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Bulova History

Have you ever wondered about the history of one of the most iconic watch brands in the world? Well, let me tell you, the story of Bulova history is quite fascinating. From its humble beginnings to its success today, this company has truly made its mark in the world of timepieces. In this article, you’ll learn all about when and where Bulova was founded, the important milestones the company has achieved, the impressive sales figures it has garnered, and the historically significant watches that have put Bulova on the map.

Back in 1875, a young Czech immigrant named Joseph Bulova set foot in New York City with a dream to make watches. Little did he know, this dream would soon become a reality. In 1875, he opened his small jewelry shop, called J. Bulova, and little did he know, this would be the start of something big. Over the years, Bulova’s dedication to excellence and innovation led to numerous groundbreaking developments in the world of watches.

From the first fully integrated mass production facility to the introduction of the world’s first electronic watch, Bulova continued to push the boundaries of what was possible. It’s no wonder that by the 1920s, Bulova had become a household name and a symbol of American craftsmanship. And the company’s success only grew from there. In fact, by the 1950s, Bulova was the first watch brand to have its advertisements broadcast on television, reaching millions of households.

Throughout Bulova’s history, there have been several watches that have stood out and become historically significant. One of the most notable is the Accutron, which was introduced in 1960 as the world’s first fully electronic watch. With its revolutionary tuning fork technology, the Accutron quickly gained popularity and became a symbol of precision and innovation.

So, if you’re curious to learn more about the rich history of the Bulova watch company, make sure to dive into our upcoming article. From its humble beginnings to its groundbreaking achievements, there’s no doubt that Bulova has earned its place in the watchmaking hall of fame.

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1 Bulova History

Bulova History

Welcome to the fascinating history of Bulova, a renowned watch company that has left an indelible mark on the world of horology. From its humble beginnings to becoming a global leader in watchmaking, Bulova has constantly pushed the boundaries of design and innovation. In this article, we will explore the founding of Bulova, its early years and growth, milestone moments, design and innovation, historically important watches, expansion and global reach, marketing and promotion, sales figures and success, as well as its enduring legacy and influence.

Bulova History Video

This informative, entertaining video covers the history of Bulova with excellent archive footage and a great narrative.

America Runs on Bulova Time….this video shows vintage marketing and the history of Bulova Watches.

Founding of Bulova

The origins of Bulova

The Bulova company traces its roots back to 1875, when a young Czech immigrant named Joseph Bulova arrived in the United States. He had a deep passion for watchmaking and a vision to create timepieces of unparalleled quality and innovation. Over the years, Bulova’s reputation for excellence grew, and the brand soon became synonymous with precision and craftsmanship.

The founders and their vision

Joseph Bulova, along with his son Arde Bulova, established the Bulova Watch Company in 1911. Their primary objective was to design and produce watches that were not only accurate but also affordable for the masses. They believed that timekeeping should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their social or economic status.

Date and location of the company’s establishment

The Bulova Watch Company was officially established in New York City, the bustling hub of innovation and commerce, thereby setting the stage for Bulova’s journey towards global success.

Early Years and Growth

Challenges faced by Bulova in its early years

Like any business, Bulova faced its share of challenges in its early years. However, the company’s commitment to quality and innovation allowed it to overcome these obstacles. One of the primary challenges was establishing a reputation in the market dominated by well-established watchmakers. Undeterred, Bulova focused on creating timepieces that were not only accurate but also aesthetically appealing, thereby capturing the attention of consumers.

Expansion into new markets

Over time, Bulova expanded its presence beyond the American market. The company recognized the potential for growth in international markets and began exporting its watches worldwide. This expansion into new markets laid the foundation for Bulova’s global reach and established the brand as a prominent player in the watchmaking industry.

Introduction of revolutionary technologies

Bulova was at the forefront of technological advancements in the watch industry. In 1927, the company introduced the world’s first clock radio, combining the functionality of a clock with the entertainment of a radio. This marked the beginning of Bulova’s foray into technological innovation.

Milestone Moments

Breakthrough achievements for Bulova

Throughout its history, Bulova achieved several breakthroughs that revolutionized the watchmaking industry. In 1920, the company introduced the first-ever complete line of ladies’ wristwatches, catering to the growing demand for fashionable timepieces for women. This was a significant milestone, as it showcased Bulova’s commitment to meeting evolving consumer needs.

Noteworthy milestones in the company’s history

Bulova’s history is marked by many noteworthy milestones that have shaped the industry. In 1960, the company launched the Accutron, the world’s first fully electronic watch, powered by a tuning fork mechanism. This technological advancement not only enhanced the accuracy of timekeeping but also solidified Bulova’s reputation as an innovator.

Bulova Caravelle

In 1962, Bulova introduced the Caravelle line of watches for men and the corresponding series of Bulova Caravelle watches for women. The Caravelle segment was positioned as a budget-friendly alternative to the main Bulova line. It was originally designed to compete with the influx of inexpensive watches from Europe and Asia. However, even with its more affordable price point, the Caravelle retained the quality and craftsmanship that Bulova was known for.

Bulova and the Space Industry

Bulova boasts a noteworthy legacy in space exploration. While the Omega Speedmaster is often recognized for its lunar landings, Bulova’s Accutron timekeeping mechanisms also played an integral role in the early years of America’s space missions. The brand’s groundbreaking Accutron tuning fork technology, known for its remarkable precision, was utilized in 46 NASA missions, providing onboard instruments for space crafts with its reliable timekeeping. Notably, during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, an astronaut’s personal Bulova chronograph became the first privately-owned watch to be worn on the moon. Through these achievements, Bulova solidified its place in space history, showcasing both the brand’s innovative spirit and its commitment to precision.

Recognition by industry and public

Bulova’s commitment to excellence did not go unnoticed. The brand received numerous accolades and awards for its exceptional timepieces. In 1998, the Bulova Precisionist, known for its unparalleled accuracy, won the prestigious Hong Kong Grand Prix award. Such recognition further cemented Bulova’s position as a trailblazer in watchmaking.

Acquisition by Citizen

In 2008, a significant event in the world of horology occurred when the Japanese conglomerate Citizen Holdings Co. acquired Bulova Watch Company. Citizen, already a major name in the watch industry known for its Eco-Drive technology and a vast range of timepieces, saw the acquisition as a strategic move to further expand its global footprint. This merger combined Citizen’s technological expertise with Bulova’s rich heritage and strong brand identity, opening new avenues for both companies in terms of product development, market reach, and operational efficiencies.

Post-acquisition, while some might have anticipated major shifts in Bulova’s brand identity or operations, Citizen ensured that Bulova retained its distinct character. Bulova continues to operate as a standalone brand within the Citizen group, preserving its American heritage and focus on innovation. The acquisition enabled Bulova to benefit from Citizen’s advanced technological resources and manufacturing capabilities, while Citizen gained an even stronger presence in the North American market, reinforcing its position as one of the world’s largest watchmakers.

Design and Innovation

Distinctive design elements of Bulova watches

Bulova watches are known for their distinctive design elements that set them apart from other timepieces. The brand embraces both classic and contemporary styles, catering to a wide range of preferences. From sleek and minimalist designs to bold and eye-catching dials, Bulova watches exude a timeless elegance that appeals to watch enthusiasts worldwide.

See: Bulova Watches Review

Innovative features introduced by the brand

Innovation has always been at the heart of Bulova’s ethos. The brand has introduced several groundbreaking features that have redefined the watchmaking industry. One notable innovation is the introduction of the Precisionist movement, offering unparalleled accuracy with a continuously sweeping second hand. Additionally, Bulova’s CURV collection showcased the brand’s ability to create ergonomically curved cases, ensuring a comfortable fit on the wrist.

2016 – The Bulova Curv

Bulova introduced the CURV collection in 2016. The CURV line was notable because it featured the world’s first curved chronograph movement. This innovative design combined ergonomic comfort with cutting-edge watchmaking technology, offering a unique aesthetic and fit. The line was a reflection of Bulova’s continuous commitment to innovation in the watch industry.

Impact on the evolution of watchmaking

Bulova’s commitment to innovation has had a profound impact on the evolution of watchmaking. The brand’s pioneering spirit and introduction of new technologies have influenced other watchmakers, inspiring them to push boundaries and explore new possibilities. From advancements in quartz technology to the integration of modern materials, Bulova’s impact on the industry is undeniable.

Bulova History

Historically Important Watches

Iconic watches produced by Bulova

Bulova has produced several iconic watches throughout its history. One such watch is the Bulova Accutron Spaceview, introduced in 1960. This timepiece featured a transparent dial, showcasing the intricate inner workings of the watch. The Spaceview captured the imagination of watch enthusiasts and became an instant classic.

The Spaceview is just one of Bulova’s skeleton watches, which artfully showcase the intricate mechanics and craftsmanship that the brand is renowned for. By revealing the inner workings of the timepiece through thoughtfully designed cut-outs in the dial, these watches provide wearers with a fascinating glimpse into the very heart of Bulova’s engineering prowess. Beyond the mesmerizing aesthetics, Bulova’s skeleton watches are a testament to the brand’s dedication to precision and innovation, merging traditional horology with modern design elements for a captivating visual experience on the wrist.

Bulova’s Precisionist collection stands as a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to accuracy and innovation in watchmaking. These timepieces are distinguished by their proprietary three-prong quartz movement, a groundbreaking feature that vastly improves timekeeping precision. As a result, the Precisionist series boasts an unparalleled accuracy of within seconds per year, setting them apart in the quartz watch category. Beyond their technical prowess, these watches also display Bulova’s keen sense of design, with finely crafted dials, sleek contours, and a harmonious blend of modernity and classic elegance. The Precisionist line showcases not just the precision indicated by its name but also Bulova’s dedication to crafting timepieces of superior quality and style. The Bulova Precisionist collection was introduced in 2010.

Their significance in the watch industry

Historically important watches from Bulova hold great significance in the watch industry. They serve as a testament to the brand’s commitment to precision, innovation, and design. These timepieces have not only stood the test of time but have also become highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Collectibility and value of these timepieces

The collectability and value of historically important Bulova watches are a testament to their enduring appeal. These watches are not only cherished for their mechanical ingenuity but also appreciated as timeless pieces of art. Collectors and enthusiasts eagerly seek out vintage Bulova watches, recognizing their historical importance and the value they hold within the watch market.

Expansion and Global Reach

Bulova’s expansion into international markets

Bulova’s ambition to reach a global audience led to its expansion into international markets. The brand recognized the importance of catering to diverse cultures and preferences, and thus established a strong presence across continents. Today, Bulova watches can be found in prestigious boutiques and authorized retailers worldwide.

Establishment of subsidiaries and distribution networks

To ensure efficient operations and distribution, Bulova strategically established subsidiaries and distribution networks in key markets. This allowed the brand to maintain high-quality standards and provide exceptional customer service. By fostering local partnerships, Bulova created a network that facilitated the growth of its global reach.

Cultural influences on Bulova’s designs

Bulova’s designs have been shaped by the rich diversity of cultures worldwide. The brand has drawn inspiration from various artistic movements, architectural styles, and cultural traditions, resulting in an eclectic range of designs. From the Art Deco era to modern minimalism, Bulova watches reflect the cultural tapestry that influences their creation.

Marketing and Promotion

Effective advertising campaigns by Bulova

Bulova has a storied history of effective advertising campaigns that have left a lasting impact on consumers. One of the most notable campaigns was the iconic “Bulova Time” television commercial, which aired during the 1941 World Series. The simple yet powerful message, “America runs on Bulova time,” captured the imagination of the public and solidified Bulova’s position as a trusted timepiece brand.

Brand ambassadors and partnerships

To enhance its brand image, Bulova has collaborated with notable brand ambassadors and established strategic partnerships. In 1971, the brand partnered with the United States Tennis Association, becoming the official timekeeper of the US Open. This partnership showcased Bulova’s commitment to precision and accuracy, attributes that resonated with the values of the sport.

Bulova’s watches have often found their way into popular culture, further enhancing the brand’s reputation. From appearing on the wrists of iconic movie characters to being featured in music videos and prominent advertising campaigns, Bulova watches have become part of the cultural fabric, appealing to both watch connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts.

Sales Figures and Success

Impressive sales performance by Bulova

Bulova’s dedication to innovation, quality, and design has translated into impressive sales performance over the years. The brand’s ability to cater to a diverse range of consumers, coupled with its global reach, has contributed to its sales success. Bulova watches continue to be highly regarded and sought after by watch collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

Contributions to the company’s financial success

The financial success of Bulova can be attributed to several factors. The brand’s ability to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and introduce innovative features has kept it at the forefront of the industry. Additionally, Bulova’s strategic expansion into international markets and effective marketing campaigns have contributed to the brand’s financial achievements.

Market share and competition

Bulova has consistently held a significant market share in the global watch industry. Its reputation for quality, design, and innovation has positioned it as a strong competitor among renowned watch brands. While competition is fierce, Bulova’s commitment to excellence and ability to adapt to changing market dynamics have enabled it to maintain its competitive edge.

Legacy and Influence

Enduring legacy of Bulova

Bulova’s enduring legacy lies in its commitment to precision, innovation, and design. The brand’s pioneering spirit and relentless pursuit of excellence have secured its place in the annals of watchmaking history. Bulova’s timepieces continue to captivate watch enthusiasts and collectors, embodying the brand’s rich heritage and time-honored craftsmanship.

Influence on the watchmaking industry

Bulova’s impact on the watchmaking industry cannot be overstated. The brand’s introduction of revolutionary technologies, such as the Accutron and Precisionist movements, set new standards for accuracy and shaped the future of watchmaking. Bulova’s innovations have inspired other watchmakers to push boundaries, ensuring the continuous evolution of the industry.

Continued relevance and recognition

Despite a history spanning over a century, Bulova remains highly relevant in the modern watch industry. The brand’s ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences while staying true to its core values has contributed to its continued relevance. Bulova watches continue to be recognized as symbols of precision and style, appealing to both new and seasoned watch enthusiasts.

Noteworthy Bulova Watches and Collections

Below is a table with some of Bulova’s premier collections and individual standout watches.

Watch or CollectionKey Features
Bulova Hack Watch Hacking Watch
Stainless Steel
3-Hand Automatic Watch with NATO Leather Strap
Bulova ComputronStriking LED display and angular case
Stainless Steel
Bulova Crystal WatchesLuxurious
Bulova Sea KingLarge and sturdy case
Dive watches
Bulova 98B229 PrecisionistPrecisionist movement in stainless steel
96A133Men’s Dress Watch with leather strap
98D109Diamond accent, Modern, Men’s watch
97B134Accutron II Gold Surveyor
96P184Women’s Rubaiyat Silver
96B231Quartz, Military Watch UHF
63A102Kirkwood, Accutron, Automatic
98B294Grammy Watch, Special Edition, Precisionist
63C113Accutron Gemini, Automatic
96B270Pocket Watch, Analog Quartz
65B165Percheron – Official watch of Manchester United
98B320Devil Diver Oceanographer Special Edition Dive Watch
96B104Men’s Stainless Steel Dress Watch
Bulova 63C120 Accu SwissAccu Swiss Automatic Watch
96B015Classic Japanese Quartz Men’s, Stainless Steel
Bulova 96B129 PrecisionistClaremont Men’s Watch
Bulova 98B166 PrecisionistPrecisionist Catamount Quartz, extremely accurate
98B203Japanese Quartz Dress Watch, Black Face
98A123Automatic, Two-tone stainless, Skeleton
96B258Lunar Pilot Chronograph
98B152Chronograph, Analog Black
Bulova 98B172 PrecisionistPrecisionist Chronograph
96B256 Bulova Marine StarMarine Star Stainless Steel Chronograph
96B251 Bulova Lunar PilotBulova Moon Watch Special edition
96A135BVA Series 120 Automatic Skeleton
96C107Multifunction Black Dial
97B100Classic Gold Tone Watch with Brown Leather Band
96C105Modern Black Stainless Steel
98H51Crocodile-embossed leather; rose gold case
98B104 Bulova Marine StarRose Gold Marine Star with Silicone strap
96A118BVA Series Dual Aperture, Sliver tone band
98B270Stainless Steel Dress Watch
96A120Automatic Watch with 21 Jewels, Classic Sutton 4 Hand
96B175Precisionist Stainless Steel Chronograph
98A244Bulova Sports Watch
98B203Marine Star Black
98D184Marc Anthony
Noteworthy Bulova Watches Table

Bulova’s Competitors

Bulova, with its rich history and reputation in the watch industry, faces competition from various brands across different price points and market segments. Some of the top competitors to Bulova include:

  1. Seiko: As one of the most recognized names globally, Seiko competes with Bulova in various segments, offering everything from affordable quartz watches to luxury mechanical timepieces.
  2. Citizen: Another significant competitor, Citizen, especially with its Eco-Drive technology, offers a range of watches that overlap with Bulova’s market segment.
  3. Timex: Known for its affordability and durability, Timex caters to a similar audience as some of Bulova’s entry-level and mid-range timepieces.
  4. Fossil: With its blend of modern designs and reliable movements, Fossil competes in the fashion watch segment, attracting many of the same customers as Bulova.
  5. Tissot: As part of the Swatch Group, Tissot operates in the mid-range to luxury segment, offering quartz and mechanical watches that compete with Bulova’s higher-end models.
  6. Invicta: Offering a vast range of designs and often known for its larger-than-life timepieces, Invicta is another brand that captures a segment of the market that might also consider Bulova.
  7. Movado: With its iconic Museum Watch and minimalist aesthetics, Movado offers a unique design perspective, making it a competitor, especially in the realm of dress watches.
  8. Rolex: As a luxury watchmaking titan, Rolex operates in a different segment compared to most of Bulova’s offerings. However, for Bulova’s high-end timepieces, Rolex can be seen as aspirational competition.
  9. Casio: From digital watches to the rugged G-Shock line, Casio provides a wide variety of timepieces that compete with Bulova in terms of functionality and affordability.

The watch industry is teeming with brands, each carving its niche. While some directly compete with Bulova in terms of price and style, others, like Rolex, set industry standards that many aspire to match or surpass.


In conclusion, the history of Bulova is a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to excellence in watchmaking. From its humble beginnings in New York City to becoming a global leader, Bulova has overcome challenges, achieved breakthroughs, and left an indelible mark on the world of horology. With a rich legacy, enduring influence, and exciting future endeavors, Bulova continues to inspire watch enthusiasts worldwide. So, embrace the Bulova story, appreciate its impact on horology, and join the excitement for what the brand will bring in the years to come.


When was Bulova founded?

Bulova was founded by Joseph Bulova in 1875 in New York City. As an immigrant from Bohemia, Joseph established the J. Bulova Company, which began as a small jewelry shop and over time evolved into one of the most recognized and reputable watch brands in the world, known for its innovation, precision, and craftsmanship.

Is Bulova a Swiss brand?

Bulova is not a Swiss brand; it originated in New York, USA. in 1875 when Joseph Bulova started a watch company. Although it has a rich American heritage, the company has, at times, incorporated Swiss movements and components into its watches. Nonetheless, its origins and primary identity are firmly rooted in the United States. The Japanese Brand, Citizen Watch Group, acquired Bulova in 2008.

Is Bulova an American brand?

Bulova is a U.S. brand, established in 1875 by Joseph Bulova in New York City. Over the years, it has grown into one of America’s most iconic watch brands, recognized for its innovation, precision, and enduring craftsmanship, with its roots and identity firmly anchored in the United States. Citizen Watch Group, a Japanese company, acquired Bulova in 2008.

Is Bulova a good brand?

Bulova is a reputable brand renowned for its precision, innovation, and commitment to quality craftsmanship. With a history spanning over a century, Bulova has consistently introduced pioneering technologies and stylish designs, making it a trusted choice among watch enthusiasts and casual wearers alike. Its legacy in the watchmaking industry underscores its reliability and value as a brand.

What is the famous Bulova advertisement?

Bulova is famously known for its advertising phrase, “Bulova – America runs on Bulova time.” Additionally, the brand made history with its groundbreaking 1941 advertisement, which was the first-ever TV commercial. It simply showcased an image of a Bulova watch with the voice-over, “America runs on Bulova time.” This phrase encapsulated the brand’s prominence and reliability in the American market.