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When it comes to mid-range watches, Citizen and Bulova are two of the biggest names out there.
This is because of their consistent release of high quality and incredibly functional timepieces that have adorned the wrists of people around the world.
Both of these brands have their own unique styles and technologies that helped them propel themselves to the top of the watch world.
But how do they stack up when compared to each other?
These two incredibly popular watch brands go head to head in this Bulova vs Citizen comparison.
(Read my Bulova watches review for more info)
- Bulova And Citizen, A Brief History
- Who Are These Watches For?
- Price Range
- Notable Timepieces
- Notable Technologies
- Bulova Precisionist vs Citizen Eco-Drive
Bulova And Citizen, A Brief History
Bulova was founded and named J Bulova Company all the way back in 1875 by Joseph Bulova.
It started out as a jewelry shop in New York but soon grew to be much more than that.
In 1911, the company began manufacturing simple table clocks and pocket watches, which soon grew in popularity, and by 1912 Bulova set up a plant in Switzerland to produce components for their timepieces.
As time went by, the company changed its name to what we all know the brand as today: Bulova Watch Company.
Throughout the years the brand has released a bunch of innovative timepieces that truly changed the game, and in 2008, the company was absorbed by another familiar watch brand: Citizen.
Citizen, on the other hand, is a younger company than Bulova, being founded in 1930 in Japan, being funded by a combination of Japanese and Swiss watchmakers.
While it was founded in 1930, the brand existed before that as it was registered in Switzerland in 1918 by Schmid as the name of the brand of watches that were sold in Japan.
The brand, however, wasn’t fully developed until the 1920s when the Japanese politician Goto Shinpei supported Citizen with hopes of the watch become popular, accessible, and affordable to the people of Japan.
Citizen grew even bigger than that though, as now they provide quality affordable watches for people all around the world, and has become well-loved by the horology community.
Who Are These Watches For?
Bulova has a wide range of designs when it comes to their watches, however, all it would take is one look to see that these timepieces lean more on the formal side of style.
Most of their watches are designed to look great with a suit jacket and a nice dress shirt, although they can also be worn casually.
Bulova dials are loud and complex, especially when compared to other brands in the same price range.
That makes these watches great for those who spend a significant amount of time in formal settings.
While they are formal in design. the watches are far from boring.
Bulova has a couple of daring designs that are designed to turn heads, which make these models ideal if you want to turn heads during an upcoming event.
Citizen, on the other hand, leans more towards the casual side of things.
Their designs follow classic silhouettes that are as familiar as they are eye-catching.
These timepieces are incredibly flexible, as a lot of Citizen pieces can complement a casual outfit as much as it can a suit.
For those of you who enjoy having a watch that you can wear almost anywhere, then Citizen may be your safest bet.
With their comfortable, simple, and stylish designs, you’ll find that it’s pretty difficult to go wrong with Citizen.
See more: Bulova vs Tissot
Both of these brands are considered mid-range in the horology world.
That being said, the prices between the brands vary slightly.
Bulova sits comfortably at the higher end of the middle when it comes to price.
Models from this brand usually stay below $1000, with the more expensive models going as high up as the $700 mark.
This makes the brand slightly more expensive than Citizen, but only by a thin margin as Bulova also has lower-end models that are priced much cheaper.
Citizen, on the other hand, is right in the middle when it comes to their price range.
They have very affordable low-end models designed for efficiency and functionality while also carrying quality designs.
However, they also have watches that ask for a bit more money, but that’s simply because they’re of higher quality.
If you climb up on the ladder of both Citizen and Bulova watches you’ll find more premium features such as perpetual calendars, chronographs, and sapphire crystals.
So when it comes to price, it’d be safe to call it a tie between these two companies.
Both of these brands have released iconic watches over the years, which is part of the reason these two companies are seen as very special in the watch world.
And in this section, we take a look at a couple of these noteworthy models.
The Bulova Accutron Gemini 63c113 watch
This is one of the watches that put Bulova on the map.
Although no longer in production, the Bulova Accutron is seen as a solid piece of watch history.
By using a resonating tuning fork to keep time, Bulova was able to create a watch more accurate and advanced than any other timepiece in its time.
This was a huge stepping stone in the horology world, and it opened the gates for quartz watches to take the world by storm.
The time kept by the Accutron was said to be accurate to a minute per month, which was much better than mechanical models of the time and would probably keep more accurate time than some mechanical watches in the market today.
The Bulova Claremont 96B128 watch
With the Accutron discontinued, Bulova needed a timepiece to replace the old iconic watch.
That’s when they came up with the Precisionist line, which built on the innovative concepts of the Accutron.
The result was one of the most accurate quartz movements available (but more on that later).
The Precisionist Claremont model uses this movement to keep incredibly accurate time, all in a beautifully designed case.
This watch’s design is reminiscent of the classic models of the past, with large easy to read markers and a classy leather strap.
A great combination of past influences and modern innovation.
The Marine Star model of Bulova is well known in the watch world for its incredible design.
It sports a loud, royal blue colorway that really stands out, especially when combined with the gold-toned case that the watch comes in.
It has three sub-dials on the face, used to control the chronograph, making this watch a very practical tool as well as a stylish one.
Aside from the great combination of colors, Bulova also simplified the dial of the watch by primarily using stick markers, with Roman Numeral indicators for the 20, 30, and 50-minute marks.
The blue silicone strap also has a subtle red stitching detail that provides a much-needed contrast for the watch.
Bulova is known for their loud and flashy designs, and this piece is a testament to that.
The Citizen AT4010-50E watch
Citizen timepieces are highly functional, and that’s one of the reasons it’s one of the most popular watch brands out there.
This timepiece is a manifestation of the incredible features that Citizen can put on a watch.
For starters, it has Atomic Timekeeping, which is the most accurate time in the world.
The watch can receive radio signals which keep the watch in sync to the atomic clock, which is accepted as the most accurate time on the planet.
It can also do this in multiple timezones, so all you’ll need to do is press a button to change the timezone being displayed, which can be incredibly useful for people who travel a lot.
Aside from that, it also has a perpetual calendar that adjusts itself and a chronograph.
On top of that, it uses Citizen’s signature Eco-Drive movement, but we’ll dive deeper into that later.
The Citizen BN0150-28E watch
Citizen’s dive watches are some of the best in their price range, and all it takes is one look at this model to see why.
It has the classic silver-toned, stainless steel case that most people associate with dive watches, while also having a very classic dial.
On the dial are large markers, designed to be read in a variety of conditions, especially underwater.
It also uses the Eco-Drive technology of Citizen, so you won’t need to get a battery replacement with this timepiece as it runs on light.
The watch is water-resistant up to 200m, which means you can wear it in the shower while swimming, and even while diving.
After all, you can’t really call it a dive watch unless it can withstand a lot of water pressure.
The only other thing you’ll see on the dial is the date window, which is what makes this watch so easy to read as Citizen didn’t overload the dial with features that are more confusing than useful.
The Citizen JY8035-04E watch
The NaviHawk model of Citizen is designed for people who want a tough design with a lot of useful features.
Essentially, this is a utility watch so expect a lot of information to be displayed on the face.
The watch combines both analog and digital displays to present all that information neatly.
It has Atomic Timekeeping synced to 43 timezones, a chronograph, a date window, a slide rule bezel, which is all made possible with their light-powered Eco-Drive movement.
While that may seem like too much for one watch, the large case and expert layout make it easy to read.
Admittedly, the face does take some getting used to, but once you understand what everything means you’ll find yourself reading the time and using the features with ease.
Aside from changing the watch game with their incredible designs and watches, these two brands have also made waves in the community by coming out with new and innovative technologies over the years.
It would be unfair not to mention the Accutron when talking about Bulova’s notable technologies.
This watch movement basically changed the entire game, as a lot of the quartz technology that we see in watches today would not be possible without the Accutron.
Instead of using springs like most mechanical watches at the time, Bulova used a resonating tuning fork to regulate time intervals.
This resulted in a much more sustainable and accurate time display.
Watches with the Accutron technology stayed accurate up to a minute a month, which has become the standard for most quartz watches today.
But back then, it was a game-changer since most mechanical movements would lose up to a minute a day.
Even the higher-end mechanical movements of the era couldn’t compete with the Accutron’s precision, which is part of the reason Bulova is one of the most popular watch brands today.
Citizen Satellite Wave
Citizen’s Satellite Wave technology is pure innovation.
This technology allows a watch to receive information from GPS satellites in space, which allows the watch to adjust itself and stay synchronized to the world’s most accurate time.
This beat out a lot of other technologies that received information from radio towers.
The satellites are quicker to synchronize than standard watches, allowing users to have superior accuracy in their timepieces.
The technology is fairly new, only being introduced in 2011, but it seems like this could be the future of timekeeping.
Citizen truly showed their ability to innovate by pushing their watches further than ever before, which is only expected from a brand that’s been known for function and practicality.
These are by far the two most popular features that these brands have to offer.
The Precisionist was inspired by the Accutron of the past, but Bulova took it much further.
Precisionist movements use a three-pronged tuning fork to keep time at a consistency that is unmatched by most quartz watches.
The Eco-Drive movement, on the other hand, is a technology that combined the accuracy of quartz movements while eliminating the need for a battery change.
By putting a light panel on the watch’s face, Citizen was able to make a watch that gets powered whenever exposed to light, which means that the battery will never die, as long as it gets regular exposure to light.
For those who appreciate accuracy, the Precisionist would be the way to go as it keeps time much better than any other quartz watches out there, only losing a couple of seconds a month.
But if you prefer convenience, the Eco-Drive movement will serve you better as you get the accuracy of quartz without the one downside: battery changes.
Both of these brands are incredible, without a doubt.
Which is probably why they have soared to the top of the watch world.
However, they still do each have their own pros and cons.
There isn’t one objectively better brand, as it all depends on preference.
Bulova watches are flashy, large, and incredibly accurate while Citizen has more laid back, simple, yet incredibly functional watches.
There’s no problem with preferring one over the other as at the end of the day, the best watch is the one that you love and enjoy wearing.