Founded by a Tiffany & Co. employee, Joseph Bulova, in 1875, Bulova Watch Company came to be recognized as a supremely impactful American wristwatch manufacturer, the likes of which there are few. After a period of focusing on pocket watches, Bulova was one of the first brands to see a tidal wave coming in the space of wristwatches. Joseph took a very American approach in refocusing his business. Rather than building handmade watches built on a tradition of craftsmanship a la Ferrari, the brand went the way of Ford by building all of its watch components with as many common parts as possible to facilitate mass production. Amazingly, this focus did not come at the expense of accuracy as Bulova was praised for its simplicity and timekeeping from the outset of its wristwatch business. In 1919 the brand’s first full catalog of women’s wristwatches was introduced and by 1923 the same was the case for men.
Through the 1920s and 30s, Bulova, now under the leadership of Joseph’s son Arde, can be attributed with a large part of a boom in the popularity of wristwatches among Americans. Although hard to imagine today, wristwatches were viewed as childish when first coming to the market because men were attached to their large and status symbol pocket watches. By introducing the product set to women first, Bulova began to build a market and desire for the wristwatch. While the brand introduced wrist watches for men in 1923, popularity only hit after a series of genius marketing techniques. In 1926, Bulova created the first American radio advertisement with the phrase “it’s eight o’clock Bulova Watch time” heard by millions. That same year Arde publicly offered a prize of $1000 to the first pilot to fly nonstop across the Atlantic and privately gifted a watch to Charles Lindbergh. Prior to leaving for his famous 1927 flight from New York to Paris, Lindbergh wrote to Bulova “Many thanks for the Bulova Watch Prize offered… The Bulova Wrist Watch, which it is my pleasure to wear, keeps accurate time, and is a beauty.” In 1927, Bulova released their “Lone Eagle” men’s wristwatch with newspaper ads showing a copy of Lindbergh’s letter. The Lone Eagle was a massive success and the mass American watch market was born.
The Bulova Accuquartz is the missing link between the Accutron tuning fork movement and the modern quartz movement as we know it today. The Auccuquartz name first appeared on a Bulova clock that was released in 1969 and was followed up with a wristwatch in 1970 although that first model was actually powered by the Beta 21 Quartz movement. By 1971 Bulova consolidated the Accuquartz name around the Cal. 224 movement. The 224 is a bit of a unicorn utilizing technology from both tuning fork and traditional quartz movements. The 224 has a tuning fork, the two coils, similar looking indexing system but the basics electronics (transistor, resistors, etc) have been replaced with a quartz crystal and associated circuitry. By 1975, Bulova had produced over 35 different Accuquartz models but unfortunately, they would all be fazed out for the more conventional Accutron Quartz watches. With its lovely cushion case, blue dial, and graceful sweeping second hand, this Bulova is a great opportunity to share the interesting history and movement that is the Accuquartz.
The 36.25mm stainless steel case is in great to excellent condition. Remnants of the factory radial brushed finish on the top of the case can still be seen and there are only a few small scratches. The acrylic crystal, signed crown, and two piece caseback are all in similarly great condition.
The Dial and Hands
The simple blue dial is lovely in its execution and its subtle vertical stripes give it an almost corduroy appearance (very 70s indeed). The lume on the hour markers and hands if full and has aged to a deep caramel that is matched on the hands. All components are correct and thought to be original.
This watch is powered by a Bulova Accuquartz movement. This is an electronic movement that utilizes technology from both Accutron and traditional quartz movements. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Bulova Accuquartz Cal. 2442|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Suede Strap|