time

8) 98B228 Precisionist Analog Display Two-Tone

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This is yet another piece that uses Bulova’s incredible “Precisionist” technology, so accuracy is surely no question.

However, this differs from the other “Precisionist” because of its intricate dial design.

On the dial are four sub-dials which are for the chronograph function that records hours, minutes, seconds, 1/100-seconds, and 1/1000-seconds.

This is a dive watch, so it also comes with an incredible 300m of water resistance.

Pair all of that with the accuracy of the watch movement, and this one becomes almost irresistible.

Pros:

 

  • Incredibly accurate
  • Great chronograph
  • Water-resistant up to 300m
Cons:

 

  • Some may not appreciate the dial

9) 96B015 Men’s Classic Watch

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For those who love classic watch designs, this wristwatch would definitely catch your eye.

The dial has a classy white textured background with classic silver-colored stick markers and a date window at the 3 o’clock position.

The cohesion in the design is a testament to Bulova’s ability to design great watches.

And as a person who loves watches with classic designs, I can confidently say that this one is a great “classic” watch for modern times.

Pros:

 

  • Classic design
  • Accurate Japanese Quartz movement
  • Domed mineral crystal
Cons:

 

  • Only water resistant up to 30m

10) 96B256 Marine Star Chronograph

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If you love going out into the ocean, chances are you’ll fall in love with this watch as well.

The dial uses a beautiful deep blue color, which is accented by the white hands, markers, and details.

The three sub-dials are used by the chronograph function, and the second crown at the 10 o’clock position allows you to adjust the inner ring of the bezel (which gives it the same function as a unidirectional bezel).

This watch also has 100m of water resistance, meaning you can take it with you to the sea (as long as you aren’t going for a deep dive).

Pros:

 

  • Great design
  • Useful Chronograph function
  • Date window placed perfectly
Cons:

 

  • Adjusting the watch takes some getting used to

Related: Bulova vs Invicta

Where Are Bulova Watches Made?

Primarily, Bulova movements are made in Switzerland, a place known for high-quality timepieces.

The Accu-Swiss and Precisionist movements, which are considered to be some of Bulova’s best releases have all their parts manufactured in Switzerland while the majority of watch production is done in New York.

After the company was bought out by Citizen in 2003,  the manufacturing of the components for low-end Bulova models was moved to Citizen’s other facilities in Hong Kong and Japan.

See more: Bulova vs Tissot

Who Makes Bulova Watches?

Generally, Bulova watches are constructed by watch-makers from different parts of the world, and due to the incredibly high demand, a lot of Bulova watches are now manufactured in large facilities.

Are Bulova Watches Made In Japan?

When Bulova was bought out by Citizen, the manufacturing for the components for the low-end models of Bulova was moved to Japan and Hong Kong.

However, the higher-quality models such as the Precisionist and Accu-Swiss watches still have their components made in Switzerland.

While the components are constructed from different parts of the world, a lot of the production is still done in their home office in New York.

Where Do Bulova Watches Rank?

where do bulova watches rank

When it comes to brand reputation, Bulova is in the same tier as Citizen and Seiko.

The brand is known for releasing affordable, high-quality, stylish, and functional timepieces.

Most Bulova watches are considered mid-range, which is accurate.

That being said, Bulova watches are still considered to be of high quality even though the prices fall in the mid-range area.

Who Sells Bulova Watches And Where To Buy Them?

For those doing their shopping online, Amazon has a great selection of Bulova timepieces that are being sold by licensed sellers, so you can rest assured that you won’t get a fake watch if you order on Amazon.

Since the brand is very popular, it won’t be too difficult to find Bulova pieces in your local watch shop.

Orders can also be placed directly on the Bulova website, and a lot of local watch retailers stock up on Bulova watches because of their popularity.

How Much Is My Bulova Watch Worth?

First things first, Bulova isn’t a luxury brand such as Patek Phillipe or Rolex, the brand produces mid-range watches, so they usually retain their value.

While they usually retain their value, there are still a couple of pieces that can be re-sold at higher prices.

These are models from Bulova’s past such as the original Accutron models that put the company on the horological map.

The exact price that these watches can be resold varies greatly, as some people will be willing to spend more money on specific watches than others.

So it would be best to test the market yourself and check out how much the exact model goes for if you’re trying to resell as prices vary greatly with certain Bulova models.

Do Bulova Watches Hold Their Value?

do bulova watches hold their value

Currently, Bulova watches retain their value.

The brand is well-respected in the community, so watches usually don’t drop in value.

Certain vintage pieces of Bulova actually got more valuable since watches like the Accutron are no longer in production.

But all-in-all a Bulova watch would be considered safe considering the high-quality and affordable price of a lot of their current models.

See more: Bulova vs Rolex

Do Bulova Watches Have Real Diamonds?

One of the things that set Bulova apart is their use of real diamonds.

These aren’t on all their watches, as that would make the watches cost way more than they actually do.

However, certain women’s models such as the Rubaiyat are adorned with real diamond jewels which give them a unique and luxurious look.

Are Bulova Watches Real Gold?

This again will all depend on the type of watch you’re talking about.

That being said, there are Bulova models out there with real gold in them.

If the case of the watch is marked as made of karat gold, then it is real gold.

But most watches don’t use solid gold for the entire case as that can be ridiculously expensive.

Instead, the gold being used is something called RGP, which stands for Rolled Gold Plate.

Rolled gold plates have a thin layer of gold coating a base metal which is usually a common metal like copper or brass.

These plates still contain real gold, but they aren’t a solid piece, which is why they are more affordable than jewelry that’s made of pure solid gold.

Do Bulova Watches Need Batteries?

If the watch you have is a quartz model then it does need batteries.

Quartz movements are known for their superior accuracy and lower price.

The most popular Bulova movement right now, the Precisionist is a quartz movement that requires a battery.

Instead of being powered by a spring, there’s a battery that powers the watch and keeps it ticking at a consistent pace.

However, not all Bulova watches use quartz movements.

Other models use automatic movements, which winds itself and is powered by movement.

So make sure to check if the watch is quartz to determine whether or not it needs a battery.

Are Bulova Watches Automatic?

Certain Bulova models use an automatic movement.

An automatic movement is one that winds itself, which eliminates the need to change the battery (since it doesn’t have one) or manually rewind the watch yourself.

Bulova has an extensive collection of automatic models that vary in style and design, so if automatic pieces are more your style, Bulova will have you covered.

How Much Does It Cost To Change A Bulova Battery?

While it may be a hassle sometimes, changing a watch battery won’t cost you too much.

A standard replacement cost begins at $10, however, that is only for the most basic quartz watches.

If you are getting a water-resistant battery change, which is what you’ll have to get for most Bulova models, prices range between $45-$60.

Getting this service will also take a bit more time as the watch will have to be resealed to make sure no water will damage it.

And if you’re getting a chronograph watch battery replaced, it will cost slightly more, with prices ranging from $65-$90.

That being said, if you make sure to get high-quality batteries, you won’t have to do this too much as a good watch battery can last up to 5 years before needing to be changed.

What Are Bulova Watches Made Of?

The answer to this question will depend on the specific watch you’re getting.

Bulova prides itself on always using high-quality materials, and most watches will usually have the materials used listed down for you to read.

Usually, Bulova watches are made with a stainless steel case and bracelet, and a mineral or sapphire crystal.

Watches with a sapphire crystal will cost you more since the material itself is more expensive, but the crystal is also one of the strongest materials in the world.

Occasionally, Bulova will have a watch made of a different material such as aluminum or gunmetal, which gives the watches a uniquely tough look.

How Much Does A Bulova Watch Cost?

Bulova watches vary in price, but they definitely stay within the middle to the upper-middle tier of prices.

When looking for a Bulova watch, the lower end models will usually cost somewhere between $200-$350, which usually gives you a great value since the watches are usually high-quality.

The more high-end models of Bulova such as the Rubaiyat and the Precisionist, however, may demand a price north of $400, which depending on the watch, is definitely worth it.

Most models though will stay below the $1000 mark, which is why Bulova pieces are known to be high quality and affordable.

How Much Is A Bulova Watch In A Pawn Shop?

pawn watch shop for bulova watches

If you’re looking at a newer Bulova model in a pawn shop, it will usually be for sale very close to its original price.

However, there are some Bulova models such as the original Accutron which are considered vintage and demand a higher price.

Some shops in Europe have some Accutron models priced somewhere between 1000 and 1200 euros, which is definitely a lot.

But owning an Accutron is kind of like owning a piece of horological history because of how iconic the watch is.

So, definitely worth it, if you ask me.

Do Bulova Watches Have Serial Number?

Unlike some other brands, Bulova watches don’t have an exact serial number that shows what model the watch is.

Instead, they have a serial number or data codes that show the time period in which the watch was made.

These numbers or symbols represent the year the watch was made, and each time period has a different system for interpreting the numbers.

Luckily, all Bulova watches made after 1950 follows a uniform numbering system with a one-letter representing an entire decade.

In this system, the letter “L” represented the 1950s, “M” for the 1960s, “N” for the 1970s, “P” for the 1980s, and “T” for the 1990s.

So if the number on the back of your watch’s case has “M6” written on it, that simply means the watch was made in 1966.

Are Bulova Watches Waterproof?

Most Bulova models have some degree of water resistance to them, however, the level of water resistance varies depending on the line and model.

The low-end models are usually only water-resistant up to 100ft or 33m.

But if you go higher up in the tiers, you’ll find watches with much more water resistance.

For example, their dive watches usually have up to 300ft of water resistance.

Since all models have a little water resistance, you can usually bring them into the shower and wear them in the rain, but unless you have a model with at least 50m of water resistance, it isn’t advisable to go swimming with a watch on your wrist.

How Long Do Bulova Watches Usually Last?

Longevity is one of the reasons this brand is well-respected in the watch community.

These aren’t exactly heirloom watches, so it might be unfair to expect this watch to last for multiple generations.

However, Bulova watches are definitely tough enough to last a lifetime, especially if you maintain the watch well.

That means getting the battery changed as needed, only getting the watch serviced by qualified professionals, and of course, taking care of the watch.

Are Bulova Watches Swiss Made?

are bulova swiss made

Bulova is an American brand, but their first-ever production plant was built in Switzerland.

Most of the components of their watches are made in Switzerland, especially the components for the Precisionist and AccuSwiss line.

However, the lower-end models’ components are constructed in Asia, usually in Citizen’s facilities in Japan and Hong Kong.

While the components come from different areas in the world, the watches themselves are produced in Bulova facilities in New York.

How To Spot A Fake Bulova Watch

The easiest way to tell if a Bulova watch is fake is to check out the watch’s face.

Most watches will usually have “Bulova” written somewhere, and older models may even have the Bulova tuning fork logo on it.

Aside from that, the name of the line such as “Marine Star” or “Precisionist” should be visible on the face as well.

A lot of the new models of Bulova also have a serial number at the back which you can cross-reference on their website to check if the watch is legitimate.

For even more assurance, you can check the weight of your watch.

A real Bulova watch should have some weight on it because of the high-quality materials that they use in manufacturing the watch.

If you still aren’t sure if the watch is legitimate, you can also bring it to a respected jeweler or watchmaker for them to examine the watch and let you know if it’s fake or not.

Conclusion

I hope that this comprehensive Bulova watches review of mine has provided you with enough information to help you make better decisions.

If you can, please share your choices with us below.

I really appreciate that!

About

My name is Rob, and I'm a watch enthusiast by heart. I love writing about impressive watches that could make people stand out. And I'm also an amateur collector who loves to share his collection with everyone. Feel free to connect with me whenever you want.