Timepiece #8

The watch below was given to me 14 years ago by the wonderful woman who is now my wife.  This was the first Christmas gift that she gave me and it will always hold a special place among the rest.

In 1875,  an immigrant from Bohemia started the Bulova company in a store located in lower Manhattan.   The company started off as a wholesale jeweler and they specialized in good quality pocket watches and small table clocks.   In 1912 due to the increased demand for wristwatches, Bulova setup its first plant dedicated to watch components in Bienne Switzerland.  The majority of  these movements were cased in the USA before being shipped off to retailers.

In 1923  Bulova perfected a new concept in the watch industry with the total standardization of parts.  Every single part of a Bulova watch was made to be interchangeable with the same part in any other Bulova watch.   That dramatically changed how these watches could be serviced.   In 1945 the  Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking was founded by J Bulova’s son Arde Bulova.   The school provided free education to teach disabled servicemen the skills of watchmaking.  At the time 1,500 jewelers pledged to hire graduates of the school so employment after the students graduated was guaranteed.

In 1952 Bulova started using a vibrating tuning fork instead of an oscillating mechanical balance as it’s time reference and it allowed for unparalleled accuracy of +2,-2 seconds a day. The name of this movement was called Accutron.   The Accutron was the first watch certified for use by railroad personnel and it was also used in Air force One.  Bulova and Omega competed to have their watches worn by the astronauts would travel into space. Bulova eventually lost the battle to the Omega Speedmaster.   Bulova’s Accutron was still used in the spacecrafts instrument panel and other timing instruments on the shuttle.

In 2008 Bulova was purchased by Citizen and they are now the worlds largest watchmaker.  An interesting fact is that Bulova ran the worlds first television commercial.   It was 10 seconds long and it was broadcast at 2:29 on July 1st 1941 before a Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Philly game.

As of 2013 the Accutron line is no longer being offered.  The Accutron’s was Bulova’s upper end line of watches. The price range for Bulova watches is around $225  to $1,800 and that is if you include the Accutron line. Not too many watches holds their original value unless it is a limited time piece, or a rare vintage watch.   Or possibly if you are buying a  Jaeger-LeCoultre,  A. Lange & Söhne’s or a Patek Philippe.  But seeing as how vintage Accutron timepieces have not only held their value but some of the ones made in the 70’s are now selling at three times what they originally retailed for, and considering the fact that watches produced under the Accutron name will no longer be manufactured.  It is tempting to take a gamble on one and see how it is valued two decades from now.

Oh and if anyone reading this  owns one of those watches above please let me know because I would love to borrow it for just one day 🙂 🙂 :-).

Howard County Wedding Photographers

Bulova: Marine Star Manufactured in 2000 Quartz Movement


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