There is a lot to love about the Bulova Chronograph ‘D’ and that is because it follows a tried and true formula for noncircular cased chronographs of the era. The formula goes like this. Step 1 take a tried and true off the shelf chronograph movement, like the Valjoux 7734 in this watch, and wrap it in a robust tonneau or cushion shaped case. Step 2, choose a simple dial color such as white, black, or grey and then accent it with a bright color on the sub-dials and hands. Step 3, finish it off in a mix of brushed and polished surfaces and sell it to the masses. This example from Bulova, which dates to 1971 went with the aforementioned Valjoux 7734 in a sunburst brushed top tonneau case with a grey dial and orange accents. A winning combination in our books.
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 38mm stainless steel case is in great condition. The original sunburst brushed finish on the top of the case shows strongly and the polished beveled edges are crisp. The original crown looks to have been replaced by a non-signed generic piece but the overall look is maintained. Additionally, the caseback, which is marked 3777/N1, shows the most wear of any of the components but is correct and thought to be original.
The Dial and Hands
The grey dial has aged quite gracefully and is showing in great condition, with only minor scratches to note. The outer white tachymeter bezel and the white on the subdials have taken on a lovely cream color and contrast nicely with the orange accent color found on the hour markers, chronograph sub-dial, and chronograph seconds hand. The other standout of the dial is the stark white hands.
This watch features a Bulova signed hand wound Valjoux 7734. The watch is running and all chronograph features are functioning as expected. The service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, Bulova Signed Valjoux 7734|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|