Bulova’s New Frank Sinatra Collection Takes Us Back To The Glory Days Of The Rat Pack
The Chairman of the Board, Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Voice, whatever you called him, Frank Sinatra was – and still is – the epitome of cool.
I was first exposed to Frank Sinatra in the late ‘80s. My grandparents had a collection of vinyl albums, and on occasion, the grandkids got to pick out their favorite records for playback. Of course, with our ages mostly in the single digits and low double digits, we selected albums more for their covers than their contents. But even at a young age, just based on his album covers alone, I could tell Sinatra was cool. Always impeccably dressed, never forgetting his fedora. The seemingly ageless Sinatra spoke to this youngster less like a grandfather would, and more like a reminder of how cool the 1950s and 1960s must've been.
While Sinatra passed away in 1998, his music, style, and cultural impact are just as relevant and potent today as it was during his life. Few people attain cult status, even fewer maintain timeless appeal after their passing, but Sinatra achieved both. Think about it, Sinatra transcends generations, cultures, languages, and, most importantly, time.
This multi-generational appeal is why we're here today.
Recently, Bulova released the Frank Sinatra collection. A lineup of four Sinatra themed collections, each named after iconic Sinatra standards. Available in a variety of case shapes, sizes, movement types, and styles, Bulova’s Frank Sinatra collection offers a breadth of options befitting a man whose career spanned six decades.
Introducing The Bulova Frank Sinatra Collection
Bulova and Frank Sinatra go back to the 1950s when The Frank Sinatra Show, broadcast on CBS, was sponsored by Bulova. Sinatra’s variety show was even named Bulova Watch Time. Throughout his life, Sinatra could always be seen with a timepiece, and while his collection is worthy of an Unlikely Watch Collector article, his fascination with time was entirely likely. As a singer, actor, and sometime Rat Pack comedian, Sinatra's life was all about time.
In Bulova’s press release for this collection, Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Tina Sinatra, added, "No one respected time more than my father, he never liked to keep an audience waiting. He often said, 'If you're not early, you're late.' Dad's association with Bulova spans over six decades, and we are proud to continue the relationship into the 21st Century."
This collection of timepieces offers styles often seen gracing the wrists of the Rat Pack. There's the tank-style 'My Way' available in stainless steel with black dial and gold hands and markers, or gold-toned steel, which has a brushed silver dial and gold hands and hour markers. But more on the ‘My Way’ collection later.
The round cased 'The Best is Yet To Come' is a 40mm series of three timepieces available in rich color tones worthy of the Chairman of the Board. Two of the versions have a stainless steel case, but one has a dual-brush black dial with stainless steel hands and indices and sits on a stainless steel bracelet. The other stainless steel model features a cool gray dual-brush dial with gold-tone hands and indices atop a brown crocodile texture strap. The third model in ‘The Best is Yet To Come’ series has a gold-toned stainless steel case with a warm gray dual-brush dial, gold-tone hands and indices, and a black crocodile texture strap.
Perhaps you're longing for the days where we dreamed of spaceflight and moon landings. If so, the 'Fly Me To The Moon' model is for you. This 39mm rounded case piece looks like it belongs on the wrist of an Apollo astronaut at a press junket.
Finally, there's the 'Young At Heart,' which is a gold-toned tonneau-shaped case model. One model features a whiskey-inspired brown sunray brush dial and brown calf strap. The other model sports a silver-white sunray dial with a black calf strap.
It's worth noting that three out of the four references in the Frank Sinatra Collection feature mechanical movements. Whether it be the manually wound Sellita SW215 in The Best is Yet To Come, or the Miyota Calibre 8215 Automatic in the Fly Me To The Moon and Young At Heart pieces. Sinatra shined bright in an era long before the quartz crisis, so it's fitting Bulova would go mechanical for the majority of this collection.
Spotlight: Bulova’s My Way Collection
If there’s one song that epitomizes the life of Frank Sinatra, it would have to be My Way. This 1969 song was an English adaptation of the French song “Comme d'habitude,” written by Jacques Revaux and performed by Claude François. American songwriter Paul Anka wrote Sinatra's version. My Way quickly became Sinatra's signature song and spent 49 weeks on the Billboard Top 75 chart. For the rest of his career, Sinatra performed My Way for packed arenas and millions of fans stretching from Las Vegas to Budokan.
Watchonista recently had the opportunity to review two pieces from the ‘My Way’ collection. These Art Deco style tank-style (i.e., rectangular) pieces come in two versions. The first is stainless steel with a rich brushed black dial with yellow gold-tinted indices and hands. The second model in the ‘My Way’ collection is a yellow gold-tone case with brushed silver dial. Each piece measures 29.5mm by 47mm.
The Bulova ‘My Way’ collection is the only quartz piece in the Frank Sinatra Collection and is powered by a Miyota Calibre 1L45. These pieces feature two hands (hour/minute) with a sub-seconds dial at 6 o'clock. After seeing the ‘My Way’ collection in the metal, the pieces are clearly well executed and, dare I say, comparable to tank-style offerings from Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Sure, they're not encased in precious metals or outfitted with mechanical movements, but for this writer, the ‘My Way’ is a perfect – and accessibly priced – substitute for a tank-style dress watch.
The two references in the ‘My Way’ collection come fitted to lush calf straps either in dark gray (on the stainless steel with black dial) or black (on the gold-tone with silver dial). You’ll also find Sinatra’s signature on the dial at 12 o’clock, right below the Bulova logo. Finally, Sinatra’s signature fedora is emblemized on the caseback along with the inscription “My Way.”
"Regrets, I've had a few…" begins the second verse of My Way, and while Sinatra was known to publicly loathe one of his most well-known songs, I don’t think he would have any regrets about the execution of this timepiece. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s travel back in time to 1974, Madison Square Garden, for Frank Sinatra singing My Way.
Bulova’s Frank Sinatra collection is a well-rounded lineup of accessibly priced horological homages to Ol’ Blue Eyes. Overall, the ‘My Way’ collection is a compelling purchase for casual and mega-fans of The Voice. Each of the four models is thoughtfully designed and invokes a sort of vintage cool only Sinatra could provide.
As pictured, the Bulova ‘My Way’ collection starts at $495 for the steel with black dial variant and caps off at $525 for the gold-tone with silver dial. Each piece comes delivered in a special edition mahogany-style box along with plenty of Sinatra memorabilia inside.
“You only live once, and the way I live, once is enough.” - Frank Sinatra
You can learn more about Bulova’s Frank Sinatra collection via the brand’s website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)