As Seen on the Silver Screen: The Bulova American Girl “K”
The first woman’s watch in the Bulova’s Archive collection proves that good things come in small packages.
Remember when everyone was transfixed by the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit? We weren’t just captivated by the way it conjured up the drama of the chess world (who knew?) but also by lead actress Anna Taylor-Joy’s chic wardrobe.
Watch nerds, in particular, paid attention and wanted to know more about the dainty Bulova watch Taylor-Joy’s character’s adoptive mother gave her as a graduation gift in episode four, “Middle Game.”
That teeny-tiny timepiece was from Bulova’s American Girl collection. And a 1957 model from that family is the first woman’s watch to be added to the Bulova Archive series.
As you can probably guess from my intro, the new American Girl “K” timepiece was inspired by the original ladies’ design from 1957. And while it looks delicate, it was also a precision timepiece.
When I think of these wee watches from the ‘50s, I’m reminded of that famous expression about the dancer Ginger Rogers: “She did everything that Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels.” Why? Because the micro-mechanisms that powered these timepieces still promised to provide time as accurately as their full-size siblings but in super small cases.
Moreover, the innovative spirit required to develop micro-calibers lives on today in ultra-thin watches. And I can’t help but wonder: Without dainty timepieces like the American Girl, would we have an Octo Finissimo?
The 2022 version of the American Girl is also a celebration of style.
As previously mentioned, the new American Girl “K” timepiece was inspired by the original ladies’ design from 1957, but (what you may not know) that was an era when watchmakers embraced non-traditional shapes and silhouettes.
Original ads for the American Girl touted it as: “A superb Bulova watch and a magnificent bracelet in one glamorous ensemble.” Today, enthusiasts value versatility and a timepiece that doubles as a piece of jewelry has a certain allure.
The geometry of this bangle-like watch makes it feel bold despite its 16.7mm case size. Plus, the faceted surface of the gold-tone, stainless steel bracelet lends the American Girl “K” a lot of extra wrist presence. Then there is the bracelet, which features a throwback tongue-in-groove clasps complete with a 65mm chain extender to ensure a secure fit for small to large wrists.
The jewel-like elegance of the American Girl “K” is also an alternative to the gem-encrusted path more conventional jewelry watches take, which means it is also more accessibly priced than its bejeweled counterparts. And while it is true that the American Girl “K” is spare, it still sparkles enough for people who want to be glam without being too blingy.
Besides, the watch is also practical, powered by its quartz 5Y26 calibre that keeps the time with an accuracy to 15 seconds a month.
Petite ladies’ watches are also having a moment among younger enthusiasts. In the 1950s and ‘60s, they were also advertised as cocktail watches to emphasize glamour, but their unobtrusive scale also makes them a great daytime watch. As a result, we can totally picture wearing the American Girl “K” with a stack of gold bracelets for a street style look or with a twin set and pearls for a more preppy outfit.
For those who have modern, minimalistic tastes, this tonneau-shaped timepiece also features details such as a double-domed sapphire crystal and a simple white dial with raised numbers and indices. So, even though it’s small, it’s still readable. Finally, for an extra dose of vintage allure, this beautiful bracelet watch is presented in an elegant red keepsake case with a white satin lining.
Pricing & Availability
The American Girl “K” is limited to 2,000 numbered pieces worldwide exclusively via Bulova’s online store and is priced at $595. For more information, visit the Bulova website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)