A Closer Look At The New Chronographs Of The Joseph Bulova Collection
Bulova continues its timepiece tributes to founder Joseph Bulova with a bold automatic chronograph inspired by a 1940s classic.
Joseph Bulova was quite the watchmaking pioneer. He started his watchmaking firm on Maiden Lane, right in the heart of New York City's Financial District, in 1875. Then thought of as the city’s jewelry hub, at the time, a handful of Swiss companies were gaining a foothold in the United States through distributors and retailers also based, for the most part, in New York’s Financial District.
However, by the time the 23-year-old Czech immigrant opened J. Bulova & Co., Mr. Bulova – a movement maker who produced watches independently and apprenticed under Charles Lewis Tiffany (yes, that, Tiffany) – had already been in his adoptive country for four years. And needless to say, the young entrepreneur had the advantage.
Joseph Bulova’s pioneering spirit led him to create exceptional watches in innovative case shapes. He more than held his ground against the Swiss competition and eventually established his own Swiss Manufacture in Bienne, moving the manufacture there in 1912.
Homage to Joseph Bulova
Fast forward to the 21st century, Bulova remains a New York-based brand, with all of its manufacturing taking place in Bienne. First introduced as a brand pillar in 2019, the Joseph Bulova Swiss Made Automatic collection pays homage to the brand’s ingenious founder. Moreover, all of the timepieces, so far, have been available in limited editions of 350 individually numbered pieces, appealing to collectors.
New in the collection this year is a pair of robust chronographs measuring 42mm in diameter, a departure from the 34mm and 38mm sized watches presented at the time of the collection’s launch.
A Well-Balanced Dial
The new chronographs’ layout and overall design take inspiration from some of the first Bulova chronographs produced in the 1940s. The dial of the new Joseph Bulova Limited Edition Chronograph, specifically, has an unusual, eye-catching layout – a welcome variation from the “standard” chronograph dials that are available across scores of brands.
A 12-hour chronograph, the sub-dial layout features a minute counter on the left side of the watch at 9 o’clock, with the hours at six o’clock and seconds at 12 o’clock. While some may think the sub-dials’ positions would make the design feel heavier on the left, the 3 o’clock position on the right side provides balance with a prominent day and date display. “Printed just above the day/date indicator is “Bulova,” and printed just below it is “Automatic 1875.”
Two Versions to Choose From
The new chronographs are available in two 42mm versions, both cased in stainless steel. And each model features two chronograph pushers, one at 2 o’clock and one at 4 o’clock. The black dial version has rose gold tone hands and telemeter scale.
A silver white dial is the second option, and its hands and telemeter scale are blue. Both come on a black leather strap with Joseph Bulova’s signature on the inside.
A Six-Hand Automatic Movement
The two chronographs, limited to 350 pieces each, feature a six-hand chronograph movement, the brand’s SW500. It’s visible through the watch’s custom caseback fitted with a sapphire crystal. Also on the caseback are Joseph Bulova’s engraved signature and the individual watch’s number.
The watches are priced at $2,495, a solid value for a limited-edition Swiss timepiece with an automatic movement.